Week 8 football preview: Indiana at Navy

Noah Copeland

Sophomore fullback Noah Copeland leads the Navy rushing attack into Saturday’s homecoming contest against Indiana. (US Presswire photo by Ron Chenoy)

What Navy fans need to know as homecoming weekend kicks off.

Who, when, where: Indiana (2-4, 0-3 Big Ten) at Navy (3-3), Saturday, 3:30 p.m.

TV: CBS Sports Network (Grant Boone and Todd Christensen have the call.

Gambling is illegal in most states: Navy is a 2.5-point favorite.

Seriously, it’s illegal: Navy makes a rare appearance in the top spot of this handicapper’s picks column; he suggests an over/under of 60 points (a way to gamble on the point total; if you bet “over” 60 points and it’s 31-30, you win no matter which team wins) is too low for what he considers a mismatch favoring the offense — on both sides.

Is he right?: The numbers point to some offensive fireworks — Navy’s run game is 14th in the country and rising, while Indiana’s rush defense is 109th out of 120 Football Bowl Subdivision schools. The Hoosiers allowed 353 yards on the ground to Ohio State in a 52-49 loss last weekend. On the flip side, Indiana’s air attack is 15th in the nation, and Navy’s pass defense ranks 97th — a number that certainly would be lower if not for a game against run-heavy Air Force. The Hoosiers aren’t just prolific, they’re careful: Starting quarterback Cameron Coffman has thrown one interception against 108 completions.

Punting prowess: If Navy’s offense does stall, the Mids have a secret weapon — sophomore punter Pablo Beltran, whose 45.5 yards-per-punt average is 10th in the nation and would set a single-season Navy record. More about Beltran here.

Prep prowess: The Baltimore Sun recaps freshman quarterback Keenan Reynolds’ high school days here. He’ll make his second career start against Indiana after a successful performance under the Friday night lights last week in his first, against Central Michigan.

Big Ten blues: Navy hasn’t beaten a Big Ten team since 1979, when the Mids edged Illinois 13-12.

Who’ll carry the load?: Look for Navy sophomore Noah Copeland to earn his keep Saturday. The fullback’s team-best 344 yards on 77 attempts makes him the go-to weapon up the middle, along with Reynolds, against a suspect Indiana linebacking corps that features two junior-college transfers and zero starts outside of this season. If he draws a crowd inside, it’ll open the edges to Reynolds and Gee Gee Greene … and the shootout could be on.


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