Inaugural Gridiron Meeting Between Navy and Middle Tennessee Set for Dec. 30 in Fort Worth
Dec. 16, 2013
Setting the Stage
Navy and Middle Tennessee State will meet on the gridiron for the first time when the two square off on Monday, Dec. 30 at Amon G. Carter Stadium (50,000) in Fort Worth, Texas in the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl. Kickoff is set for 10:45 am local time, 11:45 am in Annapolis.
Navy enters the contest looking to win a bowl game for the first time since 2009. The Mids have lost five of their last six bowl games. A victory would also give Navy at least nine wins for the fifth time in the last 10 years.
ESPN will televise the game with Beth Mowins, Joey Galloway and Paul Carcaterra on the call.
ESPN Radio will also broadcast the game nationally with Mark Neely and Tom Ramsey calling the action.
The Navy Football Tailgate Show on WNAV 1430 AM / 99.9 FM will air at 9:45 am with Graham Whaples, Wiley Baker, Chloe Gunther and Joe Miller.
The Navy Football Pregame Show with Pete Medhurst and Omar Nelson will get underway at 10:45 am, followed by game action at 11:45 am on the Navy Radio Network.
Following the contest, Miller, Medhurst and Whaples will recap the day's events in a 60-minute postgame show live on WNAV 1430 AM / 99.9 FM and WFED 1500 AM.
Navy To Play Middle Tennessee State In Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl
Navy (8-4) will play Middle Tennessee State (8-4) in the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl on Monday, Dec. 30 in Ft. Worth, Texas. Kickoff is set for 10:45 am (11:45 am in Annapolis) at Amon G. Carter Stadium on the campus of Texas Christian University and will be televised nationally by ESPN and broadcast nationally by ESPN Radio.
The Armed Forces Bowl is Navy's 19th bowl game all-time and the school's 10th in the last 11 years. This will be the fifth time that Navy has played in the state of Texas for a bowl game and the first since the Mids 35-13 rout of Missouri in the 2009 Texas Bowl in Houston. Navy has also played in the 2003 EV1.net Houston Bowl (lost to Texas Tech, 38-14), the 1964 Cotton Bowl in Dallas (lost to Texas, 28-6) and the 1958 Cotton Bowl in Dallas (beat Rice, 20-7).
The bowl game will mark the first meeting between Navy and Middle Tennessee State. The Blue Raiders will enter the game having won their final five contests and scoring 40 or more points in four of their final five games.
Texas and Tennessee are two of Navy's most highly-recruited areas as the Midshipmen have 18 players from Texas and nine from Tennessee.
Tickets for the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl are on sale now at: http://bit.ly/1bqibUX
Ticket prices are $30 (Lower Level & Upper Level End Zone), $40 (Upper Level Sideline), and $50 (Lower Level Sideline). The only way to sit with the Navy contingent is to buy your tickets through the Navy Ticket Office.
Fans can also purchase tickets to sponsor midshipmen and enlisted personnel and their families for $50 per ticket. Donated tickets are 100% tax deductible.
The Naval Academy class that donates the most tickets receives a 30 percent discount on football season tickets for 2014 for every member that donates four or more tickets. Any individual that donates 10 tickets or more will receive a 30 percent discount on the 2014 season ticket package regardless of class affiliation. Be sure to donate in your correct ticket account that signifies you as a USNA Alumni.
"We strongly encourage Navy fans to buy their bowl tickets directly from the Naval Academy Athletic Association," said Gladchuk. "It is very important for this game and for future Navy bowl considerations for our fans to purchase tickets through the NAAA. If you can't make it to the game, we ask that Navy fans buy tickets for our midshipmen and enlisted personnel which will allow us to create the usual pageantry of Navy football."
Navy Bowl History
The 2013 Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl will be Navy's 19th bowl appearance and the 10th in the last 11 years.
Navy owns a 7-10-1 bowl game record.
Scouting Middle Tennessee State
Middle Tennessee State enters the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl with an 8-4 record and having won five straight contests. The Blue Raiders have scored at least 42 points in four of those five wins.
MTSU owns victories over Western Carolina (45-24), Memphis (17-15), Florida Atlantic (42-35 in OT), Marshall (51-49), UAB (24-21), Florida International (48-0), Southern Miss (42-21) and UTEP (48-17).
The Blue Raiders have lost to North Carolina (40-20), BYU (37-10), East Carolina (24-17) and North Texas (34-7).
Sophomore running back Jordan Parker leads the MTSU rushing attack with 741 yards and six touchdowns on 145 carries, while junior Reggie Whatley has carried the ball 93 times for 631 yards and three touchdowns.
