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Houston can seize full control over West with win over Navy

Junior quarterback D’Eriq King ran for two touchdowns and threw another against Navy last year. | Richard Fletcher Jr./The Cougar

Fresh off a mauling of the East Carolina Pirates, the Houston Cougars will take on the Navy Midshipmen in Annapolis, Maryland at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

The Midshipmen are sinking to the bottom of the AAC West division quickly, and the 5-1 Cougars may be the final wave that pushes the team completely under.

Once predicted to be atop the conference along with Houston and Memphis, Navy has struggled so far this season, going just 1-2 in conference play with a 2-4 overall record.

However, as many fans know, an opponent cannot be written off based on their record. Anything can happen once two teams take the field.

For Navy to have any chance at winning against Houston, it will need to find a way to slow down the Cougars’ No. 4  offense.

At the forefront of the Houston offense is junior quarterback D’Eriq King, who has thrown for 1,571 yards and 20 touchdowns, earning him the No. 6 spot in FBS for passing touchdowns.

King will look to his trio of receivers sophomore Marquez Stevenson and juniors Keith Corbin and Courtney Lark against the Midshipmen. Stevenson leads the team with 32 receptions for 472 yards and six touchdowns. Corbin has pulled in 20 tosses for 394 yards and six touchdowns, while Lark rounds out the group with 23 catches, totaling 318 yards and three touchdowns.

Meanwhile, the Midshipmen’s triple-option attack offense does not even crack the top-50 marker.

Defensively, neither team are much to write home about this season. Navy only ranks No. 74 in total defense, while Houston is substantially lower at No. 117 largely due to the loss against Texas Tech where Houston gave up 704 yards.

While the Cougars have given up a lot of yardage on the season, the team does still possess a tremendous defensive force in junior defensive tackle Ed Oliver.

Oliver has recorded 46 tackles and two sacks through just the halfway point of the season. Last year against Navy, Oliver devastated its run game and had 14 tackles.

With a victory in Annapolis, Houston would take full control of the West and extend its winning streak to four.

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