It’s not likely that at the start of the season the University of Tulsa football squad would have thought they’d be playing a ranked team when Navy came to town, but the Midshipmen have been an interesting surprise in college football this season.
The Midshipmen sailed out of Tulsa with still only one loss, as Navy (9-1, 7-0 AAC) defeated the Golden Hurricane, 44-21, in front of 22,749 at H.A. Chapman Stadium. Navy came into this American Athletic Conference matchup on Saturday ranked No. 16 in the College Football Power Rankings and moved up to No. 14 after the win.
Sloppy play dictated most of the first quarter. Navy fumbled the ball twice and Tulsa recovered one of the fumbles, then Tulsa fumbled turning the ball over to Navy. That mistake set up the first scoring drive of the game.
The Midshipmen recovered the ball on their own 30-yard line, and scored on a 70-yard touchdown run by Toneo Gulley, with 6:28 left in the first quarter.
A botched punt by Tulsa’s Dalton Parks went out of bounds at the TU 39 yard line, setting up Navy for a quick score. The Midshipmen took advantage of the gift and on first down completed a 39-yard TD pass from Keenan Reynolds to Jamir Tillman. Navy took a 14-0 lead with 10:29 remaining in the second quarter.
Navy scored again on their possession with Reynolds carrying the ball into the end zone from one-yard out.
Tulsa got on the board with 2:16 remaining in the second quarter on a one-yard dive by Zack Langer and Navy led 21-14 at halftime.
Navy opened the second half with Dishan Romine returning the kickoff 90 yards to the Tulsa eight-yard line, and the Midshipmen scored two plays later on a Demond Brown four-yard run, giving Navy a 30-7 lead.
Tulsa responded with a four-yard run by Langer, his second TD of the game, to cut the Navy lead to 16 points, 30-14, with 11:04 left in the third quarter.
Navy scored again on its next possession as Quentin Ezell ran three yards into the end zone. Then the Midshipmen took their third straight second-half possession 76 yards in seven plays to take a 44-14 lead.
Tulsa’s D’Angelo Brewer scored on a 14-yard run with 2:55 left in the game to put the score at 44-21, and that’s the way it finished.
Now with only one game left on their schedule, Tulsa (5-6, 2-5 AAC) is in a must-win situation to become bowl eligible. The Golden Hurricane will have to win Friday night at Tulane in order to get a bowl game invitation.
It was great to see the Navy players and cheerleaders running onto the field with a couple American flags and flags that spelled out N-A-V-Y. They ran right toward the section of the stadium where the Navy fans and band were sitting, waving their flags; a great tradition.
Throughout the game I was thinking of the fact that these members of the Navy squad are more than just football players, they are also members of the U.S. Armed Forces by virtue of the fact they attend the Naval Academy. It also made me think of the numerous members of my family who served in the Navy – three uncles, my father-in-law, and two brothers-in-law. I am grateful for their service.
Tulsa Oilers center Ben Walker has been re-assigned to Tulsa from the Manitoba Moose, the Oilers’ American Hockey League affiliate.
Walker, 22, was called up to Manitoba on Nov. 4, and in two games with the Moose, the Edina, Minn. native recorded two penalty minutes and a +1 rating. Walker was assigned to Tulsa for the beginning of the 2015-16 season and in his first seven games with the Oilers he posted one goal, two assists, and seven penalty minutes.
The Oilers will be home Friday night against the Wichita Thunder at 7:05 p.m., and will host the Missouri Mavericks on Sunday at 4:05 p.m. at the BOK Center.