Seven keys for Army against Navy

The big game, Army vs. Navy, is a week away. The Black Knights (3-8) will try to avoid a seventh straight loss to their arch rival. With the classic approaching, armysports.com lists seven keys for Army to pull out a much needed win in Philadelphia.

1. Avoid getting burned by the big play: The Black Knights have been cut open by big plays, not to mention turnovers, during its skid against the Midshipmen. Army played with Navy early during last year's 38-3 loss.

But with 46 seconds left in the first quarter, Zerbin Singleton broke off a 38-yard touchdown run to give Navy a 7-0 lead. Reggie Campbell's 98-yard kickoff return midway through the second quarter made it 14-3. The Black Knights trailed 24-3 at halftime.

2. Don't get coached under the table: Todd Berry, John Mumford, Bobby Ross, and Stan Brock couldn't match wits with Navy coach Paul Johnson, now leading the resurrection of Georgia Tech.

Johnson's replacement/disciple, Ken Niumatalolo, is no slouch, either. Navy is 7-4 under his watch and headed to another bowl game. For once, Army has to win the play calling and strategy war.

3. Take the lead: And hold it. Army has taken modest leads, 3-0, 7-0, 7-3 etc. in the first quarter during Navy's run. The key to winning, obviously, is stretching one of those leads out later in the game. Make Navy sweat a little for once.

4. Unleash Mooney: During Army's snide against Navy, the Black Knights have never possessed a weapon like Mooney. He is the key to Army's ball control offense and, if he goes off, the Black Knights likely will be in a position to win.

Mooney has 1,285 yards this year and needs only 54 more to break Mike Mayweather's all-time record of 1,338 set in 1990.

5. Make Ricky sweat: Sophomore Ricky Dobbs, who could start for Navy against Army, made his starting debut last week against Northern Illinois, rushing for 124 yards and a touchdown in a 16-0 win.

Dobbs is a dangerous talent, but maybe he will succumb to the pressure of the Army-Navy game. If not, Army needs to help with the pressure, throwing the kitchen sink at the Dobbs.

6. Chip away: Army's sophomore quarterback Chip Bowden has been a bright spot this season, at times, showing that there could be bright spots at West Point in the coming years.

Things will seem even brighter if Bowden can put up a big game against Navy. He can run the option and, most of all, needs to hold on to the pigskin.

7. Get it done on defense: Army's defense has looked good in previous years entering the Navy game, only to disappoint. But this unit could be the best the Black Knights has fielded since the Midshipmen's dominance began. Army's defense has to keep Navy's option offense and make some big game-changing plays of their own.


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