October 1, 2020

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Matchup Preview: Tulane @ Navy

The Tulane Green Wave (5-2) suffered their second loss of the season this week against the Memphis Tigers (6-1) by a score of 47-17. The loss to Memphis sets back Tulane a bit in the American conference race, putting them at 3rd in the West. The Green Wave still have ample opportunity to make noise in conference with big games against SMU and UCF still on the slate. The schedule does not get easier for Tulane this week, with the Green Wave traveling to Annapolis, MD to face the 5-1 Navy Midshipmen. 

Navy boasts one of the best defensive lines in college football, holding opponents to under 100 yards a game and only around 3 yards per carry through 6 games. The Midshipmen currently rank 16th in total defense, and 12th in points allowed at 16.2 points per game. Something to watch this week will be the rushing attack from Tulane behind offensive coordinator Will Hall, whos squad is averaging over 260 yards a game on the ground. In contrast, Navy currently leads the FBS in rushing yards through only six games. The Midshipmen average 345 yard per game on the ground and average 5.7 yards per rush. 

Currently, most sources have Navy as a 3.5 favorite over Tulane, with ESPN’s FPI giving the Midshipmen a 62.2% chance of beating the Green Wave. With these statistics in mind, what does Tulane need to do in order to come out of Annapolis victorious?

Keys to the Game

Defensively, Tulane must find a way to slow down Navy quarterback Malcolm Perry, who currently has 604 rushing yards on the season, with 12 touchdowns on the ground. Completely shutting down Perry is most likely out of the question for Tulane. Navy’s triple option attack basically demands Perry will get plenty of touches throughout scrimmage. Look for Tulane to stack the box and sell out on the run big time, as the Midshipmen rarely test the air, ranking 128th nationally in passing offense. If Tulane can manage to force Navy into some 3rd down and mediums, it should bode well for the Green Wave if Perry is forced to throw against an extremely talented secondary for the Wave. 

Offensively, Tulane must get both Darius Bradwell and Corey Dauphine back healthy and ready for Saturday’s game. Cameron Carrol has done a good job of filling in at running back with both Bradwell and Dauphine out, but against the Midshipmen, Tulane needs to get back to its roots with a strong, dominant running game. Bradwell has been crucial all season long as a workhorse back, setting up Dauphine’s explosiveness that has carried him to 11 yards per rush on the season. If Tulane can get back to the three-headed beast in Jones, Bradwell, and Dauphine, the Green wave are in great shape to upset Navy. Justin McMillan has also been great on the ground all season long, including last weeks performance where McMillan rushed 15 times for 89 yards and 1 touchdown on the ground. If Tulane can establish its run game early, with all 4 of their leading rushers healthy and involved, the Green wave can control time of possession and set themselves up in great position for a win over Navy.