Mids Prepare for Army-Navy Gridiron Classic
Outside linebacker Ram Vela returned an interception 68 yards for a TD in last year's Army-Navy battle.
Dec. 2, 2009
Setting the Stage
Meeting for the 110th time in series history, Navy (8-4) and Army (5-6) are set to square off in the annual Army-Navy Game Presented by USAA on Saturday, Dec. 12. The game will be televised around the world by CBS and the Armed Forces Network.
Verne Lundquist (play-by-play), Gary Danielson (analyst) and Tracy Wolfson (sideline) will call the action from Lincoln Financial Field (68,532) beginning at 2:30 pm. CBS Sports will also air a 30-minute preview show starting at 2:00 pm.
John Tautges (play-by-play) and Bobby Ross (color) will call the game nationally for CBS/Westwood One Radio starting at 2:30 pm.
The Navy Football Tailgate Show on 1430 WNAV (Annapolis) hosted by Pete Medhurst, Joe Miller and Wiley Baker will air at 12:30 pm live from Philadelphia.
The Navy Football Pregame Show will get underway at 1:30 pm with Bob Socci, John Feinstein, Omar Nelson and Pete Medhurst setting the scene from Philadelphia, followed by game action beginning at 2:30 pm on the Navy Radio Network. Sirius Satellite Radio (Ch. TBA) will also carry the Navy broadcast.
A victory over Army would give Navy a record seventh-straight Commander-In-Chief's Trophy.
Navy has won a Service Academy-record 14-consecutive games against Army and Air Force. Navy's last loss to a fellow Service Academy was against Air Force in 2002.
The Mids have won a series-record seven-straight contests against Army and have outscored the Black Knights 274-71 (39.1-10.1).
The Navy defense has not allowed an Army touchdown in eight quarters. Army's last touchdown came with two seconds remaining in the 2006 contest and Navy up 26-7.
If Navy can win its final two games (Army and an opponent to be announced in the Texas Bowl), the Mids would tie the school record for wins with 10 which was set in 1905 and tied in 2004.
Despite missing the Wake Forest game and playing just seven plays against Temple, junior quarterback Ricky Dobbs is No. 2 in the nation in touchdowns scored (23) and in points per game (12.6). He is 15th in the country in points responsible for (14.7 pts/gm).
Scoring his school-record 23rd rushing touchdown on Nov. 28 at Hawai'i, Dobbs tied the NCAA record for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback set by Chance Harridge of Air Force in 2002 and later matched by Florida's Tim Tebow en route to winning the 2007 Heisman Trophy.
Pregame festivities will get underway at 11:47 am with the march-on of the Corps of Cadets from West Point.
The march-on of the Brigade of Midshipmen will take place at 12:17 pm.
The Service Academy Exchange of Cadets and Midshipmen will take place at 2:14 pm.
Saturday's Navy fly-over features four F/A-18D Hornets from the Fighting Bengals of Marine All Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 224, based out of Marine Corps Air Station, Beaufort, S.C. VMFA(AW)-224 was commissioned on May 1, 1942, and has deployed in support of many combat operations, from Guadalcanal and Vietnam to Operation Iraqi Freedom. The Fighting Bengals serving today continue to uphold the tradition of excellence established at Guadalcanal in 1942.
Piloting the lead aircraft is Maj. Brad "Spicoli" Hipp, USNA Class of `98, with Lt. Col. Joe "Happy" Maybach, USNA Class of `93. Piloting the second aircraft is Capt. Rob "Champ" Guyette, USNA Class of `04, with Capt. Ashley "Shortround" Kosavanna. Piloting the third aircraft is Capt. Paul "Booger" Holst, USNA Class of `01, with Lt. Jason "TYHAC" Bernhard, USNA Class of `02. Piloting the fourth aircraft is Capt. Grant "Tiny" Moody, USNA Class of `03 and a former Navy football player, with Capt Eli "Sloth" Keller.
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 14-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.
Service Academy Dominance, Mids Go For Trophy Record
With a 16-13 overtime victory against Air Force on Oct. 3, Navy established a new record for consecutive service academy wins by claiming its 14th straight.
Navy's 14-game service academy winning streak dates back to the 2002 Army-Navy game. Over the course of the run, the Mids have outscored the opposition, 457-218 (32.6 - 15.6).
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 can win a record seventh-straight CIC Trophy with a victory over Army on Dec. 12. The Mids have already retained the trophy thanks to Air Force's 35-7 victory over Army on Nov. 7.
Navy owns a 59-29 (.670) record over the last seven years and have proven to be the dominant service academy team over that time span.
Navy in the Midst of Most Dominant Era in Army-Navy Series History
Navy's 34-0 victory over Army last year was its seventh-consecutive win over West Point, the longest streak in series history by either team.
