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Poinsettia Bowl 2014: Q&A with Underdog Dynasty about Navy Midshipmen football

Here's an insider's perspective on SDSU's Poinsettia Bowl opponent.

Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

We spoke with Mitchell Northam of Underdog Dynasty, the SB Nation site that covers Nady Midshipmen athletics. Check out what he thinks about the upcoming Poinsettia Bowl and give him a follow on Twitter.

First of all, is there any extra excitement for this bowl game knowing San Diego is a Navy town?

Personally, as a fan that's not from or ever been to San Diego, no. But I'm sure that the players and the plethora of service men and women that are in San Diego there is. I fully expect this bowl game to -- be close to, if not fully -- sell out.

After losing to Air Force on Oct. 4, Navy has won five of its last six (probably should have beaten Notre Dame) and three in a row. What's going well for the Midshipmen right now? They seem to be firing on all cylinders.

I think that the biggest difference is that they aren't turning the ball over as much anymore. They had just one against Army and just one against Notre Dame. Whereas, if you look at the stats for some of their earlier games it seemed like they wouldn't have a single game all season without multiple turnovers. Another big help has been the change in kickers. Nick Sloan was just three for eight in the beginning of the season while Austin Grebe hasn't missed a PAT or field goal attempt since Coach Ken switched to him. Obviously, Keenan Reynolds being healthy has helped too.

Quarterback Keenan Reynolds is pretty clearly Navy's best threat on the ground - 1,182 rushing yards and 21 rushing touchdowns. But he's also a big-play threat through the air, averaging about 17 yards per completion. What makes him so special? And is he a bigger threat on the ground or through the air?

You nailed all of the reasons he is so special. He is one of the best option quarterbacks in the country with the way that he can execute handoffs and pitches, but he can also be a big weapon in open space as a runner as well as having the ability to hit an open target for a big gain in the passing game. The numbers say that Reynolds is a bigger threat on the ground, and I agree, but when opposing defenses key in on the run too much, Reynolds has the arm and the vision to burn defenses big over the top.

SDSU focuses its offense on mainly one guy: Donnel Pumphrey. He's third in the country with 1,755 yards and is just 81 yards from tying the SDSU single-season record. Who needs to step up on Navy's defense to slow down Pumphrey?

I think everyone on the defense will have to step up to stop a versatile player like Pumphrey. The defensive line with guys like Anthony and Quessenbery will have to do their best to get through the line, and then players like Parrish Gaines will have to stop him from making big gains in the open field.

What's Navy's X-factor?

The easy answer is Reynolds, and obviously he has a big impact on Navy winning or losing games, but I think if Navy wants to be successful then they will have to get fullbacks Chris Swain and Noah Copeland rolling early to try to wear down San Diego's defense.

Navy wins if...

They don't turn the ball over, run the ball successfully and if the defense can limit Pumphrey from running all over them.