Navy and Air Force to Meet Saturday in Opening Leg of Commander-In-Chief's Trophy
Sept. 28, 2009
Setting the Stage
Meeting for the 42nd time, Navy (2-2) and Air Force (3-1) are set to square off in the first leg of the Commander-In-Chief's Trophy on Saturday afternoon in a contest that will be broadcast on CBS College Sports.
Saturday's game is sponsored by USAA and Verizon Wireless.
Craig Bolerjack (play-by-play) and Randy Cross (analyst) will call the action from Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium (34,000) beginning at 3:30 pm.
The Navy Football Radio Network will provide more than six hours of coverage starting at 1:30 pm with its pregame show on 1430 WNAV (Annapolis) hosted by Pete Medhurst, Joe Miller and Wiley Baker.
The Navy Football Pregame Show will get underway at 2:30 pm with Bob Socci, Omar Nelson, John Feinstein and Pete Medhurst setting the scene from Annapolis, followed by game action beginning at 3:30 pm. Sirius Satellite Radio (Ch. 122) will carry the Navy broadcast.
Following the contest, Pete Medhurst and Joe Miller will recap the day's events in a 60-minute postgame show live on 1430 WNAV.
General admission tickets are still available ($25, $15 for kids) and may be purchased online at www.NavySports.com or by calling 1-800-US4-NAVY. Tickets will be available on game day at the Navy Ticket Booth located in the North end zone of the stadium.
Pregame festivities will get underway at 1:15 pm with the Navy Football Team Walk.
Originating at the Blue Angel in the southwest corner of Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, the team will make its way down the sidewalk and through NavyFest before walking up the drive to the stadium. Fans are encouraged to line up on both sides of the sidewalk to cheer for the team.
The march-on of the Brigade of Midshipmen will take place at 3:11 pm.
Saturday's fly-over will feature two F/A-18 Hornets from the "Gladiators" of VFA-106 based out of Naval Air Station Oceana, Virginia Beach, Va. Piloting the lead aircraft will be Lt. Cmdr. Paul "BoBo" Felini, USNA Class of 1997. The wing aircraft will be piloted by Lt. Cmdr. Erik "Odie" Odom, USNA Class of 1997.
Members of the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial All-Stadium team will be honored at halftime. The quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers will be recognized in the season-long celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the first game played at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
Sea Of Blue
Navy fans are encouraged to wear their Navy blue gear to Saturday's game against Air Force to help create a "Sea of Blue" at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium!
The Air Force game is the first stop in Navy's journey to win a Service Academy-record seventh-straight Commander-In-Chief's Trophy.
The Mids enter Saturday's contest having won a record 13-straight Service Academy games.
Navy is vying for a record fifth-straight NCAA rushing title this year. Prior to Navy's current streak of four in a row, no team had ever won the rushing title more than twice in a row.
Navy owns a 125-90-1 (.581) record in games played at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
Navy is 27-8 (.771) in games played at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium over the last seven years, including a 2-0 mark this year.
The Commander-In-Chief's Trophy
The Commander-In-Chief's Trophy is presented annually to the winner of the football competition among the three major service academies -- Army, Navy and Air Force -- and is named in honor of the President of the United States.
Navy has dominated of late, winning the trophy a Service Academy record tying six-consecutive years and winning a Service Academy record 13 straight games against Air Force and Army in the process.
Navy has won the trophy a total of 11 times: 1973, 1975, 1978, 1979, 1981, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008.
When there is no clear-cut winner, the trophy remains with the winner of the previous year's competition.
The three-sided trophy stands two-and-a-half-feet tall and is engraved with the academy seals. Reproductions of the three mascots -- the Army Mule, the Navy Goat and the Air Force Falcon -- are ensconced on the respective sides of this bauble. The trophy is sponsored by the West Point Association of Graduates, the Naval Academy Alumni Association and the Air Force Association of Graduates.
The year in which the trophy is won is engraved on a plate gracing the respective academy's side of the trophy.
Scouting The Falcons
Perhaps Air Force's best team in recent memory, the Falcons are off to an impressive 3-1 start with easy victories over Nicholls State (72-0), New Mexico (37-13) and San Diego State (26-14).
Air Force's only loss was a hard-fought battle at Minnesota (20-13).
The Falcons come to Annapolis sporting the No. 1-ranked rushing offense in the country (319.0 yards per game).
Air Force is also ranked 40th in total offense (406.8 yards per game) and 19th in scoring offense (37.0 points per game).
The Falcons have been remarkable on defense, holding the opposition to 106.25 rushing yards per game (No. 31), 166.5 passing yards per game (No. 28), 272.75 yards of total offense per game (No. 20) and just 11.75 points per game (No. 9).
