Three Keys - Navy at Duke

As far as anyone knows the Duke game is going ahead so it looks like it is preview time. The Mids took care of Air Force last weekend to move to 3-1 and are now looking ahead to the possibility of the first 4-1 start since 2006. To do that the Mids are going to have to go on the road and take out the Blue Devils in their own back yard.

As far as anyone knows the Duke game is going ahead so it looks like it is preview time. The Mids took care of Air Force last weekend to move to 3-1 and are now looking ahead to the possibility of the first 4-1 start since 2006. To do that the Mids are going to have to go on the road and take out the Blue Devils in their own back yard.

Here are the three keys.

1) Start fast

Navy was relatively slow out of the blocks against Air Force and if the Falcons had been able to turn some of their big first half drives into touchdowns then it could have been a very different game. Duke has faced the option once already in 2013, losing 38-14 to Georgia Tech in a game which the Yellow Jackets dominated in the first half before being slowed considerably after the break. With those two factors in mind it is even more important than normal that Navy start fast and do a much better job in the first half than they did last weekend. The fact that Duke had a week off to prepare for the option is something of a worry and their ability to stay assignment sound early is going to be a major key.

2) Bend but don't break

One of the biggest aspects on the 3-1 start has been the play of the defense under Buddy Green. The Mids rank 22nd in the country in scoring defense and are allowing just 17.8 points a game. Once again the key will be to bend but not break, so expect Duke to have a long drive or two before Navy tries to stiffen up in the red zone. Navy has guys making plays on every level of the defense, so the likes of Chris Johnson, Cody Peterson, and Parrish Gaines will have to play well for the Mids to keep Duke to field goals rather than touchdowns.

3) Win the turnover battle

Turnovers win or lose football games and so far in 2013 Navy has done a great job of holding on to the ball. The Mids are +3 in the giveaway/takeaway column, a fantastic achievement seeing as though the option run game has a propensity to increase the number of fumbles. If Navy plays smart football with sound fundamentals then they should be able to keep the turnovers to a minimum once again. On the flip side the defense has done a good job going after the ball especially when it is in the air. Navy players have picked off six passes in 2013 and this would be a great game for someone to pick one off and take it to the house for the first time this fall.

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