Three Keys - Navy vs South Alabama

The Midshipmen close out their home football schedule on Saturday afternoon with the visit of the South Alabama Jaguars. With just three games of the season left to play the Mids (5-4) are still one win away from bowl eligibility, something that the team is looking to put to rest in Annapolis this weekend.

The Midshipmen close out their home football schedule on Saturday afternoon with the visit of the South Alabama Jaguars. With just three games of the season left to play the Mids (5-4) are still one win away from bowl eligibility, something that the team is looking to put to rest in Annapolis this weekend. The Jaguars (3-5) may have a losing record, but they are a young and hungry team who want to make a statement and ruin Senior Day for the Mids.

Here are the three keys that will prevent that happening.

1) Red zone scoring

It seems that every team Navy has played in 2013 has been coming off of a bye week and the Jaguars are no different. South Alabama has been working defensive drills against the option for two weeks now, so the execution and speed at which the Mids are able to operate will be very important. Neither team has the athletes on defense to completely shut their opponents down, so the Jaguars will be employing the very same bend but don't break defensive philosophy that Navy has used all year long. Whoever can make the most of their red zone scoring chances, converting with touchdowns and not field goals, will be in prime position to win this game.

2) Big plays on offense

The Jags are averaging over 437 total offensive yards and 29 points per game, so it is clear they are good enough to score on the Mids. They run a two quarterback system which keeps defenses on their toes as you have to be fully aware which quarterback is in the game as well each player's tendencies. Navy has obviously been able to grind out a lot of wins this year while wearing down their foe physically over the full 60 minutes of football. While this will be true on Saturday too this is the kind of game where Navy can make those big plays of 15+ yards happen more regularly. Look for whichever team has more big plays on offense to win.

3) Expect to be pushed to the wire

As mentioned before, South Alabama is 3-5. What was not mentioned before is that they are a handful of points away from being 7-1 (or even unbeaten). Their losses this year have come by 1, 7 (Tennessee), 1, 2, and 1 points respectively. Even two of their wins have come by less than a touchdown. This is a good team which has real trouble closing out games, but they are in EVERY contest in the fourth quarter. Navy will have to play one of their best fourth quarters of the year to either come from behind or put this one away late.

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