Armed Forces Bowl: Preview, Predictions, TV info

By Tony Moss | Senior Editor

What: Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl

Who: Navy (8-4) vs. Middle Tennessee (8-4, 6-2 Conference USA)

When: Monday, Dec. 30, 11:45 a.m. ET (ESPN)

Where: Amon G. Carter Stadium (45,000), Fort Worth, Tex.

Opening Line: Navy -6 1/2

What matters: Navy is 1-5 in its last six bowl games, with its only win over that stretch coming against Missouri in the 2009 Texas Bowl. Middle Tennessee, which is back in a bowl for the first time since 2010, carries a five-game winning streak into Fort Worth and is averaging 42.6 points per game over that stretch. The Blue Raiders, who are seeking just the second bowl win in their history, beat Southern Miss in the 2009 New Orleans Bowl.

Who matters: Navy sophomore quarterback Keenan Reynolds has been a touchdown machine, accounting for 29 TDs (22 rushing, 7 passing) over his last seven games including a jaw-dropping eight-TD effort against San Jose State on Nov. 22. Reynolds' counterpart will be Middle Tennessee senior QB Logan Kilgore, who has accounted for 12 TDs (10 passing, 2 rushing) during the five-game win streak.

Matchup question: Can Middle Tennessee State force Navy into any mistakes? The Midshipmen have turned the ball over just eight times all year, the fewest miscues in college football. They've also committed the fewest penalties in college football. But the Blue Raiders are top five nationally in turnovers forced (31), so something's gotta give.

Prediction: Middle Tennessee has made a living being opportunistic, meaning Navy, which has been possibly the least error-prone team in the country, is less than an ideal matchup. Look for the Mids to pick up the second bowl win of the Ken Niumatololo era. Navy 20, Middle Tennessee 14.

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