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Liberty Bowl 2019: Navy vs. Kansas State TV Schedule, Time and Odds

Maurice Bobb@@ReeseReportFeatured ColumnistDecember 30, 2019

Navy's Malcolm Perry celebrates after a touchdown during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Army, Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Matt Slocum/Associated Press

It's time to get that old Bowl feeling back.

After missing out on the dance last season, both Navy and Kansas State are back in the throes of bowl season and are facing each other for the first time in the 2019 Liberty Bowl.

The Midshipmen (10-2) ended the year ranked No. 23 in the nation and had major wins against Army, Air Force and SMU.

The Wildcats (8-4) were once ranked No. 20 in the AP Poll and pulled off a major upset over No. 4 Oklahoma back in October.

Not surprisingly, Navy is heavily favored, but these are two teams that are evenly matched in the run game, so fans shouldn't expect either team to air it out this New Year's Eve.

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Liberty Bowl Information

Date: Tuesday, Dec. 31

Time: 3:45 p.m. ET

TV: ESPN

Live Stream: Watch ESPN or ESPN app

Odds (via Caesars): Navy -2.5; Over/Under: 53

     

Preview

This is Navy's first 10-win season since 2015, which means they are back on track after a dismal run last year.

They are led by senior captain Malcolm Perry, who has thrown for 1,027 yards and six touchdowns. He's also the leading rusher (1,804 yards, 21 touchdowns) on one of the best rushing teams in college football.

Coming into the 61st Liberty Bowl, the Midshipmen lead the nation with an average of 363.7 yards per game.

Kansas State's rushing attack isn't as formidable as Navy's, but it does lead the nation in kickoff returns, averaging 29.81 yards per outing.

They also have four touchdowns from kickoffs, which is more than any other team.

"All you need to know is they beat Oklahoma, and they're in the [College Football Playoff]," Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo told Jason Munz of the Memphis Commercial Appeal. "They're the best kickoff return team in the country, really high in time of possession. There are a lot of good things about their team.

"But [the Wildcats' win over Oklahoma this season] tells you all you need to know about their program."

MANHATTAN, KS - NOVEMBER 16:  Running back James Gilbert #34 of the Kansas State Wildcats runs up field against safety Sean Mahone #29 of the West Virginia Mountaineers during the first half at Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium on November 16, 2019 in M
Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images

While it's true that the Wildcats have it in them to pull off another upset, they will need to lean on their rushing defense to defeat the Midshipmen.

"They're extremely fast all over the field, from D-line to the safeties and everywhere in between," Perry said. "They're big, they're physical and they're fast. That's the most impressive thing about them—how well they close in space."

For Navy, who took the New England Patriots' private plane because coach Bill Belichick's father was a longtime assistant and scout at Navy, they'll need to run their triple-option attack to perfection.

With Perry under center, the Midshipmen will look to find holes in Kansas State's defense and let Perry dip into his bag of trick plays.

"He's so dynamic," Navy offensive coordinator Ivin Jasper told Ava Wallace of the Washington Post. "We were self-scouting last week [during a bye week], and scrambles have always been an X-factor for us. Over the years, scrambles have been a negative, ended in a sack or something like that. Now, it'll say, ‘Scramble: 12 yards.' Or 20 yards, 30 yards. I think one even said 60 yards. He makes big plays out of the pocket."

      

Prediction

Navy 28, Kansas State 24

The Wildcats will make things interesting with their kickoff returns and run defense, but it won't be enough to stop Navy.

Expect Perry and his fullback Jamale Carothers to run, run, run. Carothers is the second-leading rusher on the team with 712 yards and 14 rushing touchdowns. They'll both be plays waiting to happen.

Kansas State won't go down easy, but in the second half, the Midshipmen will find a way to get the win.

      

Follow Maurice on Twitter, @ReeseReportStatistics obtained from ESPN.com.