The Virginia Cavaliers (6-6) take on the Navy Midshipmen (6-6) on Thursday, Dec 28 at 1:30 p.m. E.T. in the Military Bowl Presented by Northrop Grumman. Both teams come to this game having gone on three-game losing streaks at the end of their seasons, and each has also gone 1-4 for their final five. Virginia was fourth in the Coastal Division of the ACC with a 3-5 record. In the American Athletic Conference West, Navy finished third with a 4-4 record. Our Virginia plays Navy 2017 Military Bowl pick has these two teams even and the over/under at 51.5. Here’s how the first bowl for Thursday looks.
The Cavaliers, who are primarily a passing team, are averaging 23.8 PPG. Of their 356 yards per game of offense, 257 are through the air. Virginia will pass a lot, but they will also rely on Jordan Ellis to run. Ellis has 799 yards on 204 carries and six touchdowns with a 3.9 YPA average. Senior QB Kurt Benkert (59.6 COMP%, 25 TDs, 8 INTs) is an accurate passer and solid playmaker. Four receivers have 30 of more catches with junior Olamide Zaccheaus grabbing 80 receptions for 833 yards at five TDs. Andre Levrone leads the club with seven touchdown receptions.
The defense is allowing opponents 26.7 PPG. Teams are averaging 180 yards in passing and 178 in rushing versus the Virginia defense. The Cavalier D has 15 interceptions. Although we don’t expect Navy to pass very much, when they do they will be going into risky territory. Virginia does have over 50 TFL with Chris Peace accumulating 10.5 of those tackles as well as 7.5 sacks.
- Very fine passing offense
- Decent balance with rushing offense
- Fine passing D while rush defense is weaker
Navy comes to this bowl game averaging 28.9 PPG. Their offense is focused on the run. Of their 427 yards of offense per game, 343 is accumulated on the ground. The Midshipmen offense is primarily comprised of QB Zach Abey and RB Malcom Perry. Abey, who rarely throws, has completed 31 or 71 passes and has tossed seven TDs and an equal number of INTs. In 280 carries, he’s run for 1,325 yards, and 14 TDs while averaging 4.7 YPA.Perry has 122 carries for 1,068 yards and nine TDs. He’s averaging 8.8 YPA.
The Midshipmen defense is allowing opponents 27.9 PPG and a total of 387 yards per game. They are giving up 165 rushing yards and 222 passing. Navy will look to LB Micah Thomas, who has three picks and 81 tackles, to be a major stopper in this game. Also, LB D.J. Palmore, with 75 tackles, 12.5 TFL, and three recovered fumbles, will be essential to defensive efforts. There’s not much sack potential on this team.
- Expect a lot of runs
- Little to no passing
- D has a tough stopping opponents
Three Military Bowl Takeaways
Here are three important factors concerning our Virginia plays Navy 2017 Military Bowl pick-
- Neither team should be able to stop the other
- Edge in passing goes in a major way to Cavs
- Edge in rushing goes in a major way to Midshipmen
Our Military Bowl Presented by Northrop Grumman Pick
First, for our Virginia plays Navy 2017 Military Bowl pick, we like the over at 51.5. Second, we are taking Virginia at -1.0. We think that their pass attack will out-perform Navy’s ground game.