Navy Midshipmen (0-1, American) vs Memphis Tigers (0-1, American)
Time and Date: 3:30 PM ET, September 10
Broadcast Network: CBS Sports Network
Location: Navy–Marine Corps Memorial Stadium - Annapolis, MD
ESPN FPI: Memphis 77.1%
Line: Memphis -6.5*
Point Total: O/U 52*
All-Time Series: Memphis leads the all-time series against Navy, 4-3
Last Meeting: Memphis 35, Navy 17 - October 14th, 2021
Current Streak: Memphis, 3
*Odds/lines are subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.
Memphis was unable to repeat last year’s magic and lost their Week 1 rematch against Mississippi State. The final score of 49-23 doesn’t tell the full story. Mississippi State scored on their first possession after half-time to go up 35-3. The Tigers didn’t eclipse 100 yards of offense until mid-way through the 3rd quarter when NIU Transfer and 2021 MAC Freshman of Year Jevyon Ducker broke a 50-yard touchdown run on his first play.
The Tigers were 6-6 last year and got to bowl eligibility during their final game of the season with a win over Tulane. Similar to last year, the Tigers offense runs through True Sophomore QB Seth Henigan. As a freshman, Henigan threw for 3,322 yards and 25 TDs with only 8 interceptions. In arguably his worst game in a Memphis uniform, he still threw for 165 yards on 63.3% accuracy albeit most of his success came against Mississippi State backups.
Navy was hoping to buck the trend of disappointing season openers after a season to forget in 2021 where they went 4-8.. Navy were blown out in their past two season openers by BYU (3-55) in 2020 and Marshall (7-49) in 2021 but were embarrassed in an entirely different fashion to begin this season. Navy lost 14-7 to the FCS Fightin’ Blue Hens of Delaware. While Delaware is typically a stronger FCS program, they went 5-6 last year and this was their first victory against an FBS program since 2007.
As the score would indicate, Navy’s offense looked anemic. Despite running the triple option, Navy’s leading rusher Daba Fofana could only rush for 47 yards on 15 attempts. The lone bright spot for the Midshipmen was a surprisingly good passing performance by their quarterback.
Junior Tai Lavatai returns at QB after starting every game last season. Lavatai set his career high in passing yardage with 135 through the air and dropped a dime from his own end zone in the 2nd quarter.
However, it is unlikely Lavatai is going to be able to give an encore performance through the air. Again, Navy runs the triple option and his 13 passing attempts are likely his season high. Lavatai will need to increase his output on the ground or Navy will need to find some magic from an unexpected back on their roster.
An X-factor to watch will be how drastically Memphis has to alter their game plan. While most programs have a unique approach when prepping for a service academy, Memphis is in an especially precarious position. Memphis is going from facing Mike Leach’s Air Raid Offense to Ken Niumatalolo’s Triple Option. Such a drastic changes should play into the Midshipmen’s hand and help jump start their offense.
This should be a very interesting matchup given we still know little about the potential of both teams. While both programs are coming into this game motivated to get a bitter Week 1 taste out of their mouths, Memphis should continue their series win streak. The Midshipmen will score late to make it close, but the Tigers take this one 24-17.