Date: Saturday, September 14
Game Time: 3:30pm ET
Records: ECU 1-1 (0-0 AAC), Navy 1-0 (0-0 AAC)
Line: Navy -7; O/U 53.5
Venue: Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, MD
East Carolina is coming off their first win of the Mike Houston Era. People can react and say it was an FCS opponent in Gardner Webb, but it builds confidence by dominating an opponent the way they did. The Naval academy is coming off of an early bye-week after winning their first came against FCS foe Holy Cross.
The Pirates will be presented a different challenge this week going against the triple-option of the Naval Academy. This is the conference opener for both squads so there is an opportunity to open conference play on a good note.
Why East Carolina Will Win
ECU was able to dominate from the line of scrimmage last week against the Bulldogs and they will have to again this week. The defensive line will need to be sound to stay in their gaps as well as being ready for the cut-block, a prototypical move by Navy who are usually under-sized as offensive linemen.
Defensively will be predicated as a priority led by Kendall Futrell and Alex Turner. Navy will attempt to shorten the game so ensuring to get Navy out of their comfort zone by ensuring they do not stay on schedule with first-and-second down success.
The Pirates will need to stay focused and disciplined in order to control this game. Offensively we need to remain balanced in order to take the pressure off of Holton Ahlers.
Why Navy Will Win
Navy will end up being ground-oriented with the triple-option and will provide different looks from basically the same formation. The team ran for over 400 yards in their opener led by fullback Nelson Smith.
The squad has an experienced quarterback in Malcolm Perry whose decision making on whether to run himself, give to fullback or pitch to the slot-back allows this offense fluidity.
Navy will have to make a couple throws during the game in order to be successful. As well as making open-field tackles in order to halt the balanced attack of the Pirates.
Players to Watch
RB: Demetrius Mauney
LB: Bruce Bivens
DL: Kendall Futrell
DL: Alex Turner
QB: Malcolm Perry
FB: Nelson Smith
RB: C.J. Williams
LB: Diego Fagot
The game will be difficult for the Pirates especially as they have ended up being blown out by Navy the past couple meetings in Annapolis. The defense faces a completely different test that no team can simulate in practice in the triple-option. The Midshipmen will end up taking control of time of possession and will convert several fourth-downs to sustain drives to win this one.
Navy 28, East Carolina 20