Week 9 - Pitt at Navy

Posted Oct 23, 2013

Week 9 Fearless Prediction & Preview - Pitt at Navy

- Wake Forest at Miami | Georgia Tech at Virginia
- Pitt at Navy | NC State at Florida State
- Clemson at Maryland | Boston College at North Carolina
- Duke at Virginia Tech

Pittsburgh (4-2) at Navy (3-3) Oct. 26, 1:00, CBS Sports Network

Why You Should Give A Hoot: Pitt and Navy will be meeting for the 41st time in an intermittent series that began a century ago. The Panthers had problems shaking free from Old Dominion last weekend, eventually pulling away for a 35-24 victory. They've won the games they're supposed to so, losing only to ACC powers Florida State and Virginia Tech, meaning November sets up as a postseason run. The Midshipmen have begun to, well, take in some water. Back-to-back losses to Duke and Toledo, the latter in double-overtime, are going to force the Mids to author at least one upset in order to become bowl-eligible in 2013.

Why Pittsburgh Might Win: The Panthers' biggest worry this season has been pass protection, but it shouldn't be an issue this weekend in Maryland. Navy has gotten to the quarterback just five times all year, and pressure of any kind has been non-existent. For a change, Pitt ought to control the line of scrimmage, creating opportunities for QB Tom Savage and RB Isaac Bennett. Savage is expected to get back top WR Devin Street from injury, while Bennett is coming off the best game of his college career.

Why Navy Might Win: Navy returns home to Annapolis, where it hasn't lost in 2013. Pitt has been up-and-down on defense this season. Now, it has to prepare for the triple-option of the Midshipmen. Ranked No. 6 nationally on the ground, Navy wants to grind down the Panther front with a steady diet of runs from QB Keenan Reynolds and backs Chris Swain and Noah Copeland. Reynolds can also be effective going up top to find WR DeBrandon Sanders.

Who To Watch Out For: Every Panther opponent must contend with Aaron Donald, one of the nation's top interior linemen. Someone will also need to get a hat on DE Bryan Murphy, who's been causing regular disruption in opposing backfields this season.

- Navy's inability to stop the run ought to entice Pitt to feed Bennett again this week. If Midshipmen linebackers Cody Peterson, DJ Sargenti and Chris Johnson focus too much attention to the backs, Savage is liable to pepper them with connections over the middle.

What Will Happen: While Navy can be salty in Annapolis, it lacks the defensive muscle to upset Pitt this week. The Panthers possess too many options on offense, especially with Street back and Bennett hot. They'll rush for more than 200 yards to help ice the win.

Prediction: Pittsburgh 34 … Navy 23
Line: Pittsburgh -6 – O/U: 49.5
Must See Rating: (5 The Counselor – 1 Last Vegas) … 2
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