Air Force also ranks No. 1 in turnovers created (15), No. 1 in sacks allowed (0.50 per game), No. 2 in turnover margin (+3.25 turnovers per game), No. 9 in kickoff returns (31.14 yards per return), No. 13 in passing efficiency (161.54) and No. 17 in sacks (2.75).
Defensive back Reggie Rembert is tied for 24th in the country in interceptions per game (0.67 per contest) and defensive back Anthony Wright is ranked 15th in the country in punt returns (16.0 yards per return).
Erik Soderberg gives Air Force a huge advantage in the kicking game, averaging 2.50 field goals per game (T-No. 3) and is scoring 11 points per game (T-11th).
The Last Time ...
Navy 33, Air Force 27 Oct. 4, 2008 | Falcon Stadium | Colorado Springs, Colo.
Cornerback Blake Carter picked up a blocked punt by Greg Shinego and ran 25 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter and then blocked a punt of his own that Bobby Doyle fell on in the back of the end zone for a touchdown that gave Navy a 33-20 fourth quarter lead as the Midshipmen went on to score a 33-27 victory before 46,339 at Falcon Stadium in Colorado Springs. The win was the sixth straight by Navy over Air Force.
Navy's special teams dominated play all day as kicker Matt Harmon tied a school record by drilling four field goals, meanwhile the kickoff team pinned Air Force inside the 10-yard line on the opening kickoff of the third period, setting up Navy's only offensive touchdown of the day.
The Navy defense came up with big play after big play. In the first quarter, Air Force had the ball first-and-10 at the Navy 12-yard line, but the Falcons had to settle for a 24-yard field goal by Ryan Harrison.
In the second quarter, Air Force got the ball down to the one-yard line, but on third down Air Force quarterback Shea Smith was stopped by defensive end Jabaree Tuani for no gain and on fourth down junior Ram Vela stuffed Ty Paffett for a loss of one yard, thwarting the Air Force threat.
In the third quarter, after Navy had taken a 23-20 lead on a 44-yard field goal by Harmon, the defense stopped Smith on a fourth-and-three play as Pospisil tripped up Smith at the 35-yard line, one yard short of the first down marker.
After a Navy punt, safety Wyatt Middleton caused a fumble on the next play as he put a textbook hit on Air Force running back Savier Stephens, hitting the ball with his helmet and causing it to pop up in the air. The fumble was grabbed by Matt Nechak. Four plays later, Harmon made his fourth field goal of the day, this one from 32 yards out.
Carter then blocked the punt on Air Force's next possession to put the game away.
Service Academy Dominance, Mids Go For Trophy Record in 2009
Thanks to a 34-0 shutout over Army last December, Navy claimed its 13th straight win over a service academy, establishing a new record for consecutive service academy wins.
Navy's 13-game service academy winning streak dates back to the Army-Navy game in 2002. Over the course of the run, the Mids have outscored the opposition 441-205 (33.9 - 15.8).
With wins over both Air Force and Army in 2008, Navy earned its sixth consecutive Commander-In-Chief's Trophy, tying the record for consecutive trophies won set by Air Force from 1997-02.
The Mids own a 53-27 (.663) record over the last seven years and have proven to be the dominant service academy team over that time span.
Service Academy Football, 2003-present
Stat Navy AFA Army Overall Record 53-27 40-36 17-58 Record vs Service Academies 12-0 + 5-7 1-11 Bowl Games 6 2 0 Bowl Wins 2 0 0+ Navy has won 13 straight dating back to the 2002 season
Navy vs. the Mountain West
Navy is 19-31 (.380) all-time against teams currently in the Mountain West Conference.
41 of Navy's 50 games against teams that are currently in the Mountain West have come against Air Force.
The Mids have played BYU, Utah, Colorado State and New Mexico in bowl games.
Opponent W L T Pct. Air Force 16 25 0 39.0 BYU 1 1 0 50.0 Colorado State 1 0 0 1.000 UNLV 0 0 0 00.0 New Mexico 1 0 0 1.000 San Diego State 0 2 0 00.0 TCU 0 2 0 00.0 Utah 0 1 0 00.0 Wyoming 0 0 0 00.0 TOTALS 19 31 0 38.0
Mids Among the Most Successful Teams Nationally
Navy clinched its sixth-consecutive winning season with a 16-0 victory over Northern Illinois last November.
The six-straight winning seasons are the most by Navy since the Mids enjoyed 10-straight winning seasons from 1952-61.
The Mids own a 53-27 (.663) record over the last seven years after posting a 3-30 (.091) mark from 2000-02.
The 53 wins are tied for the 20th most in the country over that time span.