Navy stages school-record comeback, stuns Tulane 27-24
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Cameron Kinley's interception near his own goal line kept Navy's 24-point hole from getting deeper and set the stage for previously benched quarterback Dalen Morris to win back his job by helping the Midshipmen stage a historic rally.
Jamale Carothers rushed for 125 yards, Bijan Nichols kicked a 33-yard field goal as time expired, and Navy beat Tulane 27-24 for the largest comeback in school history on Saturday.
“I don’t have much to say other than, ‘Wow.’ A testament to the young men at the United States Naval Academy," Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo continued. "These guys are going to protect us, serve our country. These are the type of young men that you have, that will not quit.”
Navy (1-1, 1-0 American), which lost its opener 55-3 to BYU, ran just two plays in Tulane territory in the first half and looked in danger of being blown out again late in the second quarter.
“That first half looked like third half of the BYU game," Niumatalolo said. “We couldn’t stop them and we couldn’t move the ball an inch.”
Tulane (1-1, 0-1) was threatening to build on a 24-0 lead before Kinley intercepted Tulane quarterback Keon Howard at the Navy 3. The turnover looked far more consequential as the game wore on and Navy stunningly seized control in the second half, when the Midshipmen outgained the Green Wave 291 yards to 82.
The interception was “the play of the game,” Niumatalolo said. “It just gave us some life."
In the last seven minutes of the third quarter, the Midshipmen scored 16 points on two short Nelson Smith touchdowns and a safety. They tied it on Morris' 32-yard touchdown pass to Mychal Cooper, followed by a 2-point conversion, early in the fourth quarter.
Tulane looked primed to regain the lead with about five minutes left, but elected to throw a deep pass, which fell incomplete, on fourth-and-3 from the Navy 32.