Three Keys Navy at Temple

Three Keys Navy at Temple

After pouring a summers worth of blood, sweat, and tears into last weekend’s loss to Ohio State it is time for the Mids to refocus. Bouncing back after putting so much effort into something is never easy, but the lull of a letdown game should not happen given Temple’s dominant (37-7) win over Vanderbilt last Thursday night.

The Owls were projected before the season to be little more than a small speed bump in the Mids path, but now this game has taken on a much greater meaning to these soon to be conference foes. Here is a look at the three keys for a Navy victory.

1) Limit mistakes and turnovers

Even though Navy was generally mistake free against Ohio State it seemed like every mistake that was made cost them dearly. From the fumble recovery which went from a touchdown, to the missed field goal, to a blown coverage on the 80-yard touchdown pass, a quick glance shows a 17 point swing which the Mids could not recover from.

Mistakes will always be magnified against BCS level opponents, but Temple come into this game riding a wave of momentum in the turnover department themselves. The Owls turned Vanderbilt over seven (7!) times in their first outing of 2014, scoring 27 points off of the Commodores mistakes. Of special note is the fact that Temple had three interceptions in week one, matching their total from the entire 2013 season. Navy is something of an outlier in this regard because of how rarely they throw the ball, but ball security and not making mistakes in big situations is going to be key on Saturday.

2) Rush for more than 350 yards

The Mids averaged just over 325 yards rushing last fall. In week one this year against one of the best defensive lines in the nation Navy ran for 370 yards, picking up big chunks and gouging the Buckeyes defensive front in a way few expected. The one outlying game in 2013 was the Western Kentucky loss where Bobby Petrino was able to build a wall and coral the Navy offense, holding the Mids to just 107 yards on the ground. For Navy to win they cannot afford a stumble like that.

After running all over Ohio State the Mids should have no trouble moving the ball on Temple. The option looked fast, crisp, and effective on Saturday, with Keenan Reynolds and his slot backs in particular playing at a high level. Navy though does need to work the fullbacks into the game plan more. Maybe it was a case of thinking the Buckeye defensive tackles were going to be too strong up the middle, but it seemed like Navy did not run the dive nearly enough. Expect to see that rectified on Saturday and for the offense to keep on rolling.

3) Break some big plays

About the only thing missing against Ohio State was the really big play on offense. The Mids only had two plays which went for more than 20 yards, which is not enough in this option attack which is actually a big play offense in disguise. It is not like the Mids were not executing their scheme and reads, it was just the athletic ability of the Oho State defense allowed the linebackers and defensive backs to often run down plays from behind. The number of times an outside linebacker cut across the formation to make a stop was astonishing. That should not be so much of an issue against a Temple defense which is not as highly recruited or as fast on the outside. Expect to see the offense, and Keenan Reynolds in particular, get loose more this Saturday.

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