Navy Midshipmen (2-2) vs. Kent State Golden Flashes (1-4)
Kickoff: 1:30 p.m. at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
TV/Radio: CSTV; 980-AM, 1090-AM, 1430-AM.
Last Meeting: Navy beat the Golden Flashes, 48-28, in 1999.
Series: Navy leads, 4-0.
Importance: Navy moved into the driver's seat to win the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy for the third consecutive season by posting a 27-24 victory over Air Force last week and can take another step toward earning the six wins needed to become bowl-eligible.
Outlook: The Midshipmen enter with momentum after sophomore Joey Bullen kicked a 46-yard, game-winning field goal with four-tenths of a second remaining against Air Force last week. Kent State, which was idle last week, is on a three-game losing streak and its only victory was against winless Southeast Missouri State.
Navy's offense averages 28.2 points and should have no trouble moving the ball against Kent State, which has given up an average of 453 yards of total offense and 30 points per game.
Navy's biggest concern is not suffering a letdown after last week. "After losing our first two games, we have dug ourselves out of a hole, but we still haven't accomplished any of our goals," Coach Paul Johnson said. "We're playing with a lot more confidence now, and when you have a young team, that's very important."
Navy senior quarterback Lamar Owens is coming off the best performance of his career, completing 8 of 12 passes for 171 yards with a touchdown and an interception and rushing for 64 yards on 20 carries.
Junior receiver Jason Tomlinson established himself as a deep threat by catching four passes for a career-high 114 yards -- the most by a Navy player since 2002. Sophomore slotback Reggie Campbell rushed for 49 yards on three carries, highlighted by a 40-yard touchdown that tied the game at 24 with 2 minutes 22 seconds left.
"Beating Air Force was a huge win, but we really need to keep it going because we're still only 2-2," Campbell said. "One of our biggest goals is to play in a bowl game, and we still need to win more games to do that, so any game we play is important. We're not going to overlook any team."
Kent State redshirt sophomore quarterback Michael Machen (94 of 182 for 1,049 yards, 6 touchdowns, 9 interceptions) leads a pass-oriented offense featuring six receivers who have at least 14 receptions, led by senior Derrick Bush (21 catches, 242 yards, 2 touchdowns) and redshirt junior Najah Pruden (17 catches, 363 yards, 3 touchdowns). Freshman Jerry Flowers, who has rushed for 104 yards and two touchdowns on 30 carries, is the team's only running back with more than 40 yards.
"We gave up too many big plays against Air Force, and that's something we have to get better at," said Navy junior inside linebacker Rob Caldwell, who made a career-high 21 tackles last week. "We need to play good defense for four quarters, and that's something we haven't done yet."
-- Jon Gallo