College Football
Preview
Navy at Houston
When: 12:00 PM ET, Friday, November 24, 2017
Where: TDECU Stadium, Houston, Texas

Second place is up for grabs in the American Athletic Conference West Division when Houston hosts Navy on Friday afternoon. The winner of the contest finishes as the runner-up to Memphis, which has clinched a spot in the AAC Championship Game.

It's not quite the same as two seasons ago when the winner would go on to play in the league title game. Both programs lament what could have been this season after suffering close losses as Navy lost four of the past five following a 5-0 start, with all four setbacks coming by 10 or fewer points, while three of Houston's four defeats are by a combined 10 points. "In three of our four losses we’ve had the ball at the end with a chance to tie or take the lead,” Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo said during his weekly conference call. “So we’re losing some closes games. In the past, we’ve won those close games.'' Houston coach Major Applewhite told reporters: "When you look at three of our four losses are by a combined 10 points . . . it’s difficult to swallow, but you’re motivated to go back and go fix those mistakes and make things better. We have to address those issues because we could have a better record than we do currently.''

TV: Noon ET, ESPN. LINE: Houston -4.5

ABOUT NAVY (6-4, 4-3 AAC): The triple-option offense once again ranks as one of the top rushing attacks in the nation, entering the week second in FBS with an average of 360.5 yards per game. Quarterback Zach Abey leads the attack with 1,289 yards and 14 touchdowns on the ground. Slotback Malcolm Perry is averaging 9.6 yards per carry, rushing for 736 yards and seven touchdowns, but his status is unclear after missing last week's game with an ankle injury.

ABOUT HOUSTON (6-4, 4-3): The Cougars have used three different starting quarterbacks this season - utilizing Kyle Allen, Kyle Postma and D'Eriq King, who has opened the past two games after taking the reigns during an upset of South Florida on Oct. 28. The trio has combined for a 69.5 percent completion percentage, fourth in FBS. All three have recorded at least one 300-yard passing game while each has thrown for more than 600 yards on the year.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Navy boasts a record of 28-2 over the past five seasons when holding a positive turnover ratio. The Midshipmen have won the turnover battle just once this season, holding a plus-two advantage in a victory against Air Force.

2. Houston WR Linell Bonner needs 13 receptions to move in to eighth on the school's all-time list. Bonner is tied for seventh in the nation averaging 7.2 catches per game.

3. Navy leads the nation in average time of possession at 36 minutes, 29 seconds. In last week's loss to Notre Dame, the Midshipmen help the ball for 42:42 -best in the Niumatalolo era.

PREDICTION: Houston 33, Navy 31
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W‑L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf Conf
Navy 6-4 L1 32.0 29.7 4-1 2-3 1-1 0-0 4-3
Houston 6-4 L1 28.8 23.9 3-2 3-2 3-0 3-2 4-3
Last Meeting
Navy Houston
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
10/8/16 HOU 40 NAVY 46 382 306 76 484 125 359
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Navy W. Worth 60.0 76 2 0
Houston G. Ward 64.0 359 3 2
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Navy W. Worth 32 115 3.6 1
Houston G. Ward 17 94 5.5 1
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Navy D. Bonner 2 42 21.0 1
Houston L. Bonner 9 117 13.0 0
Touchdowns Player TD
Navy D. Bonner 1
Houston D. Birden 2
Season
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Navy Z. Abey 42.4 758 7 7
Houston K. Postma 66.5 1125 5 6
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Navy Z. Abey 262 1289 4.9 14
Houston D. Catalon 131 594 4.5 8
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Navy T. Carmona 13 341 26.2 4
Houston L. Bonner 65 752 11.6 4
Touchdowns Player TD
Navy Z. Abey 15
Houston D. Catalon 9
Quickchart Matchup
Navy Navy Off vs  Houston Houston Def
Navy 453.4 yards
Houston 430.2 yards
Navy 5.6 yards/rush
Houston 3.8 yards/rush
Navy 10.4 yards/attempt
Houston 6.9 yards/attempt
Houston Houston Off vs  Navy Navy Def
Houston 441.7 yards
Navy 401.8 yards
Houston 4.8 yards/rush
Navy 4.8 yards/rush
Houston 7.6 yards/attempt
Navy 8.8 yards/attempt