With one hand on the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy Navy should have renewed confidence as the team heads to Mount Pleasant to take on the Central Michigan Chippewas. Here are three keys which will likely affect the outcome of the game.
1) Keenan Reynolds time is now
When Trey Miller was unable to practice on Wednesday with his nagging ankle issue it made the decision of which quarterback to start on Friday night a little easier for coach Ken Niumatalolo. When he takes the field against Central Michigan, Reynolds will become the first freshman quarterback to start for Navy since Jim Kubiak in 1991. Reynolds task is simple, do not let the stage be too big and keep playing the game you have all your life. He cannot afford to think about the expectations and intricacies of leading a college football team and instead must focus on his decision making, which has been flawless in the spot time he has he so far. If Reynolds can explode and lead the Mids to a victory over CMU then there will be a serious quarterback controversy on Monday morning. You can bet it is a problem Niumatalolo would love to have.
2) Get the offense rolling
Central Michigan is something of an unknown to Navy fans, but one thing that is certain looking at their start to the season is that they give up points. Lots of points.
The Chippewas rank 120th among FBS schools in the points against category as they average giving up almost 41 points a game. The fewest points they have given up in 2012 was 27 against FCS Southeast Missouri State and the last two weeks have seen opponents go over the half century mark. They give up yards in both the running and passing games equally (Northern Illinois ran for 407 yards) and the Navy offense should have no problems chewing through the yards and setting up plenty of red zone opportunities. Converting those opportunities into touchdowns will be the difference between a win and a loss.
3) Stop the pass
Central Michigan brings an offense to the table which is your standard MAC affair. They have a three year starting senior under center in Ryan Radcliff who can throw touchdowns in bunches (four last week against Toledo) but who also will try to force balls at times (six interceptions so far this year). The Chippewas do pass much better than they run though and the passing game is especially effective at home. If the Navy defense can take advantage of the big play opportunities, and if they can keep Radcliff quiet, then the Midshipmen will have every chance in this one.
Three Keys: Navy at Central Michigan
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