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America’s Game

America’s Game

In the longest and most-storied rivalry of them all, Army vs Navy will take place this Saturday in East Rutherford, NJ. This will be the 122nd time these two have met on the gridiron. Last year, due to the pandemic and terrible government decisions, they were not allowed to play in the New Jersey stadium, nor the one in Philly, so the contest was held on the banks of the Hudson River at West Point, making it the first time Army hosted the game since 1943. The Black Knights of the Hudson went on to scuttle the Midshipmen, 15-0. Army has won four times in the last five years, and they have the Commander-in-Chief’s trophy, which HC Jeff Monken has stated he likes holding on to and doesn’t want to let it go.

ARMY – Can make this the second year in a row where they have a nine-win season. Even though the Cadets lost to West Virginia in the Liberty Bowl last year, they still had a heck of a season. This year they opened with wins over Georgia State, Western Kentucky, Connecticut, and Miami of Ohio. Three of these teams are headed to bowl games. Army lost at Ball State, and at Wisconsin, but they hung (hanged?) tough against the Badgers, losing by 6 in a 20-14 contest. Then the Wake Forest game happened, Army lost, 70-56, but no one thought it was possible that a triple-option team could be in an offensive shootout with WF. It was a back-and-forth affair all game long. The Black Knights went out west, to Arlington, Texas, and beat Air Force in overtime. Beating either Air Force or Navy, in overtime or regulation, is certainly acceptable. Beating Liberty, 31-16, was icing on an already memorable cake. The Knights are now headed to the Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth, TX. With its triple-option attack, Army has four leading rushers. They’re ranked second in the nation in rushing, at 301.2 yard per game, and have 43 TD on the ground. You expect the Land Forces to have a dominant ground game and they do. Army’s defense has allowed just over 100 yards rushing per game. They have a very strong front with two good linebackers in Arik Smith and Malkelm Morrison. They know how to stop the run;- as for the pass, eh, not so much, but against the run they’re great. Their tribute uniform this year will be to the Army Special Forces. The uniform will be one of desert camouflage with the Special Forces emblem on the crown of the helmet and crossed arrows will be on the lower back. This is the Branch insignia of Special Forces. The SF logo, “de Oppresso Liber”, will be on the right shoulder. They’ll also be wearing the numbers 91101 on their helmets and have an image of the twin towers and the Pentagon on their socks and pants commemorating the 20th anniversary of 9-11.

Navy – Has not had an especially good year. They’ve won three and lost eight, and after this game their season is over. They lost six of their first seven games and two of their last four. They played Cincinnati tough, losing 27-20, which is impressive considering what type of team Cincinnati has turned out to be. The Midshipmen’s three victories have been against UCF, Tulsa, and Temple. (Since females are now included in the Naval Academy enrollment, are they called ‘Midshippersons’?) There has been some chow-line talk saying Navy has a tougher schedule because they are in the American Conference. It’s true, they are in the American Conference, and Army is an independent, which factors into how they’ll match up….NO IT DOESN’T! The Middies gain almost 100yards less in rushing per game than Army. This will be Navy’s second losing season in a row, which hasn’t happened since the late 90s.The Middies run the same offensive scheme as Army, just not as well. When Navy attempts a pass, they like to use mid-range throws, or shorter. They haven’t attempted a long pass all year. The Navy tribute uniforms is a salute to the pilots and crews of the F-18s. The helmets will have the plane on one side and the decal of US forces on the other. They are also supposed to look like they are made of metal, like the planes. The rest of the uniform will be mainly blue with red and white contrasts throughout the uniform.

What will happen – Army and Navy basically do the same things, on the football field, not in real life. They run the same type of offense and defense, the difference is that Army has been much better at it this year. They out gained Navy  on a per-game basis both on land and through the air. No statistics are kept regarding yards-per-game through the water. According to the odds makers, whoever they are, the Black Knights are a heavy favorite, but this is Army versus Navy, and it’s a big-time rivalry. Navy will be up for this one, it’s THE game, and it’s their bowl game for the 2021 season. The Middies are going to throw everything they can at Army to try and win this one. Army has been tougher all year, they’re more experienced, and they’ve played much better as a team. They’ve been almost unstoppable on offense and the biggest surprise has been how well their defense has played. The Black Knights of the Hudson know they have one more game, but there is no way they’re overlooking this game. Army Wins! Beats Navy!

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