Three Keys: Indiana at Navy

Navy is at the beginning of a possible roll which could see the Mids become bowl eligible. There are many winnable games left on the schedule, but a win over a Big Ten team on homecoming weekend would rank up there with any victory that Navy could pull this year. Here are three keys which will likely help determine the game.

Navy is at the beginning of a possible roll which could see the Mids become bowl eligible. There are many winnable games left on the schedule, but a win over a Big Ten team on homecoming weekend would rank up there with any victory that Navy could pull this year. Here are three keys which will likely help determine the game.

1) Play bend but don't break defense

There comes a point in the season where trends and averages become important. We are now at that point. With that in mind it is hard to overlook that the Indiana offense coming to town this weekend is far and away better than anyone (including the Indiana coaching staff) ever thought it could be. The Hoosiers average 473 yards and 36 points a game, on a schedule that has thus far included both Michigan State and Ohio State.

The fact that the team can roll up yards on anyone means that it is unlikely that the Navy defense (no matter how well they are playing) is simply going to shut down an offense this potent. That is why this weekend the Mids must focus on being a bend but don't break style defense. Giving up yards between the twenties is fine, but big plays must be eliminated and the D must firm up in the red zone. Yards are fine to give up, but drives must be held to field goals or be ended with timely takeaways.

2) Make Indiana stop the run

As good as the Hoosiers' offense is there is a reason that the team is 2-4 and winless in the Big Ten. Simply put, Indiana cannot stop the run and they are ranked 109th in the nation giving up almost 222 yards on the ground. Navy may not have totally found the rushing attack that Ken Niumatalolo would like yet (17th in the country) but the 231 yards per should be exceeded this weekend. If Navy can run the ball, control the clock, and keep the Indiana offense off the field then the Mids will be in excellent shape.

3) The continued maturation of Keenan Reynolds

The word "phenom" is often used loosely. In the case of Keenan Reynolds, however, there is some justification to the praise. Reynolds has turned around the fortunes of the Midshipmen season in large part because he has been able to do what Trey Miller could not, chiefly not turn over the ball. As a freshman it is only natural that Reynolds will improve on a game by game basis and his development will be key to the Academy for the foreseeable future. If Reynolds can play mistake free football while working the nuances of the option attack then Navy should win on Saturday.

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