Time: NOON ET
Spread: NAVY -4
Betting odds c/o 5dimes
The Navy Midshipmen have propelled itself to a No. 15 AP ranking and will be playing for a little more than its ranking this week: The AAC West title is in the air as Keenan Reynolds and the Midshipmen visit No. 21 ranked Houston. The Midshipmen are 4-point favorites in the affair and the over/under is set at 61 by college football oddsmakers at 5dimes.
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The winner of this game gets home-field advantage in the title game, whether it is against Temple or South Florida on Dec. 5. The winner also will likely earn its way into a New Year’s bowl game. Navy has not had a start this good since 1905, and its last 10-win season was in 2009. The Midshipmen have won three straight games in decisive fashion, and Reynolds has plenty to do with it.
Now in his senior year, Reynolds has helped the Midshipmen build a more balanced attack which has allowed it to average 38.2 points per game this season. He is the all-time leader in Navy history for rushing yards and he has 1,009 yards on the ground to go with 18 TDs this season. It ranks No. 1 among all QBs in the country and he has 82 rushing TDs in his collegiate career, just one behind former Wisconsin Badger back Montee Ball.
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Reynolds has hardly been the lone star carrying the football. No. 1 back Chris Swain has rushed for 820 yards on the year and has eight TDs in his own right. Even outside of Reynolds and Swain, the rest of the Midshipmen have managed 17 rushing TDs. WR Jamir Tillman leads the team in receiving yards with 306 on 17 catches, to go with three TDs, as well. The Midshipmen only have six receiving TDs on the year, but it has been enough to diversify its offense to the point that it has become a real force among FBS schools.
Over the last three weeks, Navy has posted 48 points per game in defeating Memphis, Tulsa and SMU. It even had 500-plus yards against Tulsa. Reynolds had 256 rushing yards in the game and five TDs in the past three games, to go along with three passing TDs. The Midshipmen lead the country in rushing TDs too (43).
Navy’s defense this year has been a big difference maker in the meteoric climb to being such a tough team. It has allowed just 17.2 points per game since its loss to then-No. 15 Notre Dame back in October. It forced four fumbles in the ‘W’ over Tulsa, while holding the Golden Hurricane to a paltry 78 rushing yards on 34 rushes.
Houston is averaging 41.1 points per game. It will be without its starting QB Greg Ward Jr., however, and that could be a big blow. Ward suffered a sprained ankle in the win over Memphis on Nov. 14 and he played just a few snaps in last Saturday’s 20-17 fall to Connecticut. He has 810 rushing yards and 29 TDs, but he threw an INT in the final drive last week with just 55 seconds remaining in the game. Houston has failed to score 20 points just once this season, and it came last week in its first loss.
Houston will be looking to win its sixth game in six tries at home this season, but it could be without its lead back Kenneth Farrow. He left in the third quarter last week with a foot injury and he has nearly 1000 yards on the season.