Navy (0-0) at Indiana (1-0)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, September 7, 6 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Memorial Stadium (52,929) -- Bloomington, Indiana. Television: Big Ten Network. Home Record: Navy 0-0, IU 1-0. Away Record: Navy 0-0, IU 0-0. Neutral Record: Navy 0-0, IU 0-0. Conference Record: Navy 0-0, IU 0-0. Series Record: IU leads, 2-1.
GAME NOTES: The Navy Midshipmen are set to open their 2013 season on the road against the Indiana Hoosiers at Memorial Stadium.
Navy was idle last week while most teams around the nation kicked off their respective seasons. The Midshipmen followed up a five-win campaign by going 8-5 and returning to the postseason in 2012. The Commander-in-Chief's Trophy also returned to Annapolis for the first time since 2009 and for the 13th time overall.
The Hoosiers were in action last Thursday as they cruised to a 73-35 blowout win over an outmatched Indiana State squad. The 73 points marked the second- highest scoring output in school history and the 10 touchdowns scored set a school record. All in all it was certainly an encouraging performance for the Hoosiers, who are coming off a 4-8 campaign under third-year coach Kevin Wilson.
These teams are meeting up for the second straight season. IU owns a 2-1 series edge, although Navy notched a 31-30 win over the Hoosiers on Oct. 20, 2012.
Navy returns its starting quarterback in Keenan Reynolds, who is coming off a rather successful freshman season. In addition to his 649 rushing yards and team-high 10 rushing touchdowns, Reynolds also completed 56.5 percent of his 108 pass attempts for nine scores and just two interceptions. If he can continue making strides in the passing game, it would give Navy a weapon at the quarterback position that can keep opposing defenses honest against the triple-option. Noah Copeland also returns after running for 738 yards and five TDs in 2012, and he'll look to improve upon his touchdown total of only five scores despite a team-high 162 rushing attempts.
Defensively, Navy returns three starters in the secondary with Chris Ferguson taking care of one safety position while Kwazel Bertrand and Parrish Gaines handle the action at the cornerback spots. Of the team's eight interceptions a year ago, two were logged by Gaines, who also just happened to finish fifth in total tackles with 69. Evan Palelei is the only returning starter along the defensive line although he notched just 29 tackles. The unit must also somehow try and replace linebacker Keegan Wetzel, the team's leader in tackles for loss (15.0) and sacks (7.0) a year ago. The Midshipmen will turn to Cody Peterson, who logged 67 tackles, but did not produce a single sack and had only two stops behind the line of scrimmage.
Indiana's offense was in video-game mode last week as it went over 300 yards passing (319) and rushing (313) for the first time in program history. All told, the Hoosiers put up 632 yards of total offense, third-most in team history. Their 45 points scored in the first half were the most in the modern era. All three of Shane Wynn's touches resulted in six points, making him the first Hoosier since 1990 to catch a pair of TDs and run a punt back in the same game. Tevin Coleman also had a big day with a career-high 169 rushing yards on 14 carries (12.1 ypc) with two touchdowns. His 169 yards were the most for an IU running back in a season opener since Alex Smith in 1996.
With the offense scoring at will, there was little pressure on the Hoosiers defense. Still, they did manage to come up with one interception and one fumble recovery to go along with four sacks and seven tackles for loss. They also forced the Sycamores into 10 three-and-outs and an ugly 3-for-16 conversion rate on third downs. Freshman linebacker T.J. Simmons led the way with a team-high nine tackles in his debut and was one of 10 Hoosiers credited with at least a half-tackle behind the line of scrimmage.
After dismantling FCS school Indiana State, the Hoosiers can expect a stiffer test this week from a Navy team that will be geared up for its season opener. While these teams have contrasting offensive styles, they both figure to put up quite a few points in this one.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Indiana 38, Navy 31
09/04 10:39:36 ET