Tulane vs. Navy Preview and Prediction


The Tulane Green Wave are seeking their 2nd consecutive victory when they host the Navy Midshipmen at Yulman Stadium in uptown New Orleans in just a short while from now, and here’s a quick Preview and Prediction for tonight’s contest.

Date: Saturday, September 17th, 6pm CT

What: American Athletic Conference opener for the Green Wave


Venue: Yulman Stadium

Series History: Tulane Leads the All-Time Series 11-8-1 against Navy….. Navy has won 3  of the last 4 games against Tulane

News and Notes:

Navy has lost 4 straight times in New Orleans…..Navy, at 2-0 thus far this year, will head on the road for the first time today…..

Last week, Tulane coach Willie Fritz won his first game as  Green Wave head football coach…..Tulane soundly beat Southern University of Baton Rouge, 66-21 in the Green Wave’s 2016 home opener…..

The Green Wave offense ran for 437 rushing yards (3rd most rushing game yards in school history), while doing so set a record for most points scored at Yulman…… Tulane scored in every facet of the game including a 96 interception return for a TD, and a Sherman Badie 86 yard kickoff return for a TD……..The Green Wave didn’t punt in 13 offensive possessions

 Tulane AD Troy Dannen’s thoughts on the win and the upcoming year:

"“A lot of people have stopped me tonight and said, ‘I haven’t seen this out of Tulane football before,’ said Tulane athletic director Troy Dannen. “It’s been a nine-month preseason and there’s been a lot of re-engagement from fans to the program. We wanted to show them something, that there was a reason for their optimism and re-engagement. I think we showed them, ‘Hey, we’re going to have a little fun.'””Our fans are pragmatic,” Dannen said. “We’re not on our way to an 11-1 season. But there’s a lot of positives to take away from last week (vs. Wake Forest) and certainly tonight. We’ve got a much better football team than I think people expected.”"

Photo courtesy of Tulane Athletics

The Midshipmen are in the process of replacing  record-breaking QB Keenan Reynolds. Reynolds’ replacement, Tago Smith; tore the ACL in his right knee in the Midshipmen’s 1st game, a 52-16 victory over Fordham. Back-up QB Will Worth has now taken the controls of the Navy “Triple Option” Offense.

In last week’s  28-24 win over the University of Connecticut,  Worth ran for  9 times 44 yards, with 2 TD’s, completed his first four passes and finished 6-for-8 for 130 yards. Navy ran for 235 yards and went 3 for 6 in the red zone.

The Midshipmen (2-0, 1-0 American Athletic Conference) scored on their first two possessions and soared to a quick 21-0 lead. The Midshipmen held on after a furious Huskies rally. UConn was able to drive 79 yards on the final drive but were stuffed at the Navy 1 yard line as time expired.

The Huskies passing game was very successful going 24 completion in 27 attempts for 264 yards. The Midshipmen stymied the Huskies run game and held them to 90 yards rushing.

Earlier this week, Tulane Coach Willie Fritz announced true Freshman Johnathan Brantley as starting QB.

Brantley, who was the 3rd string QB coming into the yea,r has adapted quickly to the offense. Against Southern,  on Brantley’s first play of the game, he gained 63 yards on a QB keeper. On Brantley’s first 4 drives he led his team to 3 TD’s.

Brantley finished the game with 119 yards (team high) on 11 attempts. Brantley showed the command and explosive presence and ability Coach Fritz has been looking for.

Brantley has never played in an option based offense but has transitioned well; and his confidence has grown immensely. Brantley’s speed and quickness makes defenses play sideline to sideline.

"“It is nice, because it makes me feel like all of the work I put in has paid off,” Brantley said. “But I still have to work like I’m the third string, so we can be the best team that we can possibly be.”“I came in last, so I had to get a grasp of the offense fast,” Brantley said. “I didn’t have the spring or any of that. I had to come late in the summer, but once I got a grasp of the offense and figured out what they’re trying to do, I felt like it was going to be good.” “I’m confident about it,” he said. “I don’t know how much we plan on throwing this game, but whatever they ask me to do, I’ll do — whether it’s throwing, running, blocking or pitching. I’ll do it all.”"

Tonight’s game is a “buckle your chin strap” type of game. Both teams run an option offense, but they have different principles and schemes.

Navy is a triple option team that employs man to man blocking. Tulane has a spread option scheme with zone blocking concepts.

Sep 10, 2016; Annapolis, MD, USA; Navy Midshipmen celebrates on the field after defeating Connecticut Huskies 28-24 at Navy Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Last year Tulane did a fantastic job defensively, limiting the explosive Midshipmen offense to 133 rushing yards, while accumulating an incredible 11 tackles for loss and 4 sacks.

The key to that game last year was that Navy converted on short field position and forced turnovers on three straight possessions.

In that game, the Midshipmen averaged only 2.5 yards per carry. Tulane’s All-American DT candidate Tanzel Smart was disruptive, and his outstanding knack for penetration was integral in that effort.

Smart is a “people mover”and he was able to diagnose those dive plays and helped the entire front 7 dominate up front.

That effort from last year can be duplicated, Smart says:

"“We can look at last year, but we try not to harp on it because we have a whole different team, a whole different coaching staff and a new scheme,” he said. “We just have to have the mindset to punch them in the mouth, hit them first and don’t let them hit us.”"

Navy running back Chris High has rushed for 220 and 3 touchdowns this year. He;s the key to the run game for Navy. Tulane is ranked 127(128 teams) in passing with 73 yards a game aver on 14 of 40 attempts. Navy has thrown 12 times in 2 games.

The Navy defense is led by Freshamn Safety Alohi Gilman, who was AAC defensive player of the year

Whichever offense can take advantage of the stacked boxes on defense and complete some passes will win.

Navy has a really good kicking game, and Tulane’s dynamic returner — RB / KR Sherman Badie — is injured for today’s game.


This will be a close game and a battle of will.

The battle in the trenches will decide the winner.

Tulane plays well, but the Midshipmen “Anchor Away”……..

Navy 31, Tulane 21