The No. 15 Navy Midshipmen (9-1, ACC 7-0) sailed past the Tulsa Golden Hurricane (5-6, AAC 2-5) 44-21 Saturday night in Oklahoma. Navy's offense rolled up 512 yards on the ground. Quarterback Keenan Reynolds ran for 81 yards and a touchdown and threw for another score. Reynolds became Navy's all-time leading rusher with 4,195 yards breaking Napoleon McCallum's record. His 82 career touchdowns remain one behind the career NCAA touchdown record of 83 set by Wisconsin's Montee Ball. Reynolds broke Ball's rushing TD record last week. The Mids never trailed as seven different players scored during the rout. Navy (9-1, 7-0) will play at Houston (10-1, 6-1) for the American Athletic Conference West Division title on Friday and a spot in the league title game. No. 13 Houston was upset 20-17 by UConn on Saturday.
PASSING OFFENSE: A
Keenan Reynolds completed 2-of- 3 passes for 55 yards and a touchdown. Reynolds first pass was underthrown to Jamir Tillman and fell incomplete. Keenan then threw a picture perfect 39-yard post pattern to Tillman and hit him in stride for a touchdown. It was a great throw off play action and a nice catch. Navy tried a pass late in first half but Reynolds was sacked. Chad Lewellyn made his first catch this year for 16-yards to help set up Brandon Colon touchdown run off a reverse.
RUSHING OFFENSE: A+
Navy ran for 469 rushing yards, a 7.7 average and five rushing touchdowns from five different players. Keenan Reynolds did a tremendous job running the offense and distributing the ball despite a slow start where he fumbled on each of the first two series. The lost fumble on the mesh when Reynolds and Chris Swain were hit looked like it was caused by right guard Ben Tamburello running the wrong play as he was pulling. Reynolds ran 19 times for 81 yards and a score. Toneo Gulley took a pitch 70 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter, the longest run by a Navy runner this season, to give the Midshipmen a 7-0 lead. Slotback Demond Brown (5 att., 61 yds., TD ) took the first pitch of the game for 32 yards. Navy B-back Chris Swain ran 11 times for 57 yards. Swain carried the ball four times for 38 yards on the Mids third touchdown drive when Keenan took the glory on his one yard touchdown to make it 21-0. Calvin Cass (3 att., 52 yds.) ripped off a career long 44-yard run off an inside hand off to set up Quentin Ezell (2 att.., 8 yds., TD) score.
Slotback Dishan Romine produced 27 yards off four rushing attempts. DeBrandon Sanders had four carries for 25 yards. Wide receiver Brandon Colon scored on a 23-yard reverse. Navy cleared the bench and the future of Navy football saw plenty of fourth quarter snaps. Quarterback Tago Smith ran five times for 27 yards. Backup fullbacks Shawn White (3 att., 20 yds.) and Chris High (3 att., 18 yds.) both looked very good. The run blocking by the Navy offensive line, slotbacks and receivers was outstanding all game.
PASSING DEFENSE: A+
Navy held Tulsa to 356 yards which is well below the Golden Hurricane offense's average of 526. Quarterback Dane Evans completed 32-of-37 passes for 278 but had no touchdowns or interceptions. Evans was under pressure much of the night and was sacked four times. Ignore his high completion percentage. The first six times Tulsa had the ball they ran just 22 plays and gained only 86 yards.
Up front Will Anthony was in full beast mode as he led the Mids with 8 tackles, three sacks, four tackles for a loss and a forced fumble that ended up in the end zone for a safety. Navy played its scheme perfectly making tackles after short receptions and shutting down Tulsa up tempo attack. Cornerback Brandon Clements (4 tackles, TFL, FF) had a great game as he forced a fumble that was recovered by Rover Daiquan Thomasson (5 tackle, FF, FR). Clements also did a great job of blowing up a bubble screen on third-and-1 to fling Tulla's Floyd for a three yard loss and force a punt. Mike Kelly (5 tackles) had a key back-to-back third and fourth down stops when Tulsa gambled deep in their own end. Navy drove 39 yards after taking possession to increase its lead to 21-0. Cornerback Quincy Adams had a busy night with six tackles as he kept the Tulsa receivers in front of him and delivered some big hits.
RUSHING DEFENSE: A+
The Mids allowed Tulsa only 78 net rushing yards, a 2.3 average but they did have three rushing touchdown. The Mids defense did a great job against an offense that entered averaging 195 rushing yards a game. Inside linebacker Tyler Goble was in on seven tackles. Free safety Lorentez Barbour had six tackles. Nose tackle Bernie Sarra posted only one tackle but helped let the Mid linebackers fill the gaps and stuff the run. Mike linebacker Micah Thomas had four tackles and a sack for the loss of 9 yards which led to a punt. Rover Daiquan Thomasson forced a Tulsa fumble with a huge hit that was recovered by Amos Mason (5 tackles, FR).
SPECIAL TEAMS: C-
Kicker Austin Grebe suffered his second career miss when he was wide to the right from 32 yards. Grebe kicked off twice and had one touchback. Gavin Jerrigan kicked off five times and had one go out of bounds for a penalty. Punter Alex Barta averaged 48.0 yards on three punts and placed one inside the twenty yard line. On his 51-yard punt he outkicked his coverage and saw it returned by Tulsa 35-yards. Dishan Romine had a 90-yard kickoff return to open the second half which set up an easy touchdown. Calvin Cass Jr., should take out more life insurance if he continues to refuse to fair caught some punts. He was clobbered in the first half and dropped for a loss. The Mids coverage teams allowed two 35-yard returns and haven't played as well the last month.
Head coach Ken Niumatalolo’s 1-0 mantra on Tulsa's Senior Day helped Navy avoid the trap game loss that befell Houston. His team had a slow start but still dominated. Offensive coordinator Ivin Jasper had Tulsa on its heels most of the game once the Mids stopped fumbling after the first two series. Defensive coordinator Dale Pehrson's unit allowed Tulsa virtually nothing until the Mids were up 30-7 and coasted home. Just like the last few games, the defense was able to dictate tempo and take Tulsa out of its rhythm. Navy usde to be taken apart by teams that ran bubble screens and now Navy owns them the last month.
OVERALL GRADE: A+
The Mids are playing like the top twenty team they and are crushing the competition. As Navy blogger Mike James posted, fans used to wish for a complete game from Navy and now we get one almost every week. He's right. Navy once again held a team 15 points below their season scoring average in a double digit blowout victory.