Black Knights add next chapter to Army-Navy rivalry
December 8, 2010
- The 111th Army-Navy game will be televised at 2:30 p.m. (EDT) Saturday on CBS.
- The 2010 game marks the first time since 1996 that both teams enter the annual showdown with a winning record.
- An Army win would end Army's eight-game losing streak to the Midshipmen and clinch Army's first winning season since 1996.
WEST POINT, N.Y. (Dec. 8, 2010) -- In its 111th iteration since commencing in 1890, the history of the Army-Navy game looms large at both academies.
At West Point, it's hard to turn a corner without catching sight of a "Go Army, Beat Navy" sign somewhere. So it's pretty easy to get caught up in the excitement this rivalry incites.
Army head coach Rich Ellerson said it's OK for the team to embrace this excitement and enjoy the moment.
"We need not be overwhelmed by it, not be intimidated by it, and I don't think we will be," Ellerson said. "We're not just talking about that. That's the focus in our preparation."
It's focus, precision and discipline that defines Army football, Ellerson said during last week's press conference at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. On a bad day, the lack of those elements have more to do with the loss than a bad play or miscue.
"It's been how well we've been able to execute and how precise and disciplined we've been," Ellerson said. "Those are things that, when we've been frustrated, have frustrated us. When we've been excited, and we've been excited a lot this year, we've seen a team that's playing with precision and discipline and effort and ball-consciousness, and that looks like Army football."
It's been nearly three weeks since the Army players have taken the field competitively. Having shaken off the setback at Yankee Stadium against Notre Dame, the Black Knights return to the big stage in Philly to add another chapter to the Army-Navy rivalry.
Will this be the team to end the eight-year losing streak against the Midshipmen'
"That's always a conversation, but going into this game we're just going to play our game and everything is going to work out for itself," Senior slotback Patrick Mealy said. "We will be successful based on how we play our game. If we do what we're supposed to do, be where we're supposed to be, it's going to work out."
For a handful of senior players, it'll be the last chance for redemption against a team they've never beaten. Senior linebacker Stephen Anderson was sidelined with an knee injury during last year's contest.
"After that game, I knew I was going to come back stronger, and I knew I was not going to miss the game this year because of anything," the Black Knights' captain said. "I have been blessed with a speedy recovery and being injury-free this year. I've been blessed with the opportunity to take advantage of it Saturday."
The buzz about Army's first bowl berth since 1996 has diverted a lot of the attention to Texas already, when there's still a game in Philadelphia left in the regular season.
As they've done all season long, the Black Knights are keeping their sights on one game, one win.
"The bowl game took a huge weight off our backs. We achieved that goal, but we have to play this game first," Mealy said. "To me, the bowl game was just something extra. We have to take care of this first, and then we can worry about the bowl game. That's how teams get beat. You never want to look forward."
The 111th Army-Navy game will be televised at 2:30 p.m. (EDT) Saturday on CBS. The game will also be streamed live online on ITT Knight Vision or can be heard on the Army Sports Network via Sirius Satellite Radio (channel 121) and XM Satellite Radio (channel 141).