If you’re a Navy Football fan, this season has been incredibly frustrating and disappointing. If you’ve been a Navy Football fan for more than about a decade and a half, you have felt this way before. This has been the worst season since Coach Paul Johnson’s first year at Navy, in 2002, when the Midshipmen finished the season 2-10. However, prior to the Paul Johnson coming, Navy had many bad years in the 1990s. So, this kind of season is unusual to the younger generation of Navy fans.
However, I am here to tell you that the Midshipmen can still save this year within the next three games. Navy still has Tulsa (2-8), Tulane (5-5), and Army left on their schedule. Tulsa and Tulane are winnable games. And, of course with Army, anything can happen any given Army-Navy game.
In Week 12 of college football, the Navy Midshipmen host the Tulsa Golden Hurricane in Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. Both of Navy’s wins this year are at home, and historically, have been incredibly difficult to beat in their own stadium.
Tulsa’s record is bad, just like Navy’s. Additionally, Tulsa and Navy are similar in the sense that they truly are better than their record reflects. Tulsa lost to the No. 15 Texas Longhorns, in Texas, by only seven points. Additionally, the Golden Hurricanes lost to USF by only a single point, and held them to 25 points, while they were still undefeated. Sure, USF has significantly dropped off since their first loss, but still was an impressive outing by Tulsa.
In Week 11, Navy came within 11 points of knocking off the UCF Knights in their home stadium. Sure, most would agree UCF was in control the entire game, primarily due to Navy’s inability to stop the Knight’s offense whatsoever. However, the Midshipmen offense looked to be finally finding its grove. Additionally, Navy had some untimely penalties and one turnover on a large gain. Should Navy have those mistakes back, the game would like have been decided by single digits.
How to Watch
Time: 3:30 p.m. (EDT) on Saturday, November 17, 2018.
Watch: CBS Sports Network
Location: Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, Md.
Betting Lines: Navy is -5.5
Keys to Success
For years, Navy’s key to success was winning the turnover battle. Specifically, not turning over the ball at all. In addition to limiting turnovers, Navy strives by being masters at managing the clock and rarely committing penalties. But, I’m here to tell you those are only the secondary and tertiary to this, number one, key to success. PLAYING DEFENSE
And when I say, play defense, I mean not giving up touchdowns. Field goals? Fine, score a field goal every possession. Last week, UCF had eight possessions and scored a touchdown on five of them. The Midshipmen are averaging 36.1 points against this season, which is 112th in the country.
The Midshipmen can turn the ball over(to an extent), have zero clock management, and have a handful of penalties, and still win the game if they play any form of defense.
Getting pressure on the quarterback and not missing tackles would be two specific means to “playing defense”. With the home crowd behind the Midshipmen, the defense has ample opportunity to have the best game they’ve had all year.
Zach Abey looks to be steadily at the helm of the offense. The senior appears to have officially transitioned from wide receiver back to quarterback. Over the past two games, Abey has started under center the past two games and has done a decent job, considering the circumstances. Zero points against Cincinnati wasn’t great, but 24 against UCF was well above expectations.
The Midshipmen will dominate the running game early on, which will open up opportunities to pass the ball. Abey will be able to find wide open running backs deep down the field when the Tulsa defenders begin to get too eager.
As for the defense, well, they will likely continue to struggle, especially the secondary. This game will be a shootout due to Tulsa quarterback, Seth Boomer, having the most time in the pocket that he’s had all year long.
Ultimately, the Navy Midshipmen will come out on top.