Three reasons to watch the Military Bowl: Pittsburgh vs. Navy

Navy narrowly missed out on a New Year's Six bowl, but the Midshipmen are pursuing the first 11-win season in school history.

Pittsburgh has an opportunity to win nine games for the first time since 2009.

Here are three reasons to watch the Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman, set for 2:30 p.m. ET on Monday in Annapolis, Maryland.

1. It's the last college game for the FBS career rushing-touchdowns leader.

And Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds might own three major records by the time the game ends. Reynolds holds the FBS mark with 85 career rushing scores, and with three touchdowns against Pittsburgh he will become the FBS career touchdown record-holder. With 81 rushing yards, Reynolds will eclipse Denard Robinson's 4,495 career rushing yards, the most in FBS history by a quarterback.

For all of Reynolds' individual marks, he is the consummate team player. Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo heaps more praise on his quarterback for his off-field skills than for what he does on the field.

2. Pittsburgh's freshmen stars are among the best in the country.

Tyler Boyd probably will forgo his senior season to enter the NFL draft, so the bowl will provide a showcase for the Panthers' future leaders. True freshman Jordan Whitehead plays on both sides of the ball, but he is already one of the premier defensive backs in the ACC. He finished his first season with 98 tackles -- 5.5 for loss -- six pass breakups and a forced fumble.

Whitehead shared the ACC coaches' rookie of the year award with running back Qadree Ollison, his teammate. Reigning ACC player of the year James Conner suffered a knee injury in the season opener and was lost for the season. Ollison entered that game and rushed for 207 yards, and he finished his redshirt freshman campaign with 1,048 yards and 10 touchdowns.

3. Pittsburgh's defense might be able to slow down Navy.

No team ran as much as Navy in 2015, as the Midshipmen rushed on an FBS-high 85 percent of their plays. Their 48 rushing touchdowns led the country, and their average of 319.2 rush yards per game ranks third.

Pittsburgh doesn't offer much room to opponents' rushing attacks, ranking 20th in rushing yards allowed per game (126.1). Is that number misleading, though? When eliminating the yardage from sacks, Pitt drops to 30th in rush defense and stands 94th in yards per rush.

And Pittsburgh wasn't terrific against the option when it played Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets ran for 376 yards at 9.4 per carry in the Panthers' 31-28 victory on Oct. 17. The defense did tighten up in the second half, and with the added preparation time, perhaps Pitt's defense will be better against Navy's attack.