The Navy Midshipmen (3-4) return to the field on Saturday evening to take on the Memphis Tigers (5-2). Here are the three keys to a Navy win.
Rusty or rested?
Navy started the season in 2020 as early as anyone in the country and quickly played more games over the first couple of months than just about any other team. That all came crashing to a halt on Halloween, however, as that contest against SMU was the last that the Mids will have played in 28 days before this one. Here games – including the original date against Memphis on Nov. 14 – were postponed/cancelled due to Covid-19, giving the Mids a huge break in which to rest and recover from knocks and injuries. Covid protocols meant that this time wasn’t spent practicing, but it will be interesting to see if Navy comes out rusty or ready on Saturday.
Try to be more settled
This is obviously a year unlike any other. Add in the losses from the Navy team in key positions from last year and it is unsurprising that the Mids lineup has featured plenty of change since the season began. Navy has had 23 players make their first ever start for the Mids this season – that is the third most in the country. Only one player on defense – senior DE Jackson Perkins – has started all seven games. There have been three different quarterbacks start and four different nose tackles. With that level of rotation it is impossible to form cohesion, so with three games to go we need to see something more settled here.
Stop Brady White
The Memphis quarterback is having an outstanding season that no one knows about because of the level of QB play across the country. He has passed for almost 2,400 yards and has 23 touchdowns to just six interceptions. Those 23 passing scores see White fourth in the country in the statistic. He accounts for 352.1 yards of total offense (fifth in the country) and averages 24.7 completions per game (eighth in the country). Their ground game is nothing special, but White is good enough to win this on his own if the Mids can’t put him under extreme pressure and force mistakes.
Saturday’s game kicks off at 7:00 PM ET. You can watch this football game on the CBS Sports Network.