2021 Bearcats Opponent Preview: Naval Academy

The Central Florida Golden Knights get demolished at Nippert Stadium and our Cincinnati Bearcats make a trip to Annapolis, Maryland to face the Naval Academy. Will the Bearcats survive the Triple Option and get their first win on the road at Navy?

You Hate To See It

I’d like to give Central Florida fans credit, they were relentless on Twitter over the past week (and continue to do so) for a team that’s 3-3 and just got laughed out of Nippert Stadium. Big kudos to Jerome Ford for single handedly ending the Golden Knights prospects with 212 total yards and 4 Touchdowns, almost completely in the first half.

The Bearcats nearly kept a clean sheet in the first half, before a Statue of Liberty play garnered the Golden Knights 51 yards to get into the redzone. They ultimately scored, but went into half down 35-7.

They continued the trend of scoring at the end of the 3rd and 4th quarters as Cincinnati slepwalked to a 56-21 victory in front of a Sold Out crowd at Nippert Stadium. The reserves saw time in almost the entire 4th Quarter. Our Cats rush attack beat the entire Central Florida defense 336-296.

Ridder didn’t have his best game, but Central Florida only had 5 defenders in the box for most of the game which opened up the running game. This Bearcats team is stacked and they learned the hard way that if you try to take away one facet of our game, the other will rise to the occasion.

Mid Midshipmen

The Bearcats make their first trip to Annapolis since the Military Bowl in 2018 and hopefully last trip as the Bearcats are hoping to move into the Big12 in 2023. There won’t be any Repulic of Cincinnati favorites like Hokey Pokey or Enter Sandman this time as the Bearcats will face the Naval Academy at their home, rather than their last opponent Virginia Tech.

The Bearcats last game against Navy was all Bearcats in 2018, as Luke Fickell wanted to avenge a loss in Annapolis in 2017 in a game where they allowed 562 rushing yards and 5 touchdowns on the ground. Luke Fickell took that personally and ran a completely different defensive scheme in 2018 and the Bearcats held the Naval Academy to 124 rushing yards in a 42-0 victory at Nippert Stadium. Cincinnati pounded the ball for 262 yards and 4 touchdowns and Ridder and Hayden Moore also added a TD pass a piece. Cincinnati heads to Navy, seeking their first win in Annapolis against the Naval Academy. Navy holds a 3-1 all time lead over the Bearcats.

Navy enters this game 1-5 with their only win against our last opponent, Central Florida. They’ve struggled so far on Offense this year, 126/130 in total yards per game with 273 yards a game. They are 121st in Scoring, with 17.5 points per game. Their offense is the worst the Blackcats will see all season, but the Triple Option offense is unique, so it may allow them to get lucky on a score. Kyle Bolden (son of former Colerain and now Lakota West Head Coach Tom Bolden) got the game ball in 2018 as a player, running the scout team offense in practice as he mastered the Triple Option in high school. After suffering a career ending knee injury, Bolden has moved into his role as a Graduate Assistant and was charged with preparing the scout team and defense for the triple option this season.

Defensively, Navy isn’t a whole lot better, allowing 368 yards/game which is good for 59th in the Country. Opponents are converting those yards into points as well, averaging 32.7 points a game, good for 109th in the Country. They have a good Middle Linebacker in Diego Fagot (pronounced Faygo), but the Bearcats proved last year, one great player can’t stop the Bearcats offense. Their rush defense is ranked #55 in the country, but their passing defense is ranked #73 in the country. Unlike last week, I look for the Bearcats to unleash their aerial assault on them.

Unfortunately for Navy, the Bearcats have the blueprint and a special weapon in Kyle Bolden who will help them shut down the Triple Option. I don’t see any way Navy slows our offense down.

Bearcats – 42
Midshipmen – 7

Juncta Juvant!

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