Navy (3-1) at Duke (3-2)
Oct. 12, 12:30, ESPN3
Why You Should Give A Hoot: Navy and Duke are meeting at Wallace Wade Stadium with the mutual goal of improving their postseason brag sheet. With tough second-half games looming for both, moving to within two wins of bowl eligibility at midseason would be highly advantageous. The Midshipmen are coming off an emotional win over Air Force to move halfway to the Commander-In-Chief’s Trophy. The Blue Devils had the week off, and are a Saturday victory away from sweeping their non-conference schedule.
Why Navy Might Win: The Mids are defined by their triple-option offense, but the defense has been helping to set the tone this year. Led by linebackers Cody Peterson, Chris Johnson and D.J. Sargenti, Navy has regrouped from an opening day shootout with Indiana to allow just 36 points in its last three games. Last weekend, the Mids thwarted Air Force by pitching a shutout over the final two quarters.
Why Duke Might Win: The Blue Devils bring a little more offensive diversity than the Midshipmen have seen this year. In fact, even with QB Brandon Connette subbing for starter Anthony Boone, Duke has scored 93 points over the last two games. Connette is a legit dual-threat, rushing for six touchdowns and throwing for 11 more. Navy will have a tough time covering a corps of talented Blue Devil receivers led by all-leaguer Jamison Crowder.
Who To Watch Out For: Navy has a dual-threat quarterback of its own, sophomore Keenan Reynolds. The team’s leading rusher is also completing 65% of his passes, a rare threat over the top in this offense.
- The bye week came at a good time for Duke, affording linebackers Kelby and Kyler Brown the rest they need to hopefully return to the field this week. The Blue Devils need the brothers to be healthy, especially against this week’s opponent.
What Will Happen: While it’s never easy preparing for Ken Niumatalolo’s offense, an extra week of film study sure helps. Duke will win the battle of the multi-dimensional quarterbacks, getting 250 total yards and a couple of key scores from Connette. The game will be competitive throughout, with double-digit leads not being the norm on either side of the field.
Prediction: Duke 37 … Navy 30
Line: Duke -3 o/u: 58.5