Navy Midshipmen vs. Maryland Terrapins, Week 1 NCAA Football, M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore Maryland 4 PM EST Monday Sept 6, 2010 on ESPN/ESPN 3
by Jason Green at Predictem.com
Point Spread: Terps +6.5/Navy -6.5
Independent Navy plays Maryland of the ACC, who are looking to rebound from one of their worst seasons ever only winning 2 games last season.
This game is in being held in a neutral site in Baltimore and since both schools are in Maryland neither team will likely not have a home field advantage.
The Midshipmen may pass the ball more this season with returning starting QB Ricky Dobbs, but not much, as running the ball will still be their strength. Last season Navy won 8 games and they lost to Wake Forrest 29-19 in the Eagle Bank Bowl.
Navy has been one of the best rushing teams for the last few years and last season they ranked 4th in the nation in yards per game (280.5), but ranked 119th in passing yards per game (75.6). Can the Terps stop the run? That is the big question for them in this game.
Maryland had a disastrous season last year, as they lost 10 games including their last 7. They will look to get off to a good start against Navy and they need all the wins they can get since they face 2 teams in the ACC that are ranked in the top 25, as well as Boston College and Clemson, and 25th ranked West Virginia in their 3rd game.
Navy is led by QB Ricky Dobbs, who last season set a record for rushing TD’s by a QB (27) and rushed for 1,192 yards and passed for 1,031 yards 6 TD and 3 INT. FB Vince Murray is a big and bruising back and he and Dobbs give the Midshipmen a great 1-2 punch out of the backfield.
The Navy offensive line is all about opening up holes for the run, which they are great at, but their glaring weakness is their pass protection. That is not that big of a deal since Navy rarely passes the ball.
Luckily for the Terrapins they are decent at stopping the run led by the LB trio of Alex Wujciak, Adrian Moten, and Demetrius Hartsfield, but their main weakness is their pass defense, which will not hurt them much in this game. However, Navy may take a couple of shots downfield through the air.
Maryland will be led by first year starting QB Jamarr Robinson, who is a duel threat and last season passed for 459 yards with 2 TD and 0 INT coming in when Chris Turner was injured last November.
Terps’ RB Da’Rel Scott has a ton of talent and has rushed for 1,000 in a season, but injuries have kept him off the field. He will have to be healthy and be productive for Maryland to win this game.
Robinson’s main target and the Terps’ biggest offensive star is WR Torrey Smith (61 rec 824 yards 5 TD). Robinson will have to find him on the field and Smith has to make some big plays against a suspect Navy secondary.
Navy lost their all 4 of their starting LB’s, but they have some solid guys coming in. Navy is tough against the run, but their pass rush is weak and their secondary has some issues. They may be in trouble if they cannot get to Robinson. However, Maryland has a patchwork offensive line and that is a big concern for the Terps.
Look for Dobbs to have a big game and for the Midshipmen to control the clock by rushing the ball.
Navy will have a good defensive game and get to Robinson taking advantage of a Terps offensive line that will have trouble with pass protection in this game and perhaps for the season.
Jason’s Pick to Cover the Spread: Flip a coin to determine who wins this game straight up as it should be hard fought. I absolutely love that Maryland getting +6.5 covers 3 key numbers. Take the Terps and I’ll see you at the cashier’s cage!