— Story by Chris Franklin @
Temple (9-3) versus Navy (9-2)
Time: 12 p.m.
Betting line: Navy -3
Location: Navy-Marine Corp Stadium in Annapolis, MD
When Temple has the ball
When the Owls have been successful this season, they have been able to run the football and use the play-action pass. With running back Ryquell Armstead’s official status still up in the air, it will be Jahad Thomas who will take most the carries Saturday. Navy likes to play a 3-4 defense with a lot of zone coverage. The Owls should be able to move the ball on this defense if they can convert their third downs. Opponents have converted on the Midshipmen 52 percent of the time this season. With Navy playing a lot of zone coverage. It will be imperative that Temple quarterback Phillip Walker be accurate and hit is receivers in the soft spot of the zone coverages. The trio of Ventell Bryant, Adonis Jennings, and Keith Kirkwood can all have success against this Navy secondary. Don’t be surprised if tight end Colin Thompson is utilized in the middle of the field.
When Navy has the ball
The Navy offense is football’s equivalent to three card monte. They carry out their ball fakes well. When you think you have the fullback stuffed, the quarterback Will Worth can fake the run to him and keep it up the middle. When you think you have Worth contained, he can pitch it out to one of his slotbacks. The wide receivers line up as if they are tight ends. Navy will even show an unbalanced line and run right behind it. Although Navy attempts an average of 11 passes a game, Worth has demonstrated that he is an adequate passer, completing 61 percent of his attempts. When Temple had trouble with Army earlier this season, Army was more physical at the point of attack, especially up the middle. There have been some changes since then, and they hope that history does not repeat itself.
Both teams have a 5-1 record against common opponents (UConn, East Carolina, Tulane, SMU, South Florida, Memphis). Temple lost to Memphis and Navy lost to South Florida.
Navy has committed 30 penalties all season long.
Temple is currently on a six-game win streak. Against the spread this season, they are 11-1.
Navy’s strength is its offense. Temple’s strength is its defense. Something will have to give in this matchup. The key will be getting out in front of the Midshipmen early and building a lead that will force Navy to throw the ball more than they are accustomed to doing. If the Owls are patient with their option assignments and patient with their run game, they can win this game. This game has the potential to be an instant classic.
Temple 31, Navy 28