All Hands On Deck, Navy Football Is Back!

| September 1, 2017

Navy and Florida Atlantic will meet for the second time overall and for the first time since 2012 when they square off on Friday night at FAU Stadium in Boca Raton, Florida. Kickoff is set for 8:00 PM. Friday’s game will be televised nationally by ESPNU.

This game is primed for drama and garners the national spotlight for many reasons. Navy is coming off of a nine win season that saw them capture the AAC West Division title. The Midshipmen have either shared (with Houston) or won outright the AAC West Division crown in each of their first two years in the conference. They join Florida, Clemson, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Temple, Western Kentucky, Western Michigan, San Diego State and Alabama as the only teams to do so in each of the last two years.

Despite winning the division, the Mids are looking to bounce back from a disappointing end to the 2016 season. While Navy’s nine wins were tied for fifth most in school history, and just the 16th time in 136 years that Navy has won nine or more games in a season, the Mids enter 2017 on a three game losing streak. The losses came at the hands of the Temple Owls in the AAC Championship game in Annapolis, the Army Black Knights in Baltimore where Navy lost their first Army-Navy game in 14 years, and the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs in the Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth, Texas. This is the longest such streak since a three game losing streak in 2014.  The Mids won 26 of their next 31 games after the previous three-game losing streak.

Coming off of a different kind of disappointing season that saw the FAU Owls post a 3-9 record, former Alabama Offensive Coordinator Lane Kiffin was hired as the Owls new Head Coach. Kiffin left the Alabama Crimson Tide in December just a week before the National Title game where the Clemson Tigers defeated Alabama 35-31. Kiffin has drawn a tremendous amount national attention for his ability to develop quarterbacks, including Jalen Hurt, the first freshman quarterback to start under Nick Saban. Under Kiffin, all Hurt managed to do was post a modest record 13-1 record and win the SEC Title, earning Freshman All-American honors as well as the SEC Offensive player of the year and SEC Freshman of the Year awards along the way.

Kiffin has a storied coaching career, having worked his way through the USC Trojans offensive coaching ranks (01′-06′), where the team won the PAC-10 Championship five times and two national Championships (the 2004 Championship was vacated as part of disciplinary sanctions from the NCAA). After a brief stint as the Oakland Raiders Head Coach (07′-08′) and one year as the Head Coach Tennessee Volunteers (09′), Kiffin returned to USC as the Head Coach in 2010. During the two-year (10’-11′) USC NCAA Football postseason ban, Kiffin was essential in the development of quarterback Matt Barkley. Barkley was a likely 1st round draft pick before suffering an injury to his throwing shoulder against UCLA after returning to the school for his senior season. In 2014, Kiffin became the Offensive Coordinator for Alabama, helping the Crimson Tide win three SEC Championships and a National Title in 2015. With such an impressive resume, the expectations are high for an Owls team that went 2-6 in a struggling Conference USA last season.

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About the Author ()

Kevin Chaney was born and raised in Pasadena, MD. He enlisted in the United States Navy in 2007 and served on board the USS Nimitz until 2012. He is now attending the University of Maryland. Follow him on his blog at http://kchaneyreporting.wixsite.com/sports