College Football
Preview
Tulsa at Navy
When: 3:30 PM ET, Saturday, December 5, 2020
Where: Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, Maryland

No. 24 Tulsa will look to lock up its first berth in the American Athletic Conference title game with a win over Navy on Saturday in Annapolis, Md.

The Golden Hurricane (5-1, 5-0 AAC) have won five straight games since losing at then-No. 11 Oklahoma State 16-7 to open the season. Tulsa can also secure a spot in the conference title game with a loss on Saturday, provided it beats No. 7 Cincinnati (8-0, 6-0) next week.

"I feel like we should be in decent shape," Tulsa coach Philip Montgomery said Tuesday, according to the Tulsa World. "Everybody's got bruises and banged up a little bit this time of year, but for the most part I think everybody else will be available."

However, Tulsa has never beaten Navy (3-5, 3-3) in AAC play. The Midshipmen are 5-0 against Tulsa since they joined the league in 2015. The Midshipmen dominated Tulsa last season, as quarterback Malcolm Perry rushed for 218 yards and three touchdowns on 20 carries in a 45-17 win. But Perry now plays for the Miami Dolphins, and the Midshipmen haven't been able to replicate his production under center this year.

Navy has played at least two quarterbacks in six of its eight games, with the only exceptions being against Temple and Houston, when Dalen Morris played every snap.

Morris and Tyger Goslin split time in the team's last game, combining to complete 4 of 11 passes for 88 yards and an interception. Navy rushed for 233 yards on 52 carries, led by Nelson Smith, who had 29 carries for 142 yards and a touchdown.

Navy and Tulsa were initially scheduled to meet on Nov. 7, but the game was postponed after a coronavirus outbreak swept through the Naval Academy, preventing the Midshipmen from traveling to Oklahoma for the contest.

By moving the game to Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, it will allow Navy to have Senior Day for its 26 Midshipmen to play one more home game. Navy, which closes the season at Army on Dec. 12, has won 17 straight games on Senior Day, but No. 18 should be tough to get.

Tulsa is ranked 14th nationally in third-down defense (.319), 14th in defensive touchdowns (two) and 15th in fumble recoveries (seven). The Golden Hurricane relies heavily on All-America candidate linebacker Zaven Collins, who leads the Golden Hurricane with 48 tackles, four sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss, and his four interceptions are tied for fourth nationally. Meantime, Kendarin Ray has recorded 46 tackles and broken up five passes, while Bryson Powers has notched two fumble recoveries.

Quarterback Zach Smith, who is coming off a torso injury that sidelined him for most of the team's last game against Tulane on Nov. 19, has completed 98 of his 162 pass attempts for 1,266 yards with 10 touchdowns and six interceptions. Josh Johnson (32 catches, 408 yards, 5 TDs) and Keylon Stokes (31 catches, 446 yards, 2 TDs) are his favorite targets.

Deneric Price, who has 356 yards and a pair of scores on 71 carries, and T.K. Wilkerson (73 carries, 300 yards, four touchdowns) pace the ground game.

"What they do on offense presents everybody with trouble," Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo said. "They spread you out a ton and pound the football. If you don't shore up the run game, they'll keep pounding you. If you try to get people involved with the run game, they'll get you on the edges."

--Field Level Media

Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W‑L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf Conf
Tulsa 5-1 W5 29.2 22.2 3-0 2-1 2-0 0-0 5-0
Navy 3-5 L3 20.0 33.6 1-3 2-2 1-1 0-0 3-3
Last Meeting
Tulsa Navy
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
10/12/19 NAVY 45 TLSA 17 323 69 254 423 388 35
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Tulsa Z. Smith 47.9 254 1 0
Navy C. Williams 100.0 26 0 0
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Tulsa S. Brooks 12 55 4.6 0
Navy M. Perry 20 218 10.9 3
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Tulsa J. Santana 9 98 10.9 0
Navy J. Carothers 1 26 26.0 0
Touchdowns Player TD
Tulsa C. Taylor II 1
Navy M. Perry 3
Season
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Tulsa Z. Smith 60.5 1267 10 6
Navy D. Morris 53.3 570 3 2
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Tulsa D. Prince 70 356 5.1 2
Navy N. Smith 105 589 5.6 8
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Tulsa K. Stokes 31 446 14.4 2
Navy M. Cooper 12 199 16.6 2
Touchdowns Player TD
Tulsa J. Johnson 5
Navy N. Smith 8
Quickchart Matchup
Tulsa Tulsa Off vs  Navy Navy Def
Tulsa 430.5 yards
Navy 424.6 yards
Tulsa 4.2 yards/rush
Navy 5.6 yards/rush
Tulsa 7.8 yards/attempt
Navy 7.9 yards/attempt
Navy Navy Off vs  Tulsa Tulsa Def
Navy 310.1 yards
Tulsa 357.7 yards
Navy 3.9 yards/rush
Tulsa 3.8 yards/rush
Navy 8.8 yards/attempt
Tulsa 6 yards/attempt