An AAC team and a Big 12 team will meet up in the 2019 AutoZone Liberty Bowl. Kansas State will be trying to stop the triple-option offense of Navy in this matchup. Here is the 2019 AutoZone Liberty Bowl Preview.
Navy Midshipmen (10-2)
Ken Niumatalolo has taken Navy back to a bowl game after missing out on one last season. Of their 10 wins, just three of them were over bowl-eligible teams. Their two losses came at the hands of Memphis and Notre Dame.
Navy scores 38.6 points per game, which ranks 12th in the country. They rush for 363.7 yards per game (ranked first) and pass for 95 yards per game (ranked 128th).
Malcolm Perry operates the triple-option offense for Navy. He has thrown for 1,027 yards, six touchdowns and three interceptions on 54.4 percent. Two receivers have over 200 receiving yards this season. Their leading receiver is Mychal Cooper who has 15 receptions for 355 yards and two touchdowns.
Perry also leads the team in rushing with 1,804 yards and 21 touchdowns. Jamale Carothers is the second-leading rusher with 712 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns. Nelson Smith has chipped in with 570 rushing yards and seven touchdowns.
The Midshipmen allow 22.8 points per game, which puts them at 39th in the country. They allow 110.8 rushing yards (ranked 15th) and 215.3 passing yards per game (ranking 52nd). Linebacker Diego Fagot has led the team with 97 total tackles.
Kansas State Wildcats (8-4)
Chris Kleiman led Kansas State to a bowl game in his first season with the team. The Wildcats beat three bowl-eligible teams this season. Only one of their losses came against a team who is not bowl-eligible in West Virginia.
The Wildcats score 30.7 points per game, which ranks them 52nd in the country. They rush for 189 yards (ranked 38th) and pass for 185.7 yards per game (ranked 106th).
Skylar Thompson has been at quarterback for Kansas State this season. He has thrown for 2,191 yards, 12 touchdowns and five interceptions on 59 percent completion. Kansas State has four receivers who have over 200 receiving yards this season. Dalton Schoen leads all receivers with 35 receptions for 567 yards and four touchdowns.
James Gilbert leads the team in rushing with 698 rushing yards and six touchdowns on the season. Thompson is the team’s second-leading rusher with 402 yards and 10 touchdowns.
The defense is 27th in the country, allowing 21.5 points per game. Kansas State allows 152.3 rushing yards per game (ranked 61st) and 211.7 passing yards per game (ranked 44th). Defensive end Wyatt Hubert has led the team with seven sacks this season.
Kansas State has had time to prep for Navy’s triple-option attack, so they should be able to limit it. The Wildcats will be able to put up some points on the Midshipmen and Navy won’t be able to come from behind.
Kansas State Wildcats 33 Navy Midshipmen 25
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