Navy and Air Force Meet In Opening Leg of the Battle for the Commander-In-Chief's Trophy
Senior slot back Gee Gee Greene caught a 5-yard touchdown pass with 19 seconds left in last year's game against Air Force to send the game into overtime.
Oct. 1, 2012
Setting the Stage
Navy and Air Force will meet for the 45th time on the gridiron when they square off early Saturday morning at Falcon Stadium (46,692). Kickoff is set for 9:30 am in Colorado Springs (11:30 am in Annapolis).
The game is the first leg of the Commander-In-Chief's Trophy, which is presented annually to the winner of the football competition among the three major Service Academies, and is named in honor of the President of the United States.
Air Force leads the series with the Mids, 27-17, and is 24-16 against Navy since the inception of the CIC Trophy in 1972. The Falcons are 15-6 all-time against Navy in Colorado Springs.
Last year, the Falcons beat Navy in Annapolis, 35-34, in overtime. It was the second overtime game in the last three years between the two clubs. Navy defeated Air Force in overtime, 16-13, in 2009.
Saturday's game will be televised nationally by CBS Sports with Spero Dedes, Steve Beuerlein and Otis Livingston calling the action.
CBS Sports Network will air a pregame show at 11:30 AM
The Navy Football Tailgate Show on WNAV 1430 AM / 99.9 FM will air at 9:30 am in Annapolis with Pete Medhurst live from Colorado Springs and Joe Miller in Annapolis.
The Navy Football Pregame Show with Bob Socci, Omar Nelson and Pete Medhurst will get underway at 10:30 am, followed by game action beginning at 11:30 am on the Navy Radio Network.
Following the contest, Joe Miller and Pete Medhurst will recap the day's events in a 60-minute postgame show live on WNAV 1430 AM / 99.9 FM and WFED 1050 AM.
The tailgate show, the pregame show, the game and the postgame show are available over the internet to Navy All-Access subscribers.
Scouting Air Force
The Falcons are off to a 2-2 start with victories over Idaho State (49-21) and Colorado State (42-21) and losses to Michigan (31-25) and UNLV (38-35).
Air Force is the nation's leading rushing team, averaging 396.3 yards per game.
The Falcons also rank 20th in total offense (500.3 yds/gm), second in net punting (44.6 yds/punt), 18th in punt returns (15.0), 17th in kickoff returns (26.8) and first in sacks alllowed (0.0).
Senior running back Cody Getz is the second-leading rusher in the country, averaging 170.8 yards per contest. He rushed for 222 yards on 25 carries last week against Colorado State and has rushed for more than 100 yards in all four games this year. Getz is the first player in Air Force history to rush for more than 100 yards in the first four games of the year. He has seven rushing touchdowns on the year.
Senior quarterback Connor Dietz has carried the ball 46 times for 257 yards and three touchdowns, while completing 23 of his 44 passes for 416 yards with two TDs and one interception.
Dietz's favorite target is senior wide receiver Ty MacArthur, who has eight catches for 192 yards and has also rushed for 173 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries.
Senior linebacker Austin Niklas leads the Air Force defense with 35 tackles, three forced fumbles and two tackles for a loss, while Brian Lindsay has 31 tackles and 1.5 tackles for a loss.
The Last Time ...
AIR FORCE 35, NAVY 34 OT OCT. 1, 2011 | ANNAPOLIS, MD.
Tim Jefferson scored on a one-yard touchdown run and Parker Herrington kicked the extra-point to give Air Force a 35-34 overtime victory over Navy in front of 37,506 fans at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on Oct. 1, 2011.
Herrington's extra-point was the game-winner thanks to a controversial unsportsmanlike conduct penalty called against Navy quarterback Kriss Proctor after Proctor had scored a touchdown on Navy's first possession in overtime. Jon Teague, who was pushed back 15 yards on his extra-point try, kicked the ball low and it was blocked by Alex Means.
It was a topsy-turvy game with the Falcons dominating the first quarter and Navy dominating the fourth.
Air Force jumped out to a 14-0 lead with touchdowns the first two times it had the ball.
The Mids cut the lead to 14-3 on their second drive, moving 61 yards in 10 plays, had to settle for a 25-yard field goal.
The Navy defense, however, could not stop Air Force as the Falcons answered with an eight-play, 75-yard touchdown drive with tailback Asher Clark scoring from 23 yards out to give Air Force a 21-3 lead.
The Mids made it 21-10 early in the third quarter when Proctor scored on a two-yard run.
The Falcons looked to have put the final nail in Navy's coffin with an eight-play, 89-yard drive that was finished off by Clark's six-yard run on the first play of the fourth quarter to give Air Force a 28-10 lead.
Navy, though, moved 62 yards on 14 plays with Proctor scoring from the seven to cut Air Force's lead to 28-17.
After the Navy defense held Air Force to a three-and-out, the Mids went 73 yards in 16 plays with Teague making a 37-yard field goal to make the score 28-20 with 2:04 left.
Navy had to go for the onside kick and Teague pulled off a beauty as the ball took a perfect bounce into the hands of Navy wide receiver Brandon Turner giving Navy the ball at the Air Force 41.
The Mids quickly moved down the field and scored with just 19 seconds left on a five-yard touchdown pass from Proctor to junior slot back Gee Gee Greene, who made a beautiful one-handed catch. Navy had to go for two to tie the game and Proctor did a masterful job of running the double option, pitching to fullback Alexander Teich at the last second and Teich dove inside the left pylon to tie the game at 28.
