The 2019 Liberty Bowl preview matches The Naval Academy and Kansas State. In this day and time, it’s not easy to know if teams will actually care about or show up for a bowl game. It’s a good bet these teams will show up. The Kansas State Wildcats come in with an 8-4 record. The Navy Midshipmen sport a 10-2 record. With that being said, this is the 2019 Liberty Bowl preview.
Liberty Bowl Preview
Kansas State Wildcats
First, Kansas State had an up and down season. However, the Wildcats were competitive in every game with the exception of Big XII championship runner up, Baylor. As a season highlight, the Wildcats also boast a victory over CFB playoff participant Oklahoma. Kansas State finished conference play in a four-way tie for third place.
Important to note, Kansas State continued the same style of play under first-year head coach Chris Klieman. Klieman comes to Manhattan after an extremely successful stint at North Dakota State. Similarly, Kansas State continues to play hard-nosed defense and a ball-control style on offense. On offense, the Wildcats are led by hard-nosed junior quarterback Skylar Thompson. Additionally, the key for a Wildcat victory will be contingent on how well they defend the Navy running game.
Naval Academy Midshipmen
Navy always comes prepared to play in bowl competition. The Midshipmen are well coached by Ken Niumatalolo. In fact, Niumatalolo has been head coach of Navy from 2007 to present.
First, Navy is led on offense by record-setting rushing quarterback Malcolm Perry. Perry rushed for 304 yards against Army, the most rushing yards by an individual in the storied history of Army/Navy. The Midshipmen do not throw the ball much, they were one for one against Army.
Navy showed tremendous improvement over the 2018 defensive unit this year. Navy finished in second place in the very competitive American Athletic Conference West. In fact, the only conference loss Navy suffered was to conference champion Memphis.
The Final Word
In summation, this should be a very interesting and competitive game. It would be surprising if either of these teams were unprepared to play. The Wildcats have a history of playing well in bowl games in recent years. Comparatively, there is little doubt that Navy will come in ready to play. After all, the military is all about discipline.
The key for Kansas State will be to keep the ball out of the hands of the Navy offense. The Wildcats will need to win the battle defensively on first down. Without question the Wildcats will need to keep a spy on Perry, he is the key to the Navy offense. With this in mind, Kansas State will definitely need to win the turnover battle, they can’t give Navy a short field.
Comparatively, as for Navy, the keys are very similar. In order to be successful, the Midshipmen need to control the ball on offense, limit turnovers, as well as win the battle of first down.
Nevertheless, Navy is a very difficult team to prepare for in a short period of time. The Midshipmen run an option attack that very few teams use. Even so, Navy is very disciplined and rarely commits pre or post-snap penalties. Finally, barring multiple turnovers by the Midshipmen or a costly injury they should coast to a victory.
Navy 37, Kansas State 23.