Three Keys - Navy at San Jose State

The Midshipmen travel way out west to San Jose for a rare Friday night game this weekend. With two wins on the bounce already it would be nice if the Mids could go out on Friday and pick up another victory to take a huge swell of momentum into both the clash with Army and the bowl game. With the game being shown nationally on ESPN2 it is time for Navy the show what they have going on in Annapolis.

The Midshipmen travel way out west to San Jose for a rare Friday night game this weekend. With two wins on the bounce already it would be nice if the Mids could go out on Friday and pick up another victory to take a huge swell of momentum into both the clash with Army and the bowl game. With the game being shown nationally on ESPN2 it is time for Navy the show what they have going on in Annapolis.

Here are the three keys to victory.

1) Come ready to play

Short of playing a team ranked in the top 25 this is about the toughest draw Navy could have this weekend. The Mids are travelling across the country on a short week. They are facing a team desperate for a win to reach bowl eligibility as their last game is against undefeated Fresno State. They have had just three days to practice for an unusual Friday night game. They are facing a team they have never beaten. All this with the specter of the Army game looming in the background. The Mids have to come out fast and not let San Jose State dictate the tempo of the game. This is a game that could be decided one way or another in the first quarter if one of the teams isn't in the mood to play.

2) Keep on running

This game features two teams who want to do wildly different things when they have the ball on offense. San Jose State has a legitimate NFL prospect at quarterback in David Fales and they like to air out the ball. The Spartans rank 11th in the country in passing yards per game (325) but it is worth noting that Fales is down a little on last year's touchdown pace, and that he has already thrown more picks this year that he did last fall.

Thus a good way of winning this for Navy is to keep the ball out of Fales hands by running the ball all day long. The Spartans give up over 200 yards rushing per game, while Navy is up to fifth in the country in yards on the ground averaging over 308 per contest. When you put those figures together it is not hard to see where the advantage is for the Mids in this one and I would expect them to run the ball right at San Jose State all night long.

3) Get a body on Keith Smith

Anyone who knows that the leading tackler in the country is Keith Smith of San Jose State should go get themselves a gold star right now. Smith has a ridiculous 137 tackles on the season (eight tackles for a loss) which averages out to almost 14 tackles per contest. With the option coming to town Smith can expect plenty of work as he is an excellent sideline-to-sideline tackler. It will be vitally important that the Navy linemen are able to get to the second level and put a body on the tackling machine to give the running backs room to work.

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