Dec 5, 2020; Annapolis, Maryland, USA;  Tulsa Golden Hurricane quarterback Zach Smith (11) throws during the first half against the Navy Midshipmen at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

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No. 24 Tulsa handles Navy, 19-6

No. 24 Tulsa struggled but still locked up a spot in the American Athletic Conference Championship Game by beating Navy 19-6 on Saturday in Annapolis, Maryland.

The Golden Hurricane (6-1, 6-0 AAC) will host No. 7 Cincinnati (8-0, 6-0 AAC) next Saturday to decide home-field advantage in the title game.

Zach Smith (10 of 25) passed for only 168 yards as the Hurricane managed 296 yards in total offense. But 66 came on a touchdown strike to Josh Johnson late in the third quarter.

The Hurricane’s Zack Long kicked four field goals, including a career-long 48-yarder in the second quarter.

Freshman quarterback Xavier Arline (4 of 8) passed for only 27 yards and rushed for a team-best 60 yards on 27 carries in his second start for Navy, but couldn’t get the Midshipman (3-6, 3-4 AAC) in the end zone.

Both teams were missing key players.

Tulsa was without leading rusher Deneric Prince (356 yards) and lost backup TK Wilkerson in the second quarter, turning the rushing workload over to senior Corey Taylor. Taylor finished with 69 yards on 19 rushes.

Linebacker Zaven Collins, who leads Tulsa in tackles, sacks and interceptions, injured his foot late in the second quarter and did not return. Tackle Jaxon Player, however, had a huge game with 12 tackles and two sacks.

Navy was without slotback CJ Williams and lost slotback Myles Fells to a head injury in the first half.

The Hurricane managed only 117 yards in the first half and settled for a pair of field goals from Long for a 6-3 lead at the break.

The Midshipmen had only 71 yards in total offense the first half with 57 coming on their last possession of the half that culminated in Bijan Nichols’ 34-yard field goal as time ran out.

The Middies then opened the third quarter with a methodical 60-yard drive for Nichols’ second field goal to tie the game at 6-6.

–Field Level Media

Field Level Media
Sport Writer & Editor
FLM has a North American focus while tying into regional and hyper-local resources – providing the ability to distribute compelling content through the writing of professional journalists. As the U.S. sports content provider to dozens of digital and print media publishers through strategic partnerships with the likes of Reuters and Nielsen Sports, FLM covers the nuts and bolts with a breaking news desk and game event coverage.

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