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AAC Championship Game Preview: Navy vs Temple

There is more on the line than the title, this game will determine if the Midshipmen will be the G5 representative in the Cotton Bowl.

NCAA Football: Navy at Southern Methodist Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

When: Saturday, December 3 – 12:00 p.m. ET

Where: Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, MDTV

Broadcast: ABC

Spread: Navy -3

Over/Under: 64.5

No. 20 Navy will host Temple in Annapolis tomorrow for the American Athletic Conference Championship and it’s going to be a bloodbath. A win for the Midshipmen means a boost over Western Michigan in the College Football Playoff Rankings and a chance to disrupt the projected bowl schedule.

The highest ranked G5 team earns a ticket to the Cotton Bowl and that could potentially be Navy this season. Western Michigan just beat the Ohio Bobcats 29-23 tonight to take home the MAC Championship. With that game squared away it will take a killer win over Temple and Army if Navy wants to make an appearance in the Cotton Bowl.

Navy’s offense has been resilient this season despite the loss of starting quarterback Tago Smith early in the season. Will Worth has taken over with a flourish, owning the triple-option attack and making their offense one of the top in the country. This offense knows how to run the dang ball, evident in Worth’s rushing stats. He’s ran for 25 touchdowns and a total of 1,181 yards this season. Worth is ranked #1 in the country for number of rushing touchdowns, pretty impressive among a slew of running backs and the only other quarterback ranked is Lamar Jackson.

If the Navy offense is Cinderella then the defense is the ugly stepsister. They give up way too many yards per a game and allow opponents to stay in possession far too long. They are averaging about 175 rush yards allowed per a game compared to Temple’s 127. It’s unlikely the entire Midshipmen defense has been reworked in a matter of a week, but they better be prepared to stop Temple’s run defense.

What might be the most exciting aspect of this game is watching Temple’s well-conditioned run defense attempt to stop Navy’s run offense. The Owls are ranked 24th in the nation in run defense with the help of superstar defensive linebacker, Haason Reddick. Reddick is a top defensive player nationally with a total of 51 tackles and 10 sacks. The Midshipmen offensive line might want to avoid him at all costs.

Both teams have something the other needs when it comes to offensive and defensive skill. It might be a bloodbath on the field, but at home watching from the safety of your couch this will make for great television.

Oddsmakers are only giving Navy a slight edge, predicting the Midshipmen win the game by 3 points. If you’re betting on this matchup good luck to you because it’s really a wildcard game. Navy has home field advantage and there’s added pressure with bowl games looming. I predict the Midshipmen win the game 31-28.