Navy football vs. San Jose State: Previewing the game

November 21, 2013

Navy at San Jose State

When: 9:30 p.m.

Where: Spartan Stadium, San Jose.

TV: ESPN2.

Radio: WFED (1500 AM).

Records: Midshipmen 6-4; Spartans 5-5.

Avoid the trap: Friday night’s game presents a classic trap scenario for the Midshipmen, who qualified for a bowl game last week and still have a game against rival Army in the regular season finale Dec. 14. Navy also is traveling across country on a short week, so circumstances couldn’t be more atypical for a program that thrives on routine. The challenge for both players and Coach Ken Niumatalolo and his staff is to ensure a spirited effort despite little being at stake.

Stay strong on defense: Navy turned in one of its best defensive showings during last weekend’s 42-14 victory over South Alabama in the seniors’ final game at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. The Midshipmen pitched a shutout in the second half, surrendering just 108 yards following intermission and getting the Jaguars off the field on 7 of 9 third downs during that span. The improvement in third-down defense is an encouraging sign especially considering Navy entered last week ranked 118 out of 123 FBS schools in that category.

Stay moderately unpredictable: The Midshipmen are always going to rely heavily on the run in the triple option, but last week, quarterback Keenan Reynolds showed they can be effective in spots throwing the football. The sophomore starter completed 10 of 17 passes for 168 yards and one touchdown. Reynolds’s 168 yards and 10 completions were career highs against an FBS opponent, and his 45-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Matt Aiken midway through the fourth quarter punched Navy’s ticket to the Armed Forces Bowl on Dec. 30 in Fort Worth.

— Gene Wang

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