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Navy and LA Tech Set for Armed Forces Bowl Showdown

Dec. 14, 2016

GAME 14: NAVY (9-4, 7-1 AAC) vs. LA Tech (8-5, 6-2 C-USA) | 2016 Media Center
 When Friday, Dec. 23, 2016 | 3:30 pm (CT), 4:30 pm (ET)
 Location Fort Worth, Texas | Amon G. Carter Stadium | Bowl Central
 Tickets Buy Online | 1-800-US4NAVY
 Television ESPN (Roy Philpott, Tom Ramsey, Kris Budden)
 Live Video Stream WatchESPN
 Listen Navy Football Radio Network (Pete Medhurst, Omar Nelson, Joe Miller, Tim Murray) - WBAL (1090 AM; Baltimore) | WNAV (1430 AM, 99.9 FM; Annapolis) | WFED (1500 AM, 820 AM; Washington, D.C. / Northern Virginia) | WBQH (1050 AM; Washington, DC / Northern Virginia) | ESPN/XEPE 1700 AM (San Diego) | WXTG (102.1 FM; Virginia Beach, Va.) | WJXL 1010 AM (Jacksonville, Fla.) | KRKO 1380 AM (Seattle, Wash.) | Satellite Radio (Sirius Ch. 81 / XM Ch. 81)
 Live Stats Navy Athletics
 Game Notes Navy Get Acrobat Reader | LA Tech Get Acrobat Reader
 Season Statistics Navy | LA Tech | AAC
 Social Media @NavyAthletics   |  Facebook | Instragram

Setting the Stage

•  Navy (9-4) and Louisiana Tech (8-5) will meet on Friday, Dec. 23 at Amon G. Carter Stadium (45,000) in Fort Worth, Texas in the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl. Kickoff is set for 4:30 PM (ET), 3:30 PM in Fort Worth and the game will be televised nationally by ESPN with Roy Philpott, Tom Ramsey and Kris Budden on the call.  
• Tickets for the game are available at navysports.com and by calling 1-800-US4-NAVY. Tickets prices are $30 (End Zone General Admission), $50 (Upper Level Sideline), $60 (Lower Level Goal Line) and $75 (Lower Level Sideline). Donated tickets for midshipmen and enlisted personnel and their families are $60.
•  Navy leads the all-time series against LA Tech, 2-0, including a 37-23 win at Ruston in 2010 in the last meeting.  Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo is 2-0 all-time against LA Tech, while Skip Holtz is 0-1 all-time against Navy (lost to Navy at ECU).
•  Navy enters the Armed Forces Bowl on a three-game bowl winning streak that started in the 2013 Armed Forces Bowl.
•  Navy is 26-7 (.788) over its last 33 games. The Mids own wins over #15 Memphis (2015) and #6 Houston (2016) during that time period.
•  Navy is 14-3 (.824) against AAC teams since joining the conference in 2015.
•  Navy's senior class (`17), which boasts a 37-15 (.712) mark, is the school's all-time winningest class over a four-year period.  
•  Over the last five years, Navy is 27-2 (.931) when winning the turnover battle. One of those two losses was against Army on Dec. 10 when the Black Knights turned it over four times compared to Navy's three in Army's 21-17 win.
•  Under head coach Ken Niumatalolo, the Mids are 35-13 (.729) in the months of November and December, including an 18-5 (.783) mark over the last four years.
•  The Navy Football Tailgate Show on WNAV 1430 AM / 99.9 FM will air at 2:30 PM.
•  The Navy Football Pregame Show with Pete Medhurst, Omar Nelson, Joe Miller and Tim Murray will get underway at 3:30 PM, followed by game action beginning at 4:30 PM on the Navy Radio Network.  •  Following the contest, Medhurst, Nelson, Miller and Murray will recap the day's events in a 30-minute postgame show.

Navy 25th in The Final College Football Playoff Rankings
• Navy finished 25th in the final College Football Playoff Rankings. The Mids received votes in the final Associated Press and Coaches Polls.

Navy Goes For Back-To-Back 10-Win Seasons
•  Prior to Ken Niumatalolo taking over as the head coach, Navy had just two 10-win seasons in 127 years of football (1905 and 2004).
•  A win in the Armed Forces Bowl would give the Mids their third 10-win season in the Niumatalolo era (nine years) and it would give Navy back-to-back 10-win seasons for the first time in school history.

