Three Keys - Navy at Western Kentucky

At 2-0, and with only two games in the first four weeks, it is time for this season to really get going for the Mids. Navy has looked fantastic in their two wins this young season, but next up is a Western Kentucky team who may be the biggest wildcard on the entire schedule.

At 2-0, and with only two games in the first four weeks, it is time for this season to really get going for the Mids. Navy has looked fantastic in their two wins this young season, but next up is a Western Kentucky team who may be the biggest wildcard on the entire schedule. Navy will have to be at their ultra efficient best to keep the ball out of the hands of Bobby Petrino's crew, but with confidence high this is another game the Midshipmen will be expecting to win.

Here are the three keys.

1) Keep on running

After rolling for over 500 yards in total offense during each of the first two games the Mids can set a school record by going over that number for the third time in a row on Saturday. Though the aerial attack is in better shape now than it has been in over a decade the Mids bread and butter is still the downhill option game. That is exactly what they should bring against the Hilltoppers over and over and over again.

The Mids are averaging 398 yards on the ground, which is the best in the nation. Navy is also averaging at 11th in the country in yards per rushing attempt (6.03 yards) and have scored 10 rushing touchdowns in just two games. With Keenan Reynolds anchoring the running game, and just as importantly holding onto the ball, the attack has come across as being almost unstoppable thus far. With Western Kentucky replacing its entire defensive line from last year running the ball down their throat has to be priority number one.

2) Look for the interception

The key to any Petrino offense is going to be the quarterback. Unfortunately for Bobby and his staff the holdovers from the last regime just are not quite the right fit for what he wants to do. His starter against Navy will be the talented but erratic Brandon Doughty. Doughty looked good in the first game against Kentucky, but had a major melt down against Tennessee which really seems to have shaken his confidence. For the season he has five touchdowns and a 64 percent completion percentage, but he also has thrown eight interceptions. During the course of the game he will make some bad throws and put the ball up for grabs, it is important on those occasions that the Mids make him pay.

3) Be strong defensively on third down

Against Indiana the Mids were pretty bad defensively on third down allowing far too many conversions for the Hoosiers. Against Delaware the Mids were much better, but they are still no where Ken Niumatalolo wants them to be in terms of getting the opponent off of the field. Western Kentucky will not be an easy team to stop on third down as they have a big offensive line, big full backs, and a big and hard running tailback in Antonio Andrews. How the Mids cope with these challenges on third down will go a long way toward determining the outcome of the contest.

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