Navy vs. Kansas State: Liberty Bowl fearless prediction and game preview.
Navy vs. Kansas State: Liberty Bowl Broadcast
Navy (10-2) vs. Kansas State (8-4) Game Preview
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Three Reasons Why You Should Watch The Liberty Bowl
– It’s been among the better bowl games over the last few years. The 2015 season version was a clunker – Arkansas rocked Kansas State 45-23 – but four of the last five and 12 of the last 15 were decided by eight points or fewer.
It’s been a good mix of mid-range Big 12 vs. SEC matchups, and with the occasional conditional tie-in slipping in here and there.
Kansas State is going to bring it in the first year under head coach Chris Klieman, and it’s Navy – effort will never be an issue.
– Kansas State missed out on a bowl game last year, but it won its previous two to snap an ugly streak. A reliable disaster of a bowl program for too long, the Wildcats lost seven bowls in eight shots until finally getting by Texas A&M in the 2016 Texas.
Can Klieman bring his post-season success at North Dakota State to Manhattan? He won four of the previous five FCS national championships before taking the Kansas State gig
– Fantastic in bowls lately under Ken Niumatalolo, Navy took last year off, but won four of its previous five bowls including a dominant 49-7 Military win over Virginia in 2017.
With the win over Army, the Midshipmen are 10-2 with the only losses coming to Notre Dame, and in the Liberty Bowl stadium against Memphis in late September.
The offense worked, the season was great, but closing out with a win over a Power Five team – it would be the first of the season – would be special. Win, and it’ll be the second 11-win season in the last five years.
Why Navy Will Win
– Averaging 364 yards per game, Navy is running the ball better than anyone has since Georgia Southern arrived on the scene in 2014.
How effective is it? Army is second in the nation with an O that only runs the ball, and it’s averaging 297 yards per game. Air Force is averaging 292.5, and Kentucky is fourth averaging 274 yards per game.
Navy is averaging close to 90 yards per game more than the fourth-best rushing team in college football, and that’s because of …
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– Malcolm Perry. America got to see what the quarterback-who’s-really-a-running-back could do with his 304-yard, two touchdown game in the win over Army.
With his big game, he’s now 196 yards away from hitting 2,000, running for 1,805 yards and 21 touchdowns, and he can throw a little, too.
He didn’t against Army – he didn’t attempt a pass – but when he connected on his 43 completions this year, he averaged 13 yards per throw. He can take over a game all by himself, and he’s going to run and run some more in his final game.
– Kansas State needs to control the clock to do what it does best, but Navy dominates the time of possession battle – keeping the ball for well over 33 minutes per game – and few teams are better at closing out good drives with scores.
Navy is third in the nation in red zone scoring offense, and only Oregon State is better at scoring touchdowns when getting inside the 20. The Beavers get into the end zone 84.6% of the time when getting in range, and Navy connects at an 82.6% clip.
Why does this matter? Kansas State is dead last in the nation at red zone D, allowing teams to score 96.8% of the time. Only Notre Dame is over the 93% mark.
If Navy runs well, and controls the clock, and gets inside the 20 on a regular basis, it’ll win. However …