Air Force Falcons at Navy Midshipmen: Free College Football Picks

Air Force Falcons At Navy Midshipmen
Navy Memorial Stadium – Annapolis, Maryland
Saturday, October 1, 2011, 12:00 pm Eastern, TV: CBS
Opening Line: Navy -2 1/2
Current Line: Navy -3 (-105)
Opening Total: 56
Current Total: 53 1/2
Opening Money Line: Navy -145 / Air Force +125
Current Money Line: Navy -145 / Air Force +125

Navy is a 3 point favorite at home over rival Air Force in college football action Saturday.

Last year Air Force won the Commander-in Chief’s trophy, given annually to the Service Academy that wins the round robin series between Air Force, Navy and Army. Navy had won the trophy 7 years in a row before Air Force claimed it last year. Navy and Air Force have won the last 14 CIC trophies. Air Force leads the series 26-17, including a 14-6 win last year in Colorado Springs. Navy leads the series 8-7 in Annapolis.

Both teams are 2-1 this season, with easy wins over lesser foes and losses to ranked teams. Air Force, coached by Troy Calhoun, have wins over South Dakota 37-20 and last week against Tennessee St 63-24. The Falcons lost to then #25 TCU 35-19. This is the first road game for the Falcons this season. Navy, coached by Ken Niumatalolo, has wins over Delaware 40-17 and Western Kentucky 40-14, and lost at #10 South Carolina 24-21 two weeks ago.

Air Force had 792 total yards last week in their 63-24 rout of Tennessee St last week. The Falcons had 595 rushing yards and 6 touchdowns. The Falcons had 37 first downs. It was close in the first quarter with Air Force only up 14-7, but the Falcons pulled away. They only gave up 24 points but Air Force did allow 394 total yards including 188 rushing yards. Air Force had 2 turnovers. Air Force quarterback Tim Jefferson threw only 13 passes for 178 yards, but he did have 3 touchdown passes.

Air Force has the #5 ranked offense in the country with 565 yards a game, including the #1 rushing attack with 411.7 yards a game. The Falcons are averaging 39.7 points a game. The Falcons have 7 turnovers and have allowed one sack this year. Air Force is 23/41 on third and fourth down conversions. They are 12/14 scoring in the red zone with 9 touchdowns. Air Force is allowing 390.7 total yards a game including 192 rushing yards a game. The Falcons are allowing 26.3 points a game on defense. The Falcons have forced 5 turnovers and 9 sacks. Air Force opponents are 22/49 on third and fourth down conversions, and 8/9 scoring the red zone with 8 touchdowns.

Jefferson is 24/37 passing with 357 yards, 4 touchdowns and 2 interceptions, along with 31 carries for 150 yards and 2 touchdowns. Of course, passing is more of an afterthought in the Falcons’ triple option offense, as it is for Navy. Eight Falcons have at least one rushing touchdown this season. Running back Asher Clark has 33 carries for 291 yards and a touchdown. Mike DeWitt has 24 carries for 154 yards and 2 touchdowns. Wes Cobb has 26 carries for 88 yards and 2 scores. The Falcons don’t throw the ball very often but when they do they spread it around. Five Falcons receivers have at least 3 catches but no one has more than 8. Mikel Hunter has 4 catches for 119 yards, and 2 touchdowns along with 4 carries for 82 yards and a touchdown.  Zack Kauth had 8 catches, 91 yards, and a touchdown. Kicker Parker Herrington is 10/11 on extra points and 3/4 on field goals with a long of 45 yards. Will Conant is 4/4 on extra points this year. The Air Force defense is banged up with 6 players listed as out for the Navy game.

Navy almost pulled off the upset 2 weeks ago in Columbia against #10 South Carolina, but came up short 24-21. Navy was up 21-17 in the third quarter, but South Carolina scored early in the fourth quarter and held off Navy for the rest of the game for the win. Navy had no answer for Gamecock running back Marcus Lattimore who had 246 rushing yards, and 3 scores, along with 4 catches for 25 yards. South Carolina had 458 total yards and 27 first downs. Navy had 335 total yards including 274 rushing yards. The Midshipmen had 15 first down against South Carolina. Quarterback Kris Proctor, and running backs John Howell and Alexander Teich each had rushing touchdowns for Navy.

Navy is averaging 427.3 yards a  game, including the #4 ranked rushing attack with 358.3 rushing yards a game. Navy is scoring 33.7 points a game. Navy has allowed 1 sack and 5 turnovers this season. Navy is 24/45 on third and fourth down conversions, and 7/8 scoring in the red zone with 6 touchdowns. The Midshipmen are allowing 366 yards a game but have one of the nation’s worst rush defenses allowing just under 200 yards a game. Navy is allowing only 18.3 points a game. Navy has forced 8 turnovers and 4 sacks this year. Navy opponents are 21/44 on third and fourth down conversions, and 7/11 scoring in the red zone with 6 touchdowns.

Proctor is the leading passer and rusher for Navy with 474 combined passing and rushing yards. He has 7 total touchdowns including 4 rushing touchdowns and has  2 interceptions. Teich has 44 carries for 260 yards, and a touchdown. Howell has 9 carries, 158 yards and 3 scores. Aaron Santiago had 11 carries and two scores along with 2 catches and a touchdown but is out for the season with a broken arm. Matt Aiken and Brandon Turner each have 3 receptions and a touchdown to lead the Midshipmen. Kicker Jon Teague has missed 3 extra points in 14 tries and is 2/2 on field goals with a long of 54 yards.  Navy linebackers Jarred Shannon (shoulder) and Mason Graham (knee) are both questionable against Air Force.

Navy is 3-0 against the spread this season and 2 of the 3 games have gone over the total. Air Force is 0-3 ATS this season and all three games went over the total. The last 2 games in the series have gone under the total between Air Force and Navy. Air Force is 5-1 ATS in last 6 non-conference games and on turf, and 1-4 ATS in their last 5 October games and road games, 1-5 ATS in their last 6 overall, and 1-6 in the last 7 following a straight up win. Navy is 4-0 ATS in the last 4 as a favorite, 8-1 ATS in the last 9 against a team with a winning record, 14-2 ATS in the last 16 versus Mountain West teams, 5-1 ATS in their last 6 overall, and 9-2 ATS in the last 11 as a favorite of 3 points or less, including 4-1 at home.

Though recently these two teams have played tight defensive struggles, it cold be a different story this year. Both teams have struggled against the run giving up almost 200 yards a game. Of course, both teams have top five rushing attacks as they both run the triple option. Both teams are banged up on defense especially Air Force. I like Navy to win a close game as Air Force has to travel across country and play in a noon Eastern game.

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