It’s game day, so here’s the first batch of predictions. Starting with Navy, which plays host to East Carolina in a matchup of 2-4 teams very much in need of victories to help maintain bowl hopes. …
1. Alexander Teich will run for 100 yards. He did last year, scampering for 157 yards in a 76-35 victory against the Pirates in Greenville. Teich is averaging 95.4 yards rushing per game; expect him to top that today.
2. Navy will force three turnovers. The Pirates are averaging a turnover margin of minus-two on the season, and Navy actually got the better of Rutgers in that category last week. The Mids should be able to do the same.
3. Navy will allow its largest passing yardage total of the season. The Mids gave up 301 yards through the air to Southern Mississippi. East Carolina pays token attention to its running game for the most part. Even though the Pirates aren’t as potent as last season, they’ll still slip past that amount.
4. Navy will not score 76 points —- or even 50, for that matter. Last year was a perfect storm for a Navy romp. The Mids’ offense was crisp, East Carolina was bedeviled by turnovers and the Pirates’ defense redefined terrible. All of those things are unlikely to repeat themselves; the same can be said for last year’s wild score.
5. Navy will win its third game of the season. The Mids are 2-4, but not a bad 2-4. Three of their losses are by a combined five points. Meanwhile, the Pirates are not the offensive juggernaut they were last year. Look for Navy to sew up the game before the final minutes of the fourth quarter.
—- Patrick Stevens