Scouting report: Navy vs. Army

December 12, 2009|By Camille Powell, | By Camille Powell

Army-Navy today
Navy (8-4) vs. Army (5-6)
Time: 2:30 p.m.

Site: Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia

TV: Chs. 13, 9

Radio: 1090 AM, 1430 AM

Line: Navy by 14

Series: Navy leads 53-49-7.

When Navy has the ball: Ricky Dobbs is playing in his first Army-Navy game, but the junior quarterback shouldn't be fazed by the big stage; he thrived against Ohio State and Notre Dame, accounting for six touchdowns. Dobbs has rushed for at least 100 yards in each of the past three games, and he has 23 rushing touchdowns this year - tied for the NCAA single-season record for a quarterback. "Ricky's a very good operator," said Army coach Rich Ellerson, who was one of the architects of the famed "Desert Swarm" defense at Arizona. "You could do everything right, and he'll still break your heart." The Black Knights, led by sophomore linebacker Andrew Rodriguez and junior defensive end Josh McNary (12.5 sacks), rank 17th in the nation in total defense (309.9 yards per game).

When Army has the ball: The Black Knights have scored a total of 71 points in their past seven games against Navy, and they haven't reached the end zone since the final seconds of the 2006 game. But Army has two new offensive weapons this season in quarterback Trent Steelman and wide receiver Ali Villanueva, a 6-foot-10 senior who started 12 games at left tackle last year. Steelman is only a freshman, but he is Army's best player on offense, according to Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo, who said, "He makes good decisions, and he's hard to bring down." Villanueva, who is four inches taller than Navy's tallest defender (defensive end Cameron Marshall), is the only Army player with a touchdown catch. Junior Patrick Mealy averages 6.4 yards per carry.

Special teams: Both Navy kicker Joe Buckley and Army kicker Alex Carlton have made a game-winning field goal this year.

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