What you need to know as the bowl-bound Mids try to extend their winning streak.
Who, where, when: Navy (6-3) at Troy (4-5, 3-3 Sun Belt Conference), Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Central (3:30 p.m. Eastern).
TV: ESPN3 (Dave Weekley and Forrest Conoly have the call; direct link to the game here)
Gambling is illegal in most states: Navy’s a 1-point favorite, but Troy was favored early in the week.
This Navy cornerback was recently featured on “Jeopardy!”: Who is Wave Ryder?
Different directions: Troy hosts Navy after suffering a heartbreaking loss at Tennessee last week; the Vols scored 21 fourth-quarter points to rally for a 55-48 win. It was the second straight road loss for Troy, which fell at Florida Atlantic 34-27 the previous week. On the other side, Navy’s win streak reached five with Saturday’s 24-17 victory over FAU.
Defensive shift: Troy gave up 530 yards passing to Tennessee’s Tyler Bray on Saturday; Navy starting quarterback Keenan Reynolds has 560 yards passing on the entire season. Troy has a week to shift its defensive focus from multiple-receiver sets and wide-open passing to the Mids’ triple-option attack, led by Reynolds and slotback Gee Gee Greene. As Troy head coach Larry Blakeney put it: “If you get out of whack or you get out of position, they are going to take advantage of it. ” It’ll be a steep learning curve for a defense that ranks 90th out of 120 Football Bowl Subdivision teams, giving up 434 yards per game.
Finding pressure: Troy attempted 60 passes against Tennessee and allowed exactly zero sacks. Junior quarterback Corey Robinson threw for 393 yards against the Vols thanks to that protection. Leading the pressure for the Mids will be senior outside linebacker Keegan Wetzel, who leads the Mids in both sacks (six) and tackles for loss (11). Wetzel’s only four sacks from tying the single-season Navy record, set by Tyler Tidwell in 2005.
Odds and ends: Bill Wagner at The (Annapolis, Md.) Capital goes long on how a return to the postseason is vindication for Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo. … Heading to Alabama for the game? Book your room quick. … Wagner also looks at the Mids’ fullback production, or lack thereof. … Antoich, Tenn., represents in the weekly Eastern College Athletic Conference player of the week honors, with Reynolds and freshman cornerback Kwazel Bertrand sweeping the awards.