QB Play will Dictate Outcome of Army-Navy

Kriss Proctor

There is no doubt that Navy is a better all-around team than Army this season. The odds-makers agree, having made the Mids a seven-point favorite. But at some point ‘the streak' is going to end and there is plenty of reason to believe that this is the year the Cadets will be able to beat their bitter rival. The key to their victory is actually pretty simple.

Army quarterback Trent Steelman, who has been nursing an ankle and knee injury, will start his third consecutive Navy game for the Cadets, but in order for his team to have a shot at winning, he will need to finish it. Steelman has only played two snaps in the past four games – and with the exception of Army's blowout against Fordham – their offense is much more efficient with him under center. And even though the junior has only completed a paltry 51 percent of his 39 passes, his back-ups can't hit the broad side of a barn when asked to throw the football. Max Jenkins and Angel Santiago are a combined 13 of 52 for 181 yards. Why do I mention the passing statistics on a team that, like Navy, relies on their rushing attack to move the ball? Because I really believe this game is going to come down to whether or not Army can surprise Navy and hit some early passes to keep its defense off balance.

Perhaps with the exception of Navy's 2007 team, which managed to hold Army to 3 points in a 38-3 rout, this is the worst defense the Mids have fielded against Army in the past decade. If Army is able to get them on their heels early, it will expose Navy's biggest weakness all season – their woeful linebacking corps. If Army can get Navy's linebackers thinking pass, it will open up the middle of the field and the Cadets will be able to pound the ball inside – something they have been unable to do against the Mids during their nine-game losing streak.

When the Mids have the football, they too will be looking for a consistent performance from their up-and-down quarterback, senior Kriss Proctor. Against San Jose State, Proctor looked a lot like Army's back-up passers. San Jose State begged him to throw the ball and if Proctor was able to hit one or two very makeable passes, the Mids would be playing their final two games in Washington D.C. Just like Navy's linebackers, Army's secondary is extremely suspect at best. Proctor will need to take advantage of this weakness to extend Navy's dominance over Army for another season.

Both teams have combined to average over 600 yards per game on the ground this season, but whichever one is able to pass for over 100 yards will win the Army-Navy game.

Here's hoping it's Proctor and Navy… But here's me fearing it will be Steelman and Army…

Note: I'm not exactly a good luck charm for Navy in this game. When I'm in attendance, Navy is 1-5 against Army.

Prediction: Army 24, Navy 23


Trent Steelman (ArmySports.com)

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