By Sean Kimmons, Army News ServiceDecember 6, 2018
FORT MEADE, Md. -- On the cusp of its best season in decades, the Army Black Knights football team looks for its third straight win Saturday against longtime rival Navy.
The game is set for 3 p.m. Eastern time in Philadelphia and will be the only Division I football game televised that day. It will also be the 119th time both academies have met on the gridiron.
This season, Army (9-2) and Navy (3-9) have run over opponents with some of the best rushing offenses in the country. Army is ranked second with 303 yards per game, followed by Navy with 288 yards per game.
Army, which is ranked No. 22 in the Associated Press poll, also boasts a stout rushing defense, holding offenses to only 106 yards per game -- the 12th best mark in the nation. Navy ranks 89th and has given up 189 yards per game.
While experts may pick Army to win again this year, upsets have occurred in the historic game before.
In 2016, the Navy Midshipmen were the favorite and looked to make it 15 straight wins over their archrival. But Army squeezed out a close victory and started its own streak.
This season, Army had some solid wins and nearly a huge upset in overtime against Oklahoma, which is now ranked No. 4 and will play in the Bowl Championship Series.
Army beat three teams -- Hawaii, Buffalo and Eastern Michigan -- that have qualified to play in bowls this season. Perhaps the most satisfying win so far was the 17-14 victory over Air Force.
On Dec. 22, Army is set to play against Houston (8-4) in the Armed Forces Bowl.
If Army gets 11 wins this year, it would be its highest winning percentage since 1958 when it went undefeated with one tie and finished No. 3 in the country.
First, it has Navy in its crosshairs. With a win, Army secures sole possession of the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy for the second year in a row and another visit to the White House.
In honor of the World War I centennial, Army's uniforms on Saturday will pay tribute to the 1st Infantry Division, the first American division to fight in that war.
The division's insignia will be displayed on the crown of a black helmet. The rest of the uniform is also mainly black with gold player numbers, a red-colored "Big Red One" patch -- the division's nickname, and a WWI-era U.S. flag on the back of the helmet that features 48 stars for the number of states at that time.
There is also a shaded black lion on the shoulder, which represents the Black Lions of Cantigny -- named after the division's 28th Infantry Regiment that scored the war's first American victory in a French village north of Paris.
Navy's uniform honors its history as well. The navy and gold helmet displays a charging Bill the Goat, the team's mascot since 1893.
The mainly white uniforms have navy-colored player numbers with navy and gold colors on the shoulders with the academy logo. "Don't give up the ship" -- the famous last phrase of a naval captain in 1813 that later became a Navy battle cry -- is embroidered on the bottom of the jersey.
Navy leads the all-time series 60-51 and there have been seven ties.