The Army Black Knights (6-5) and the Navy Midshipmen (9-3) are set for their 117th matchup here in Baltimore today.
M&T Bank Stadium couldn’t be a better place to meet, especially with the rich naval history that is in the city. However, it isn’t all about Baltimore today. It’s about the men and women who will serve this beautiful country and their rivalry among one another depending on which branch of the military that they are in. Even this explanation of the Army and Navy rivalry is too large to explain. It’s all about football today.
On a micro scale, Navy has been completely dominant in this rivalry of late. The Midshipmen have won the game 14 consecutive times, dating back to 2002. Just last year in the 116th matchup in Philadelphia, #21 ranked Navy beat Army by a score of 21–17. Navy is the leader of the series at 60–49–7 and also has the third-best rushing attack in the nation, averaging 327.5 yards per game, and 18th in scoring, with 39.1 points per game.
The Mids participated in the AAC Championship Game against Temple (shout out to our editor) last Saturday. Navy just couldn’t shake the Owls’ and lost 34-10. Navy is the six point favorite in this meeting.
Those Black Knights aren’t slouches either. They are finally returning to their first bowl game since 2010. Army has had a magnificent defense, only allowing 124.4 rushing yards per game (19th in the country) and 164.5 passing yard per game (5th).
This year, they are playing with even more meaning. Their sophomore cornerback, Brandon Jackson, 20, died on September 11 in a car crash. The Black Knights have played this season to honor him. Army senior defensive captain Andrew King wrote an article in The Player’s Tribune about his fallen teammate. It was nothing short of touching:
And who are we playing for? We’re playing for a cornerback who was one of the truest competitors on the team. Brandon was a sophomore — a yearling in cadet lingo. I am a senior, a firstie. I’m also a captain, but there was no doubt that Brandon was one of the leaders of our defense, and of our entire team. He would go up against anybody and expect to win. He didn’t know any other way. And he was always trying to hype guys up, on defense and offense, trying to get them to be better. He would do things that competitors do, even talk trash.
And there was one thing he liked to say in particular: “Scared money don’t make no money.”
He said it all the time. And it had nothing to do with money. It meant that if he was going up against another team’s best receiver, he wasn’t going to back down. That’s why he led the team in interceptions last year. That’s why he was one of our best tacklers. There’s no point in being afraid of failure. Just go out and go for it. You never know what’ll happen. We need that mentality on this team.
Brandon made that part of our culture. James Gibson says it maybe every day now. So just because a member of our family is missing, it doesn’t mean he’s not with us all the time.
Navy and Army will suit up in pretty cool gear during this afternoon’s matchup. The Midshipmen will be wearing uniforms provided by none other than Baltimore’s very own, Under Armour:
— Navy Athletics (@NavyAthletics) December 10, 2016
— Navy Athletics (@NavyAthletics) December 7, 2016
Army has pretty awesome uniforms too. The Black Knights are playing in a blacked out uniform, courtesy of Nike:
ARMY uniform is 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥
— Trooper Ben (@TrooperBenKHP) December 5, 2016
You can catch the Army-Navy game on CBS at 3PM today.