Five predictions for this afternoon’s Navy-Air Force game …
1. Neither team will reach its season average in rushing yards. Air Force leads the country with 411.7 rushing yards per game. Navy ranks fourth at 358.3 yards per game. Both will be hard-pressed to get to that level against opponents who are plenty familiar with option offenses.
2. Still, Navy’s fullbacks will have more success today than last season against Air Force. The Mids’ Vince Murray and Alexander Teich combined for 22 carries and 83 yards. With the Falcons dealing with injuries on the defensive front, expect Teich and Delvin Diggs to combine to average four yards a carry or better.
3. Navy will score a touchdown in its first red zone trip. The Mids didn’t manage a touchdown in three red zone trips against Air Force last year, managing two field goals and a missed field goal. Expect Navy to quickly cash in when given the opportunity.
4. It will take no more than three hours to complete regulation. Given the run-heavy tendencies of both teams, expect this game to fly by even with a national over-the-air network handling the broadcast. Since 2005, the longest game between the teams was 3 hours and 10 minutes —- and that game went to overtime.
5. It will be a one-possession game. Seven of the last eight games were decided by eight points or less. This will continue the trend. The lean here is toward Navy on its home field, but whoever wins won’t do so by a comfortable margin.
—- Patrick Stevens