College Football Predictions: Navy Midshipmen at Indiana Hoosiers
Navy Midshipmen at Indiana Hoosiers
Memorial Stadium – Bloomington, Indiana
Saturday, September 7, 2013, 6:00 pm Eastern, TV: Big Ten Network
Opening Line: Indiana -14
Current Line: Indiana -13
Opening Total: 64
Current Total; 67
Opening Money Line: Indiana -525 / Navy +405
Current Money Line: Indiana -525 / Navy +405
After taking last weekend off, the Navy Midshipmen begin their season with a trip to Bloomington to take on the Indiana Hoosiers. This is the fourth meeting between the schools. Indiana leads the series 2-1, but Navy won a thriller 31-30 last year in Annapolis.
Navy is coached by Ken Niumatalolo. After a disappointing season in 2011, Niumatalolo demanded a stronger more physical team in 2012. It showed and Navy went 8-5 last year and won the Commander-In-chief’s Trophy by beating rivals Air Force and Army by a combined 11 points. The Midshipmen were torpedoed by Arizona St 62-28 in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco.
Navy’s triple option offense won’t change, but Navy looks to improve on offense from last year. They should be more consistent with the quarterback position set and a strong offensive line.
Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds took over the quarterback spot six games into the season in his freshman year last season. He completed 56.5% of his passes for 898 yards with 9 touchdowns and 2 interceptions, along with 162 carries, 649 yards and 10 touchdowns. The sophomore now has the job all to his own after last year’s starter at the beginning of the season, Trey Miller moves to running back. Miller threw for 399 yards with 2 touchdowns and 3 interceptions, and rushed for 293 yards on 88 carries with 3 touchdowns. The Midshipmen must replace leading rusher Gee Gee Greene who rushed for 877 yards and 3 touchdowns, and was the second leading receiver on the team with 18 catches, 309 yards and 2 touchdowns. Fullback Noah Copeland does return after rushing for 762 yards on 162 carries with 5 touchdowns, and also made 12 catches. Geoffrey Whiteside, Demond Brown, and Miller will also get plenty of carries as well. Navy must also replace leading receiver Brandon Turner who had 22 catches, 321 yards and 4 touchdowns. Shawn Lynch looks to be the go-to receiver on the few occasions Navy does throw the ball. Lynch had 14 catches 281 yards and a touchdown. Casey Bolena and Matt Aiken will also get some catches. The line returns 3 full-time starters and has experience at the other two spots as well.
The Navy defense needs to improve on pass rushing and especially against the run. Cornerback Parrish Gaines had 69 tackles and 2 picks last year. The Midshipmen do have a good corps of linebackers led by Jordan Drake, Matt Warrick, and Brye French.
Indiana, coached by Kevin Wilson, opened the season with a 73-35 rout over Indiana State last Thursday. The Hoosiers easily covered the 25 point spread and went over the 54.5 total by themselves. The Hoosiers jumped out an early 45-7 lead. However, Indiana State would score 3 straight touchdowns to make it 45-28 and create some anxious moments for Hoosier fans. The Sycamore scoring streak occurred from 19 seconds left in the second quarter to 14:17 left in the third, and included a fumble return and interception return both for touchdowns. The Hoosiers were never really threatened but they would score 28 unanswered points, before Indiana State scored a late touchdown to lose by 38 points.
The Hoosiers had 632 total yards including 313 rushing yards, and 29 first downs. Indiana St had only 306 total yards and 15 first downs. However, 3 Indiana turnovers allowed them to stay as close as they did. Indiana State had 2 turnovers of their own and both teams combined for 13 penalties.
Indiana quarterback Nate Sudfeld completed 12 of 17 passes for 219 yards with 4 touchdowns and an interception. He split the snaps with Tre Roberson who threw two touchdown passes in his six pass attempts, and also ran for 19 yards. Both will likely see action against Navy as well. Running back Tevin Coleman had 14 carries, 169 yards and 2 touchdowns. Ted Bolser had 6 catches, 78 yards and a 2 touchdowns. Shane Wynn only caught 2 passes but both went for touchdowns. Kofi Hughes also had a touchdown catch.
Navy is 5-1 ATS in road games against teams with winning home records, 0-5 overall, and 0-4 on fieldturf.
Indiana is 6-1 ATS on fieldturf, 4-1 at home, after a cover, and after gaining more than 450 total yards, 1-4 in September and 2-10 after rushing for more than 200 yards.
Indiana won last week against an inferior opponent, but if they don’t clean up the mistakes and sloppy play against a quality opponent like Navy, the Hoosiers could be ripe for an upset. Navy struggled against the run last year, and that could be an issue against Coleman. I think Indiana wins but 13 is too many points. I see this game being decided by a touchdown or less.
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