Army vs Navy Football Game Preview
The Army Black Knights and Navy Midshipmen square off in East Rutherford, New Jersey this Saturday for Americas greatest rivalry game
This Saturday, the Black Knights from West Point, NY are set to face off against the Naval Academy’s Midshipmen in one of college footballs longest running rivalry games. This rivalry game is the perfect example of why teams play. When these two run heavy programs meet, records are thrown out the door and they give the American people 60 minutes of physical football.
The Army Black Knights do enter the game with the superior record of 7-2 on the year while the Midshipmen post the record of 3-6. While attendance for this years game maybe limited, college football fans across the nation will turn their eyes towards the Army vs Navy game, as many do every year.
Having attended this game in 2018, I believe I can say that this game is much more than a game to these two storied programs, it is a battle. Watching the future officers who will go onto serve this country march onto the field prior to the game is a breathtaking ceremony, along with the other festivities that ensue including the “prisoner exchange”. This tradition is when a small group of cadets from Army and Midshipmen from the Naval Academy will study for a semester at their rival academy and prior to kickoff, the “prisoners” are exchanged. The newly freed Cadets and Midshipmen will sprint to their companies and cheer with their fellow brothers and sisters for the game.
The Midshipmen will take the three and a half hour bus ride north to Met Life Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ for this weeks game, the one that both teams consider a must win each season. Navy enters the game with a 61-52-7 all time record in the series but, are currently in the midst of a dismal four game losing streak. Coach Ken Niumatalolo, who coached at Navy from 1995-1998, returned back to the academy in 2002 and was named the head coach in 2007 rarely loses to the Black Knights. He began his coaching career 8-0 vs Army and is currently 9-3 in the series.
Navy is led by senior fullback, Nelson Smith, who has accumulated 622 yards on the ground through 9 games. Junior linebacker, Diego Fagot has anchored the defense with 67 tackles in 8 games along with 1 forced fumble and 2 pass break ups. The Navy defense will need to step up against the powerful Black Knights offense this week if they want an opportunity to win.
The Black Knights from West Point are led on the gridiron by head coach Jeff Monken. Coach Monken posts a 76-52 career record and a 40-36 record at Army as a head coach and from 2002-2007, Monken was a part of the Navy staff as a running back and special teams coordinator. He has coached the Black Knights to an impressive 7-2 record so far with close victories over the Citadel, Georgia Southern, and UTSA.
Freshman running back Tyrell Robinson, from Dallas, GA, has been the key to the Black Knights success through nine games as he has notched 379 yards on the ground, 89 yards receiving, and 338 yards in the return game. The key component to Army’s stifling defense has been senior linebacker Jon Rhattigan who has produced 67 tackles and a pair of interceptions this year. If Army’s defense plays the way they have all year they will have a clear path to victory over the Midshipmen.
I am currently a cadet at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy so, I do have some bias for the Naval Academy but, I am excited for Saturday at 3:00 p.m when I can sit on my couch and watch both of America’s college football teams battle in Met Life Stadium. GO NAVY!