Houston vs. Navy prediction roundtable with the Campus Insiders staff. Breaking down what will happen in the matchup between the Cougars and Midshipmen.
The Houston Cougars and Navy Midshipmen will meet for just the third time ever on Saturday. Houston has won both of the previous contests, 35-0 in 1980 and 52-31 in 2015. This year’s game is being played at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Maryland.
What Navy has done without Tago Smith has been admirable. It caught up with the Midshipmen last week against Air Force, when they were shut out for the first three quarters. Ultimately, turnovers were their undoing.
Even at their worst (the Cincinnati game), Houston put up 40 points and ran away with things in the fourth quarter. The Cougars will play close in the first quarter against Navy before running away with it. Realistically, Houston won’t be challenged until its Nov. 17 matchup against Louisville.
The Tom Herman train continues to roll. Navy can’t stop Greg Ward Jr. I’m not sure there’s anyone in this country that can stop him. The guy is a game-changer. He’s the kind of player defensive coordinators stay up late for, tweaking and re-tweaking their game plans. He’ll throw for 200 yards and rush for 75-plus yards in an easy win for the Cougars.
While it’s evident that Cougars quarterback Greg Ward Jr. isn’t 100 percent healthy, he’s one of the toughest players in the country. And he’s pacing a high-powered offense that is averaging 44.2 points and 506 yards per game. The Cougars have run 93 plays that have gained at least 10 yards, which is a ridiculous number. The Midshipmen will find a little success with their triple-option attack, but Houston has a relatively easy time in this one.
Trap game? Tom Herman ain’t no fool. The Cougars continue their campaign for a spot in the CFP.
Houston has the best rushing defense in the country. Navy loves to run the ball with the triple-option attack. Who gives in? The answer is the latter. The Midshipmen are averaging 75 yards less per game on the ground than last year, while Houston can fill up the scoreboard in a myriad of ways. The Cougars train keeps on rolling toward a possible playoff spot. Where will Tom Herman coach next season?