Army Football Game Notes: The Navy Game

WEST POINT, N.Y. - The greatest rivalry in college football resumes on Saturday, Dec. 11 with the 111th edition of the Army-Navy Game presented by USAA. This year’s game is the 83rd meeting in Philadelphia and the seventh time it is being played at Lincoln Financial Field.

  Play-by-Play: Verne Lundquist
  Color Analyst: Gary Danielson
  Sideline Reporter: Tracy Wolfson

Army Sports Network
  Flagship: WABC (770-AM, New York, N.Y.)
  Affiliates: WALL (1340-AM, Middletown, N.Y.);  
  WEOK (1390-AM, Poughkeepsie, N.Y.)
Play-by-Play: Rich DeMarco
Color Analyst: Dean Darling
Sideline: Tony Morino
Program Host: Bob Outer, John Minko

The 90-minute “Army Football Tailgate Show,” begins at 12:30 p.m.

The Army Sports Network game broadcast will be carried via Sirius Satellite Radio (channel 121)  and XM Satellite Radio (channel 141) beginning at 2:30 p.m.

Westwood One
  Play-by-Play: John Tautges
  Color Analyst: Eddie George

Army Sports Network
   WNSW (1430 AM, Newark, N.J.)
Play-by-Play: Clemson Smith Muniz
Color Analyst: Oscar Benitez

The entire Army Sports Network broadcast, including the “Army Football Tailgate Show,” will be streamed live (audio) via ITT Knight Vision on each week. Subscription fees apply.

On Tuesdays of game weeks, Rich Ellerson’s weekly press conference will be video streamed live on ITT Knight Vision. Thursday’s “This Week in Army Football,” show will also be video streamed live. Both events are available only to ITT Knight Vision subscribers.


  Alma Mater: Hawai’i, 1977
  2nd Season at Army (11-12, .478)
  11th Season Overall (71-53, .573)
  Record vs. Navy: 0-1

  Alma Mater: Hawai’i, 1989
  3rd Season at Navy (26-13, .649)
  3rd Season Overall (26-13, .649)
  Record vs. Army: 2-0

The 2010 game marks the first time since 1996 that both teams enter the annual showdown with a winning record. Army’s six wins is the program’s high-water mark since the 1996 squad went 10-2 and played in the Independence Bowl.

For the first time since 1996, the Army-Navy game will not end the Black Knights’ season. On Nov. 29, Army accepted a bid to the 2010 Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl. The Black Knights will face SMU  on Dec. 30 at Gerald J. Ford Stadium in Dallas.

Army will try to rebound from a  27-3 loss to Notre Dame in the first college football game played at the new Yankee Stadium on Nov. 20. The Black Knights were kept out of the end zone for the first time all season and rushed for a season-low 135 yards. It snapped Army’s 10-game streak with at least 230 yards rushing.

Despite the setback against the Fighting Irish, the Black Knights enter the Army-Navy game ranked ninth in the nation in rushing with 260.27 yards per game. Army has rushed for 33 touchdowns through 11 games. That total is tied for eighth on the Black Knights’ all-time list and is the most since the 1996 squad reached paydirt 33 times via the run. Army had a total of 13 rushing scores in 2009.

The Army rushing attack boasts four players with at leat 300 yards. It is the first time the Black Knights have shown such a balanced rushing offense since the 1997 team had five players amass at least 300 yards. Sophomore FB Jared Hassin and sophomore QB Trent Steelman have done the majority of the damage on the ground in 2010. Hassin is Army’s leading rusher with 881 (80.1/game), while Steelman has run for 620 yards and a team-high 11 touchdowns. The duo’s total of 1,501 yards makes them the 16th-best rushing combination in Army history. They need just 147 more yards to crack Army’s all-time top 10.

Army’s defense enters the service-academy showdown ranked 27th in the nation, allowing 332.64 yards per game. Senior LB Stephen Anderson, a two-year captain, leads the team with 82 tackles. Senior DE Josh McNary has added 9.5 quarterback sacks and 12.0 tackles for loss to his career totals this season. He is Army’s all-time leader in both categories (27.5 sacks; 48.5 TFL).

• Give the Black Knights seven wins for the first time since the 1996 squad went 10-2
• End Army’s eight-game losing streak to the Midshipmen
• End Army’s 10-game losing streak in CIC Trophy games (0-5 vs. Air Force, 0-5 vs. Navy)
• Clinch Army’s first winning season since 1996
• Mark only the second time that all three service academies have won seven games in the same season (1963: Army, 7-3; Navy, 9-2; Air Force, 7-4)
• Make Rich Ellerson the first Army head coach to win at least 12 games in his first two seasons since Tom Cahill won 16 games in 1966 (8-2) and 1967 (8-2).
• Be Army’s first win in Lincoln Financial Field (0-7; 0-6 vs. Navy, 0-1 vs. Temple)
• Avoid consecutive losses for the first time this season and ensure Army’s first season without losing at least two games in a row since 1996
• Be the 649th win in the 121 seasons of Army football (648-460-51; .581).