Senior quarterback Logan Kilgore has completed 197 of his 322 pass attempts (.612) for 2,289 yards and 16 touchdowns.
Senior wide receiver Tavarres Jefferson has caught 41 passes for 532 yards and five touchdowns, while junior Marcus Henry has 36 catches for 528 yards and three touchdowns.
The Middle Tennessee defense is led by sophomore linebacker T.T. Barber, who has 112 tackles, 10.5 tackles for a loss and three interceptions. Strong safety Kevin Byard has 92 tackles, five interceptions and one forced fumble.
As a team, Middle Tennessee is ranked third in the country in fumbles recovered (16), fifth in turnovers gained (31), ninth in turnover margin (1.0), 10th in fewest penalties per game (4.0), 14th in tackles for a loss allowed (4.33), 15th in fumbles lost (6), 19th in in third down conversions (.473), 23rd in pass sacks allowed (1.25) and 25th in rushing offense (208.3).
Individually, defensive end Dearco Nolan is ranked 10th in forced fumbles per game (0.33) and Barber is 17th in solo tackles per game (5.8)
Navy vs. Conference USA
Navy is 21-19-1 (.524) all-time against teams currently in Conference USA.
Reynolds, Navy Run To 34-7 Win Over Army
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Navy sophomore quarterback Keenan Reynolds ran for 136 yards and scored three touchdowns (47, 11 and 1 yard) to lead the Midshipmen to a 34-7 victory over Army, their 12th straight in the series.
He has 29 rushing touchdowns, breaking the NCAA single-season mark for a quarterback previously held by Ricky Dobbs (Navy, 2009) and Collin Klein (Kansas State, 2011), both of whom had 27.
Reynolds ran 30 times on a frozen, snow-covered field. He also caught a 2-point conversion pass on a trick play following his second touchdown.
His third score - with 46 seconds left in a lopsided game - gave him 176 points for the season, breaking the school record of 174 set by Bill Ingram in 1917.
Navy (8-4) won the Commander-In-Chief's Trophy for the second consecutive season and ninth time in 11 years. The trophy is awarded to the service academy with the most victories in games between Navy, Army and Air Force.
The Midshipmen haven't lost to Army since 2001 and lead the series 58-49-7. Navy's 12-game run is the longest in the history of the rivalry that began in 1890.
Niumatalolo became the second coach in Navy history to start his coaching career 6-0 against Army, matching Paul Johnson (2002-07).
Army (3-9) fumbled five times and was intercepted once in its fifth straight defeat. Embattled coach Rich Ellerson fell to 0-5 against the Midshipmen and 20-41 overall since taking the job in December 2008.
The snow that was forecast in the morning hours began during the pregame pageantry that makes this game a one-of-a-kind spectacle. Making his first collegiate start, Army quarterback A.J. Schurr lost the handle on the wet football with his arm cocked to throw. Teammate Larry Dixon recovered, but the 20-yard loss doomed the Black Knights to end their first possession with a punt.
Schurr fumbled on the next drive, too, and this time Navy recovered at its own 38. That ended his day.
Following the turnover, Navy fullback Quinton Singleton burst through a hole in the middle and ran 58 yards to the Army 4, setting up a field goal for a 3-0 lead late in the first quarter.
Angel Santiago came in at quarterback for the Black Knights at just about the same time the intensity of the snow increased. On fourth-and-3 at the Navy 33, Terry Baggett lost three yards.
Midway through the second period, Navy fullback Noah Copeland ran 39 yards for a touchdown to make it 10-0.
With 2:38 left in the half, Reynolds gingerly picked his way through the Army defense on his record-tying touchdown run. Navy went into halftime leading 17-0.
In the third quarter, the snow turned to rain and Santiago did his best to make a game of it. After throwing a 29-yard pass to Xavier Moss, the junior quarterback scored on a 4-yard run to get the Black Knights to 17-7.
Reynolds answered with an 11-play drive that produced a field goal. Army then failed to convert a fourth-and-3 from its own 42, a futile gamble that all but assured the Black Knights another frustrating loss against their far more successful service academy rivals.
Reynolds scored his record-breaking touchdown with 6:22 left, and the conversion pass from wide receiver Brendan Dudeck made it 28-7.
Service Academy Dominance
Navy has been the dominant Service Academy over the last decade plus, winning 21 of the last 23 meetings (.913) against Air Force and Army. The Mids have posted a 91-49 (.650) record since 2003, won nine CIC Trophies in the last 11 years and have gone to 10 bowl games in the last 11 years.