While the Navy Midshipmen still have one game remaining on their schedule against the Army Black Knights in their annual matchup, they are still heading to the one bowl that makes the most sense: the 2013 Armed Forces Bowl. With a 7-4 record and looking for their eighth win, Navy has had a successful year.
On the other side of the field, the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders are heading to yet another bowl game after another 8-4 season. The only teams they have lost to are bowl bound ones and after starting the season 3-4, they turned things on to end the year on five straight wins.
Navy is known for its strong run game and lack of passing game. This comes as no surprise, but the toughness of this team is evident from their strong rushing attack and few pass attempts. In fact the quarterback, sophomore Keenan Reynolds has passed for just 1,028 yards and eight touchdowns while attempting just 114 passes. However, Reynolds also leads the team in rushing with 1,124 yards and an unbelievable 26 touchdowns. The Midshipmen have rushed for over 3,500 yards this season, ranking third in the nation in yards per game on the ground.
Middle Tennessee is also much more of a rushing team than it is a passing team. Like the Midshipmen, the Blue Raiders have been much better running the ball this season than a majority of their opponents and it has worked to their advantage. Although senior quarterback Logan Kilgore has been relatively successful this season with 2,289 yards and 16 touchdowns, it has been the run game that has worn opponents down. Jordan Parker leads all rushers with 741 yards and six touchdowns while Reggie Whatley is close behind with 631 yards and three scores.
Defensively, Middle Tennessee has been the epitome of average this season. The Blue Raiders rank in the middle of the pack in points allowed, 63rd, and yards allowed, also 63rd. Navy has not been as impressive, setting themselves in the lower-tier of defenses, ranking 72nd in points allowed per game and 85th in yards allowed per game.
Middle Tennessee and Navy will face off in the 2013 Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth, Texas, at 11:45 a.m. EST on Monday, Dec. 30. The game will be broadcasted on ESPN.
PREDICTION: Middle Tennessee 21, Navy 24
Connor Muldowney is a columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Connormuldowney, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.