Five things to look out for as Navy visits East Carolina on Saturday …
1. Keenan Reynolds will remain turnover-free. There are many reasons the freshman has thrived over the last two games and change. The biggest might be his ability to avoid turnovers. Reynolds has only one lost fumble on the season and has not thrown an interception in 37 pass attempts.
2. Navy will have a 100-yard rusher. They’ve been tough to come by for the Mids, who have just three on the season —- Trey Miller against VMI and Air Force, and Noah Copeland against VMI. East Carolina’s run defense is much improved over the last two years, though Navy has still done much of what it wanted to on the ground in the 2010 and 2011 meetings.
3. East Carolina’s Justin Hardy will visit the end zone. He’s done so eight times on the season and at least once in every game but one (North Carolina). It’s worth playing the percentages and figuring the Pirates will get him the ball in an important situation or two. Or three. Or four.
4. Look for another TFL from Keegan Wetzel. The senior has 8.5 tackles for loss through seven games and has arguably been Navy’s best player to date. He had three stops behind the line in last week’s defeat of Indiana.
5. Navy will win. Yes, it’s a road game. Yes, East Carolina won in Annapolis last season. And yes, the Pirates are 5-3 and in the midst of a solid bounceback season under Ruffin McNeill. The Mids have a three-game winning streak of their own, and are in good position to secure their first unbeaten October since 1996.
—- Patrick Stevens