Head coach Ken Niumatalolo is in his third full season at the helm of the Navy football program. The 1989 Hawai’i graduate owns a 26-13 record, including a 2-0 mark against Army. Niumatalolo and Army head coach Rich Ellerson crossed paths during his playing days. Ellerson was on the Warriors’ coaching staff and recruited Niumatalolo to Honolulu.

Navy had its run of seven straight Commander In Chief’s Trophy come to an end with Air Force’s victories over both the Mids and the Black Knights. Entering the Army-Navy game, the Mids have won 15 of the last 16 CIC games, including eight in a row over Army.

The Mids are coming off a 35-19 home victory over Arkansas State on Nov. 20. It was their third straight victory. Navy ran for 301 yards and four touchdowns, including three by senior QB Ricky Dobbs. Dobbs also completed eight of his nine throws for 164 yards and a touchdown pass to Greg Jones. The Navy defense turned ASU over twice, including a first-quarter fumble that led to a touchdown.

Offensively, Navy is fifth in the nation in rushing offense, averaging 302.55 rushing yards per game. The Mids have rushed for 300 yards or more in four of the last five games, including a season-high 521 yards at East Carolina. The Mids have scored 35 of their 45 touchdowns on the ground.

Dobbs leads the Navy rushing attack with 806 yards (80.6/game) and 13 rushing scores. Dobbs scored three times against Arkansas State to push his total to 40 over the last two seasons, a record for running scores by a quarterback in two consecutive seasons. The Midshipmen have five players with at least 300 yards on the season. Fullback Alexander Teich is second on the list with 778 yards and five rushing touchdowns. Jones is averaging 28.5 yards on four carries from the wide receiver position.

In the passing game, Dobbs has completed 54.8 percent of his throws for 1,194 yards and 10 touchdowns. Jones is the team’s top receiver with 28 catches for 554 yards and four touchdowns. Gee Gee Greene has 17 catches for 256 yards, while Aaron Santiago has scored on three of his 10 catches.

Defensively, Navy is giving up an average of 380.45 yards and 22.82 points per game. Tyler Simmons leads the team with 111 tackles. Wyatt Middleton is next on the list with 72 stops and is tied for the team lead with four pass breakups. Jabari Tuani leads the squad with 14.5 tackles for loss, while Billy Yarborough has recorded a team-high 5.0 sacks. Seven different players have registered interceptions, and the Mids have turned their opponents over a total of 21 times this season.

Joe Buckley handles the field goal and PAT duties for the Mids. He has hit six of his nine field goals tries and 25 of 26 extra-point tries. Jon Teague is 2 for 2 on field goal tires and 16 for 16 on PATs while also handling the kickoff duties. Kyle Delahooke is averaging 38.6 yards per punt and has pinned the opposition inside the 20-yard line eight times. Gary Myers has been the Mids’ punt returner this season, averaging 5.4 yards per return. Teich and Marcus Thomas are the team’s leading kick returners at 26.3 and 20.9 yards per return, respectively.

While Army enjoyed the upper hand against Navy during the majority of the decade of the 1990s, Navy has turned the tide in recent years. The Midshipmen have captured 11 of the last 13 meetings, including the past eight, to grab a 54-49-7 advantage in the classic rivalry. The Mids’ current eight-game winning streak is the longest in the series by either academy.

Hard-fought Army victories were commonplace in the 1990s, with the Black Knights prevailing in seven of those 10 matchups. Those seven Army victories came by a TOTAL of just 24 points, with an amazing six-game stretch of Cadet wins decided by a TOTAL of only 14 points. The point differential over the course of the 110-game series stands at a rather microscopic 309 points (an average of 2.8 points per game). That figure stood at 92 entering the 2002 contest, but Navy has outscored Army 288-74 the last eight years. The Mids blasted Army 58-12 in 2002, setting a series-record scoring total in the process, then followed with 34-6, 42-13, 42-23, 26-14, 38-3, 34-0 and 17-3 victories the past six years.

