Navy-Temple: A look at the matchup

Bill Wagner
Contact Reporterbwagner@capgaznews.com

NAVY KEY: RUN THE TRIPLE-OPTION WITH PRECISION

Navy needs to get back to its roots of running the read triple-option. Quarterback Malcolm Perry must make the right reads and distribute the ball accordingly. Fullbacks Anthony Gargiulo and Nelson Smith have to productive on the dive while slotbacks such as Tre Walker and Keoni-Kordell Makekau have to be effective on the perimeter. Most importantly, offensive coordinator Ivin Jasper must employ a solid plan and get into a rhythm calling plays. Temple has played the triple-option well in the past so it won’t be easy for Navy to find its mojo on offense in this game.

TEMPLE KEY: ESTABLISH THE RUN

Much will depend on the status of top tailback Ryquell Armstead, who suffered an ankle injury in the second half of last Saturday’s rout of East Carolina. Armstead ranks seventh in Temple history with 2,340 career yards and looks like an NFL prospect. The 5-foot-11, 215-pounder is tough runner between the tackles. If the Owls can establish Armstead it will set up all sorts of possibilities and the Mids will be back on their heels.

“Armstead is a really powerful back who hits the ball hard downhill. He’s a special back who runs behind a big, strong offensive line,” Navy defensive coordinator Dale Pehrson said. “We’ve got to stop the run or nothing works. If they get the run going then they can play-action and RPO and boot. If they’re getting short second and third downs it will be a long day.”

SERIES HISTORY: Temple leads 7-6 after winning three of the last four meetings

INJURY REPORT: Navy – Starting wide receiver Zach Abey (leg), starting slotback C.J. Williams (upper body), backup cornerback Marcus Wiggins (shoulder), backup safety Noruwa Obanor (undisclosed), backup inside linebacker Tyler Pistorio (concussion) and kickoff specialist J.R. Osborn (undisclosed) are all questionable. Temple – Backup offensive lineman James McHale (undisclosed) and backup running back Jeremy Jennings (undisclosed) are both probable; Starting running back Ryquell Armstead (ankle) and backup wide receiver Freddie Johnson (personal) are questionable.

OF NOTE: Navy owns an 18-2 home record over the last four seasons. Temple administered one of those losses, beating Navy 34-10 in the 2016 American Athletic Conference championship game at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.

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Navy ranks No. 13 nationally with a plus-one turnover margin. The Midshipmen have created 11 turnovers and committed only six.

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Navy remains perfect in the red zone this season, having scored on 17 of 17 chances. The Mids have scored 14 touchdowns and kicked three field goals after driving inside the opponent’s 25-yard line.

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Temple has scored a non-offensive touchdown in all six games this season. The Owls have scored off two interception returns, two fumble returns, blocked field goal, blocked punt, fake punt-pass and a punt return.

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Temple wide receiver Ventell Bryant has caught at least one pass in all 41 of his career games.

QUOTE UNQUOTE: “We don’t have time to feel good or feel bad because we have a really good team coming in. If we start feeling like woe is us we’re going to get pummeled again. We didn’t play as nearly as hard as we needed to play and we didn’t execute nearly as well as we needed to execute. We’ve got a lot to improve on as a team.”

— Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo on bouncing back from last Saturday’s 35-7 blowout loss to Air Force

“We do a good job of making sure it is an emphasis throughout the year. We had periods where we focus on Navy during spring ball. We had periods during the preseason to try to help somewhat, but once it is there live in-person it is very different than what you try to simulate. The execution, the timing, the precision with which they run the offense is the hardest thing to replicate.”

— Temple head coach Geoff Collins talking about replicating Navy’s triple-option offense in practice

— Compiled by BILL WAGNER

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