Where: Jack Stephens Field at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium -- Annapolis, Maryland
TV: CBS Sports Network
A pair of AAC teams coming off bowl appearances in 2019 who have had strange beginnings to their 2020 campaigns will square off Saturday when Navy plays host to Temple on CBS Sports Network. The Midshipmen enter with a 1-2 record that includes a pair of blowout losses and a win courtesy of the largest second-half comeback in program history. Temple, meanwhile, has not played at all and only received local approval to hold "normal" practices in mid-September.
It sets up for what could be a wild affair in a league that appears to be wide open after Memphis and UCF both lost last week. Though Navy is just 1-2 overall, it is 1-0 in AAC play after putting together a 7-1 record in league play last season. Temple could be a contender, too, as it looks to build on last season's 8-5 (5-3 AAC) record with coach Rod Carey entering his second season. Temple has won the last three meetings, including a matchup in the 2016 AAC title game. If either team wants to make it back to the league title game for the first time since then, winning Saturday will be essential.
In addition to the Midshipmen, the Army Black Knights will also be in action on Saturday afternoon when they take on The Citadel. Army enters the game with a 3-1 mark and its only loss coming at the hands of No. 11 Cincinnati. The Black Knights have been rolling up points as well, averaging 36 point per game through the first four contests. The get a Citadel team who has lost its other three matchups this season and enters its finale looking to end on a high note.
Navy: The Midshipmen started the season with a 55-3 loss to BYU that was followed by a concession from coach Ken Niumatalolo that the team had not tackled in practice as a COVID-19 precaution. Then they roared back from a 24-0 deficit to beat Tulane. But just when you thought the Midshipmen were back on the right track, they were throttled 40-7 by Air Force last week. However, Navy started its third quarterback in three games against the Falcons as Dalen Morris did not make the trip because of an undisclosed medical condition. Morris led the comeback against Tulane and has earned the starting job. But his absence against Air Force derailed the Navy offense. The senior will be back this week and should be a stabilizing force for Navy's triple-option attack.
Temple: The Owls did not add any nonconference games to replace the four they lost due to scheduling adjustments made by other conferences. That was likely due to the fact city restrictions limited how Temple could practice until last month. So here we are in October with six AAC teams having played at least three game already while Temple and Houston have yet to play at all. Fortunately for the Owls, they have a veteran quarterback in Anthony Russo and an experienced group of playmakers to rely on while things get sorted out. Running back Re'Mahn Davis ran for 936 yards and eight touchdowns while averaging 4.8 yards per carry as a freshman last season. He should be able to lift a running game that finished 98th nationally last season in yards per game.
The Temple Owls will face off against the Navy Midshipmen at 6 p.m. ET on Saturday at Jack Stephens Field at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. While the Owls were not exactly top dog last season, they did wrap up the year with a winning record of 8-5.
A pair of last-season defensive stats to keep in the back of your head while watching: Temple was 17th best in the nation (top 13%) in sacks, finishing the 2019 season with 39. As for Navy, they ranked 10th in the nation in rushing yards allowed per game, closing the year allowing only 105.8 on average.
Temple has the odds in their favor, so they'll need to guard against complacency. A win is hardly a sure thing, especially this early in the season, so expect a good game.