Time: 2 p.m., High Point Solutions Stadium, Piscataway, N.J.
TV/Radio: ESPN3.com, 710-WOR, 1450-AM, 97.5 FM, 88.7 WRSU
Series: Tied 11-11-1
Last meeting: Sept. 20, 2008: Navy won, 23-21
Coaches: Rutgers – Greg Schiano (11th season, 63-64); Navy – Ken Niumatalolo (4th season, 29-17)
- Nova Time. Gary Nova became the third true freshman in as many years under Schiano to start a Big East football game. Nova made mistakes in the 34-10 victory over Pittsburgh, but his final stat-line (11-for-24, 173, two touchdowns) was solid. Schiano named Nova the starter Monday and prepared this week entirely with the first team.
- Hot Streak. Rutgers is on a three-game winning streak for the first time since 2009. Rutgers is off to a 2-0 start and in first place in the Big East for the first time since 2006. Led by the speedy defense, the Scarlet Knights received votes in a top 25 poll this week and could crack the list with a convincing win over Navy.
- Desert Swarm. The swarm is back in a big on the Rutgers defense. With Schiano calling the plays and a series of offseason moves to improve team speed, Rutgers is tied for best in the nation with 22 forced turnovers, second in sacks per game (4.0), fifth in tackles for loss (8.5) and fifth in red-zone defense.
Offensively, Navy is one of two teams Rutgers faces this season that runs the triple option. In the triple option attack, Navy averages 575.4 all-purpose yards per game and an NCAA best 366 per game rushing. The Midshipmen also have a history of catching teams napping in the pass, hitting at least a 26-yard in all of the last four games.
|Fullback Alexander Teich|
2. Use the Size Advantage. Only one of Navy's top four cornerbacks stands above 5-foot-10. Rutgers needs to use the size and athleticism offered by receivers Mohamed Sanu, Mark Harrison and Brandon Coleman to move the ball down field.
3. No Interceptions. Gary Nova has not thrown an interception yet this season. The longer he keeps that streak going, the more trust he soaks up from his coaching staff and teammates.
2. Defend the Run. Navy's run defense gives up 220 yards per game. Rutgers averages just below 80 per game and 2.1 per attempt. Something has to give.
3. Work to the Outside. Navy and other option teams have a history of beating the defense up the middle. With Scott Vallone and Justin Francis playing at high levels, Navy may be better off looking for other gaps to run the ball.
The triple option is a run-based offense that relies on trickery and confusion to gain yardage. Some see the triple option as antiquated or "cute," but it works well for the service academics like Navy.
At its core, the triple option has the quarterback take a snap under-center. He can then hand the ball off to his fullback between the tackles, run the ball himself or pitch it to one of his two running backs in the formation. Passes are rare in the triple option, but often catch defenses off-guard for big plays.