The Mids saw off Air Force in an all-time classic last Saturday. Now the school has to turn around and jump right back into conference play with a trip to ever dangerous Memphis. The scoring was high last weekend and there is no reason to think it will be any different in Tennessee.
Here are the three keys to this one:
Keep running the ball
Navy and Memphis have both been very good for the last couple of years. The two are building quite a rivalry in the AAC West, one that the Mids have been on the winning side of in each of the last two seasons. The reason for those wins was a simple one as the Tigers staff has yet to work out a game plan to stop Navy running the ball.
In 2015 the Tigers were undefeated and nationally ranked. Then the Mids ran the ball on the 66 times for 374 yards in a 45-20 victory. Last year it somehow was worst for Memphis as the 5-1 Tigers visited Annapolis, then found themselves ran over again as Navy carried the ball 74 times for 447 yards in a 42-28 win.
More of the same from Zach Abey and company would be ideal.
Prepare to win a shootout
This game always seems to be high scoring and the 2017 edition should be no different.
The Mids enter the contest with stats that are just outstanding. The team is averaging 37.2 points and 508.4 yards per game, and it is no wonder with those numbers that the Mids are on the cusp of their first 6-0 start since 1979. Somehow though, the Tigers’ numbers are even better.
The Tigers are 4-1 overall, and they have a key AAC loss already, but it is certainly not because their offense hasn’t been cranking out yards and points. Riley Ferguson has thrown for over 1,500 yards and has 16 touchdown passes in just five games. Memphis averaged 42.4 points per game on 509.4 yards of offense.
Navy can win this matchup, but the Mids must be prepared to score plenty of points to do so.
Win the turnover battle
Navy can learn a lot from what happened against Air Force last weekend. The Mids were dominant in the first half and they had racked up a 21 point lead that looked unassailable after the first drive after the break. The problem was that from that point onwards the Navy defense couldn’t find a way to get Air Force off of the field.
Abey had to lead a late touchdown drive to save the day after the Mids gave up 35 points on five straight touchdown drives in the second half. If the Mids had managed to create a turnover on just one of those drives – as they were able to in the first half while building their lead – then the Falcons wouldn’t have come close to the victory. It will be another tight game against Memphis, one when an extra possession could be enough to see Navy over the line.