The Navy Midshipmen (2-0) travel to New Orleans to face Tulane (1-1) looking for their first win in the city since 1994. The win would also mean the Mids would be starting 3-0 in back-to-back seasons for the first time since the 1978 and '79 seasons. As you can see there is a lot on the line and that is without even mentioning that this is a conference game that Navy needs to win.
Here is a look at the three keys for the Mids as they travel down south:
1) Win the rushing battle
Most weeks dominating on the ground is not an issue for Navy. This is not most weeks, however, as Tulane is coaches by Willie Fritz. Fritz orchastrated the Georgia Southern option attack that was that only offense in the country to rush for more yards per game than Navy last year and it looks like he is quickly turning Tulane into the same kick of offensive team. Add in that Tulane did a great job of controlling the option against Navy last fall when the Mids ran for just 133 yards (almost 200 yards below the season average) and you can see why it may be a struggle to control the game on the ground this weekend.
2) Shore up the pass defense
The Mids pass defense through two games has been less than stellar. The back seven should get something of a break this week as Tulane doesn't throw the ball that much, and isn't very good when the do, but if the Tulane quarterbacks are able to move the ball through the air then the warning sign for the rest of the season will be flashing big and red. Navy let UConn quarterback Bryant Shirreffs, who is far from the best passer in the nation, complete 23-of-26 passes last Saturday after giving up over 300 yards through the air to Fordham. The pass defense is the most worrying area of the team right now.
3) Put together a complete game
Navy was up 21-0 against UConn (it should have been 24-0) when the team pretty much stopped playing and allowed the Huskies back into the game. The 2015 Navy squad had a killer instinct when they had an opponent on the ropes and it is one that this new roster must learn quickly as in college football today with the scoring power of the offenses involved no lead is safe. Navy needs to put together a complete game effort, keeping the pressure on if they are ahead or chasing down the result if they are behind. Ken Niumatalolo is a stickler for these kinds of things so expect to see a more conssitant perfomance on Saturday.