Three Keys: Navy at East Carolina

Navy and East Carolina meet on Saturday in a battle of two teams that are riding waves of momentum. Navy is back over .500 and have won their last three, while the Pirates have won their last two and three of their last four. Both need a win to move further towards eligibility and there is a good chance that this will be one of the better under the radar games this weekend.

Navy and East Carolina meet on Saturday in a battle of two teams that are riding waves of momentum. Navy is back over .500 and have won their last three, while the Pirates have won their last two and three of their last four. Both need a win to move further towards eligibility and there is a good chance that this will be one of the better under the radar games this weekend. Here are some keys which should see the Mids travelling home with a win.

1) Stop Justin Hardy

The ECU offense has been improving all season and the Pirates have put up 40 plus in each of their last two games. Though most teams in college have a go to receiver of some sort, East Carolina takes this to the next level with the team's reliance on sophomore standout Justin Hardy. The 6-foot tall, 185 pound Hardy doesn't wow you with his physical talents, but he has caught 750 yards worth of passes in 2012 which is three times more than anyone else on the team. He also has eight of the Pirates 13 touchdown grabs.

In many ways the ECU offense runs more through Hardy than any other player. He has been especially hot as of late and has over 100 yards receiving in the last three contests. The Navy defense will need to continue its outstanding run of form to shut Hardy down and take away the Pirates greatest threat.

2) Win the turnover battle

Since Keenan Reynolds took over the starting quarterback job the Mids have been monumentally better at holding onto the ball. When playing a high powered and potentially quick strike offense like the Pirates have proven to be it is vitally important to minimize mistakes. This is true of all teams, but it is especially true for a team like Navy which values long, time of possession building drives. In a game where one mistake could be the difference between winning or losing Reynolds has to consistently make good decisions and wait for a Navy defense which has proved very opportunistic in recent weeks to make a game turning play.

3) Watch the weather

The forecast for game time on Saturday in Greenville is a 90 percent chance of rain with strong and gusty winds. Obviously if this forecast is true it shifts a heavy advantage to the Mids as it is much harder to run the air-it-out up tempo style which ECU want to play. The triple option was built for these kinds of wet and windy fall-winter days, and if the storm moves in then the Midshipmen need to take advantage of it.

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