#62 Navy 2018 Football Preview

Navy Midshipmen
Overall Rank: #62
#5 American
 Navy Logo
Navy got off to a good start last year, winning their first five games. After that, the Midshipmen lost six of their last seven games. They managed to slip past SMU 43-40 to gain bowl eligibility and took full advantage of the opportunity by dismantling Virginia 49-7 in the Military Bowl.
2017 Record: 7-6, 4-4
2017 Bowl: Military Bowl vs. Virginia (W 49-7)
Coach: Ken Niumatalolo (84-48 at Navy, 84-48 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Ivan Jasper
Defensive Coordinator: Dale Pehrson
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Zach Abey, QB, 1,413 yards
Passing: Zach Abey, QB, 805 yards
Receiving: Malcolm Perry, QB, 303 yards
Tackles: Sean Williams, S, 76
Sacks: Josh Webb, DE, 4.0
Interceptions: 3 tied with 1
Other Key Returnees: LB Hudson Sullivan, CB Jarid Ryan
Key Losses: RB Chris High, WR Tyler Carmona, LB Micah Thomas, LB D.J. Palmore, CB Tyris Wooten
Malcolm Perry will take over the triple option offense. He only threw two passes last season, but he did rush for 1,182 yards and 11 touchdowns. He may be the most dynamic rusher Navy has had in a long, long time. If he can at least be an occasional threat to throw the ball, Perry will be difficult to contain. Zach Abey, who started most of last season at quarterback, is also back after rushing for 1,413 yards and throwing for 805 and Coach Ken Niumatalolo plans to use both of them. Anthony Gargiulo is a bruising fullback and sophomore Keoni-Kordell Makekau is ready to take more carries in 2018. As long as the line can rebuild with the loss of the three interior starters, Navy should again have one of the best rushing attacks in the country.
The defense was less aggressive in 2017 and it worked for the most part. There are some big losses though so it remains to be seen if the unit can continue to improve. The front seven does return Jarvis Polu and Jackson Pittman up front, but replacing linebackers D.J. Palmore and Micah Thomas will not be easy. Nizaire Cromartie has moved from end to outside linebacker in order to help replace Palmore and, hopefully, provide a consistent pass rush. Hudson Sullivan figures to replace Thomas as the main tackler in the middle of the defense. Free safety Sean Williams recorded 76 tackles last season and the experienced senior will be the leader of the secondary. Jarid Ryan is an experienced cornerback, but Navy will need sophomore Micah Farrar to step up on the side of the field.
The Bottom Line:
Because of the season opening trip to Hawaii, Navy has a 13 game schedule this year. That means they need to reach seven wins for bowl eligibility. The game against Army could have huge bowl implications for Navy this year. And after losing to Army the last two seasons, you can bet Navy will want to win that game regardless of the bowl repercussions.
Projected Bowl: Military Bowl
2017 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 351.4 (2nd in nation, 1st in conference)
Passing Offense: 77.3 (128, 12)
Total Offense: 428.7 (39, 5)
Scoring Offense: 30.5 (48, 5)
Rushing Defense: 154.5 (52, 3)
Pass Defense: 215.8 (54, 2)
Total Defense: 370.3 (48, 2)
Scoring Defense: 26.3 (62, 5)
Turnover Margin: -0.23 (85, 8)
Sacks: 1.23 (117, 8)
Sacks Allowed: 1.00 (5, 1)