Start Time: Saturday, September 9th, 2017 at 2:30pm CST
TV: CBS Sports Network
Live Coverage: TulaneGreenWave.com/watch
Location: Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, MD
The Series: This will be the 22nd meeting between the two universities. Tulane leads the series (11-9-1)
Betting Line: Navy is a 13-point favorite
Tulane Outlook: Tulane started the season with a rousing 43-14 defeat of the defending SWAC Champion Grambling Tigers. Now, the Green Wave takes a leap up in class versus the defending AAC West Champion Navy Midshipmen. Tulane fell to Navy, 14-21, last season at Yulman stadium, a game Tulane led going into the 4th quarter. After last week’s stellar performance on offense and defense Coach Willie Fritz should expect further improvement from his team and a good shot at a road win.
In last week’s game, new starting quarterback Jonathan Banks acquitted himself well in his first Division I start, completing 10-of-15 passes for 185 yards and three touchdowns to Terren Encalade, Dontrell Hilliard and Darnell Mooney, respectively, while also leading the team in rushing with 69 yards on 16 carries. The offensive line had some hiccups early, but began to dominate in the second half as Tulane rushed for 296 yards, with Terren Encalade taking an option pitch 58 yards for a score and Darius Bradwell bursting through a gaping hole for a 27-yard touchdown. The Green Wave receivers played well, making plays when given the opportunity with only one drop and terrific perimeter blocking to help clear the way for the large rushing total. This week, Tulane welcomes the services of starting right tackle Keshawn McCloud and wide receiver Jacob Robertson, who both missed the opener with injuries.
The Green Wave defense was as good as advertised last week holding the Grambling offense, including Walter Payton award candidate DeVante Kincade to only 225 yards; but Navy is a whole different beast. Tulane’s linebackers played well, with the trio of Rae Juan Marbley, Luke Jackson and Zachery Harris helping to hold the Tigers to only 77 yards rushing, 51 of those yards coming on a 4th quarter run versus the backups. Tulane played nearly every scholarship defensive lineman versus Grambling, including freshmen Cameron Sample, Patrick Johnson and De’Andre Williams. Ade Aruna, Sean Wilson and the defensive line dominated the game and they will need to have the same impact to slow down the Navy flexbone option.
Navy Outlook: The Midshipmen pummeled the Florida Atlantic defense to the tune of 416 rushing yards, with quarterback Zach Abey having a record-setting evening as he rushed for 235 yards and two touchdowns to go along with 110 yards and a touchdown through the air. The Navy defense was a brick wall, holding FAU to only 19 points, although the secondary di surrender 281 yards passing to the Owls.
Prediction: This game may only take 2.5 hours, blink and you will miss it, as two teams who love to run the option will go head to head in Annapolis. Both teams will be improved in the second week of the season and I think the Tulane defense, which maybe the most experienced defense in the nation versus the flexbone (with the seniors having faced Georgia Tech twice, Navy twice and Army once in their careers) slows down the Navy offense just enough while Banks’ talent provides the impetus for Tulane to pull the upset over the Midshipmen.
Score: Tulane 31 – Navy 22