After a long winning streak by Navy, the past five years in the Army-Navy matchup have been back-and-forth.
From 2002-2015, the Midshipmen rang off 14 consecutive victories before the Black Knights finally picked up a 21-17 win in 2016. Since then, Army has won four of the last six meetings.
Last year’s matchup saw Army secure a 20-17 double-overtime victory after recovering a Navy fumble at the two-yard line. The double-OT led to the over cashing for the first time since 2005. College football betting odds had that over/under at 32 points.
This year’s total is even lower, currently sitting at 28!
This is also the first of these meetings that will be played at Gillette Stadium, and if you know anything about the 2023 New England Patriots, there isn’t a lot of scoring going on. There’s been a total of one TD scored in the last two home games at Gillette.
Obviously, this has nothing to do with Saturday’s contest, but an interesting tidbit.
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With Army joining the AAC next season, this will be the final meeting between these two with Army as an Independent. Next year, they’ll be conference foes. This even sets up for the potential for the squads to meet up twice in a season, if both were to make it to the AAC championship game.
The seasons have been vaguely similar for both of these squads. They’re both 5-6 and looking for that sixth win this weekend since neither will be playing in a bowl game.
The Black Knights were on a five-game losing streak before winning three in a row entering this weekend. This includes two big wins over then No. 25-ranked Air Force and a victory over Coastal Carolina on Nov. 18. Navy’s season has been a little more steady, as it hasn’t lost or won more than two games in a row.
Something that hasn’t been steady for the Midshipmen, however, is its quarterback position.
There have been four different QBs that have started for Navy — Xavier Arline, Tai Lavatai, Braxton Woodson, and Blake Horvath. Injuries forced Woodson into the lineup and Arline back to his old position. Arline split QB duties with Lavatai in 2022 before moving to the backfield this year.
Arline has started the past four games but exited in Navy’s game against SMU two weeks ago. It sounds like he’ll be good to go this week.
Even with all the mixing up at QB, the Midshipmen still lead the AAC in rushing with 200.5 YPG, led by fullback Alex Tecza’s 724 yards.
Per usual, Army’s offense is led by its rushing attack, as well. The Black Knights rank ninth in the FBS, averaging 208 YPG on the ground. QB Bryson Daily paces the team with 875 rushing yards and seven TDs.
Led by linebacker and First-Team All-AAC selection Colin Ramos, Navy’s rush defense is a little bit better on paper, allowing 121.9 YPG to Army’s 180.4. It’ll be fun to see who wins the line of scrimmage in this one.
We’re familiar with these teams’ style of play and how these games tend to go. We’re also familiar with these programs bringing out the cleanest uniforms of the season for this annual tilt:
The custom uniforms have become one of the best parts of what is one of the great traditions in college football.
Even with how low the over/under is, it’s hard for me to have faith in there being more than 28 points scored. Last year’s game needed overtime to go over.
It’s also hard for me to go against Navy’s experience under center and its two senior quarterbacks in Arline and Lavatai, both of whom could be relied on.
Army has been playing better as of late, but that doesn’t matter in this game. I think it goes under the total, and Navy wins as a +2.5-point (+126 ML) underdog.