Navy travels to Oklahoma to face Tulsa in an AAC matchup on Saturday night from Skelly Field at H.A. Chapman Stadium. The Mids have won all four meetings since both teams joined the AAC.
Last week, Navy came back to beat Air Force, 34-25 to improve to 3-1 on the season and get a jump on the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy. They are 1-1 in the league, while Tulsa is 0-1 in the American after losing to SMU, 43-37 in triple overtime last week.
Back to conference playAny win over a service academy is a big win, especially considering they lost both games to Army and Air Force last year. Despite losing to Memphis, 35-23 on Sept. 26, the Mids looked to be improved from last year's 3-10 squad, especially in the passing game. Navy still runs a triple-option attack, but they are averaging 125 yards per game in the air. That sounds pedestrian but last season, the Mids' passing game was an afterthought, averaging 73 yards per game.
When they were down 25-21 with 3:15 left at home against Air Force, they couldn't just run the option, knowing that they needed a touchdown to win the game. Senior quarterback Malcolm Perry delivered in that drive led by a 32-yard pass to C.J. Williams. That was his only completion on the drive as he rushed for 24 yards on the final drive including a 3-yard game-winning score. Navy also added a late defensive touchdown on a Falcons' gimmick play at the end to make the score a little more deceiving.
Perry was the hero, rushing for 111 yards with two scores and passing for 144 yards (5-of-7). On the season, he has 480 passing yards and 386 rushing yards with nine TDs.
Now, the key is for the Mids to come off the high of winning at home against Air Force and re-focus on Tulsa.
"It’s definitely something you have to consider," said Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo. "Just the euphoria of a big win like that in one of your service academy rivalry games. Right now, are guys are getting pats on the back. However, the euphoria of that is over with and we have to press on.
“In the words of Coach Belichick, it’s on to Tulsa. Hopefully, the leadership of our team will take care of that. We have to be mature enough to move forward,” Niumatalolo added.
Defensively, Navy has improved statistically, allowing just 278 yards per game and 91.3 on the ground. They did give up several big plays against Memphis and 2436 passing yards on just 11 completions against Air Force. They may not be giving up a lot of yards, but they are allowing too many long receptions.
Tulsa blows game against SMUThe Golden Hurricane should be 3-2 heading into this game against Navy. They were up 30-9 heading into the fourth quarter against a much-improved SMU squad, but blew the 21-point lead and couldn't get enough stops in overtime. Ultimately, the problem on the defensive side of the ball. Tulsa is allowing 390.4 yards per game, including 274.8 in the air. The good news is that the run defense isn't that bad at 115.6 yards per contest allowed.
They held Michigan State to just 108 yards on 40 attempts in their 28-7 loss in the opener, though Oklahoma State ran for 337 yards on 46 attempts in their 40-21 win on Sept. 14.
The offense is led by junior quarterback Zach Smith, a Baylor transfer, who has thrown for 1,364 yards with nine TDs and four picks. Interceptions have not been an issue until the SMU game when he threw three to go along with four TDs. Running back Shamari Brooks, who had 95 yards against SMU and 140 against San Jose State, leads the Golden Hurrican with 409 yards rushing and four combined scores. The top target is junior Keylon Stokes, who had 24 catches for 403 yards and four TDs.
Offensively, they are averaging 390.8 yards per game and 222.4 passing yards. They also average 95.6 penalty yards per game.
- 1-6-2 ATS last 9 in October.
- 2-6-1 ATS last 9 road games.
- 9-4 ATS last 13 after allowing more than 40 points in their previous game.
- 10-2 ATS last 12 after allowing more than 280 passing yards in their previous game.