Air Force won the toss and elected to go on defense first. Proctor took it in from the one to give Navy a six-point lead.
After the play, Proctor was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct as he said something to AF safety Jon Davis after the play.
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 seven-consecutive years from 2003-09 and winning a Service Academy record 15-straight games against Air Force and Army in the process. Air Force has won the trophy each of the last two years.
Navy has won the trophy a total of 12 times: 1973, 1975, 1978, 1979, 1981, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009.
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 AA plate gracing the respective academy's side of the trophy.
Navy Versus The Mountain West
Navy is 19-32 (.373) all-time against teams currently in the Mountain West Conference. The Mids are 17-27 against Air Force, 0-3 against San Diego State, 0-2 against Hawai'i, 1-0 against Colorado State and 1-0 against New Mexico.
The Mids beat Colorado State (Poinsettia) and New Mexico (Emerald) in bowl games.
Navy has never played Boise State, Fresno State, Nevada, UNLV or Wyoming.
Playing Notre Dame in Dublin and Penn State at State College was the toughest first two games in school history.
In the last 40 years, Navy has started the year with two BCS opponents just eight times and only twice (2005 and 1982) did Navy go on to have a winning record.
Navy lost to Maryland in Baltimore and at home against Stanford to start the 2005 season and finished 8-4 and beat Virginia and lost to Arkansas in Little Rock in 1982 and finished 6-5.
The Navy defense has not allowed a touchdown in nine consecutive quarters. The last touchdown the defense surrendered came with 2:23 left in the third quarter in State College when Penn State scored on a 25-yard touchdown pass. The streak is the longest by a Navy defense since 2008 when the Mids did not allow a touchdown for 10 straight quarters (fourth quarter against Notre Dame, shut out Northern Illinois, shut out Army and did not allow a first quarter score to Wake Forest).
The Mids have been shut out in the first quarter in eight of the last 12 games dating back to last year and have not scored a touchdown in the first quarter in 11 of the last 13 games.
Navy has been outscored, 30-3, in the first quarter this year and 82-23 in the first quarter over the last 13 games dating back to last year.
In Navy's last six wins it has outscored the opposition, 118-34, in the first half, including 46-3 in the first quarter.
The Mids have suffered a first quarter turnover in the red zone in each of the last three contests.
Navy has already turned the ball over 12 times this year (nine lost fumbles and three interceptions) after committing just 15 turnovers in 2011 (nine lost fumbles and six interceptions). Junior quarterback Trey Miller is responsible for 10 of Navy's 12 turnovers (seven fumbles and three interceptions) with five of those turnovers coming inside the opponents' 30-yard line.
In the Mids' last 10 losses, Navy has been outscored, 199-69, in the first half, including 86-10 in the first quarter.
Under Niumatalolo, the Mids are 21-3 (.875) when leading after the first quarter and 12-21 (.364) when trailing or tied after the first stanza.
Navy has been held under 300 yards rushing in nine of its last 16 games and the Mids are just 1-8 (.111) in those games (Army in 2011 is the lone win).
The Mids are 18-5 (.783) under Niumatalolo when rushing for 300 yards or more and 15-19 (.441) when the offense is held under 300 yards rushing.
Navy is 27-4 (.870) under Niumatalolo when scoring first and 6-20 (.231) when the opponent scores first.
An opposing running back has rushed for over 100 yards in a game against Navy in nine of the last 16 contests. In the previous 40 games, Navy surrendered only nine 100-yard rushing games to opposing running backs.
The shutout by San Jose State marked the first time that the Navy offense had been shut out since Oct. 14, 2006, when Rutgers defeated Navy, 34-0.
The San Jose State game marked the first time that Navy played in a game without a touchdown since Nov. 28, 1981, when the Army-Navy game ended in a 3-3 tie.
Navy's 144 yards of total offense marks the second-fewest yards by Navy during the triple option era (2002-present), second only to the Connecticut game on Nov. 16, 2002, when the Mids mustered just 82 yards of total offense in the contest.
Navy owns a 16-7 (.696) record in games played at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium under Ken Niumatalolo and is 17-17 (.500) away from home.
Red Zone Has Become A Dead Zone For Mids
Navy ranks 118th in the country in red zone offense, scoring on just six of 11 chances.
The Mids have scored three touchdowns, kicked three field goals, lost the ball once on downs and turned it over four times (three lost fumbles by quarterback Trey Miller and an interception by Miller).
The Mids rank 82nd in red zone defense, allowing 11 scores in 13 opportunities. The opposition has scored seven touchdowns, kicked four field goals, turned it over on downs once and threw one interception.
The Navy offense has lost nine fumbles this year after losing just nine fumbles in 12 games a year ago. Navy and Nebraska are tied for the most fumbles lost in the country.
The Navy defense is one of just three teams in the country that has not recovered a fumble all year. Oklahoma and Buffalo are the other two yet to recover a fumble.
Third Down Troubles
Navy has struggled all year to keep drives alive on offense and to get off the field on defense.
Navy ranks 92nd in the country in third down offense, converting 16 of 46 tries (.348).
The Navy defense ranks 104th in third down defense, giving up 24 conversions in 49 attempts (.490). Opponents are just 1-4 (.250) when going for it on fourth down against the Navy defense.
Navy's three losses have come at the hands of opponents that are a combined 11-3 on the year.
Notre Dame is 4-0 and ranked ninth in the country, Penn State, after dropping its first two games, has since won three straight and San Jose State is 4-1 and receiving votes in the coaches poll.