College Football Preview: Navy (2-6) at Cincinnati (7-1)
Navy Midshipmen (2-6, 1-3) at Cincinnati Bearcats (7-1, 3-1)
Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018; 3:30pm ET
Cincinnati, OH: Nippert Stadium
The Navy Midshipmen (2-6) make their first trip to Nippert Stadium Saturday afternoon to face the 7-1 Cincinnati Bearcats.
The Mids enter the game on a five-game losing streak. Head coach Ken Niumatalolo’s team needs to win the final five games of the season to post a winning record in 2018 and to become eligible for a bowl.
The Bearcats, under second-year head coach Luke Fickell, have made a huge turnaround this season. Posting 4-8 records in the last two years, Cincinnati began 2018 with impressive wins against UCLA and Miami. Their one loss came against a surging Temple team in OT. Fickell’s emphasis on the running game and a strong defense has led the Bearcats to compete with UCF and Temple for the AAC East lead.
Here’s a look at how Navy and Cincinnati matchup by the numbers.
Points per Game: NAVY: 28.2… Cincinnati: 34.1
Rushing Yards: NAVY: 307.3… Cincinnati: 232.3
Passing Yards: NAVY: 75.0… Cincinnati: 217.1
Total Offense: NAVY: 382.2… Cincinnati: 449.4
Penalties/Yards: NAVY: 30 for 30.5 yards… Cincinnati: 67 for 81.25 yards
Time of Possession: NAVY: 34:40… Cincinnati: 32:39
1.) Malcolm Perry: 862 yards
2.) Nelson Smith: 314 yards
1.) Michael Warren: 863 yards
2.) Desmond Ridder: 371 yards
1.) Garret Lewis: 398 yards
2.) Malcolm Perry: 185 yards
1.) Desmond Ridder: 1,525 yards
2.) Hayden Moore: 137 yards
1.) Taylor Jackson: 198 yards
2.) CJ Williams: 148 yards
1.) Kahlil Lewis: 414 yards
2.) Josiah Deguara: 343 yards
1.) Perry Young: 41 tackles, 2 for loss
2.) Malik Clements: 39 tackles, 3 for loss
Cincinnati Players to Watch
• James Wiggins (CB): After winning last week’s game against SMU for the Bearcats with an 86-yard INT return for TD, the AAC named Wiggins their Defensive Player of the Week Monday. For the year, he has four pass breakups, three interceptions and seven deflections.
• Desmond Ridder (QB): The redshirt freshman took over for the Bearcats’ returning QB in the first game of the season. With a completion rate of 62% of his 208 pass attempts, Ridder’s numbers are impressive: 1,525 yards in the air and 12 TDs. Add to that his 371 yards on the ground and Ridder is a true threat to opponents’ defenses.
• Michael Warren (RB): The true freshman has run for 863 yards and 12 TDs this season.
• Kahlil Lewis (WR): Ridder’s favorite target, Lewis has 31 receptions for 414 yards and five TDs in 2018.
• Perry Young (LB): The sophomore has 41 tackles on the year.
• Bryan Wright (DE): Wright is second on the Bearcats’ team with 38 tackles this season.
• Josiah Deguara (TE): Having recorded a reception in each of Cincinnati’s eight games in 2018, Deguara has 27 catches for 321 yards and three TDs on the year.
• Cortez Broughton (DT): Broughton’s seven sacks and average of 1.86 tackles for loss per game ranks him third in the AAC in both categories.
• James Smith (P): Smith averages 46.4 yards per punt, ranking him #6 in the nation and #2 in the AAC in YPP.
Keys to a Navy Win
1.) Perry at SB: Malcolm Perry must continue to excel at slotback. Though he may no longer be the starting QB, Perry is still the leader of the Mids’ offense.
2.) Defense, defense, defense: Navy must play flawlessly on this side of the ball. The Bearcats need no assistance moving the ball down the field.
3.) Wanting it: The Mids must want this win. Really, really want it. Navy’s season is on the line and the Midshipmen must play like it.