It’s a bit after dawn out in Colorado Springs, which naturally means it’s less than two hours until kickoff.
If last week’s 12-0 loss to San Jose State was Navy’s first tossup game, today’s visit to Air Force might provide for answers about the Midshipmen than any game that came before —- and maybe after as well.
So what will happen? Here’s five predictions.
1. Trey Miller will not have a first-quarter turnover. Miller has committed red zone turnovers in the first quarter for three games running, crucial giveaways that ultimately derailed Navy (1-3) in two of those games. Look for the junior to prioritize ball security early on and avoid an early dagger.
2. Miller will commit at least one turnover on the day. After 10 giveaways in four games —- and at least two in each of Navy’s games in September —- there’s an unfortunate trend for Miller. Few teams understand how to defend Navy better than Air Force, and chances are Miller has a turnover somewhere along the way.
3. Matt Aiken will make his first catch of the season. The junior wide receiver is set to return from a knee injury that cost him the first four games. Navy might not throw it a ton, but look for Aiken to get a bit involved in the passing game.
4. Bo Snelson will set a career-high in rushing. It’s not a huge number to vault over —- 32 yards against Western Kentucky last season —- but the senior will see a bump in playing time after the loss of slotback John Howell for the year because of a right knee injury. Snelson’s done well in a limited role throughout his career; he has 39 carries for 258 yards, an average of 6.6 yards per carry.
5. Air Force will win. Navy’s offense is due some form of a bounceback after managing a meager 144 yards last week against San Jose State. What the Mids didn’t need was to run into a team accustomed to defending the option. This will be a grind-it-out game, and probably close at some point in the fourth quarter. Still, the edge goes to the Falcons in a game that will hand one team or the other the inside track for the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy.
—- Patrick Stevens