Three Keys Revisited – Navy vs East Carolina

Navy dominated ECU on Saturday in a 45-21 victory. The win in the first conference game in Navy football history was a momentous one, but the game belonged once again to the record setting feats of quarterback Keenan Reynolds. Reynolds rushed for another five touchdowns, giving him 70 for his career which is the fourth most in FBS history.

The five touchdowns is also the most rushing in any AAC game and his 13 games of three touchdowns or more is the most in NCAA history.

Here is a look back at how the three keys played out in this Navy victory:

1) Stop running back Chris Hairston - Pass

Navy needed to keep running back Chris Hairston more to his 17 rushes for 15 yards (Florida) performance than his 18 rushes for 154 yards and four touchdowns (Towson) performance. Navy coped with Hairston well, holding the senior to 38 yards on 10 carries with no touchdowns. The Mids defense was stout against the run all day, with the ECU backs and quarterback combining to be held for just 80 yards with zero touchdowns on the day.

2) Ride the fullbacks - Pass

Reynolds has rightfully grabbed the headlines with his 24 carries for 142 yards and five touchdowns performance, but it was the fullbacks once again who set out the stall for Navy and kept the chains moving on possession after possession. Chris Swain rushed for 123 yards and a touchdown and Quentin Ezell averages five yards per carry as they bullied the ECU defense right up the gut. The Navy fullbacks this year just do not go down on first contact and as long as they continue to run like this Navy is going to be very, very difficult to beat.

3) Win the time of possession battle – Pass

Navy won the time of possession battle against ECU by having the ball for 36:38 versus 23:22 for the Pirates. When Navy controls the ball for this amount of time in a game it is very rare that the Mids lose and the possession rushing attack of Navy proved to be too much for the possession passing attack of ECU. One of the big differences in tipping the time of possession was turnovers, with ECU coughing up possession twice while Navy had zero turnovers on the day.

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