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At First Glance: Navy

Rob Carr

After a home win against Old Dominion, Pitt hits the road to take on Navy this weekend.

Not sure why, but I always hate playing against Navy. These are the kinds of games that put the fear of God into me - especially when Pitt is fielding an average team.

This Navy team, though, isn't real good.

The Midshipmen are 3-3, but like Pitt, don't have a convincing win of any degree. Navy has wins over 3-4 Indiana, 1-5 Air Force, and FCS Delaware. Their losses have come at the hands of Toledo, Duke, and Western Kentucky.

As always, it's Navy's option and running game that are the focal point of the offense. The team ranks near the bottom of the FBS with only 104 passing yards a game. That should be good news for Pitt's secondary, which hasn't been real good this year. The flipside? The ground game, of course. Navy racks up 300 rushing yards each game, good for sixth in the nation. Safe to say, Pitt's front seven will get a workout this week.

To be honest, I like the matchup. Following the ball on the option is always a bit tricky, but the Panthers' linebackers, led by Todd Thomas (who, hopefully will get onto the field this week - looking at you, Matt House) are athletic. With Donald anchoring the line, I feel good about Pitt stopping a run when they know it's coming. The defense has been a reasonable 34th in the nation in rushing defense and, knowing the run is coming, they can be even better.

Another reason to be optimistic is that Pitt's offense should again score some points. Whether they'll have Devin Street back or not is a question mark, but Navy has given up some points to Duke (35), Toledo (45), and Indiana (35). Tom Savage and company should be able to get something going.

Look for the running game to have another big day, too. Navy also ranks near the bottom of the FBS in rush defense, giving up nearly 200 yards a game in that area.

With difficult games coming up against Georgia Tech and Notre Dame, Pitt needs to capitalize here against Navy. At first glance, this is a game Pitt should win.

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