• Erin Summers

Tale of the Tape: How Do Army & Navy Measure Up?

by Erin Summers

While their records are mirror images of each other -- Army is 8-3, Navy is 3-8 -- the Midshipmen contend that they had a tougher schedule.

Well, they may have a point. Of Navy’s 12 opponents this season, 11 are going to bowl games. That’s more than Georgia, Alabama or Ole Miss, and those teams are all in the FBS top 10. Temple is the only non-bowl-bound team on Navy’s schedule this year.

Army, on the other hand, has played eight teams with .500 or better schedules who are bowl-bound.

Given the offenses they run -- heavy run and ball control -- the Mids & Black Knights are somewhat comparable.

Army is second in the country behind Air Force in rushing offense, averaging 301 yards a game. Navy is seventh, at 228 yards a game. By the way, Army leads the nation in rushing touchdowns, with 43, and has the second-fewest tackles for loss against them this season, at just 35.

On that ball control thing: Army is tops in the country in time of possession, holding the ball for nearly 37 minutes per game. Navy is fifth at just under 35 minutes per game.

Contributing to that ball control, the Black Knights are converting on 3rd downs at a 49% clip ... ninth in the nation. Navy’s 3rd-down conversion rate is 37% by comparison.

But on 4th down, both teams are comparable. Army is just over 71% while Navy converts on 4th downs 68%. Both teams are among the top 20 in the land.

Discipline is also a common theme for both squads. Army has the second-fewest penalties in college football, with just 44 so far this year. Navy has the 4th-fewest at 48. The Midshipmen have the fourth-fewest penalty yards against them, at 394; Army is 7th-fewest with 434 yards. That puts both teams in the top ten for fewest penalties and penalty yards per game.

Both teams are tied at third for fewest turnovers lost -- just eight apiece this season -- only five fumbles and three interceptions by each team.

On defense, Army has an edge. The Black Knights are ranked 16th, allowing an average of 323.5 yards per game. Navy gives up 359 yards per contest.

Army is 40th in the nation, allowing just under 23 points per game. Navy is giving up nearly 30 points each week.

One place where Navy excels is in Red Zone Defense. The Mids are 30th in the nation in Red Zone defense, while Army is near the bottom: 121st out of 130 FBS teams.

There are several individual standouts worth mentioning. Army linebacker Andre Carter is second in all of college football in sacks with 14.5, and is tied for sixth in tackles for a loss. He’s also tied for ninth in forced fumbles with four. But, Navy Cornerback Michael McMorris is 2nd in the nation with 5 forced fumbles this season.

In a case where special teams come into play, Navy’s Bijan Nichols has hit on 14 of 17 field goal attempts this year ... that’s an 82% mark! By contrast, Army has only attempted 8 field goals this season, making six.

edited for web by Joe Harman