Navy upsets Tulsa football in week six

The Tulsa loss against Navy comes as a surprise, sports columnist Joe McCurdy writes.

Tulsa football took their third straight loss of the season on Saturday, Oct. 8, as they lost to the 1-3 Navy Midshipmen with a score of 21-53 in Annapolis, Maryland. This came as quite a surprise to many as Tulsa had been highly competitive in their two previous losses, never losing by more than 10 points and holding their opponents under 40 points. With their previous two losses to Ole Miss and Cincinnati, both of which are now ranked in the Top 25, there was optimism that Tulsa would be able to turn their season around and continue with the momentum they had at the beginning of the season. Alas, this would not be the case as Tulsa would be embarrassed on the road by a team that came into the game 1-3 on the season. In the Phillip Montogmery era, Tulsa was 1-7 against the Midshipmen with their last win coming in 2020.

Coming into the game, Tulsa knew that it would be a hard-fought battle.. Navy is a hard team to face for many reasons. Their head coach, Ken Niumatalolo, began coaching at the Naval Academy in 2002 and has been their head man since 2007, so there’s not a lot in terms of schemes and play-calling that he hasn’t seen and wouldn’t be prepared for. Navy is also notorious for running the “triple option,” which in the world of football means that they have three players lined up in the backfield that might have the chance to run the ball. Which, in Tulsa’s case, was used successfully in being able to confuse the defense and keep Tulsa off balance. Navy finished the game with 490 total yards with 455 of those yards coming on the ground. Navy is also one of the best run defenses in the nation, ranking 17th among FBS schools, allowing an average of 105.3 yards per game. This run defense shut down the Run Pass Option for Tulsa rather quickly, as they held the Golden Hurricane to 25 total rushing yards. Even Tulsa’s electric passing offense couldn’t help them in this matchup as the offense continues to be riddled with injuries. Finishing the game with 284 yards through the air, there was no cutting into the lead Navy had built in the first half as the Golden Hurricane succumbed to the Midshipmen as they were held to a measly seven points the entire second half. To add injury to insult, starting quarterback Davis Brin once again re-injured his ankle – an injury that has plagued his season ever since the Ole Miss game. Brin has continued to play through the injury, playing the entirety of the Cincinnati game. In the Navy matchup, Brin went 20/31 with 284 passing yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions along with taking two sacks. After being rolled on late in the 4th quarter, Brin’s day was done, and saw redshirt freshman Braylon Braxton under center for the remainder of the game where he went 0/2 passing with one interception.

While there weren’t a lot of positives that came out of this game, Tulsa wide receiver Keylon Stokes continued to inch closer to Tulsa football history. In a game where the 5th-year senior had seven receptions for 152 yards and one touchdown, he became the second all-time in receiving yards and is now only 28 yards away from passing Howard Twilleys record of 3,343 career yards. Not only is Stokes close to breaking this record, but he also continues to rack in individual accolades as he now sits alone as the leading receiver in the nation with 765 receiving yards on the season.

This week will be a mental and physical reset for the Golden Hurricane as they go into their bye week where they look to recover from injuries all across the offensive front. If Tulsa looks to become bowl eligible for the third year in a row, they will have to get past Temple in the week following before facing Southern Methodist University at home for Homecoming week.

Post Author: Joe McCurdy