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THE COLUMN: Virginia vs Navy Complete Preview

Virginia squares off against Navy in the Military Bowl

THE DETAILS

TIME: 1:30 PM (EST)

DATE: December 28th, 2017

LOCATION: Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium | Annapolis, Md.

WHERE TO WATCH: ESPN


THE LOWDOWN.

by Paul Wiley

How the heck is one supposed to take shots at Navy? What's the angle here?

"MY PARENTS WOULD'VE BEEN PROUD IF I WENT TO YOUR SCHOOL TOO!"

"ANNAPOLIS IS GORGEOUS, THANK YOU FOR HAVING US!"

"WE RECOGNIZE AND APPRECIATE YOUR SERVICE TO OUR COUNTRY!"

Maybe that's why so much has been written—here on STL and elsewhere—about the strong connections and mutual respect between the two programs that square off on Thursday. Navy has built its identity on the gridiron for more than a decade, first under now-Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson and more recently with Ken Niumatalolo. Virginia has begun to rebuild an identity with Coach Mendenhall and his crew. Those identities will be tested under the chilly lights of Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.


WE LIKE STATS.

Provided by Danny Neckel

The Good For UVA

Category UVA Category Navy
Category UVA Category Navy
Passing Defense 15th (179.6) Passing Offense 128th (83.8)
Turnovers Lost 41st (16) Turnovers Gained 109th (13)
3rd Down Offense 68th (39.8%) 3rd Down Defense 101st (43.5%)

The Not So Good For UVA

Category UVA Category Navy
Category UVA Category Navy
Team Sacks 50th (2.5) Sacks Allowed 6th (1)
Rushing Defense 81st (178.3) Rushing Offense 2nd (343)
Rushing Offense 125th (98.8) Rushing Defense 65th (164.9)

HOO’S WHO.

Kurt Benkert
Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

Kurt Benkert - QB

This is Kurt Benkert’s last game in a Virginia jersey. After being the first player in UVA history to throw for over 3,000 yards in a season, fans will be left wondering what a couple more seasons with him would look like. The Military Bowl will be Benkert’s last opportunity to cement his Virginia legacy and impress NFL teams.

Micah Kiser - ILB

Micah Kiser has been an absolute beast for the Hoos this year. He’s an All-ACC first-teamer and currently leads the ACC in tackles this season with 134 tackles. Over his career, Kiser has 400 tackles and 19 sacks. He also recently won the Campbell Trophy, which is touted as the academic Heisman. Kiser will undoubtedly be drafted into the NFL and, maybe, in the first round.

Quin Blanding
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Quin Blanding - S

Along with Micah Kiser, Quin Blanding is most certainly going to be picked up on Draft Day. The fourth-year currently sits on 479 tackles, which shattered Jamie Sharper’s record of 435 tackles, which stood for 21 years. The All-ACC first teamer also has four interceptions and one pick-six on the season. Blanding has been as consistent as they come and will have the opportunity to build even more on his legacy against Navy.

Zach Abey
Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Zach Abey - QB

Junior Zach Abey is the star of Head Coach Ken Niumatalolo’s triple-option offense. The majority of Abey’s work is done on the ground and he serves as the Midshipmens’ best rusher with 1385 yards on 280 carries. His passing has been limited and Abey has only completed 31 passes for 805 yards on the year. The Hoos have seen their fair share of running quarterbacks this year and containing Abey’s rushing ability will be key factor to watch during the game.

Malcolm Perry
Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Malcolm Perry - RB

Navy ranks 2nd in the nation in rushing offense. Malcolm Perry and Zach Abbey are two of the major players behind this. Perry, a sophomore, has 1068 rushing yards on 122 carries and nine touchdowns. He has been a workhorse for the Midshipmen and in their snowy game against Army, he rushed for 250 yards on 30 carries. Against SMU in November, he rushed for 282 yards on 33 carries. Look to hear his name early and often.

Micah Thomas
Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Micah Thomas - LB

Navy’s offense is anchored by their rushing and that has kept them bowl eligible this year. The Midshipmens’ defense, however, has been more unsteady and unreliable. Senior Micah Thomas has been one of the cornerstones for the team this year and leads Navy’s defense with 81 tackles along with three interceptions.


PICK ‘EM.

Poll

More ridiculous bowl game name?

This poll is closed

  • 30%
    Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl
    (30 votes)
  • 69%
    Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl
    (67 votes)
97 votes total Vote Now

AROUND THE INTERWEB.


THROWBACKZ.

Virginia vs. Navy | October 10th, 1935 | UVA 7-26 Navy

hoosfootball.com