This is a game that many of the Mids recent teams would have found a way to lose, but the 2015 squad proved again that this is a squad capable of a special season.
Here is a look at the three keys and how the impacted the victory over the Green Wave:
1) Win the battle of the quarterbacks – Pass
This was a pass, but not in the way we would have expected going into the game. Reynolds was kept very much in check on the ground by a Green Wave defense which was better against the run than anyone coming into the game expected. Instead Reynolds had to win this game with his arm and he came through. Reynolds was 7-of-11 for 134 yards, not numbers which would blow the roof of at a Big XII school like Baylor but enough to see the Mids though on this particular day. Tulane quarterback Tanner Lee had a much less effective day. He threw for 205 yards and was responsible for three turnovers. This included a fumble on the Navy goal line in the third quarter which, if he had held on to the ball, would have made it a field goal game at 17-14 to Navy. This was the key play of the game as the momentum firmly shifted to the Navy side.
2) Establish dominance in the run game – Fail
Navy had better hope that this was just a bad day at the office for a run game which is usually as dominant as they come. The Mids, who had been rolling to the tune of 334 yards per game on the ground, were limited to just 133 yards against the Green Wave. The real problem was that the fullbacks never asserted dominance, with Chris Swain posting a line of 12 carries for 31 yards and Quentin Ezell rushing three times for just 11 yards. This allowed Tulane to shut down the quarterback keeper and the slot back pitch and the Mids failed to rush for 100 yards in the opening quarter for the first time in 2015. This was also the first game in which the Mids had more yards passing than rushing in over five years. Let’s hope that normal service is resumed on the ground next weekend.
3) Limit turnovers - Pass
Navy was outgained on the day 386 yards to 291 yards by a Tulane team which was good at piling up the yards, but bad at holding on to the ball. Navy did not commit a single turnover on the day and was also 3-3 on fourth down attempts, keeping drives going. Tulane on the other had turned the ball over three times and also failed to convert on their only fourth down attempt, essentially giving away another turnover. Even worse for the Green Wave their three turnovers came on consecutive drives in the second half and that allowed Navy to turn a tight, tense 10-7 game into a 31-7 blowout by the end of the fourth quarter.