The last time Army defeated Navy, it gave the Black Knights a 49-46-7 advantage in the all-time series.
That was in 2001.
Since then, Navy has won 12 straight contests and in the process has taken a 58-49-7 series lead.
Saturday at 3 p.m. Eastern in Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium, the teams will meet for the 115th edition of America’s Game.
Both Army (4-7) and Navy (6-5) feature run-heavy offenses and don’t pull many surprises. While the Black Knights’ season will come to an end after the game, the Midshipmen are going bowling, facing San Diego State in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl on Tuesday, Dec. 23.
Here’s what you need to know about this year’s Army-Navy game:
Army vs. Navy, the 115th edition of America’s Game
Saturday, 3 p.m. Eastern
M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore
Navy (-15). Line provided by bovada.lv
Navy 34, Army 7, on Dec. 14, 2013, in Philadelphia
Channel: CBS Announcers: Verne Lundquist (play-by-play), Gary Danielson (analysis), Allie LaForce (sideline)
It’s no secret what the Black Knights want to do on offense: Run. Then run some more. And only pass if it’s absolutely necessary. Led by the 1-2 punch of running back Larry Dixon and quarterback Angel Santiago, Army rushes for 305.5 yards per game, good for fifth in the FBS. Dixon has run for 1,012 yards on 9 touchdowns on 176 carries (5.8 yards per carry) and Santiago has gone 182-793-10 (4.4 ypc).
The Black Knights haven’t attempted 100 passes on the entire season. Starter Santiago has attempted 68 of the 98 passes and has only completed just over half of them (35) with a single TD and an interception. Army is last in the FBS in all the major passing categories.
Army scores an average of 26.3 points per game (84th in the FBS) and allows 34.4 (109th).
Defensively, Army is led by linebacker Jeremy Timpf. The sophomore has racked up 102 tackles (70 solo), including 14 for loss. He’s also intercepted 3 passes.
The Black Knights’ bread and butter on offense has also been their Achilles’ Heel on defense. They allow 191.9 rushing yards per game, which could spell trouble against a vaunted Navy ground attack.
Like Army, Navy isn’t going to surprise anyone offensively. The Midshipmen run – 614 times in 11 games – and do it effectively, as they lead the nation at 357.8 yards per game. Quarterback Keenan Reynolds leads the way with 1,082 yards and 20 touchdowns on 205 carries (5.3 average per carry). Reynolds also doesn’t throw much, completing 43 of 96 passes for 749 yards and 5 scores.
Noah Copeland has chipped in 859 rushing yards and 5 TDs and Chris Swain has totaled 574 yards and 4 scores.
Jamir Tillman is Navy’s top receiving threat, catching 18 of the team’s 43 completions for 338 yards and 2 touchdowns. The team ranks second-to-last (just in front of Army) in most major passing categories, including attempts, completions, yards and yards per game. It’s never been Navy’s style.
The Midshipmen can put the ball in the end zone, scoring 34.5 points per game (33rd in FBS).
Jordan Drake (85 tackles, 47 solo) leads a defense which allows 29.9 points per game (89th overall). Much like its opponent, Navy can run the ball on offense but has major problems stopping opposing ground games. The Midshipmen are just a notch below the Knights, giving up 199.8 rush yards per contest, 96th in the nation.
Navy 35, Army 14
As noted earlier, there won’t be many surprises in this game. Both teams know what the other wants to and will do. Navy has won the past 12 games and in that time has gained the all-time series advantage. Navy is the better team and showed some muscle in its two games against ranked teams. The Midshipmen led then-No. 5 Ohio State 14-13 in the 3rd quarter before falling 34-17 and had then-No. 10 Notre Dame 31-28 also in the 3rd, but lost 49-39. Navy makes it 13 in a row over Army and does so rather convincingly.