Teams & Conferences

2016 Armed Forces Bowl, Louisiana Tech vs. Navy Prediction, Game Preview, History, Scores

Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl Prediction, Navy vs. Louisiana Tech Game Preview, History, Scores


Three reasons why you should watch the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl between Navy vs. Louisiana Tech, why each team might win, honest thoughts, line and prediction.


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Date: Friday, December 23rd
Game Time: 1:00 pm
Venue: Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, TX
Network: ESPN

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Scroll down for the video preview and bowl history

The Bowl Matchup Ranking Of Awesomeness (1 best-40 worst): 15 out of 40

Three Reasons Why You Should Watch The Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl

It’s the ultimate difference in offensive styles. Do you like the nation’s third-best passing game, or the fourth-best running game? Both offenses are high-powered, both teams are a whole bunch of fun to watch, and both can take over a game if everything works right. The Bulldogs are unstoppable through the air, the Midshipmen are devastating on the ground. Have fun.

Navy has been fantastic lately in bowls. There’s usually no excuse for the opponents. The biggest problem with dealing with Navy is time. It takes a while to figure out the option, and with 15 practices and a few weeks to prepare, good defenses should be able to do it. Pitt couldn’t figure it out in the 2015 Military, and San Diego State wasn’t able to come up with a win in the 2014 Poinsettia. After losing five games in six as a program, the Midshipmen have won three straight.

Louisiana Tech has been fantastic lately in bowls. Granted, there have only been four bowl appearances since 2001, but it came through with three wins in those four since 2008, including blowouts over Illinois and Arkansas State in the last two. Win this, and a nine-victory campaign would be special, even with a Conference USA championship loss to WKU.

Here’s Why Louisiana Tech Will Win The Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl

Can Navy stop the pass? Nope. The Midshipmen have been able to overcome the problems in the secondary by dominating on the ground, but just about everyone has picked apart a bad pass defense. Everyone has hit 200 yards except for option-rushing teams Tulane and Army, and Temple, who was too busy running in the American Athletic championship. That means it’s going to be all about …

The Bulldog stars. The combination of Trent Taylor and Carlos Henderson cranked up 196 catches for 1,976 yards and 27 touchdowns. Taylor caught 124 of those passes, and Henderson came up with 17 of those touchdowns. With Ryan Higgins throwing for over 4,200 yards with 37 touchdowns and eight picks, the air show is as much fun as any in college football. There won’t be any problems bombing away in comeback mode – if needed.

Can Louisiana Tech stop the run? Yup. Well, yup, but with a caveat – most teams threw on the Bulldogs. Running games were abandoned after games got into shootouts, but teams that committed to the run were able to be okay. The Louisiana Tech linebackers can keep everything contained and don’t give up big dashes, and the D as a whole has only allowed 200 yards on the ground once – the C-USA title game against WKU. However …

Here’s Why Navy Will Win The Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl

The Navy running game will score. No, teams didn’t commit to the ground game enough against Louisiana Tech, but once they had their chances, they produced. The Bulldogs gave up two rushing touchdowns or more in each of the last five games. They lost to Arkansas when they stopped the run, but the other three losses came on the three worst days of the year against the run – they’re 0-3 when allowing 196 rushing yards or more.

Okay, Zach Abey. Hit the deep ball. Before suffering a season-ending foot injury, QB Will Worth did his part to stretch the field averaging 12 yards per pass with eight touchdowns and three picks. Abey is supposed to be the star of the near-future, but he has yet to throw a touchdown pass with four picks. He’s been accurate enough in his two games, but the Midshipmen lost – now he has to hit the throws against the lousy Louisiana Tech secondary.

Slow … this … down. This isn’t as good a Navy team without Worth under center or big play back Toneo Gulley – out for the year with a leg injury, too. However, what the Midshipmen can still do is control the ball and the clock. Navy likes to play with a decent tempo, but it has to shorten the game as much as possible and keep that Louisiana Tech offense off the field.

You’ve Read This Far, So You Get Three Honest Thoughts On The Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl

Can Navy turn this ship around? Remember, there was talk of Navy possibly going to the Cotton Bowl with a blowout win over Temple in the American Athletic title game and then against Army. Instead, it got blown out by the Owls, lost its star quarterback, and saw its long win streak against the arch-rival get snapped. If Louisiana Tech gets up early, uh oh. However …

Ken Niumatalolo has a way of getting his team to win games it shouldn’t. Possibly the best head coach who isn’t in the coaching carousel, Niumatalolo hasn’t won 77 games with zero-star talent only on charm and personality. It’ll be easy to think Navy has absolutely no shot, and then it comes out with a gem of a performance to defy all logic and reason.

It hasn’t always been an easy ride for Skip Holtz, he lost three of his four bowl appearances at East Carolina, but he’s won three straight since then with one at USF and two in the last two seasons at Louisiana Tech. A win would make this a third straight nine-win season. Considering he was a wee bit of a risky hire after going 8-16 in his last two years at USF, he’s been terrific in Ruston.

Super. So Who’s Going To Win The Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl?

The Louisiana Tech machine will get rolling.

This just isn’t the same Navy team without Worth. With a secondary that won’t be able to handle the high-octane Louisiana Tech receivers, this will get into a shootout quick – and Abey won’t be able to keep pace. He’ll throw a few picks, helping the Bulldogs pull away in the second half.

Final Score

Louisiana Tech 41, Navy 27

Line

Louisiana Tech -5, o/u: 67

ATS Confidence: 4
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Must See Rating: 3
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Get Tickets For The Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl

Armed Forces Bowl History, Results

Dec. 29, 2015 California 55 Air Force 36
Jan. 2, 2015 Houston 35 Pittsburgh 34
Dec. 30, 2013 Navy 24 Middle Tennessee 6
Dec. 29, 2012 Rice 33 Air Force 14
Dec. 30, 2011 BYU 24 Tulsa 21
Dec. 30, 2010 Army 16 SMU 14
Dec. 31, 2009 Air Force 47 Houston 20
Dec. 31, 2008 Houston 34 Air Force 28
Dec. 31, 2007 California 42 Air Force 36
Dec. 23, 2006 Utah 25 Tulsa 13
Dec. 23, 2005 Kansas 42 Houston 13
Dec. 23, 2004 Cincinnati 32 Marshall 14
Dec. 23, 2003 Boise State 34 TCU 31