Tulane “could, would, shoulda” beat Navy, but didn’t. The Green Wave will lament letting this one get away.
The Tulane football team did not play badly on Saturday versus the United States Naval Academy at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. The Green Wave did the unthinkable and outrushed the Midshipmen 205 yards to 194. The Green Wave defense forced two Navy turnovers and Tulane managed to score on two long drives with their backup quarterback in the game. But missed opportunities in the form of missed tackles which led to big plays, poorly timed penalties, and a self inflicted safety via a bungled snap doomed the Wave to another close defeat to the Midshipmen.
Tulane's offense made some plays and had a few chances to win the game behind the arm and legs of backup quarterback Jonathan Brantley. Brantley keyed two scoring drives after coming into the game following the injury of starter Jonathan Banks. In the 2nd quarter Brantley ran for 42 yards on an option keep and then punched it in himself on the next play from three yards out. Brantley then led a 16 play drive punctuated by a one yard run by Dontrell Hilliard and a Brantley-to-Charles Jones II two point conversion that whittled the Navy lead to 2 points. But that was as close as Tulane would get, failing on a couple of fourth down opportunities late in the 4th quarter.
Defensively the Green Wave was brilliant, except for the three plays where they were not. The Tulane defense held Navy to only 197 yards rushing and 332 yards of total offense for the game but gave up two big passes of over 50 yards, (52 yards to Darryl Bonner to set up a touchdown, and 79 yards to Tyler Carmona for a touchdown). The Green Wave defense also managed to score, with Roderick Teamer scooping up a Zach Abey fumble that was forced by Luke Jackson and rambling 52 yards for a touchdown, which tied the game in the 1st half.
Tulane has shown improvement, but on this day a few plays stood between the Wave and victory. Jonathan Brantley played well and showed he could handle the quarterbacking duties with Jonathan Banks out of the game and the Green Wave defense was stellar for most of the game. This is a loss Tulane can take some lessons and build upon. They need to get building quickly if they hope to pull an upset of #2 ranked Oklahoma next Saturday.