Week 4 football preview: VMI at Navy

Penn State Navy

Penn State linebacker Gerald Hodges intercepts a pass during Navy’s 34-7 loss to the Nittany Lions on Saturday at State College, Pa. Navy’s turnover troubles have contributed to its two lopsided losses this season. (Associated Press photo by Gene J. Puskar)

What Navy fans need to know as the Mids dip down into the Football Championship Subdivision in search of their first win.

Who, where, when: Virginia Military Institute (1-2) at Navy (0-2), Saturday, 3:30 p.m. Eastern.

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

Series: Navy’s never lost to VMI (8-0).

Trey and turnovers: VMI may not be a top-tier opponent, but mistakes don’t discriminate — Navy will need to control the football to avoid an upset. Both Washington papers, Post and Times, seized on the scariest stat for Navy fans: The Mids are dead last in the Football Bowl Subdivision in average turnover margin, giving the ball up eight times so far this season while forcing zero fumbles and pulling down one interception. Quarterback Trey Miller has been the main culprit, with four fumbles lost and two interceptions thrown. VMI’s defense has forced just one turnover per game against lower-level competition and allowed 344 yards per contest. It sets up a breakout day for Miller … or an instant quarterback controversy. Head coach Ken Niumatalolo hasn’t ruled out using freshman backup Keenan Reynolds against the Keydets, according to the Post.

Scouting the Keydets: VMI is coming off a 47-6 loss to the Richmond Spiders in which the Keydets were outscored 31-0 in the second half. The Keydets had to come from behind to defeat Division II Chowan 24-17 for their only win of the season. They’ve managed no runs of more than 20 yards all year. Junior quarterback Eric Kordenbrock has five interceptions against two touchdowns, and the team’s minus-7 turnover margin equals Navy’s.

Gameday guides: The Navy Athletics folks have this handy schedule sheet for those planning to attend the home opener. And find out how social media can help your gameday experience here.

Injury update: Per The (Annapolis, Md.) Capital, Navy cornerback Jonathan Wev is questionable for Saturday’s contest, with lingering effects from a concussion suffered during the Notre Dame game. Wideout Matt Aiken’s also questionable, per the report, but less likely to play, Niumatalolo told the newspaper. Aiken’s been out all year with a knee injury suffered in August.


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