Virginia and Navy will meet in the 2017 Military Bowl in Anapolis, Maryland. This is a home game for Navy, but Virginia isn’t too far from the action either. With both teams being so close, a lot of fans should be in attendance. Here is the 2017 Military Bowl preview:
Virginia Cavaliers (6-6)
Head coach Bronco Mendenhall has turned things around for the Cavaliers. They are playing in their first bowl game since 2011 and have a chance to win their first bowl game since 2005. Virginia’s notable wins include Mendenhall’s former team, Boise State, and Duke.
The offense scores a mundane 26 points per game. They really struggle running the football with 98.8 yards on the ground per game. Jordan Ellis leads the team with 799 rushing yards and six touchdowns. He averages only 3.9 yards per carry this season.
Kurt Benkert has stepped up his game this season and has had to carry the offense. He has 3,062 passing yards, 25 touchdowns and eight interceptions. His completion percentage is just under 60%, but teams usually key on stopping their passing game. Three receivers produce a lot for the Cavaliers including: Olamide Zaccheaus, Andre Levrone and Doni Dowling. Zaccheus stands out with 833 receiving yards and five touchdowns.
The Cavaliers allow 26.9 points per game this season, which is above average. They rank 82nd against the run and 15th against the pass. Linebacker Micah Kiser is the best player on the team. The Campbell Trophy winner has 132 total tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss and five sacks. He is probable to play in this game with an injury.
Navy Midshipmen (6-6)
Navy won five straight games to start the year, but were only able to win one game the rest of the season. They beat some solid teams in Florida Atlantic and SMU. It wasn’t Navy’s best season, but they were still able to become bowl eligible.
The triple option offense scores 31.6 points per game. They specialize in running the football with 343 rushing yards per game, which ranks second in the country. Quarterback Zach Abey leads the team with 1,325 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns. Running back Malcolm Perry also picks up a lot of yards on the ground with 1,068 rushing yards and nine touchdowns. Perry makes big plays and averages 8.8 yards per carry.
Navy doesn’t throw often, but Abey has 805 passing yards, seven touchdowns and seven interceptions. Perry and Tyler Carmona are the leading receivers and both have over 300 receiving yards.
The defense allows 27.9 points per game. They rank 66th against the run and 60th against the pass. Senior linebacker Micah Thomas has 81 total tackles and three interceptions as the leader of the defense.
The triple option is tough to stop, but Virginia has had a lot of time to prepare for it. Kiser will play a huge role in slowing down Navy’s offense. Benkert will find time to hit receivers down the field to win the game.
Virginia Cavaliers 29 Navy Midshipmen 24
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