Consecutive Bowl Wins
•  Navy's three straight bowl wins is tied for the fifth-longest active streak in the country.
•  Marshall leads the way with five straight bowl wins, while South Carolina and Louisina-Lafayette have won four in a row.  

Bounce Back Mids
•  Navy has lost back-to-back games for the first time since 2014 when Navy lost three in a row to Rutgers (31-24), Western Kentucky (36-27) and Air Force (30-21).
• After that three-game losing streak, Navy went on to win 20 of its next 23 games.

Scouting Louisiana Tech
•  Louisiana Tech enters the Armed Forces Bowl with an 8-5 record, losing in the Conference USA Championship Game to Western Kentucky, 58-44. Like Navy, LA Tech heads into the bowl game on a two-game losing streak.
•  The Bulldogs started the year 1-3 losing to Arkansas (21-20), beating South Carolina State (53-24) and losing to Texas Tech (59-45) and Middle Tennessee State (38-34).  LA Tech  then won seven straight games, beating UTEP (28-7), Western Kentucky (55-52), UMass (56-28), Florida International (44-24), Rice (61-16), North Texas (45-24) and Texas-An Antonio (63-35), before losing the final two games to Southern Miss (39-24) and to Western Kentucky.
• LA Tech  features a prolific offense (44.0 ppg) powered by a high-flying passing attack (359.8 yds/gm).  Quarterback Ryan Higgins has completed 66 percent of his passes on the year (300-456) for 4,208 yards (3rd in the country) with 37 touchdowns (5th in the country) and just eight interceptions. Higgins is sixth in the country in passing efficiency (166.6) and eighth in completions per game (25.0).
• Higgins has two of the top receivers in the country at his disposal in Trent Taylor (124 catches for 1,570 yards, 3rd in the country, 10 touchdowns) and Carlos Henderson (72 catches for 1,406 yards, 17 touchdowns, 2nd in the country). Henderson is also averaging 30.4 yards per kickoff return, which is the seventh-best average in the country, and ranks fourth nationally in all-purpose yards per game (183.92).  He has also returned two kickoffs for a touchdown
• The running game is paced by Jarred Craft, who has rushed for 1,011 yards and nine touchdowns on 174 carries.
• The defense is led by Jordan Harris, who has 94 tackles and 2.5 tackles for a loss, and Xavier Woods, who has 81 tackles, 6.5 tackles for a loss, three sacks, five interceptions (9th in the country) and six passes broken up.
• Jonathan Barnes has been an outstanding kicker for LA Tech, making 20 of his 25 field goal attempts with a long of 54, while punter Gerald Shouse is averaging 43.0 yards per punt.
• LA Tech ranks third nationally in passing offense (359.8 yds/gm), fifth in scoring (44.0 pts/gm), sixth in first downs (327), seventh in team passing efficiency (166.3), eighth in third down conversions (.490), eighth in total offense (516.1 yds/gm) and ninth in completion percentage (.662).

These Guys Can Coach
•  Both Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo and LA Tech head coach Skip Holtz were named their respective conference's coach of the year in 2016.
•  Niumatalolo won the honor for the second consecutive year in the AAC, while Holtz won the award for Conference USA.
•  Additionally, Niumatalolo was named Region 1 Coach of the Year by the American Football Coaches Association and is one of five finalists for coach of the year.

Deep In The Heart Of Texas
•  Navy has 25 players on its roster from Texas, the most of any state.
•  Players from Texas expected to make the trip to Dallas include wide receiver Brandon Colon (Brownsville), wide receiver Taylor Jackson (Texarkana), linebacker Brandon Jones (Keller), corner Elijah Merchant (Humble), center Maurice Morris (La Porte), guard Laurent Njiki (Wylie), outside linebacker Justin Norton (Rowlett), guard Jeremiah Robbins (Arlington), linebacker Micah Thomas (Cedar Park), defensive end Anthony Villalobos (Fort Worth), slot back Tre Walker (Texarkana), defensive end Josh Webb (Plano) and guard Adam West (Spring).


 

 

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