Army vs. Navy Game Preview

Story posted December 10, 2021 in Sports, CommRadio by Dylan Price

A time-honored tradition, as two branches of our Armed Services, clash on the gridiron for the 122nd time. This year, the air will be frigid, and the weather shows a chance of rain as the two teams travel to MetLife Stadium for the first time in the matchup’s history.

After over a decade of dominance from Navy, Army has won four of the last five matchups, but Navy still holds the series lead, 61 to 53, with seven ties between the two.

Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at how the two squads stack up for this year’s contest.

How Army Wins

Army has controlled nearly every game it’s been in the season with how it’s either rushed the ball or corralled the rush. Offensively, its rushing attack has averaged 301.2 yards per game.

They’ve rushed the ball 670 times, doubling its opponents’ average rushing attempts, and then some. They have 43 rushing touchdowns on the season, and less than 100 passing attempts, with only 10 touchdowns through the air.

Defensively, Army’s rush defense is on that same top tier level. The squad lets up on average, 106.9 rushing yards per game, and a measly 3.8 yards per attempt.

They force teams to play a one-dimensional game on offense and control time of possession by playing a ground and pound style of football, averaging over 36 minutes per game.

This is one of the most well-rounded Army teams in recent memory, and while they can’t overlook Navy, if they continue to play the brand of football that’s been so successful for them this season, they have a strong shot of walking out victorious.

How Navy Wins

At 3-8, the surface level record tells the story within itself. Navy has not had a good year as they’ve struggled to do just about anything offensively and establish an identity on defense.

Scoring only 23 touchdowns on the season and averaging 20.36 points per game is not going to win you a lot of football games.

Here’s the thing though, since its close loss to No. 3 Cincinnati, they’ve taken strides, controlling the time of possession better, not shooting themselves in the foot and winning two of its last four.

Not only that, but its strength of schedule ranks 3rd in all of college football, while Army ranks 107th.

Army stacks up better and has a more well-rounded unit, but all the statistics go out the door when these two teams clash, it’s Army versus Navy, it won’t be pretty, it’s a clash between two ground and pound teams that will try to force the other to make mistakes.

For Navy, forcing Army into mistakes will be paramount. Throwing them off-kilter early and controlling the time of possession will force Army to readjust its game plan and shift from the ground game.

Early in the season Ball State utilized that game plan to hand Army one of its three losses this season in a 28-16 win that saw Ball State put 21 points up in the first quarter, replicating that plan could be the route for the Midshipmen to walk out victorious.

Dylan Price is a first-year majoring in journalism. To contact him, email dvp5625@psu.edu.