The 2018 Military Bowl will feature the Navy Midshipmen taking on the Virginia Cavaliers. You might not have had this one circled on you calendar and by the end of this you’re going to be hitting yourself for not being eager for this one. Neither of these teams are considered premiere programs, but thats exactly why this game will be so good! Both teams are licking their chops at the chance to bring home a bowl win and have something to build off for next year. Navy is a 1.5 point favorite and the Over/Under is at 51.5.
Navy (6-6) comes into this game following a crushing loss to their biggest rival Army. Navy is the definition of a run first offense, they averaged a pathetic 83.8 yards per game while averaging 343 YPG on the ground. Navy has lost 3 straight including two road games to then #8 Notre Dame and a very tough Houston team who in fact just blew West Virginia in their Bowl game the other day. Navy relies solely on Zach Abey for their offensive output, he leads the team in Passing and Rushing yards. Navy’s game plan is simple run the ball, don’t turn it over and play good defense aka the big 10. If Navy can develop their run game early to open up Abey to make plays they will look to grind the ball and chip away at Virginia.
Virginia (6-6) has a very different philosophy offensively, they are all about throwing the ball. Virginia is not a very toughed offensive team averaging almost 100 less YPG offensively compared to Navy. They average less than a 100 yards on the ground per game as well as only 257.3 passing yards per contest. Virginia is a loser of 3 of its last four bul 2 of those came agains ranked opponents (Miami and Virginia Tech). Despite not being known for lighting up the scoreboard I expect UVA to have success in the air vs Navy with several big plays coming at the hands of playmaking RB Olamide Zaccheaus. O. Z (as his friends call him) had 80 catches this season which was 49 more than then the second leading receiver AND HES THIER RUNNING BACK!
This game was not an easy pick and the bookmakers agreed only making navy give up 1.5.
I think the physical nature of Navy will be too much for the Cavs to handle and their lack of playmakers worry me. With that said I expect this to be an old school grind it out kind of game resulting in a 20-13 victory for the Navy Midshipmen