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Saturday, September 30, 2023


Tale of the Tape: Houston versus Navy


With a win over Navy, Houston claims the American West Championship and the right to host the league’s inaugural title game next week against Temple or USF. | Justin Tijerina/The Cougar


Head coach Tom Herman said he gradually introduced Navy’s triple-option offense to his defense during spring practice and training camp to familiarize his players with it.

“The unique thing about them this year is that through 10 weeks, they have shown 32 different formations,” Herman said in a news release. “Normally these triple-option teams have one or two formations, and you have to defend the multiple plays out of those formations.”

While the Cougars familiarize themselves with the Midshipmen’s triple option offense we take a look at the players behind it and how they match up with Houston’s offense.

Chris Swain vs Kenneth Farrow

Senior running back Kenneth Farrow averages 5.2 yards per carry and 86.3 yards per game with 12 touchdowns this season. Last week against the University of Connecticut, Farrow rushed for 46 yards on 14 carries.

Full back Chris Swain averages five yards per carry and 82 yards per game. with eight touchdowns this season. Last week against the University of Tulsa, Swain rushed for 57 yards on 11 carries.

Who wins: Kenneth Farrow. Both backs put up similar number but Houston still has the No. 1 rushing defense in the AAC, which will be the deciding factor.

Keenan Reynolds vs Greg Ward Jr.

Junior quarterback Greg Ward Jr. averages 5.5 yards per carry and 73.6 rushing yards per game with 16 rushing touchdowns this season. Ward also averages 199.5 passing yards per game with 13 passing touchdowns this season. Against the University of Cincinnati, the last full game Ward played, he rushed for 119 yards on 16 carries and passed for 161 yards with two touchdowns.

Quarterback Keenan Reynolds averages five yards per carry and 100.9 rushing yards per game  with 18 rushing touchdowns this season and 65.2 passing yards per game with five touchdowns passes this season. Last week against Tulsa Reynolds rushed for 81 yards on 19 carries with a touchdown and passed for 55 yards with a touchdown.

Who wins: The verdict is still out on Ward’s health. Although Reynolds wins the rushing game, Ward can put up similar numbers when healthy. Ward also blows him out the water with his passing average.

Jamir Tillman vs Demarcus Ayers

Senior wide receiver Demarcus Ayers averages 12.1 yards per catch and 89 receiving yards per game with five touchdowns this season. Last week against UConn, Ayers put up 83 yards on seven receptions.

Wide receiver Jamir Tillman averages 18 yards per catch and 30.6 receiving yards per game with three touchdowns in the season. Last week against Tulsa Tillman only had a 39-yard touchdown reception.

Who wins: Navy hasn’t utilized Tillman much this season, but he has proven to be a threat. Ayers has been one of Ward’s primary targets this season. When Ayers gets going, he can be a difference maker like he proved to be against Memphis, when he put up 127 yards on 13 receptions.

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