(23) Navy vs Kansas State
Time: 2:45 PM CST (ESPN)
Autozone Liberty Bowl
Spread: NAV -1
Odds c/o 5dimes
The No. 23 ranked Navy Midshipmen finished its season 10-2. It won the AAC West and defeated Houston 56-41before beating Army 31-7 to close its regular season. Navy is 1-point favorites over Kansas State in the Autozone Liberty Bowl at 2:45 PM (CST) on ESPN. The over/under for the game is set at 53 total points according to oddsmaker 5dimes.
NAVY NEWS & NOTES:
Navy has only lost to Memphis and Notre Dame this season, and given that Memphis leads the AAC-West and Notre Dame is an independent- ranked beast of its own, that is not too shabby for the Midshipmen. Navy has done it in its typical fashion again this season: Defense–and rush, rush, rush.
Navy ranks No. 1 in the nation with 363.7 rushing yards per game, while it manages just 95 per game on its (really) rare pass plays. With a quarterback that rushes as well as Malcolm Perry, there is little need to throw the football. Perry has managed 1,027 passing yards, but he has over 1,800 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns this season while averaging 6.8 yards-per-carry on his 267 attempts.
No. 2 running back Nelson Smith averages five per, with his seven touchdowns and 570 yards. Navy averages 5.9 yards-per-carry as a team, and it has featured 18 players this season with at least one rush. No. 1 running back Jamale Carothers has fewer attempts than Smith (98) but has more yardage with 712 and twice as many TD rushes (14).
The top receiver is Mychal Cooper. He has 355 yards on 15 catches and two touchdowns. CJ Williams has seven catches and two touchdowns. Navy has scored just nine receiving touchdowns while having scored its other 51 via the rush.
K STATE NEWS & NOTES:
Kansas State finished with an 8-4 record and a third-place finish in the Big 12. The Wildcats began its season 3-0 before losing back-to-back games against Oklahoma State and Baylor. It also lost again in back-to-back weeks after three-straight wins when it fell to Texas and West Virginia. It fared 2-0 against AP ranked teams in defeating a No. 5 Oklahoma team 48-41 and knocking off a then-No. 23 Iowa State team 27-17 in its finale.
K-State ranks No. 38 in the nation in rushing yards with 189 per game, but it is outside the top-100 pass offenses at just 185.7 yards per game. Even so, the Wildcats averaged 30.7 points per game while limiting its opponents to just 21.5. It has a point differential of +9.2.
The Wildcats got a decent season out of starting quarterback Skylar Thomson. Though he completed a humb le 59 percent, he threw for 2,191 yards and 12 touchdowns with just five interceptions. He was sacked 21 times this season for a total loss of 114 yards, but he still boasts an outstanding passer rating of 134.5. Thompson was also the No. 2 rushing threat with 402 yards on his 105 carries and a team-best 10 rushing touchdowns.
No. 1 running back James Gilbert averaged 5.2 yards per carry and had six TDs, while No. 3 and No. 4 backs Jordon Brown and Harry Trotter averaged 4.5 and 4.0 yards-per-carry with seven touchdowns between them. The Wildcats averaged 4.4 yards-per-carry as a team with 28 rushing touchdowns collectively. The top receiver was Dalton Schoen, who caught a team-high 35 passes for 567 yards and four touchdowns. Malik Knowles ranked No. 2 in yardage with 350 and three touchdowns.
Tight end Nick Lenners caught 13 passes for 163 yards and a touchdown. Wildcats kicker Blake Lynch was superb. He hit all 44 PATs and 18 of 20 field goals. He connected on 13 of 15 from 30 yards to 50 yards.