2016 Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl Preview
One of the best passing offenses meets one of the best rushing offenses in the 2016 Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl, where Louisiana Tech takes on Navy.
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs
All of the Bulldogs losses came to good competition, including Arkansas, Texas Tech, Middle Tennessee State, Southern Mississippi and Western Kentucky (C-USA Championship Game). Their wins over teams .500 or above are Western Kentucky and UTSA. They finished at 8-5 and were that one win away from being C-USA champs.
Ryan Higgins is the leader of the dynamic passing attack in this game. He has 4,208 passing yards and 37 touchdowns, with only eight interceptions. His 66% completion percentage is a demonstration of how efficient he is with the ball. He has had an interesting career, playing a lot as a freshman, but not playing much until this season.
The Bulldogs have two receivers with over 1,000 yards on the season. Trent Taylor leads the team with 1,570 receiving yards and Carlos Henderson is right behind with 1,406. Henderson, however, leads the touchdown battle between the two, 17-10. If Navy tries to double team one of them, the other will fill the void.
The passing game is great, but Louisiana Tech also has a 1,000 yard rusher this season. Jared Craft has 1,011 rushing yards and nine touchdowns. He is also the teams’ third leading receiver with 339 receiving yards.
Their rush defense is solid, and allows opponents to gain just 134 yards per game. Unfortunately their pass defense is one of the worst in the country, letting opponents throw for 284 yards per game. This is due to the offense scoring points, so the defense has to throw to keep up.
Louisiana Tech has one of the best pass rushers in the country in Jaylon Ferguson, who has 14.5 sacks. This may not be as applicable in this game with Navy’s rush attack. That is unless the offense scores points and Navy has to play catch up.
Defensive back Xavier Woods has added five interceptions. If Navy has to throw, Woods and Ferguson have to create havoc.
Navy started the season at 9-2 before losing the last two games of their season to finish 9-4. Their wins over bowl eligible teams include Houston, Memphis and Tulsa. They don’t have any bad losses, but the loss to rival Army will sting for a while.
Will Worth has done everything for this team as the executer of the triple option offense for Navy after Tago Smith went down with an injury. He has 1,397 passing yards, eight passing touchdowns, 1,198 rushing yards and 25 rushing touchdowns. He only has three interceptions on the season too, so his arm should be more trusted than a lot of option quarterbacks.
To go with Worth in the great rushing attack, they have four other rushers with over 400 yards rushing. Toneo Gulley and Dishan Romine pick up a lot of yardage at 9.9 and 9.2 yards per carry. Overall Navy has 4,042 rushing yards on the season.
When Navy does throw Jamir Tillman is a threat. He blocks well in the running game, but posses a match-up problem for defenses at six feet four inches tall. He has 615 receiving yards on 16.2 yards per catch.
Navy has an average rush defense, giving up 187 rushing yards per game. Their below average pass defense allows 282 passing yards per game.
The Midshipmen don’t have many players that stand out on defense, but play really good team defense.
Louisiana Tech will torch the below average Navy pass defense and Navy won’t be able to throw enough to come back and win the game.
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs 38 Navy Midshipmen 25