An Army vs. Navy roundtable with the Campus Insiders staff, predicting what will happen and who wins Saturday’s game between the Black Knights and Midshipmen.
The losses of quarterback Will Worth and running back Toneo Gulley are going to hurt, as both are out for this contest and the bowl game with a broken foot. Zach Abey will start at quarterback after replacing Worth in the second quarter of Navy’s loss to Temple in the American Athletic Conference title game. Ken Niumatalolo will have to get creative if the Midshipmen are going to overcome that adversity.
Navy’s 14-game winning streak in the series could be in jeopardy and it will need a defense that finished tied for last in the AAC in average yards allowed per play to be much better. Army, though, hasn’t gained 400 yards against an FBS opponent since a loss to Buffalo on Sept. 24.
I’ll say Navy escapes with a 21-17 victory to extend the winning streak.
Navy’s offense is an unknown, given the aforementioned injuries to Will Worth and Toneo Gulley. Then again, such was the case after Tago Smith was injured in the season opener. And the same can be said for when defensive captain Daniel Gonzales suffered a career ending injury against Air Force. Question marks abound, but the team kept winning. This is a tight-knit and tough-minded team that fully subscribes to the “next man up” mantra.
Army looks better on paper – healthier, better defense and having more time off – but I still think it falls short and fails to end the losing streak. Coach Ken Niumatalolo’s team again circles the wagons and finds a way to win the best rivalry in all sports.
I’m a big fan of Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo and what he has done with the Midshipmen this season, but you have to wonder if they can recover from losing their second quarterback of the season and being down to a third-string player that doesn’t have much experience. Army’s defense is tough in all phases, including the rush, which they allow just 124.36 yards per game on the ground. That is the only way Navy can beat you with a new quarterback.
It will be a good one, and low scoring, so I’m going with the Black Knights to pull the upset and break the 14-game losing streak to their arch rivals.