Army readies for classic rivalry against Navy
December 4, 2012
WEST POINT, N.Y. (Army News Service, Nov. 4, 2012) -- Army and Navy will square off for the 113th time Saturday at Philadelphia's Lincoln Financial Field.
The game returns to its most-played city after a one-year hiatus in the Washington, D.C. area. Eighty-three of the 112 previous contests have been played in Philadelphia.
This year's game will serve as the deciding contest for the 2012 Commander In Chief's Trophy. For the first time since 2005, both teams enter the game with wins over Air Force. The Black Knights have not hoisted the trophy since 1996.
The Dec. 8 showdown will feature two of the top six rushing offenses in the nation this season. The Black Knights lead the country with 369.82 yards per game on the ground, while the Mids are sixth at 285.45 rushing yards per game.
As a team, Army has run for 4,068 yards. It is the second-highest total in academy history behind last year's record total of 4,158. Army's per-game average is on pace to break the record of 359.8 that has stood since the 1945 season. The Black Knights need 251 yards against Navy to break the rushing average mark.
The Black Knights enter the annual rivalry with two 1,000-yard rushers. It is just the second time in academy history Army has had two players reach the millenium mark. Senior quarterback Trent Steelman leads the team with 1,152 yards, a record for Black Knight quarterbacks, while junior running back Raymond Maples is second with 1,059 yards. The last Army duo to both reach the 1,000-yard mark was Doug Black and Nate Sassaman in 1984.
Steelman and Maples enter the final game of the season as Army's second most productive tandem ever. They have combined for 2,211 yards this season second only behind Mike Mayweather (1,338) and Willie McMillian (900) who gained 2,238 yards in 1990.
Steelman, on track to become the first modern-era Army quarterback to start four times versus Navy, is on a record-setting run for the Black Knights. He has reached the 100-yard rushing mark in each of the past five games, breaking the academy mark for consecutive 100-yard outings. Steelman has seven 100-yard games this season. A 100-yard effort against Navy would tie the Black Knights' single-season record of eight currently held by Mayweather (1990).
Steelman rushed for three touchdowns last time out against Temple to break the Black Knights' career record. The senior signal caller has found paydirt 44 times in his career, breaking the old record of 43 set by 1946 Heisman Trophy winner Glenn Davis.
Maples' 1,000-yard season also puts him in select company. The Philadelphia native is just the third player in Army history to rush for 1,000 yards in at least two straight seasons. Mayweather did it three times (1988-90), while Carlton Jones was the last to accomplish the feat (2004-05).
A win against Navy would snap Army's two-game losing streak since defeating Air Force. It would give Army possession of the Commander In Chief's Trophy for the first time since 1996. It would end the Black Knights' 10-game losing streak against the Mids.
A win Saturday would end Army's 12-game losing streak in games played away from West Point. It would be the Black Knights' first win at Lincoln Financial Field (0-9). And it would be head coach Rich Ellerson's 18th win at West Point (17-31).
Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo is in his fifth season on the Mids' sideline. He has posted a 39-25 record during his tenure and guided the Mids to four bowl games, including this season. He owns a 4-0 record against the Black Knights.
While Army enjoyed the upper hand against Navy during the majority of the 1990s, Navy has turned the tide in recent years. The Midshipmen have captured 13 of the last 15 meetings, including the past 10, to grab a 56-49-7 advantage in the classic rivalry.