Today's game

August 31, 2002|By Kevin Van Valkenburg

Navy (0-0) at SMU (0-0)

Site: Gerald J. Ford Stadium, Dallas

Time: 8 p.m.

Radio: WJFK (1300 AM), WNAV (1430 AM)

Line: SMU by 10 1/2

Series: SMU leads 7-4

Last meeting: SMU won, 24-11, on Nov. 21, 1988, in Annapolis

Navy offense vs. SMU defense: The Mids will try to run the ball with sophomore fullback Kyle Eckel and junior quarterback Craig Candeto, but it won't be easy. SMU returns seven starters to a defense that ranked 22nd nationally last year. Senior linebacker Vic Viloria and junior cornerback Jonas Rutledge were both first-team All-WAC last season for the Mustangs.

Navy defense vs. SMU offense: If the Mids want to keep it close, they'll have to stop the run. SMU has quality rushers in sophomore tailback ShanDerrick Charles and fullback Kris Briggs. Navy will need a big game from defensive tackle Josh Brindel and linebackers Eddie Carthan and Andy Sinitiere.

Special teams: This is one area where Navy may have an advantage. Junior Tony Lane was one of the nation's better kickoff returners last year (26.4 yards an attempt, 19th in the country), and punter John Skaggs was fifth in the country with a 44.8-yard average.

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