Three Keys - Navy vs Hawaii

Ken Niumatalolo gets to welcome his alma mater to Annapolis on Saturday as the Mids play host to the Hawaii Warriors. Those fond memories will have to take a backseat though this weekend as Navy need to pick themselves up from the gut wrenching loss at Notre Dame to get back on track for the postseason.

Ken Niumatalolo gets to welcome his alma mater to Annapolis on Saturday as the Mids play host to the Hawaii Warriors. Those fond memories will have to take a backseat though this weekend as Navy needs to pick themselves up from the gut wrenching loss at Notre Dame to get back on track for the postseason.

Here are the three keys.

1) Sound pass defense

Hawaii are 0-8, but this is a far better team than the Hawaii squad of the last couple of seasons. Before the disappointing 47-10 loss against Utah State last week (Hawaii arrived just 12 hours before kickoff because of the shooting at LAX) Warrior quarterback Sean Schroeder had passed for at least 321 yards for five straight weeks. This team loves to throw the ball and has averaged less than 40 passes in a game just once all year. Navy may be able to skew those numbers a little just because option football will eat into the Islanders time of possession, but the defensive backs better come ready to play on Saturday.

2) Keep the penalty and mistake count low

The Mids have shown all year long that they are one of the most disciplined teams in the nation. There is little doubt that Keenan Reynolds and the option offense will be able to move the ball on Hawaii, so it is one of those classic cases where the Mids can only stop themselves. The fumble at the end of the Notre Dame game is an obvious example of how mistakes are magnified at this level of football, and Navy cannot let Hawaii get a foothold in this game by committing penalties and turning the ball over. If Navy is level or better in the turnover column and commits its usual three or less penalties then it is hard to see them losing.

3) Run the ball

It is obvious, I know, but one of the biggest keys to the game is to get the running game going like it was last week. After a loss like the one in South Bend there is always the worry of a slight hangover so Navy needs to come out strong and establish the tempo of the game. The Mids average 297 yards per game on the ground and last week they went for 331 on the number 42 run defense in the country. Hawaii is not at the Notre Dame level of defense, but they do have some big men upfront who will need to be moved for the Mids schemes to be effective.

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