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Navy vs. Tulane Prediction,
Preview,
and Odds - 9-19-2020

Game Snapshot with Current Line

#133 United States Naval Academy
Midshipmen 6.5
#134 Tulane University
Green Wave -6.5

Saturday, September 19, 2020 at 12:00pm

Image licensed from USA Today Sports

The Navy Midshipmen (0-1) will make a trip down to Louisiana when they take on conference rivals- the Tulane Green Wave (1-0). At the end of the 2019 season, the Midshipmen were the number two team in the American Athletic West Conference. They had a 7-1 conference record, and an 11-2 overall record. Tulane’s end to the season was less bright. They were fourth in the conference, with a conference record of 3-5 and an overall record of 7-6. The last time these teams faced off was on October 26th of last year. In that game, the Midshipmen had a strong opening quarter, and Tulane wasn’t able to recover. The final score was 41-38.

Navy Looks To Right Ship After Opening Disaster

In their season opener, the Midshipmen didn’t look like a team that finished 20th in the nation at the end of last season. The team opened their season at home against the BYU Cougars and ended up on the bad end of a blowout. The final score was 55-3, and at halftime, the score was 31-0. The Midshipmen only managed a total of 149 total yards, as opposed to BYU’s 580. This low number of yards is another surprise to see from the Navy. They were first in the country in rushing yards last year, with an average of 360.5 per game. Their 149 total yards were the second-lowest they’ve had in a game in the past 13 years.

Navy may be going back to the drawing board when it comes to the quarterback position. Dalen Morris started in the BYU game and struggled, while Perry Olsen played in the second half. Olsen is now in the transfer portal, so Morris could be the starting quarterback. He's been in competition with three other quarterbacks, including freshman Xavier Arline, who is now listed as the backup. Finding a quarterback to run the triple-option offense is integral to the success for Navy this season.

The only points that the Midshipmen got came from a single field goal late in the third quarter. Their three points were scored by Bijan Nichols. Last season, the sophomore scored 97 total points and had a field goal percentage of 70.6%. Head coach Ken Niumatalolo took the blame for the loss. Due to coronavirus concerns, he kept his players from contact during practice leading up to the game, stating “The last time we tackled anybody was the bowl game, nine months ago.”.

Green Wave Hopes To Build A Streak In Home Opener

Tulane announced a contract extension for coach Willie Fritz on Monday. Previously, he had a contract that took him through 2023, though now he’ll be with the team until 2026. Fritz has had a strong run as the Green Wave’s coach, as he took the team not only to back-to-back bowl appearances in 2018 and 2019 but back-to-back bowl wins in those years. That is a first for Tulane’s program. His team had a solid season opener on Sunday night. After trailing for a majority of the game, the Green Wave would stage a comeback in the fourth quarter for a 27-24 win.

Tulane ended the game with a total of 394 yards. Though this is shy of their 449.3 yards per game average at the conclusion of the 2019 season, it was still enough to give them the win. As mentioned, the game didn’t turn to Tulane’s favor until late in the contest. In fact, they would trail for nearly the entirety of the game. Their game-winning touchdown wasn’t scored until 3:18. The Green Wave wouldn’t make any field goals during the game. Two of the team’s four touchdowns came from the same player. Sophomore Cameron Carroll would score in the second and THIRD quarters to help give his team the win. The running back would have 26 rushing yards by the end of the game.

The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.

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This early in the season, there’s not much information to go on as to how a team is going to perform. However, comparing the two teams opening performances, Tulane is clearly the stronger team. Since their loss, the Mids have begun full-contact practice to try to right the wrongs that were done in their season opener. But, the physicality wasn’t the only problem in the game. They failed both offensively and defensively, and that’s not something that can be solved by a week of full-contact practice. It may take a few games to find a suitable quarterback who can run that offense. Contrasting them, the Green Wave proved that they’re a resilient team in their opener. Despite trailing for almost the entire game, they never stopped fighting, and it put them out on top. Comparing the two team’s performances so far, it seems clear that Tulane is the stronger of the two.

Prediction: Tulane Green Wave -8

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The Shipmen were very nearly shutout in their home opener. It didn’t just indicate them going up a strong defense, but a total breakdown of their offensive line. They didn’t score a single touchdown and had only a handful of rushing yards. Their offense needs a tuneup, one that will take longer than one game to finish. While Tulane played a strong game in their opener, it certainly wasn’t high scoring. They only had four touchdowns, and two were scored by the same person. Neither of these teams had strong offensive showings in their season openers, and it looks as if history will repeat itself on Saturday.

Prediction: Under 48

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