Army Vs. Navy Game 2011: Cadets Trying To Capitalize On Navy's Down Year

The Army Black Knights haven't beaten the Navy Midshipmen since the 2002 match up, and in that gap it has allowed Navy to overtake the rivalry game, leading the series 52-49. With the Mids having one of their worst seasons in quite a while, the Cadets will be looking to get back on the winning side. Bill Connely of SBNation.com takes a look from each side.

Bill goes on the examine if it has anything to do with the departure of Ricky Dobbs, but after looking at the numbers, it's easy to see that losing the longtime Navy quarterback wasn't the issue for the Mids, as senior Kriss Proctor has more than picked up the slack and the Navy offense has hummed right along. It's been Navy's defense that's caused the Mids to lose football games in 2011.

The defense, on the other hand, has been absolutely horrendous. A 3-4 defense will struggle when it doesn't have any linebackers, and in losing Tyler Simmons, Aaron McCauley, Jerry Hauburger and safety Wyatt Middleton, they were basically starting from scratch this season. After ranking 50th and 73rd in Def. F/+ in 2009-10, they have plummeted to 116th in 2011. It goes without saying that this is a precipitous drop.

For the Cadets on the other hand, they fell back to 3-8 after their first winning season since 1996 in 2010. Army's defensive woes are right along the lines with the Mids. Like the Mids however, their rushing offense is top notch running the triple option and that will be the problem for Army, as Bill explains.

They should by no means be able to stop Proctor, Teich, Greene and company, but their efficiency on offense could allow them to compete and stick around for a while. Despite missing three games with an ankle injury, quarterback Trent Steelman has rushed for 583 yards and 11 touchdowns, and he has two interesting weapons in Raymond Maples (984 yards, 7.4 per carry, four touchdowns) and Malcolm Brown (490 yards, 7.0 per carry, two touchdowns). Army is lacking in both explosiveness and any semblance of a passing game, however

The key for Army, as Bill notes, will be to "stick around" with the Mids. Since 2002, the Cadets have been blown out by the Mids in every game but one, a 17-3 loss in 2009. If Army wants to pull the upset and break the losing streak, they cannot get behind and they may be able to catch Navy on a down year, to get the momentum back on Army's side. Even with Navy being down however, the gap still isn't closed. While Navy sports a 4-9 record, all but a few of their losses have been by three points or less.

For more on the 2011 Army-Navy Game, please keep visiting this StoryStream.

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