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Early Analysis: Army vs. Navy

Army vs. Navy
Saturday, 3:30 p.m., CBS
Line: Navy -6.5

One of the last true rivalries, it seems, returns to Philadelphia this year for a regular season finale that serves well as a transition to the bowl season. Army and Navy bring their run-happy offenses to the field this weekend for the 113th time, with the Midshipmen looking to build on a series-long 10-game winning streak.

The last time Army won a game against Navy it was played in the old Veterans Stadium. At that time Army actually held a lead in the series with a 49-46-7 edge. Can Army put an end to a decade of losing or will it be more of the same for Navy?

Whatever the case may be, we know Army and Navy will be playing in style, with fresh uniforms provided by Nike for the game, as they have done a few times in recent years.

For Army to win: Army may not have a great defense but they have what it takes to slow down the offensive style typically used by the service academies like Navy and Air Force. In one of Army's only wins this season, against Air Force, the Black Knights were able to limit the damage done on the ground. As with any game involving Army and Navy, there will be plenty of rushing attempts between the two sides. Army's defense is raw on experience, which could prove to be a disadvantage Saturday.

For Navy to win: Keep the Army defense guessing. Army's rush defense will have to keep a close eye on the football because Navy will have a few options to work with between senior running back Gee Gee Greene, sophomore Noag Copeland (coming off his second 100-yard rushing game of the year) and freshman quarterback Keenan Reynolds, who has  rushed for 130 yards or more in two of the last three games of the season.

Key Player, Army: Senior quarterback Trent Steelman is preparing for his fourth Army Navy Game and nothing would be as special than capping his collegiate career with a win to snap this long losing streak against Navy. Army's leading rusher enters the game with 1,152 yards and 16 touchdowns. Steelman has just one touchdown pass and has been intercepted twice while throwing sparingly this season. Army's ground game is aided by Raymond Maples, with the junior running back also eclipsing the 1,000-yard mark this fall.

Key Player: Navy: Navy's senior running back Gee Gee Greene leads the Midshipmen in rushing yards per game, showing to be a steady back in a triple-option offense. Quarterback Keenan Reynolds leads the team with nine touchdown runs but Greene leads the team with 750 yards and 68.18 yards per game.

Key Stat: Neither Army nor Navy are on the right side of the turnover margin this season, but Navy is slightly better off than Army. Navy enters the game with a -2 turnover margin, with Army coming in with a -4. There have been a total of 15 turnovers in the past three Army Navy Games, so expect some more turnovers Saturday.

For comparison's sake, there have been six touchdown passes between the two academies in that same span.

 

Kevin McGuire is the national college football writer for Examiner.com and host of the No 2-Minute Warning podcast.

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Kevin McGuire

About Kevin McGuire

Managing editor of Crystal Ball Run and contributor to College Football Talk on NBCSports.com. Member of the FWAA and National Football Foundation. College Football Hall of Fame voter. Also managing Bloguin's NittanyLionsDen.com and Macho-Row.com.

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