WHO: Navy (6-6) vs. Virginia (6-6)
WHAT: The 10th Military Bowl Presented by Northrop Grumman
WHEN: 1:30 p.m. ET on ESPN
WHERE: Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, Maryland
THE SKINNY: Navy will get a chance to play a home game in the bowl season, but this is just about the perfect matchup the Military Bowl would have hoped for. With one team from Maryland and the other from Virginia, the Military Bowl should have quite a lively atmosphere this season as the Midshipmen play at home against the improving Virginia Cavaliers from the ACC.
Virginia became bowl eligible for the first time since 2011 in the second season under head coach Bronco Mendenhall. While the Cavs still have a good amount of room to improve on offense, quarterback Kurt Benkert has thrown for over 3,000 yards and 25 touchdowns this season. Virginia will need to have a good showing from their quarterback against an average Navy pass defense if the Cavaliers are to win their first bowl game since 2005.
The key for Navy will be milking as much of the clock as possible and wearing down Virginia’s defense. Malcolm Perry made a splash in the Army-Navy Game as Navy’s quarterback and looks to continue to grow as Navy’s starting quarterback in the Military Bowl leading the Midshipmen with their signature option offense. Don’t expect Abey to throw a pass too often, but when he does he will have to be careful not to make a mistake. Virginia’s defense has a couple of first-team All-ACC players in linebacker Micah Kiser (this year’s Campbell Trophy winner) and safety Quin Blanding that could pose trouble for Navy.
Virginia has seen an option offense before this season, and that one worked out well for them. Virginia took a 40-36 victory against Georgia Tech in the second half of the season. This one could develop into a similarly high scoring game, but don’t count on that being the case. Navy will work to keep this one a little lower scoring with the hope of being able to sustain some long scoring drives in the second half on their home field. In the end, however, Virgina may have a few more big plays go in their favor.
THE PICK: Virginia 27, Navy 23
In a statement, Kansas State has confirmed the passing of head coach Bill Snyder‘s grandson and assistant coach Sean Snyder‘s son.
Emergency personnel were called to the home of Matthew Snyder Wednesday afternoon for what was described as a medical emergency. Other than the 22-year-old was deceased, no further details of the events surrounding his death have been released.
While neither of the long-time Wildcats coaches have, understandably, addressed the tragedy, K-State athletic director Gene Taylor did in a statement.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Snyder family during this very difficult time. We are deeply saddened to learn of this news and ask that the family’s privacy continue to be respected. Sean, Wanda, and the entire Snyder family are greatly appreciative of the outpouring of support displayed by the K-State Family as they cope with this tragedy.
This one seemingly comes from out of nowhere.
The starting quarterback for Lane Kiffin‘s resurgent FAU program for most of 2017, Jason Driskel was hoping again to trigger one of the most potent offenses in the country in 2018. Instead, Driskel announced on his personal Twitter account that he is retiring from the sport.
“After a lot of thinking, talking with friends and family, and prayer, I have made the decision to end my college football career,” Driskel, who has one year of eligibility remaining, wrote in the social media missive. “I undoubtedly will miss my teammates and the game with all of its trials and tribulations; but I will not regret the decision to move into the next chapter of my life.”
After going 1-2 the first three games of the 2017 season, Lane Kiffin benched starter Daniel Parr and inserted Driskel. After losing his first start at Buffalo, Driskel proceeded to help lead the Owls to 10 straight wins to close out the regular season with a school-record 11 wins. FAU won the Conference USA championship and also claimed the program’s first bowl win since 2008 for good measure.
Driskel passed for 2,247 yards, five touchdowns and just four interceptions in what turned out to be his last season at the school. He was also third on the Owls with 427 yards rushing, while his eight rushing touchdowns were second on the team.
With Driskel out, a pair of transfers, Florida State’s De'Andre Johnson and Oklahoma’s Chris Robinson, will likely battle for the starting job beginning in the spring. Even if he hadn’t retired, Driskel would’ve had to beat out that duo for the starting job, his head coach confirmed after the Boca Raton Bowl rout of Akron.
Tragedy has struck at the heart of the Kansas State football program.
According to the Manhattan Mercury, 22-year-old Matthew Snyder died Wednesday in Manhattan. Snyder is the grandson of legendary K-State head coach Bill Snyder and the son of longtime Wildcats assistant Sean Snyder.
Scant details surrounding the younger Snyder’s death have been released. From the Mercury‘s report:
Emergency personnel responded to a medical call Wednesday afternoon in the 3300 block of Claflin Avenue in Manhattan. Riley County police confirmed that there had been a death but declined to give any further information.
The house at 3309 Claflin Ave. belongs to KTMW LLC, which is owned by Sean and Wanda Snyder, according to county records.
The football program is expected to release a statement or statements on Matthew Snyder’s passing later on Thursday.
Our thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to those affected by the young man’s death.
Wednesday evening, Jeff George Jr. announced that he was leaving the Illinois football program as a graduate transfer. A short time later, another of his fellow Fighting Illini quarterbacks confirmed his exit as well — albeit with a twist.
On his personal Twitter account, Chayce Crouch announced that not only is he leaving the Illini but he’s leaving the sport, period. “I don’t think there’s anything left to give,” the redshirt junior wrote. “I have decided to hang up the cleats and end my career as a Fighting Illini.
“At this point in my life, this is what is best for me.”
Crouch started the first four games of the 2017 season before being benched in favor of George Jr. in early October; he started another game later on in the year. The Ohio native finishes his collegiate career completing 78 of his 157 passes for 852 yards, four touchdowns and six interceptions. He also ran for 360 yards and another four touchdowns on 108 carries.
With the departures of Crouch and George, rising sophomore Cam Thomas is the only scholarship quarterback currently on the Illini’s roster. A three-star recruit signed last December, MJ Rivers, won’t enroll until the summer. There’s also the possibility of adding another recruit during the “usual” February signing period, and there’s also the possibility (probability?) that a graduate transfer at the position will be added as well.