Navy vs. VMI preview

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MUST-WIN? The pressure to win this week is elevated significantly as Navy tries to avoid its first 0-3 start of the triple option era. The Midshipmen are 0-2 for the first time since 2005, but those losses came against traditional BCS goliaths Notre Dame and Penn State. Saturday’s home opener is against an FCS opponent that has never beaten the Midshipmen in eight games, and most recently lost at home to Richmond, 47-6.

GET FULLBACKS INVOLVED Starting fullback Noah Copeland has 44 yards on 13 carries, and backup Prentice Christian has 56 on nine attempts. The fullbacks have been a staple of the triple option, and when they have run well, the rest of the offense generally follows in line. The Midshipmen are running for 197.0 yards per game this season, well below their average in any of the past 10 years.

DEFENSIVE IMPROVEMENT While Navy’s offense is last in FBS in scoring, its defense has been paper-thin, too, allowing 42 points per game, which ranks 116th in the country. Navy is ranked 118th in passing efficiency defense (180.6), 114th in tackles for loss (3.5) and 99th in rushing defense (201.5 yards per game). The unit also has forced just one turnover and allowed 27 points in the first quarter this season.

— Gene Wang

3:30 p.m. at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.

TV: CBS Sports Network.

Radio: WBQH (1050 AM),

WNAV (1430 AM).

Records: Mids 0-2; Keydets 1-2.

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