The Capital - - SPORTS ON TV - — Com­piled by Bill Wag­ner


That has been eas­ier said than done this sea­son as Navy has rarely put to­gether two halves of good of­fen­sive foot­ball. By far the most com­plete per­for­mance came dur­ing a 37-29 de­feat of Tulsa when quar­ter­back Zach Abey di­rected an of­fense that amassed 404 to­tal yards. The Mid­ship­men have looked good for one half in nu­mer­ous other games, but that type of ef­fort won’t cut it on this day. Navy needs to play flaw­less, which means com­plet­ing elim­i­nat­ing the penal­ties, neg­a­tive plays and as­sign­ment er­rors that have plagued the unit. Abey must be to­tally on point with read­ing the de­fense and dis­tribut­ing the ball and there sim­ply can­not be a sin­gle turnover. The Mids will no doubt try to es­tab­lish the in­side game with Abey and full­back An­thony Gargiulo, but a real key will be to get speedy slot­backs Mal­colm Perry and Tre Walker in­volved. When­ever of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Ivin Jasper calls play-ac­tion pass, Abey must con­nect with the open tar­get.


If there is one ma­jor dif­fer­ence be­tween Army and Navy this sea­son it comes on the de­fen­sive side of the ball. Army ranks 12th na­tion­ally in rush­ing de­fense and 11th in to­tal de­fense, giv­ing up just 106.5 yards per game on the ground and 301.3 all to­gether. The Black Knights are an equally re­spectable No. 16 in scor­ing de­fense, al­low­ing an av­er­age 18.7 points. Rarely does a ser­vice academy rank so highly in so many de­fen­sive cat­e­gories. Most ob­servers credit de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Jay Bate­man, who has the Black Knights fly­ing around and mak­ing plays. There have been times this sea­son when the Navy of­fense has looked com­pletely dis­com­bob­u­lated. You can bet Bate­man is go­ing to shift his lineback­ers and de­fen­sive backs all over the place and send blitzes from dif­fer­ent an­gles in an at­tempt to dis­rupt the Mid­ship­men.

IN­JURY RE­PORT: Army — Start­ing slot­back Kell Walker (undis­closed) is ques­tion­able. Navy — Backup out­side line­backer Evan Focht­man (undis­closed) is prob­a­ble.

SE­RIES HIS­TORY: Army has won two straight meet­ings af­ter snap­ping its his­toric 14-game los­ing streak to Navy and now trails the all-time se­ries, 60-51-7

OF NOTE: ESPN Col­lege Game Day will broad­cast from Philadel­phia from 9 a.m. un­til noon just out­side of Xfin­ity Live, which is lo­cated across the street from Lin­coln Fi­nan­cial Field. Rece Davis, Kirk Herb­streit, Des­mond Howard and Lee Corso will wel­come a se­ries of spe­cial guests, in­clud­ing Navy head coach Ken Ni­u­mat­alolo and Army head coach Jeff Monken. Leg­endary for­mer Navy quar­ter­back Roger Staubach, the 1963 Heis­man Tro­phy win­ner, will also ap­pear.


QUOTE-UNQUOTE: “I think the Army-Navy game has meant ev­ery­thing to my ca­reer. When you’re at the United States Naval Academy there are a lot of im­por­tant games, but none of them com­pare to the Army-Navy game. I knew it was im­por­tant when I first got here in 1995, but be­ing here for 21 years you be­gin to rec­og­nize what it means to the whole in­sti­tu­tion and its grad­u­ates. Beat Army means ev­ery­thing.”

— Navy head coach Ken Ni­u­mat­alolo

“It is a great honor and priv­i­lege to be a com­peti­tor in this game be­cause it rep­re­sents so much more than our teams and our in­sti­tu­tions. It’s a mil­lion sol­diers in the United States Army and their fam­i­lies. It’s ev­ery man or wo­man who has ever served in an Army, Navy or Ma­rine Corps uni­form. It’s a big deal to a lot of peo­ple who have a tremen­dous amount of pride to their re­spec­tive ser­vice. The brag­ging rights to say that’s my team, that’s my ser­vice.”

— Army head coach Jeff Monken

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