Kickoff Time: 12:30pm CT
Location: Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium
Spread: Memphis -6.5
Memphis lit up the scoreboard last weekend against Mercer, leaving many to believe that their offense could be in good hands without Riley Ferguson and Anthony Miller. This week, they face an entirely new and more difficult challenge: stopping the triple option.
Who do I need to know from Navy?
QB Malcolm Perry
QB Garrett Lewis
WR Zach Abey
Why just those three?
They are the three that make the Midshipmen offense go. Perry is the starter, but Lewis and Abey (the former quarterback) all saw time at quarterback in last week’s loss to Hawaii. The position is the most important in the offense, and all three have the chance to make big plays when they’re in. Perry has breakaway speed, Lewis is the best passer, and Abey is nearly impossible to stop near the goal line. We know the offense is going to run well, but the outcome lies on the defense’s shoulders.
Navy struggled last year on defense, and that was with D.J. Palmore and Micah Thomas. Those two are now gone, leaving an average defense scrambling to find new leaders. That was evident last week against Hawaii, as the Rainbow Warriors torched the Midshipmen defense for 522 yards. Navy was down 28-0 before they could even blink. Now, they face an offense that might be able to score quicker than Hawaii. There are minor concerns on offense, but there are major flaws on this defense. That could hurt them immensely against Memphis.
Memphis and Navy played last year, with the Tigers coming away with a 30-27 victory. For as much as Memphis struggled defensively last year, this was one game where that group played well. The Tigers forced five turnovers in the game, including an Austin Hall interception to seal the win.
Brady White started his Memphis career 9-for-9 before a drop ruined his perfect completion percentage. The offense accumulated 752 yards and 66 points against Mercer, which sent a message to the conference. This offense may be without two of the best players they’ve ever had in the program, but this team is loaded with talent. We saw what the offense could do, but the defense also deserves a ton of credit.
It may have been Mercer, but the Tigers held the Bears to just 174 yards of offense. That’s huge coming off of last year when they were 121st in total defense. TJ Carter already got his sophomore season started with a pick six, and the Tigers were flying around the field. It will be this side of the ball that determines how good Memphis can be, not the offense. If they continue playing at this level, the Tigers are staring at a New Year’s bowl game. One that they could dominate at this rate.
Facing the triple option will be a great test for this defense. They will struggle, because that’s just how the triple option works. But they are a better group than last year, giving this team a great chance to win. The offense should be able to have plenty of success in both the run and pass games. Memphis may not replicate last week’s production, but they should still produce some eye-popping numbers.
Memphis 44 Navy 20