(RNN) - The Duke Blue Devils will counter Navy's option run attack with a downfield passing offense in a game where there should be no shortage of points scored.
One of the biggest weapons the Blue Devils (3-2, 0-2 ACC) deploy is wide receiver Jamison Crowder. The junior has been the primary target the first five games, catching 37 balls for 530 yards and two touchdowns, rushing for another TD and adding two more scores on punt returns.
Head coach David Cutcliffe talked in his Tuesday news conference about how valuable Crowder was to the team. He also explained why he was selective in using the junior in special teams.
"I just don't want to roll the dice quite that much," Cutcliffe said. "He's always there if need be, but what he's done for us in punt returns and what he does for us on offense, that's why he's not back there all the time."
Quarterback Brandon Connette had the best game of his career last week in the team's 38-31 win over Troy. The junior threw for 324 yards and three touchdowns on 20 of 28 passes while adding two more scores on runs.
Since taking over for injured starter Anthony Boone, Connette has shown consistent improvement. The Troy win marked the second game in a row he had more than 300 yards passing, as he nearly led the comeback before falling 58-55 to Pittsburgh on Sept. 21.
QB Keenan Reynolds leads the Midshipman (3-1) triple-option offense. The sophomore is a runner first, with 385 yards rushing this season, but he has been efficient when throwing the ball, too (20 of 31 for 378 yards and 2 TDs).
Navy also boasts a defense allowing fewer than 18 points per game through four games, including a 28-10 win against Air Force on Oct. 5.
"They've been difficult for us to deal with,"Cutcliffe said in his Thursday report. "We've played them, I guess, twice since I've been here. It's always a huge challenge. They're a program that's been to a bowl game nine of the last 10 years."
Series notes: Navy leads 20-14-5 all-time between the two schools. Duke has won the last two, most recently a 34-31 victory in 2010.
QB Tajh Boyd and wideout Sammy Watkins of No. 3-ranked Clemson (5-0, 3-0) are two of the best in the country at their respective positions. But the Tigers' defense may be the most impressive thing about the team, ranking in the top 20 in fewest points allowed.
Boston College (3-2, 1-1) has shown it can score plenty of points as well. The balanced offense features senior running back Andre Williams, who has gained 768 yards through five games and averaged nearly six yards per carry.
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