Tulsa will try to avoid a third straight defeat when it meets Navy in an American Athletic Conference matchup on Saturday in Annapolis, Md.
Tulsa (2-3, 0-1 AAC) fell 31-21 at home to Cincinnati in its conference opener last week, one game after taking a 35-27 loss at then-No. 16 Ole Miss. Cincinnati is now back in the AP poll at No. 24 while undefeated Ole Miss has soared to No. 9.
The Golden Hurricane managed just 36 rushing yards on 45 carries against Cincinnati. Tulsa quarterbacks Davis Brin and Braylon Braxton lost a combined 72 yards as the Bearcats racked up 11 sacks.
One bright spot for Tulsa was the season debut of Deneric Prince, who missed September due to an undisclosed injury. Prince rushed for 71 yards and two touchdowns on 18 attempts.
“First game back, so (he’s) got to knock a little rust off, but it was obviously good to have him back and I think his presence is gonna help us tremendously throughout the rest of the year as long as we continue to keep growing,” Tulsa coach Philip Montgomery said.
Brin, a senior, played through an undisclosed injury to complete 18 of 36 passes for 237 yards with two interceptions. Montgomery said Brin remains day-to-day, adding the QB was “not any worse for wear” than last week.
Navy (1-3, 1-1) couldn’t build on the success of a 23-20, double-overtime win over East Carolina on Sept. 24. The Midshipmen lost 13-10 at Air Force last Saturday and are ranked 129th of 131 teams in scoring offense (13.3 points per game).
“What I told our guys is we’re not far off,” Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo said. “We’ve got some resilient kids, and we’re looking forward to bouncing back against Tulsa.”
In a rarity for the service academy, Navy gained more yards through the air (129) than on the ground (114) last week. Quarterback Tai Lavatai has gone 26-for-50 passing through four games after attempting 61 passes last season. He already has thrown for 515 yards, eclipsing last year’s total of 449.
“I don’t see us throwing the ball 35 times or stuff like that, but we’ve definitely got to take advantage of his arm,” Niumatalolo said. “Maybe if there’s one bright spot, the pass protection’s been decent for us. (But) we don’t want to make a living off throwing the ball a ton. That’s not who we are.”
Navy leads the all-time series 7-2, including a 20-17 win last year at Tulsa. Both of the Golden Hurricanes’ victories came in Annapolis.
–Field Level Media