Navy 46, Houston 40.
I would be lying if I said that I thought Navy was going to win that game. Houston had earned their lofty ranking. They are the defending American Athletic Conference champions. They finished 13-1 last year, including a 38-24 win over a top-ten Florida State team. They had just about everyone coming back, including a Heisman-caliber quarterback in Greg Ward Jr. Those who didn’t return were replaced with guys like all-everything recruit Ed Oliver. The Cougars started the season by picking up right where they left off, with a convincing win over Oklahoma. They were undefeated coming into Annapolis and had every reason to believe that they would leave the same way.
However, even if I didn’t think Navy would win, I absolutely thought that they could win. Last year’s game didn’t go well for Navy, but it wasn’t an absolute blowout. The Mids had 459 yards of offense. They just couldn’t figure out a way to stop Houston, and the Cougars didn’t make any mistakes to slow themselves down. If the Mids could find a way to run the ball and have a couple bounces go their way, why wouldn’t they have a better game this year?
Indeed, Navy’s coaches had a little bit of an advantage on Saturday in that they knew what was coming. After holding Navy to 147 rushing yards in 2015, Houston would have been crazy to change how they defended the Mids. There’s a flip side to that, though; it meant that Ivin Jasper had the entire offseason to think about how he wanted to attack this defense. Will Worth mentioned after the game that the team spent time in spring and fall camp working on Houston.
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