One week after the Rutgers defense gives a performance for the ages, they get rewarded with about 60 snaps worth of chop blocks. The Scarlet Knights have done well against the service academies since the 2000s, but they enter as underdogs for the third time in four weeks. What do we think about the matchup?
Kevin Recio: Navy is always a good team, but the spread for this game (now at RU +7) seems a tad generous for the Midshipmen. Since the Schiano era, it's always seemed as if the formula for beating the service academies was in the lifeblood of the Scarlet Knights, even in a down year like 2010. I think Coach Flood continues the success, and finds a way to neutralize the option attack. RU 24, Navy 17
Dave White: Hikes his prediction. Bootleg. Looks over the defense. Option. Passes his prediction on to Bob, instead of taking it himself.
Bob Cancro (rvc73): Bob takes pitch from Dave and turns corner. But we digress. I keep saying there's a lot of psychology surrounding this game. Dealing with the option is one aspect of it. Coming back from last week is another. Rutgers left it all on the field last week, in all aspects. I believe Kyle Flood understands how to deal with the psyche of this team, or of any team after such a game. The defense is too good to let last week's effort be wasted with a bad game against Navy. And Navy has a total of 167 yards passing. On 19 attempts. That's just silly. The Mids are 2-1, with the loss being to tOSU, and the wins over Temple (1-1) and Texas State ( 1-1). Rutgers' offense (read Gary Nova) has only to be competent to do well. They will run and they will pass. Competently. It will be competitive, but Rutgers prevails. And then "On the Banks of the Old Raritan" and "Navy Blue and Gold" will be sung/played by both teams. 'Cuz we only sing it after wins. RU 27, Navy 17 (Which is the score I predicted preseason)
Ray Ransom: This is a game Rutgers was built to win. Navy is a very solid team, but I expect the Rutgers defense to make a statement in this one, absolutely shutting down the Navy run game. Shutting down is a relative term, but look for Navy to be well below their season average on the ground. On offense, Rutgers should be able to feast on a Navy defense that is disciplined but lacks elite athleticism. While the Transitive Property of College Football is a fickle one, look for commentators to compare the results of Rutgers and OSU vs. Navy. I say Rutgers comes out smelling like roses. RU 30, Navy 13
Andy Egan: This is probably the best Navy has been in 5-10 years, and that's saying something, because they have been very solid the last decade. This is a tricky game for RU for lots of reasons: on the road, after a huge buildup and devastating loss, against a team that runs a dinosaur offense that is very different and difficult to stop, and with some key injuries (if Kevin Snyder misses this game, that's a huge hit). That said, if Rutgers can play smart defense, and not over-pursue the ball carrier, the Knights will be ok. I think Nova bounces back, and has a nice day through the air. I am also expecting Paul James to return to form, Janarion to break off a long return, and Tyler Kroft to be the Jimmy Graham-esque TK we saw last year. RU close, 34-28.