The Mids have won a series-record seven-straight contests against Army in dominant fashion, outscoring the Black Knights 274-71 (39.1-10.1).
The Last Time ...
Navy 34, Army 0 Dec. 6, 2008 | Lincoln Financial Field | Philadelphia, Pa.
Senior slot back Shun White and senior fullback Eric Kettani combined for 273 yards rushing and three touchdowns, while the Navy defense held the Army offense to 154 yards of total offense as Navy blasted Army for the seventh-straight year, 34-0, in front of a sold-out crowd of 69,144 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.
It was Navy's first shutout against Army since 1978.
Navy jumped out to a 7-0 lead on the third play of the game when White ran 65 yards off an option pitch from quarterback Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada.
The Mids made it 10-0 on their third drive of the game when Matt Harmon drilled a 23-yard field goal and went up 17-0 right before the half when Kaheaku-Enhada hit White with an 18-yard touchdown pass.
Navy put the game away with a methodical drive to open the third quarter, marching 72 yards on 14 plays and taking 7:52 off the clock. Kettani ended the drive with a five-yard touchdown run and the rout was on.
White was the recipient of the 2008 Philadelphia Sports Writers Association MVP Award for his efforts.
The Navy defense was superb all day, holding the Black Knights to just seven first downs.
Fifty of Army's 154 yards of total offense came during mop up time in the fourth quarter.
Navy played the game with a heavy heart as it was without the services of senior cornerback Rashawn King who returned home to Raleigh, N.C. on Friday morning to be with his family after the sudden death of his father, Drexel, who suffered a heart attack Thursday night. In memory of Mr. King, the Navy football team wore a sticker on the back of its helmets with the initials DK inside of a black crown.
Scouting The Black Knights
Heading into the annual Army-Navy battle, the Black Knights have amassed a 5-6 record. A win over the Midshipmen would make the Black Knights bowl eligible, sending them to the EagleBank Bowl.
The Army offense is averaging 212.1 yards per game on the ground (14th in the country), 71.3 yards per game through the air (120th), 283.4 yards per game of total offense (115th) and 16.5 points per game (112th).
The Army defense is giving up 148.7 yards per game on the ground (69th), 161.2 yards per game through the air (6th), 309.9 yards per game of total offense (18th) and 22.4 points per game (41st).
Kicker Alex Carlton is fourth in the country in field goals per game, averaging 1.7 per contest.
Josh McNary is third nationally in sacks, averaging 1.1 per contest, and second in tackles for loss, averaging 2.1.
Niumatalolo Wins CIC Trophy in First Year; Looking To Become First In Service Academy History To Win The Trophy In His First Two Years
Ken Niumatalolo became just the second Service Academy coach to win the CIC Trophy in his first year as a head coach by beating Air Force, 33-27 and Army, 34-0, last season.
He joins George Welsh, who, in 1973, led the Midshipmen to wins over Air Force (42-6) and Army (51-0).
No Service Academy coach has ever won the CIC Trophy in each of his first two years.
Mids Can Tie School Record For Wins
If Navy can beat Army on Dec. 12 and win the Texas Bowl on New Year's Eve, the Mids would tie the school record for single-season victories with 10.
The 1905 squad set the record by finishing 10-1-1, while the 2004 team matched the wins mark behind a 10-2 run.
Navy has won eight or more games in each of the last seven seasons.
The last time the Mids won nine games was in 2006 when they finished 9-4.
Playing in the Big Time
Since the start of the 2003 season, Navy has played 21 games in 11 different big league stadiums (10 NFL and one MLB), posting an 12-9 record (.571).
No college team in the country has played in more NFL stadiums than Navy over the last seven years.
Navy will make its second of three appearances in NFL stadiums when it battles Army in the annual Star Game played at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pa.
The Mids dropped a 27-14 decision to Pitt at Heinz Field, also home of the Pittsburgh Steelers, on Sept. 19.
Navy will play a team from the Big 12 in the Texas Bowl on Dec. 31, which will be played at Reliant Stadium, home of the Houston Texans.
Marine Corps Mascot To Make Appearance At Army-Navy Game
Chesty the Bulldog, the mascot for the United States Marine Corps, will make its inaugural appearance at the Army-Navy game next Saturday as he will join Bill the Goat on the Navy sidelines.
A pedigree English Bulldog, Lance Corporal Chesty became the 13th enlisted bulldog in the Marine Corps last May.
The First Barracks Mascot was named in honor of the most decorated Marine in history, Lt. General Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller.
Two Over 1,000 Yards Rushing
Junior quarterback Ricky Dobbs needs 76 yards rushing and junior fullback Vince Murray needs 116 yards rushing to become just the second duo in school history to rush for 1,000 yards in the same season.
Kyle Eckel (1,249 yds) and Craig Candeto (1,112 yds) accomplished the feat in 2003.