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College football action on Saturday evening and a pair of teams from the American Athletic Conference will square off as the Navy Midshipmen duke it out with the Tulsa Golden Hurricane at Skelly Field at H.A. Chapman Stadium in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Navy won this game at home last year by a score of 37-29.
The Midshipmen come in off a 34-25 home win over Air Force to move to 3-1 on the year, while Tulsa is now at 2-3 on the year after a 43-37 road loss to SMU.
Navy Is Off To A Solid StartThe Navy Midshipmen are off to a nice start to their year as they come in at 3-1 overall. All three wins have come at home while their lone loss was at Memphis a few weeks ago. Can they pick up their first road win of the year? We shall see. Navy is led by their powerful ground triple option attack that ranks 1st in the nation, putting up 312.2 so far. Last week, they faced Air Force at home and the Midshipmen ran for just 214 yards in the contest and I say "Just" because that nearly 100 yards below their season average. Malcolm Perry had a big game as he was five-for-seven for 144 yards while also rushing for 111 yards and two TDs. Perry has now thrown for 480 yards and three TDs while rushing for 386 yards and nine TDs.
Also having a big game was Nelson Smith, who ran for 82 yards and scored twice. He has now rushed for 249 yards and five TDs on the year. The Midshipmen could have another solid game on the ground as they are facing a weak Tulsa run defense that is 84th in the nation against the run. The defense for Navy has been very good in the early going as they rank 10th in the nation in total yards allowed at 278 and 28th in points allowed at 19.2. The key against the Golden Hurricane is stopping their 38th ranked passing game and the Midshipmen could do that as they are 24th against the pass, giving up just 186.8 ypg through the air so far. If Navy gets by this game, they could be on their way to a huge season as they have USF and Tulane at home next, followed by Uconn on the road.
Golden Hurricane Blow It Vs The PoniesThe Tulsa Golden Hurricane had a shot at pulling a huge upset last week when they were facing a ranked SMU team on the road. Tulsa was a 12 point underdog in the game and they had a 30-9 lead heading to the 4th quarter when the ponies exploded for 21 points in the final frame to send the game to OT. SMU then outscored the Golden Hurricane 13-7 in OT and stole one from them. It was an epic collapse for a Tulsa team that was looking to get over .500 for the year. Tulsa outgained the Ponies 500 to 440 in the game and they held them to just five of 20 on 3rd down, but 4th down was a different story as SMU converted on six of their seven 4th down chances. The Tulsa defense did come up with two fumble recoveries, but they also threw three INTs. Zach Smith had a nice game with 346 yards passing and four TDs, but he also had those three INTs and will be taking on a very tough Navy pass defense that ranks 24th in the nation. Smith has thrown for 1364 yards, with nine TDs and four INTs on the year.
The defense has been rather average overall as they rank 68th in yards allowed, but they are 84th against the run and 91st in points allowed, giving up 29.6 ppg. This run defense will have a tough time against the top rushing team in the league and we note that Navy has averaged 418.8 ypg against them the last four years. Navy has won all four games. That is a bit surprising as the Golden Hurricane does face Navy each year so they should be used to seeing this offense. This is a tough stretch for Tulsa as they have Cincinnati on the road next, followed by Memphis at home.
- 3-7 ATS in their last 10 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
- 2-8 ATS in their last 10 games following an ATS win
- 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games after accumulating less than 170 yards passing in their previous game.
- 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games on fieldturf
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The Golden Hurricane has had their issues stopping the run this year and now they have to face the best ground game in the nation. Even worse for Tulsa is the fact that Tulsa has allowed 418.8 ypg on the ground in the last four meetings with Navy. The Midshipmen have won all four of those games and they have won three of the four by at least eight points. Tulsa has been a solid passing team but navy is 24th in the nation against the pass and I will look for Tulsa to be flat and demoralized after last week's epic collapse. Take Navy in this one and the clincher is the fact that that the road team is 5-1 ATS the last six games in this series.
Prediction: Navy -2.5
Full-Game Total Pick
I will look for this game to go over the total. Navy has averaged 418.8 ypg on the ground and 38.5 ppg in the last four meetings with Tulsa. The Golden Hurricane just can't stop them and I don't see it happening here. The Midshipmen have been solid on defense, but the Golden Hurricane can throw the ball and they have averaged a solid 27.8 ppg over the last four meetings with Navy. Both teams should be able to move the ball in this one and as you add the two numbers above, we see that the last four games between these teams have averaged 67.3 ppg. That is 13.7 points above this total. The Over is 5-1 in Navy's last 6 vs. a team with a losing record and 4-1 in Tulsa's last five conference games.
Prediction: Over 53.5