Head to head: Navy vs. Pittsburgh

Next up for Navy is Pittsburgh. GoMids.com compares different critical team areas of Navy and Pittsburgh and indicates which team has the edge.

NAVY
EDGE
AREA
Pittsburgh
EDGE
COMMENTS
EVEN  
Navy rushing offense
vs.
Pittsburgh rushing defense
EVEN  
This is the key battle for Saturday's match up. The Midshipmen are averaging 238 yards per game on the ground. The Panthers' defense is giving up on average only 56.5 yards per game on the ground.  
EVEN  
Navy passing offense
vs.
Pittsburgh passing defense
EVEN  
Panthers' middle linebacker Adam Gunn (6-2, 230, Sr.) is a one man wrecking crew. He leads the team in tackles with 19, tackles for loss with 5.5 and sacks with 5. The 5 sacks are second most in the nation. As a team the Panthers are tied for 8th in the nation with an average of 4.5 sacks per game. But when they don't get to the quarterback, there have been problems. Pittsburgh has the 102nd ranked pass defense, giving up an average of 273 yards per game. Navy's passing game has certainly improved with Ricky Dobbs, but the offensive line has allowed an average of 2 sacks per game. Drops and penalties cost the Midshipmen two sure touchdowns against Louisiana Tech.  
 
Pittsburgh rushing offense
vs.
Navy rushing defense
 
With LeSean "Shady" McCoy off to the NFL the Panthers have turned to a freshman. Dion Lewis (5-8, 195, Fr.) has had back to back 100 yard performances to open his college career. In week one against Youngstown State, he finished with 129 yards on 20 carries. The following week at Buffalo, Lewis had 24 carries for 190 yards. He has scored 2 touchdowns in each of his two starts. He currently is third in the nation in rushing, averaging 159.5 yards per game. The Navy rushing defense has been sold, yielding an average of only 82 yards per game.  
EVEN  
Pittsburgh passing offense
vs.
Navy passing defense
EVEN  
Bill Stull (6-3, 215, Sr.) is a capable game manager. On the season he has completed 32 of 46 passes for 295 yards with 5 touchdowns and an interception. The Panthers have not allowed a sack so far this season. The Navy pass defense has improved dramatically from past seasons. After allowing Louisiana Tech to march down the field on their opening drive, the Midshipmen held the Bulldogs in check the rest of the game.  
Special Teams
 
Dan Hutchins (5-11, 190, Jr.) handles both the kicking and punting duties for the Panthers. He is one of the best punters in the country, currently averaging 47.4 yards per kick. The coverage unit is also extraordinary. As a team Pittsburgh is 7th in the nation in net punting averaging 43.25 yards per punt. Hutchins has made his only field goal attempt and is 11 of 13 on PAT's on the season. Cameron Saddler (5-7, 170, Fr.) is a weapon in the return game. He is averaging 29.2 yards per kickoff return. The Navy special teams have had no such success. The Midshipmen rand 105th and 109th nationally in kickoff and punt returns respectively. Navy is 111th in net punt after allowing an 85 yard punt return to Louisiana Tech.  
 
Coaching
 
Dave Wannstedt arrived with high expectations. Wannstedt had 3 double digit win seasons as head coach of the Miami Dolphins and 3 total playoff appearances while head coach of the Dolphins and the Chicago Bears. But those expectations have not been met as Wannstedt in 27-23 during his five seasons as the headman at his Alma Mater.  
 
Intangibles
 
The Panthers return home after a comfortable victory in Buffalo while Navy heads on the road after a win in their home opener. Navy is on the road for the second time in three weeks, both to BCS opponents. Pittsburgh is 2-0, while the Midshipmen are 1-1. Both teams have momentum, but the Panthers have a lot more to lose.  


PREDICTION: Pittsburgh 38 Navy 31

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