WEST POINT, N.Y. - One of college football's biggest rivalries will take place this weekend in Philadelphia when Army and Navy meet Saturday at noon at Lincoln Financial Field.
Saturday will mark the 109th meeting between the service academy rivals and a sold-out crowd, including President George W. Bush, is expected in Philadelphia. CBS will broadcast the game nationally while the Army Sports Network will have the radio call.
Army is 3-8 and looking to snap a six-game losing streak to the Midshipmen who stand 7-4 and are bound for the EagleBank Bowl later this month.
Navy holds a slim 52-49-7 advantage in the series. The series is tied 38-38-4 in games played in Philadelphia with Navy holding a 4-0 lead in games at the home of the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Midshipmen beat Towson 41-13 to open the season but suffered consecutive losses at Ball State (35-23) and at Duke (41-31) before edging Rutgers (23-21), Wake Forest (24-17) and Air Force (33-27). A 42-21 loss at Pitt was followed by wins against SMU (34-7) and Temple (33-27 in overtime). A 27-21 loss to Notre Dame and a 16-0 win at Northern Illinois led Navy into the Army game.
"I played in the Super Bowl, and I tell people that this game is 10 times bigger than the Super Bowl," said second-year Army head coach Stan Brock. "If you think about it, if you go to the Super Bowl, and it's in a 70,000-seat stadium, the majority of those people at the game are not rooting for either of the teams. When you go to the Army-Navy game, there are 70,000 people in that stadium that this game means the world. This is it. Then the people that view this around the world in the military, it really means something to them. If you take the intensity of this game and factor in those watching around the world, that's probably the easiest way to explain how important this game is."
Saturday's matchup will pit a pair of option offenses that rely heavily on rushing the ball and long, sustained drives.
"Defensively we have done a good job against option offenses, and I think we'll continue to do that," said Brock. "We have a disciplined defense and our coaching staff has a great understanding of the option and how it works."
A look at the matchups:
Army sophomore Chip Bowden is expected under center for his eighth straight start. He is second on the team in rushing with 180 carries for 566 yards and averages 51.5 rushing yards per contest. He has completed 22 of 56 passes for 230 yards with a pair of touchdowns and interceptions. Junior Carson Williams has played in eight games and connected on 26 of his 53 attempts for 273 yards, a touchdown and three interceptions.
Navy has utilized three quarterbacks with senior Jarod Bryant the lone signal caller to play in all 11 games. He has rushed 139 times for 381 yards while averaging 43.7 yards per game. He has completed 19 of 37 passes for 275 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions. Senior Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada is expected to play in his fifth game of the season. He has completed 13 of 18 passes for 211 yards and two touchdowns. Ricky Dobbs, who engineered the comeback win against Temple, has played in seven games with 105 carries for 493 yards and a team-leading eight touchdowns.
IN THE BACKFIELD
Army senior fullback Colin Mooney continues to lead the team in rushing yards and touchdowns. He has carried 214 times for 1,285 yards with eight touchdowns. He averages 116.8 yards per contest and 6.0 yards per carry. Senior Wes McMahand has 39 carries for 301 yards and a pair of rushing touchdowns while Bryson Carl has 37 rushes for 227 yards. Ian Smith, Patrick Mealy, Tony Dace, Justin Turner and Geoffrey Hewitt have also factored into the rushing game.
Senior slotback Shun White is the Midshipmen's leading rusher with 873 yards on 106 carries and seven touchdowns. Eric Kettani has 152 carries for 807 yards and three scores while Bobby Doyle has 12 carried for 121 yards.
Army has completed 48 passes on the season with Damion Hunter and Jameson Carter the lone receivers with double digit catches. Hunter has 134 yards on 11 receptions while Carter has a team-best 145 yards on 10 catches. Mike Wright has six catches for 49 yards while Carlo Sandiego has caught six passes for 68 yards.
Tyree Barnes is Navy's leading receiver with 17 catches for 334 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The Midshipmen have completed 41 passes on the season with 11 players notching receptions.
The Black Knights are averaging 254 yards rushing per game with a veteran offensive line that has featured the same starting five for all but one game. Senior center Trey Miranne is surrounded by classmates Brandon Cox and Mike Lemming. Juniors Jason Johnson and Ali Villanueva are the tackles.
Navy averages 292 rushing yards per contest with two seniors, a junior and two sophomores across the front. Center Ricky Moore and guard Anthony Gaskins are seniors while Curtis Bass is a junior guard. Tackles Jeff Battipaglia and Matt Molloy are sophomores.
Army is allowing just 124 rushing yards per game and 206 passing yards per contest. Junior brothers Ted and Fritz Bentler are the tackles with sophomore Joshua McNary and junior Victor Ugenyi at end. David Shore and Marcus Hilton add depth at end with Joe Paolini and Mark Faldowski are listed as the backup tackles. McNary is tied for fourth on the team with 61 tackles and has a team-high 11 tackles for loss. Ugenyi has four sacks while the Bentler brothers have 64 tackles between them.
The Midshipmen are allowing 128 rushing yards per game and 230 through the air with its 3-4 4 defensive scheme. Nate Frazier is the noseguard with Matt Nechak and Jabaree Tuani as the ends. Kyle Bookhout, Ryan Griffin and Billy Yarborough add depth to the front three. Nechak has 33 tackles while Frazier has 30, including 7.5 tackles for loss.
Both of Army's defensive captains are linebackers and among the leading tacklers. Frank Scappaticci leads the team with 82 tackles while John Plumstead has 58 tackles. Stephen Anderson, the third starting linebacker, is second on the team with 72 tackles and 10 tackles for loss.
Ross Pospisil leads the Midshipmen in tackles from his linebacker spot with 81. Fellow inside linebacker Clint Sovie has 53 tackles while Corey Johnson has 73 stops and 6.5 tackles for loss from his outside linebacker position. Jeff Dietz and Ram Vella are listed as co-starters on the Navy depth chart at the other outside linebacker.
Army's secondary has featured a bevy of players contributing, led by senior Lowell Garthwaite who is third on the team with 64 tackles. Sophomore Donovan Travis is fourth on the squad with 61 tackles from his safety position. Junior Mario Hill has 28 tackles and shares the team lead with six pass breakups while freshman Antuan Aaron has 26 stops from his cornerback spot. Richard King, David Black, Donnie Dixon, Markenson Pierre, Desmond Lamb, Lawrence Brown and T.J. Walker may also factor in the secondary.
Navy utilizes a rover, safety and two corner backs in its defense. Jeff Deitz, listed as a co-starter at rover with Emmet Merchant, is second on the team with 74 tackles while Merchant has 38. Wyatt Middleton is credited with 71 tackles from his safety position while cornerbacks Rashawn King and Ketric Buffin each have three interceptions.
Army kicker Matthew Campbell has made eight of 12 field goals with a long of 42 yards while also averaging 59.5 yards on 39 kickoffs. Punter Andrew Rinehart is averaging 38.8 yards per punt with 20 landing inside the opponents' 20-yard line.
Matt Harmon has connected on 15 of 17 field goals for Navy with a long of 49 yards. Kyle Delahooke has punted 36 times and averages 42 yards a punt with 10 inside the opponents' 20.