Three Keys: Navy vs. Florida Atlantic

Keenan Reynolds (Mike Carter-US PRESSWIRE)

Navy welcomes the Owls of Florida Atlantic to town this weekend for a game which could propel the Mids to bowl eligibility. After last week's uncompromising beat down of ECU, spirits are high and a win here would set the stage nicely for the three-game run in. Here are three keys for Saturday's game.

Navy welcomes the Owls of Florida Atlantic to town this weekend for a game which could propel the Mids to bowl eligibility. After last week's uncompromising beat down of ECU, spirits are high and a win here would set the stage nicely for the three-game run in. Here are three keys for Saturday's game.

1) Stop the Owls momentum early

The Owls may be 2-6 on the season, but they are coming off an upset win over conference rivals Troy last weekend. This win over the five time conference champions was the first Sunbelt victory in 15 attempts for FAU, and you have to believe that they will be coming to Annapolis with a new found confidence and determination.

As a result it is important that Navy get rolling early on Saturday. If the Midshipmen can demoralize the Owls early with a long drive or two that result in points (ideally with a three and out in between) then it stands to reason that life will be easier for the Academy from that point onward.

2) Keep playing mistake free football

Consider these two facts for a moment:

In September the Mids rushed for 217 yards per game and committed 12 turnovers.

In October the Mids rushed for 323 yards per game and committed one turnover.

This speaks for itself really, when Navy doesn't turn the ball over the Midshipmen offense destroys people, when they do the Mids struggle. Keenan Reynolds single greatest impact since taking over the starting quarterback gig has been his ability to lead the team while not making the kind of mistakes we saw in September. Not coincidentally Navy was undefeated for the month of October this year. FAU is not particularly skilled against the run, so a mistake free game should see that rushing total creeping into the 400s once again.

3) Maintain passing efficiency

One of the least likely stats at this point in the season is this one. If Keenan Reynolds had enough pass attempts he would currently be leading the nation in passing efficiency. Reynolds is 27-for-42 for 413 yards and six touchdowns and he has shown an ability to pass that no one in the program was expecting. Sure, he benefits from the element of surprise the option provides, but he still has to make the passes when they are called. If he stays this efficient defenses will notice and the running game will be even more effective.

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