LAST TIME: NAVY 17, ARMY 3 (DEC. 12, 2009)
Ricky Dobbs established an NCAA record for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback and Navy extended its winning streak against Army to eight with a 17-3 victory in front of a sold-out crowd of 69,541 fans at Lincoln Financial Field.
Army rushed for 110 yards and threw for 77 yards while recovering a fumble and intercepting a pass but the Midshipmen used two long scoring drives in the third quarter to comeback from a halftime deficit.
Trent Steelman rushed for 16 yards and completed 7-of-20 passes for 77 yards to pace the Black Knights’ offense. Patrick Mealy rushed 13 times for 48 yards while Kingsley Ehie picked up 28 yards on nine carries. Alejandro Villanueva was the leading receiver with five catches for 62 yards while Mealy and Damion Hunter each had a reception.
Army’s defense forced three fumbles and limited the Midshipmen to 191 yards of total offense but a pair of missed field goals, a lost fumble and an interception were too much to overcome.
Dobbs led all rushers with 113 yards on 33 carries while completing 3-of-7 passes for 61 yards and a touchdown.
Andrew Rodriguez led Army with a game-best and career-high 14 tackles, nine of them solo. The sophomore linebacker also forced a fumble. Steve Erzinger reached double digit tackles for the first time in his career with 11 and also intercepted a pass. Marcus Hilton and Victor Ugenyi each made seven.
Army struck first, with a field goal late in the first quarter. Alex Carlton split the uprights with a 23-yard strike, after Erzinger picked off Dobbs’ pass and returned it 26 yards. Erzinger returned his first career interception to the 12 yard line, setting up Carlton’s boot as time expired in the first quarter.
The Black Knights kept the 3-0 advantage into halftime as the game turned into a defensive struggle. Navy got on the scoreboard and took the lead in the second half when Dobbs found Marcus Curry for a 25-yard touchdown. The Midshipmen added to their advantage with a 36-yard field goal and finished the scoring with a Dobbs one-yard touchdown run that was set up by an Army fumble.

In addition to going for its first winning season since 1996 and trying to snap its eight-game skid against Navy, the Black Knights will be going for another program milestone. Army has lost 21 straight games against teams with a winning record.

The last Army victory over a team above the .500 mark was a 38-10 win against Arkansas State (5-4) on Nov. 19, 2005.

Army is 0-3 this season against teams that entered the game at least one game better than .500 (Temple, Rutgers and Air Force).

Army has made one of its goals for the 2010 season to be the No. 1-ranked team in the nation in turnover margin. Through the first 11 games of the season. Army is 12th in the nation with a +1.00 average turnover margin.

Army was +1 versus Temple. It marked the first loss under Rich Ellerson when on the plus side of the turnover battle. The Black Knights improved to 9-1 when winning the turnover margin under Ellerson, going +4 in the victory at Kent State

Army was the last team in the nation to throw an interception. The Black Knights’ first interception came against Air Force. Overall, Army is tied for fourth in the country in turnovers lost (12).

Army had its Academy-record three-game streak without a turnover stopped in the first quarter at Tulane. The Black Knights went 190:04 of game action between giveaways.

In Army’s last 11 wins the Black Knights are averaging 3.2 takeaways and hold a +2.2 turnover margin average (35-11 overall). Conversely, in its last 12 losses, Army is averaging just 1.0 takeaway per game and is on the wrong end of a -0.67 turnover margin average (12-20 overall).

Since the start of 2006, the Black Knights have posted a 13-3 record when winning the turnover battle. On the flip side, Army is 7-35 when the margin is negative or even.

Army is 1-9 in its last nine games without forcing an opponent turnover.

Army has ranked in the top 40 in fewest penalties per game every season since 2006. Last year’s 34th-place showing (5.42/game) was the first time the Black Knights finished outside the top 10 during that span. The Black Knights were tied for 16th in the nation in fewest penalty yards per game in 2009 (43.08).

Army is back into the top five this season. The Black Knights rank fourth in the nation in fewest penalties per game (4.27).

In its six wins this season, the Black Knights are averaging 3.3 penalties for 29.2 yards and have given opponents a total of four first downs by penalty. In its five losses, Army has committed an average of 5.4 penalties for 57.2 yards and given its foes 12 first downs by penalty.

Army has 33 rushing scores this season, its best showing since  the 1996 squad posted 33 touchdowns on the ground.

Army reached the end zone via the rush four times in each of its first two games. It was the first time the Black Knights scored four rushing touchdowns in consecutive games since scoring four times on the ground against Cincinnati on Oct. 9, 2004 and five times at South Florida on Oct. 16, 2004. The Black Knights repeated that feat with four rushing scores against both Temple and Tulane.

Since the start of the 2000 season, Army has run for at least four touchdowns 14 times. The Black Knights are 10-4 in those games.

On the flip side, Army has lost its last 13 games when not scoring at least one rushing touchdown.

Army won its 11th straight game when holding an opponent to 14 points or less in its 29-7 win over VMI. The last time the Black Knights allowed 14-or-fewer points and lost was Sept. 2, 2006 in a 14-6 loss at Arkansas State. Since 2000, Army is 14-2 when holding opponents to no more than 14 points.

Entering the season, Army had lost 25 straight games when allowing 27-or-more points, but the Black Knights have two such wins this season. Army scored a 31-27 win at Eastern Michigan and a 45-28 win at Kent State.

After the loss to Notre Dame, the Black Knights are 20-106 since 1996 when allowing opponents to score 18-or-more points. In that same span, Army is 28-7 when the opponent tallies 17 or less.

Army will play in its first postseason game since 1996 when the Black Knights travel to Dallas, Texas to take on SMU in the 2010 Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl. Army is 2-0 all-time against the Mustangs.
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