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College Football
Preview
Middle Tennessee vs Navy
When: 11:45 AM ET, Monday, December 30, 2013
Where: Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, Texas

BELL HELICOPTER ARMED FORCES BOWL STORYLINES


1. Middle Tennessee finished the regular season with a flourish, cruising to five straight wins by scoring an average of 42.6 points. That streak earned the Blue Raiders a date with Navy in the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth, Texas, on Dec. 30. The Midshipmen crushed rival Army in their annual showdown on Dec. 14 and enters bowl season with a four-game winning streak thanks to a dominating ground attack.

2. Middle Tennessee doesn’t run it quite as much as Navy but can pile up yards on the ground behind Jordan Parker and Reggie Whatley, who combined for 1,372 rushing yards in the regular season. Quarterback Logan Kilgore finished the season strong with 10 touchdowns and three interceptions during the season-ending winning streak for the Blue Raiders.

3. No team in college football throws it less than the Midshipmen, who dominate on the ground with a triple-option attack. Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds averaged 10.1 pass attempts and 23.3 rushing attempts in guiding an offense that puts up an average of 34.3 points.

TV: 11:45 a.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: Navy -6

ABOUT MIDDLE TENNESSEE (8-4, 6-2 Conference USA):
The Blue Raiders are making a return to bowl play for the first time since falling to Miami (Ohio) in the GoDaddy.com Bowl after the 2010 season and are focused on picking up the school’s third bowl win in history. “You have your destination and objective in mind,” Kilgore said of returning to practice after exams. “… After we progress the next couple of days, we’ll start tightening down more for Navy.” Middle Tennessee tightened its defense over the last four games, but surrendered 177 yards on the ground in a 48-17 victory over Texas-El Paso in the regular-season finale.

ABOUT NAVY (8-4): The Midshipmen played the final regular-season game of the college season against rival Army and showed off the effectiveness of the triple option by churning out 343 of their 353 yards on the ground in the 34-7 victory. Reynolds’ three rushing touchdowns gave him 29 on the season, breaking the NCAA single-season record of 27 shared by former Navy quarterback Ricky Dobbs (2009) and Kansas State’s Collin Klein (2011). Navy gave most of its opponents fits and nearly pulled off an upset at Notre Dame on Nov. 2 before falling 38-34.

PREDICTION: Navy 42, Middle Tennessee 35
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf Conf
Middle Tennessee 8-4 W5 30.9 26.4 5-1 3-3 1-2 6-1 6-2
Navy 8-4 W4 34.3 25.9 6-0 2-4 1-2 0-0 1-0
Last Meeting
Middle Tennessee Navy
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
No previous meeting.
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Middle Tennessee N/A
Navy N/A
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Middle Tennessee N/A
Navy N/A
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Middle Tennessee N/A
Navy N/A
Touchdowns Player TD
Middle Tennessee N/A
Navy N/A
Season
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Middle Tennessee L. Kilgore 61.2 2289 16 11
Navy K. Reynolds 53.7 1038 8 2
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Middle Tennessee J. Parker 145 727 5.0 6
Navy K. Reynolds 280 1260 4.5 29
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Middle Tennessee T. Jefferson 41 532 13.0 5
Navy D. Sanders 12 217 18.1 1
Touchdowns Player TD
Middle Tennessee J. Parker 6
Navy K. Reynolds 29
Quickchart Matchup
Middle Tennessee Off vs  Navy Def
414.5 yards
401.9 yards
5 yards/rush
4.6 yards/rush
6.7 yards/attempt
7.1 yards/attempt
Navy Off vs  Middle Tennessee Def
415.2 yards
404.6 yards
5.5 yards/rush
4.2 yards/rush
7.9 yards/attempt
6.9 yards/attempt