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Navy (2-0) at Western Kentucky (2-2)



The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Saturday, September 28, 2 p.m. (et)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Houchens-Smith Stadium (22,113) -- Bowling Green, Kentucky. Television: ESPN News. Home Record: Navy 1-0, WKU 1-0. Away Record: Navy 1-0, WKU 0-2. Neutral Record: Navy 0-0, WKU 1-0. Conference Record: Navy 0-0, WKU 0-1. Series Record: Navy leads, 2-0.

GAME NOTES: The Western Kentucky Hilltoppers will play host to the run heavy Navy Midshipmen on Saturday in a non-conference brawl at Houchens Smith Stadium.

With wins against Indiana (41-35) and FCS foe Delaware (51-7) in its first two games, Navy has a chance to start a season at 3-0 for the first time since 2006. The Midshipmen have gone 2-0 twice now in the last three seasons.

As for the Hilltoppers, they have split their four games this year. The campaign began with an impressive 35-26, win over Kentucky before a 52-20 setback against Tennessee and a 31-24 disappointment against South Alabama in the Sun Belt Conference opener. This is just the second home game for the Hilltoppers thus far, with the other coming last weekend when they topped FCS foe Morgan State (58-17).

In 2011 Navy rolled to a 40-14 victory over WKU in Bowling Green. The Midshipmen rushed for 410 yards in the victory, their second in as many all- time meetings with the Hilltoppers.

This time around the Hilltoppers can expect just as much running from the Navy offense. The Midshipmen are averaging 398 rushing yards per game through two games, which is the highest mark in the nation. Navy also ranks 11th in the country in yards per attempt (6.03). Of the 92 points the Midshipmen have scored, 60 have come via the run, as the Midshipmen have 10 rushing touchdowns in just two games.

Quarterback Keenan Reynolds may not make a huge impact through the air each week, but he is still a vital part of the triple-option attack for Navy. Reynolds leads the Midshipmen in carries (47), rushing yards (236) and rushing touchdowns (three). Reynolds is one of just three quarterbacks in the country to be averaging more than 100 rushing yards per game. When he has been forced to pass, Reynolds has been competent enough, completing 12-of-17 attempts for 304 yards and two scores.

Chris Swain (23 carries, 78 yards, two TDs) is second on the team in rushing attempts but has not been very strong in picking up large chunks of yardage. That role has been filled better by Darius Staten (130 yards, TD) and Geoffrey Whiteside (127 yards, two TDs), who are each averaging more than 10 yards per carry. DeBrandon Sanders only has seven carries on the season but already has 86 yards.

Navy has been a mediocre defensive squad early on. The Midshipmen are letting up 21 points and 408.5 yards per game. Navy hasn't done a very good job of pressuring opposing quarterbacks with just two sacks, both of which came against the Blue Hens. Navy has been solid in forcing turnovers, while the offense has done a good job of holding onto the ball. The Midshipmen's +1.5 turnover margin per game is the 11th best mark in the country.

Cody Peterson has been a tackling machine for the Midshipmen, with 19 already this season. However just one has come for loss. Unfortunately that is tied for the team-lead for Navy, which has just four total tackles for loss.

On the year Western Kentucky is averaging 473.8 yards and 34.2 points per game. Like Navy, the Hilltoppers know a bit about relying on the run, as they are tied for 27th nationally in rushing yards per game (226.8).

It is easy to call so many run plays when you have a back like Antonio Andrews to give the ball to. Andrews has totaled 545 yards and six touchdowns on the season and has had at least 99 yards in all four games, including his 213- yard, five-touchdown outburst against Morgan State. Backup Leon Allen (31 carries, 184 yards) has been productive as well.

The rushing game has also been leaned on heavily due to the erratic play of quarterback Brandon Doughty. The signal caller has completed 63.9 percent of his pass attempts for 830 yards and five touchdowns, but his eight interceptions have really painted his performance in a negative light.

Four different receivers have double-digit receptions on the season with Willie McNeal (15 receptions, 207 yards) and Nicholas Norris (14 receptions, 171 yards, three TDs) representing the top options.

As far as defensive production goes, Western Kentucky hasn't been overly impressive, though it has kept itself in games most weeks. The Hilltoppers are allowing teams to score 31.5 points and total 383 yards per game. The Hilltoppers have struggled to get stops in the red zone, where foes have scored at an 80 percent clip, while their nine total sacks rank second in the Sun Belt. That is primarily due to the efforts of Xavius Boyd, who leads the team in tackles (45), tackles for loss (9.5) and sacks (5.5).

Navy has played a team from a BCS conference and an FCS school, with drastically different results, so it is difficult to pinpoint where the Midshipmen currently stand. That should be become clearer on the road against a team that can grind out wins thanks to Andrews.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Western Kentucky 30, Navy 28

09/25 10:36:46 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
UVA 27
UNC 28
Final
NCCU 42
SAVST 14
 
9th
SFG 11
KAN 4
 
Final
WISC 52
MD 7
Final
SMU 10
MEM 48
Final
ILL 28
MINN 24
Final
RICE 41
UNT 21
Final
NEB 42
RUTG 24
Final
KST 23
TEX 0
Final
ARK 45
UAB 17
Final
UVA 27
UNC 28
Final
EMICH 17
NILL 28
Final
NAVY 41
SJST 31
Final
BST 35
AKR 21
Final
GASTATE 31
GASO 69
Final
TOL 42
UMASS 35
Final
WMICH 42
OHIO 21
Final
COL 37
UCLA 40
Final
UMO 10
KSU 3
Final
WAKE 17
BC 23
Final
BUF 14
CMICH 20
Final
MARS 35
FATL 16
Final
PITT 28
GT 56
Final
SMISS 20
LATU 31
Final
MSU 35
MICH 11
Final
KENT 31
MSST 45
Final
STAN 38
ORST 14
Final
TCU 82
TTU 27
Final
OKST 10
WVU 34
Final
WKENT 66
ODU 51
Final
UTST 34
UNLV 20
Final
MIZZ 24
VANDY 14
Final
UCF 34
TEMPL 14
Final
WASU 37
ARZ 59
 
Final
CLEM 16
SYR 6
Final
LAMON 18
TXST 22
 
Final
TXSANANTO 0
UTEP 34
Final
COLST 45
WYO 31
 
Final
LSU 10
MISS 7
Final
TENN 20
ALA 34
 
Final
AUB 42
SCAR 35
1st OT
PSU 24
OSU 24
 
3rd
UTAH 10
USC 14
 
2nd
WASH 0
ARST 0
 
11:59pm Tonight
HAW
NEV
Final
SJS 1
BUF 2
Final
TOR 1
BOS 4
Final
NYI 7
DAL 5
Final
PHI 4
DET 2
Final
OTT 2
NJD 3
Final
MON 3
NYR 1
Final
STL 3
CHI 2
Final
NAS 0
PIT 3
Final
MIN 7
TAM 2
Final
ARI 2
FLA 1
 
2nd Intermission
CAL 1
WAS 2
 
Final
NCCU 42
SAVST 14