The Air Force Falcons (3-1, 2-0) travel to Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, MD for a service game showdown against the Naval Academy (2-2). The last six games have been won by Navy, however all those games but one was decided by less than seven points. This is my pick for game of the week to watch as these service games never disappoint. Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo looks to have his team ready for the visiting Falcons.
"We're excited about the win, but we're moving on. We've got someone coming here next week that is trying to take something away from us," said Niumatalolo, referring to the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy.
Navy was impressive offensively last week against Western Kentucky scoring 38 points on 473 total yards. Their triple option attack, similar to the Falcons, is lead by QB Ricky Dobbs. Dobbs has thrown for 448 yards this year and has 294 on the ground through four games. Their second leading rusher behind Dobbs is Marcus Curry who has run for 242 yards. Unlike the Air Force option game Dobbs will take it himself a bit more, 98 rushing attempts to the Falcon QB's 43 attempts. Like the Air Force offense none of Navy's play makers in the backfield are seniors so they will keep getting better and better in this offense for years to come.
The Navy defense is a respectable 48th in total yards given up. The Air Force comparisons continue as they are smaller, due to restrictions of the military, and must rely on swarming the ball and fundamentally sound tackling. They haven't been able to force turnovers in masses yet, however they are capable and Air Force will need to take care of the ball.
The question is who will be taking care of the ball for the Falcons, Connor Dietz or Tim Jefferson? Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun seemed to hint at Jefferson playing, but nothing is solid this early in the week.
"We've got to see if he's ready to go full-tilt," Calhoun said of Jefferson. "And I think there's a pretty good chance that he will."
The Falcons might need Jefferson back as Dietz has done a good job but has failed to reach the end zone on a drive yet.
The Falcons defense is fresh off a 6 turnover game against San Diego State. The turnovers won't come as easy this weekend, but Air Force will need to capitalize on any mistakes the Midshipman offense makes. They need to be stout in run defense, it should come second nature as they face it every day in practice.
I am setting up camp on the couch for this one as these games are always competitive. This year even more so with Air Force looking strong at 3-1 and Navy barely missing an upset to Ohio State on the road.
My prediction as a Jarhead; I have to go with the home team on this one, Squids 17 to 13 over the Fly Boys.