Navy is struggling. The Mids lead the all-time series against ECU 7-2, but this team isn’t the same standard as those Navy teams that racked up all those wins. Here are the three keys to get Navy moving in the right direction this season:
Stop Holton Ahlers
In all honesty, East Carolina should probably be 3-0. They had every chance to beat the No. 13 (then) ranked team in the nation on opening day when they fell by one point to North Carolina State. A couple of comfortable wins since over Old Dominion and Campbell have been keyed by quarterback Holton Ahlers.
Ahlers has passed for 800 yards and seven touchdowns on the season. He passes at a 67% clip, and he will be hard to rattle, thanks to his experience. The AAC’s all-time career completions leader, Ahlers is a player Navy knows, but who will be tough to deal with.
Find Anything On Offense
When the triple-option isn’t working, the Mids look really bad on offense. Currently, the triple-option isn’t working. Navy has the second worst scoring offense in the nation - only New Mexico State is worse - and it is almost impossible to win when you are scoring just 10 points per game.
Ken Niumatalolo knows how to do this. He is been the coach to teams with blistering offenses that can score from anywhere on the field. Niumatalolo needs to get this back to basics, and hopefully, the bye week has given coach time to work on his blocking schemes and the ability of his running backs to find space on the field.
Navy has offensive limitations, so being smart is a massive key. To beat ECU the Mids are going to have to be +2 or better in the turnover column, and they are going to have to keep penalties to a minimum. This is especially true for penalties that extend drives or that stall Navy at a point where the offense is working effectively. When you are playing badly, mistakes are felt more heavily. Navy has to not beat itself to have a chance of knocking off the Pirates.
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