If there is one college football game every American should watch, it’s the annual Army-Navy rivalry. It is the final game of each season and represents the sport at its finest. Each and every player you see on the field and sideline will one day serve this great nation in some capacity in armed forces. On Saturday, they simply play football.
The problem for the Black Knights for most of the season was the injuries that plagued quarterback Kelvin Hopkins Jr. The senior left the Hawaii game in the second quarter and did not return. The undisclosed injury leaves Hopkins a maybe for Saturday.
This is a MUST WATCH: Navy football captains share emotions of what it’s like to be a player in this big football game:
Hopkins is the guy who made the Army offense go last year when the Black Knights won 11 games.
Unfortunately, he may not be able to lead Army on Saturday.
Monken’s quarterback situation is in disarray as backup Jabari Laws and third-stringer Christian Anderson are both hurt too. That might make true freshman Jemel Jones the guy on Saturday.
If you’re unaware, the triple option offenses employed by both Army and Navy rely heavily on the triggerman, which happens to be the quarterback. Army could be without their guy and Navy has a pretty special one.
Senior Malcolm Perry is the big reason why Navy leads the nation in rushing and is 9-2 on the season.
The Midshipmen suffered through a 3-9 campaign a year ago.
Why? Trouble at the quarterback position.
Perry spent the year playing in the slot. When head coach Ken Niumatatolo went all-in on Perry at quarterback, the Navy offense flourished in 2019.
Perry is the leading rusher (1,500 yards) among all FBS quarterbacks. Proving he is not just one-dimensional, Perry has also thrown for 1,027 yards and six touchdowns. With 25 total touchdowns, Perry was named the American Athletic Conference’s Offensive Player of the Year.
This game will be intense. Every year, you throw out the records. If there’s one game each season either team wants to win, it’s this win. The defenses will be amped and, since they face the triple option in practice every day, they will be prepared to slow each other down.
With the option offense relying so heavily on the quarterback, the edge goes to Navy. They are simply better this year. Perry is one of the best that the Middies have had and slowing him down will be tough.
The game conditions might play a role as well. Showers are expected at game time though the temperature will hover around 50. Even though neither team throws the ball that much, pitching the ball on the option could be difficult.
Army is 4-1 ATS in the last five games in this series, but they haven’t been a great spread bet this season. They are just 3-6 ATS in their last nine games.
Despite the conditions, I’ve got to go with the better team, and that’s Navy. It’s a big spread, but the Middies have the offensive talent to score… a lot.
A native of Western Pennsylvania, Rick, a Generation X-er, who now lives just north of the Motor City, Detroit, Michigan. A former high school, college, and professional football player, Rick now spends his time as a high school coach and as a personal quarterback trainer. An all-state high school quarterback, he went on to become an Academic All-American at Division II Indiana University of PA. He later coached at his alma mater helping lead the program to the 1990 NCAA Division II national championship game. Rick has also served as a high school head coach and as an assistant in Pennsylvania, New York, and Michigan.
His passion for sports writing started when he was the sports editor for his high school newspaper and continued when he worked as a sportswriter for the Jamestown (New York) Post-Journal in the early 1990s. A true sports fanatic, Rick enjoys all things Pittsburgh: Steelers, Pirates, and Penguins. The Immaculate Reception, the 1979 We Are Family Pirates, and the ’91-’92 Penguins are among his favorites. After working as an educator and athletic director for several years, he again took up sports writing and has contributed to several websites and publications, including Coach & Player magazine, X & O Labs, American Football Monthly, and many others.
When not consumed with coaching, watching, thinking about, or writing about football and other seasonal sports, he finds himself working out like he was still in college and reading everything from military history to Brad Thor novels. Rick has also been chasing rock god stardom as a drummer who has played with bands that have opened for the likes of Fuel, Days of the New, and Alien Ant Farm. He continues to play with his church worship group. Most importantly, Rick is married to the love of his life, Lisa, and has two beautiful daughters.