Navy had one of the worst scoring offenses in the country with 53 points in their first four games this season. The offense matched that in a single game with a dominant 53-21 victory against Tulsa. While there were many positives for Navy, one stands above the rest. Head Coach Ken Niumatalolo finally found his feature back for the Midshipmen’s triple-option offense.
Sophomore Daba Fofana came into the game with 116 rushing yards and no touchdowns in his collegiate career. On the first few drives of the game, Fofana was utilizing his 205-pound frame to punish Tulsa’s linebackers. At the time, Niumatalolo likely kept feeding Fofana the ball to soften the Golden Hurricane’s defense up.
However, Fofana showed he had speed to match his size when he made one Tulsa defender miss and outran another on a 47-yard touchdown run. Niumatalolo had seen enough from the fullback and made him the main man for the rest of the game and it paid off. Fofana finished with 159 yards and 3 rushing TDs.
Meanwhile, we already knew the Midshipmen were stout on defense. After Tulsa ran for 198 yards last week against Cincinnati, they were held to 25 yards on 18 attempts in Annapolis. Equally impressive, Navy intercepted the Golden Hurricane three times and recovered a fumble. When all games are finished this week, Navy will likely have a top-20 scoring defense. After a nightmare start to the season, Niumatalolo’s squad have to be optimistic now that they have found a way to give their defense some support.
On the opposite sideline, positives were few and far behind for Tulsa. Keylon Stokes moved into second place all-time in Tulsa receiving yards with his 152-yard performance. However, Stokes may have a problem breaking the record if his starting quarterback Davis Brin isn’t healthy.
Brin came into the game already hobbled with nagging injuries and his offensive line did him no favors this week. Brin was hit more than 10 times and made several trips to the injury tent. When Braylon Braxton was called into duty, he failed to impress with two turnovers in two drives. Phillip Montgomery is going to want his squad to put this result in the rear view mirror as quickly as possible.