Navy at Penn State
September 15, 2012
The Naval Academy
Head Coach: Ken Niumatalolo (32-21 career)
2011 Record: 5-7
2012 Record: 0-1
Returning 13 starters; 6 on offense, 7 on defense.
QB #1 Trey Miller: As a backup in 2011, Miller threw for 205 yards and ran for another 169. In week one, Navy opened against Notre Dame and Miller was 14-19 with 192 yards and a touchdown passing. He also ran 20 times for 19 yards, which is a difficult stat to interpret as they run an option-based attack and sacks count against rushing yards. (And I forgot to DVR the game before leaving for Penn State.)
RB #21 Gee Gee Greene: Greene is Navy’s leading returning rusher, but amassed only 33 yards on 3 carries in week one. Expect a lot of different ball carriers on Saturday.
WR #87 Shawn Lynch: Lynch had a breakout game against the Fighting Irish, recording four catches for 87 yards and a touchdown.
ILB #51 Matt Warric: Led the team in tackles in 2011 with 103 and is the leader of the defense.
Navy is a difficult team to prepare for in a week, as they run a different offense than most teams see more than once in a year. Notre Dame held them to 10 points, but they also had all summer to prepare for the option attack. O’Brien made a comment a few weeks ago that gameplans for Ohio, Virginia and Navy had already been completed. Hopefully that pays off.
On the other side of the ball, Navy brings a 3-4 defensive look which isn’t seen often in college. Alabama runs it, but only two of the offensive linemen who started against it last year are still with the team.
Penn State will be bigger, faster and stronger than Navy, but they will have to be disciplined to win. Defensively, every position has a role and an assignment and if you miss, they capitalize. Navy has been known to give teams fits and pull the occasional upset. They’re in seemingly every game and last season was their first losing campaign since 2003. Navy won 10 and 9 games in 2009 and 2010, respectively and are coming off a bye.
- The last time Navy played a Big Ten team was 2009, when they narrowly lost to Ohio State, 31-27 in the opener.
- In the last 10 seasons, Navy is 17-3 against the other service academies, losing to Air Force each of the last two seasons.
- Seven of Navy’s projected defensive starters are seniors.
- Navy had seven players with at least 30 rushing attempts in 2011 and five with at least 275 yards.
- Navy’s leading receiver had 14 catches in 2011. Penn State’s Allen Robinson had 10 last Saturday against Virginia.
For all of the latest on the Penn State Nittany Lions, follow VBR Lead Editor Tim Tolley on Twitter.