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2020 Week 7 Preview: Navy Midshipmen vs East Carolina Pirates

Midshipmen look to stay undefeated in AAC play when they take on the Pirates

East Carolina v Navy Photo by Benjamin Solomon/Getty Images

Game Time: 12:00 pm EST

Records: Navy 2-2 (2-0 AAC), ECU 1-2 (1-1 AAC)

Line: Navy -2.5; O/U 56.5

Venue: Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, Greenville, NC

TV: ESPN2

The Navy Midshipmen and East Carolina Pirates will each look to pick up their second straight victory in an American Athletic Conference clash on Saturday afternoon in Greenville. Navy survived a late rally by the Temple Owls last weekend to win 31-29 as a three-point underdog to move to 2-2 overall. East Carolina is now 1-2 after crushing South Florida 44-24 as a 5.5-point underdog.

After cruising to a 42-10 victory in Annapolis last season, Navy has now won four in a row against the Pirates including all three meetings since moving to the AAC.

Why East Carolina Will Win

Control the game. East Carolina can take away a big part of the Navy puzzle – time of possession.

For the whole Midshipmen style to work, they have to control the tempo and keep their defense off the field. Unfortunately for them, East Carolina has been able to grind things out at times just enough to lead the AAC in time of possession.

The ECU offense has enough balance to keep Navy backpedaling. Holton Ahlers has thrown for over 200 yards in each of the three games, and the ground game hit the 200-yard mark in two of the three.

Stay disciplined on defense. The Pirates performed well last week against USF but this is a completely different challenge against the triple-option. The team must not leave their assignments, otherwise it will be a long day.

UCF vs East Carolina Football Photo by Conor Kvatek/Collegiate Images via Getty Images

Why Navy Will Win

Control the game on offense against a very suspect defense.

UCF and Georgia State were able to run without any sort of a problem in their wins over the Pirates, but USF couldn’t get going with just 92 yards. The Bulls ran for three touchdowns, but they weren’t enough to keep up.

Navy might not be consistent, but it’s been able to rise up in spurts just enough to pull a few wins out of the fire – it’s figuring it out. It starts with the running game, but the passing attack is connecting on the big play, leading the nation averaging close to 18 yards per completion.

Therefore, expect a heavy dose of Jamale Carothers to carry the load as a senior. Then, watch the halfback on the wheel route for the big play when nobody is expecting pass. The Midshipmen are great at fooling defenses throwing occasionally on first down for the big play.

Key Players

ECU

RB: Rahjai Harris

WR: C.J. Johnson

LB: Aaron Ramseur

LB: Xavier Smith

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 03 Navy at Air Force Photo by Mat Gdowski/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Navy

FB: Jamale Carothers

RB: Myles Fells

LB: Tama Tuitele

DB: Kevin Brennan

Prediction

Navy is finally ready to show some consistency from one game to the next and has a favorable draw to make it happen. East Carolina gave up 49 points to Georgia State and 51 to UCF. Navy won’t be likely to put up that many points, but the Midshipmen may be able to score their season’s highest point total so far.

I currently don’t have enough faith in the Pirates defense and it is extremely brutal to prepare for the triple-option in just a week.

Navy 31 ECU 27