The Navy Midshipmen (3-5) will close out their AAC schedule on Saturday as they host the Tulsa Golden Hurricane (5-1). Here are the three keys to a Navy win.
Same defensive effort
It may have taken until one of the final few games of the season but the Navy defensive effort against a good Memphis team was outstanding last weekend. Navy held Memphis to just 10 points – a first quarter passing score and a fourth quarter field goal – keeping the team in the game even as the offense was shut down for the majority of the contest. Memphis was just 4-of-14 on third down and went for 280 total yards, with their rushing attack being particularly anaemic as they were able to rush for just 75 yards at a clip of 2.9 yards per carry. Another defensive effort like this will be enough for Navy to pull a big upset if…
The offense has to be better
If you give up just 10 points in a college football game in 2020 you would expect to be on the winning side. That is not what happened against the Tigers, however, as the Navy offense scored just one touchdown – a rushing score in the first quarter – and then were unable to move the scoreboard after that point. The biggest issue was the Mids going 2-of-13 on third down, just killing drives when they started to get momentum. The quarterback decision making is still an issue too, though fullback Nelson Smith was able to carry for 142 yards and the Mids lone score. Getting the offense going has to be the biggest key based on last Saturday’s performance.
Keep it close
Tulsa has a gaudy record, but their last three wins have been anything but blowouts. They have won those three by a combined margin of just 14 points, making things far too close and seeming primed for an upset. If the Mids can keep this close – by winning the turnover battle and eating clock – then there is a chance that they could strike late and pick up some serious momentum heading into the clash with Army later in December.
Saturday’s game kicks off at 3:30 PM ET. Watch on the ESPN2 network.