In a matchup of two teams battling to get their records back to .500 and stay in bowl contention, the Navy Midshipmen will take on the Central Michigan Chippewas.
Navy has had a very inconsistent season thus far, with blowout losses to Notre Dame and Penn State and victories over VMI and Air Force. The schedule does, at least on paper, line up favorably for this team to make a push for a bowl game at the end of the year.
Central Michigan was riding high two weeks ago after upsetting Iowa. But since that victory, the Chippewas have been outscored 105-59 and seen their record fall to 2-3. Their defense has been dreadful all season, though they do catch a small break against a Navy team that doesn't throw the ball.
Who Is More Likely To Play In A Bowl Game?
Where: Kelly/Shorts Stadium in Mount Pleasant, MI
When: Friday, October 12 at 8:00 p.m. ET
Watch: ESPN 2
Live Stream: Watch ESPN
Betting Line: Navy (-3.5), according to Vegas Insider
Navy Injury Report (via USA Today)
Day-to-Day: DE Collin Sturdivant (Back)
Out: SB John Howell (Knee), OL Chris Johnson (Knee), T Evan Campbell (Ankle)
Central Michigan Injury Report (via USA Today)
Questionable: LB Alex Smith (Undisclosed), WR Jerry Harris (Undisclosed), OL Jake Olson (Knee)
What's At Stake?
Both these teams enter the game with a 2-3 record. With seven games remaining for both teams, they can't afford to give away anything if they want to keep their season going after the end of the regular season.
Neither team has a particularly difficult schedule to end the season. Central Michigan has nothing but MAC competition left on the schedule after this game. With Toledo already off the schedule, the Chippewas don't have any games left against the top-four teams in the conference.
Navy has a great path to a bowl game with teams like Indiana, Troy, Texas State and Army left for them. This is not a do-or-die game for either team, but it will go a long way toward determining where they go if they get to .500 before the end of the year.
Navy Player to Watch: WR Shawn Lynch
While Navy does not throw the ball a lot, when it does, its receivers are able to make big plays down the field.
Lynch only has eight receptions this season, but is averaging 18.6 yards per catch. Toledo has had big problems stopping anyone from scoring, so there are going to be a lot of plays out there to be had.
If Lynch can get behind the defense, this game could turn into a blowout early. Navy doesn't need him to shine to win, but the element is always there.
Central Michigan Player to Watch: QB Ryan Radcliff
Here are some numbers that show just how critical Radcliff's performance is for this team. In Central Michigan's two wins, he has gone 40-for-58 for 454 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.
In the team's three losses, Radcliff is 65-for-121 for 832 yards, six touchdowns and five interceptions. Some of his stats look better in the losses, but he turns the ball over a lot more when he is forced to throw a lot.
Central Michigan has not done well against teams who run the ball well. It gave up 55 points to Northern Illinois (11th in the nation in rushing yards) and 50 to Toledo (50th in rushing yards).
Navy's only real form of offense is to run the ball. That is a bad combination for the Chippewas in this game.
Navy 34, Central Michigan 20