Time to Cure the Homecoming Blues

Homecoming weekend football hasn't exactly been a cause for celebration in Annapolis in recent times. The Midshipmen have lost the last two homecoming day matchups including a painful 38-35 reversal against East Carolina last season.

More than that, Navy has actually lost on homecoming five of the last six times, a quite perplexing number considering that generally homecoming games are scheduled against teams who the administration expects to have a better than even chance of beating. This Saturday the Mids will be hoping to reverse this recent trend when Indiana comes to town. The Hoosiers will be the first Big Ten team to play at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium since 2002 and it will be the first meeting between the two schools since 1986. Navy morale is on a high after significant back-to-back victories which have the Mids sitting at 3-3 on the year and the campus buzzing in anticipation.

For Navy to celebrate homecoming in the requisite style they will have to get past a Hoosier team which is better than their 2-4 record could even begin to suggest. Indiana's best win so far this year is over an awful UMass team (only other win is over FCS Indiana State) but some of the scores and performances in defeat will give Ken Niumatalolo cause for concern. The last two weeks the Hoosiers have been within a score of huge upsets against some of the Big Ten's best teams. Just last Saturday Indiana gave No. 8 Ohio State all they could handle as the Buckeyes escaped with a 52-49 win.

Make no mistake about it Indiana is a dangerous team. They are 15th in the country in passing yards per game and quarterback Cameron Coffman will give the Academy secondary a major test with his ability to hit find receivers no matter the coverage. Navy will have to do their usual job of controlling the time of possession and working the option. Also, the improved pass rush will have to keep making strides to get the efficient Coffman moving out of his pocket comfort zone.

Of course one piece of information which will please Navy fans is that Keenan Reynolds has been given the keys to the offense for this week at least. Reynolds, who appeared to be far more mature than his plebe status would suggest last weekend gives the Mids their best chance to win at this point. His passing proficiency was something of a revelation and his command of the option will continue to grow as he gets more comfortable with the offensive line.

All in all signs are good that Navy will have a homecoming to celebrate on Saturday. If the play of the team continues to improve at this rate it will be far from the last time the team celebrates in 2012.

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