Thursday, December 10, 2009

Now it's serious.

I wanted to do a little statistical breakdown of the two teams, and I'll get to it after I touch on some of the stories regarding the game.

Phil Steele's Army/Navy forecast is up. A big tip of the hat to Phil Steele whose magazine has kept me fixated on college football through the long summers. Another great year for Phil and if you haven't visited his website yet, get there, check it out and bookmark it for the 2010 season.

Don't miss Stephen Anderson's continuing game week diary over at Sal Interdonato's Army blog. Sal is another guy who should be singled out for outstanding football coverage this year. He's done a great job all year and we're lucky to have him on the Army football beat.

Sal is on day three of his Army vs. Navy debate. Topic: Who has the coaching edge?

This article looks at some of Ellerson's Cal Poly recruits coaching against him with Navy.

“The day that the Army job came open, I knew Rich was going to get the job,” said DuPaix, who’d been gone from Cal Poly himself less than a year. “No one told me. It was just the right fit. It had his name written all over it.”

The article is pretty plain, but I love the attention is giving to the game.

Ellerson continued by saying the team has not needed to be motivated and they understand whose shoes they are standing in and whom they are representing.

As the senior class prepares for their last clash between the their arch rivals, the culture of the program has taken a giant step in the right direction because of the dedication of these 22 seniors.

Mike over at the Navy blog The Birddog is thinking about calling it quits. If that's true it's too bad, because his analysis of option football is unrivaled. I have no idea how he does what he does. In fact if I can promise one thing it's that my football analysis will never even come close to being as complete as that found on the Birddog.

I promised a statistical breakdown of my own, so here's what I've got:
(stats courtesy

Army top rushers
Trent Steelman1916903.6555
Patrick Mealy976256.4753
Kingsley Ehie1054454.2262
Jameson Carter532174.1312
Malcolm Brown261124.3110

Navy Top Rushers

Ricky Dobbs2529133.653
Vince Murray1598845.6526
Marcus Curry644426.9454
Alexander Teich703765.4420
Gee Gee Greene372246.1190
Kriss Proctor532234.240

I find this number to be interesting... both kickers have the same amount of points - but they were attained in different ways. Army kicker Alex Carlton got his 64 points making 13/13 extra points and booting 17 out of 21 field goals. The Navy kicker ended up 37/37 on extra points and booted 9 for 12 on field goals for... 64 points.

While Navy edges Army in passing yardage 867 yds to 784 yds, Alejandro Villanueva is by far the leading receiver on either team with 460 yards. Despite the yardage edge for Army, the Navy actually finished in the top 30 of passing efficiency (#29) - which speaks a little bit to Army's turning to the pass when they were trailing games big. Army is near the bottom of the passer efficiency list at #116.

Navy has the #41 rushing defense - 396 rushes for 1535 yds. (4.16 yards per)
Army is listed at #66 rush D - 417 rushes for 1636 yds. (3.92 yards per)

Maybe the most telling stat: Navy is tied for #2 in turnovers lost with 10.
Army (#27) is lucky to be in the top 50 as they have recovered a lot of their own fumbles this year. The turnover numbers on Saturday will be an enormous factor in this game.

Maybe the biggest disparity and one that WILL make or break Army on Saturday... 3rd down percentage.

Navy again ranks among the best in the NCAA on third down conversions converting on 47.65% of their 3rd downs - good enough for #16 in the country.
Army again ranks near the bottom of the list (#117) - converting only 29.94% of third downs.

It won't have to be a superhuman effort to Beat Navy, but the team will have to put those kind of stats behind them to find any success in the 110th Beat Navy Extravaganza.



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