The second Saturday in December is reserved for the annual Army vs. Navy game, and while there lower level college playoff games being played, this is the only major college football game on the docket. The 114th annual meeting of our nation’s oldest service academies for the Commander in Chief’s trophy takes place at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA this Saturday afternoon (3:00 pm ET) with the Navy Midshipmen (7-4) taking on the Black Knights of Army (3-8). Navy comes into the game having won 3 games in a row since their week 10 loss at Notre Dame (38-34). The Middies have won over Hawaii (42-28 in week 11), South Alabama (42-14 in week 12) and San Jose St. (58-52 in week 13) since then. They also own an impressive win over Pittsburgh in week by a score of 24-21. Army has lost 4 games in row, to Hawaii (49-42 in week 14), Western Kentucky (21-17 in week 11), Air Force (42-28 in week 10) and Temple (33-14 in week 8).
Navy runs a run-heavy, triple-option attack on offense, as does Army and the two teams rank just behind SEC Champion and BCS National Championship Game participant Auburn in run offense. The Midshipmen rank 61st among FBS teams in total offense with 419 yards per game and 3rd in rushing offense with 320.1 YPG while averaging 34.4 points per game to rank 32nd nationally. Quarterback Keenan Reynolds is the leading passer and runner for Navy with 1,028 yards and 8 TDs through the air and 1,124 yards and a whopping 26 TDs on the ground which is one away from the NCAA single-season record for a quarterback. Chris Swain (373 yards, 4 TDs) and Darius Staten (364 yards, 3 TDs) are his primary pitchmen on the option, and receiver DeBrandon Sanders (211 yards, 1 TD) is the main aerial threat for the Midshipmen. Navy ranks 83rd nationally in total defense with 419.6 YPG allowed and 71st nationally in scoring defense with 27.6 PPG allowed.
The Black Knights rank 69th among FBS teams in total offense with 403.7 yards per game and 2nd in rushing offense with 323.6 YPG while averaging 26 PPG to rank 85th nationally. Quarterback Angel Santiago has thrown for 547 yards and 2 TDs this season while running for 558 yards and 9 scores. Terry Baggett (1,072 yards, 8 TDs) and Larry Dixon (682 yards, 6 TDs) are the leading ground gainers for Army, while Xavier Moss (30 receptions, 418 yards, 1 TD) is their leading receiver. Army ranks 77th nationally in total defense with 416.1 YPG allowed and 92nd in scoring defense with 31.4 PPG allowed.
Army vs. Navy Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Army Black Knights +13
@ Navy Midshipmen -13
Over 51.5 (-110)
Under 51.5 (-110)
Betting odds taken from Bovada.lv
Army vs Navy Pick
Navy has won 11 straight meetings against the Black Knights, and have had a winning record in 10 of the last 11 seasons. Navy is 8-3 ATS this season, 20-11 ATS in their last 31 December games and 14-7 ATS when playing Army in the last 21 games. In this series, 13 of the last 21 games have come in UNDER the total.
Navy has a great deal of momentum coming into this game after their impressive triple-overtime win over San Jose St., and their offense has been on a major roll to end the regular season. They have also had 3 weeks to rest and heal, and the layoff should not hurt their momentum too much. In contrast, Army just lost to a dreadful Hawaii team that Navy easily handled, and allowed the Warriors their only win of the season. Keenan Reynolds is by far the best player on the field for either team, and he should have plenty of success against an Army defense that ranks a dreadful 99th nationally against the run with 201.5 YPG allowed. Take Navy to make it 12 in a row in this game.