Army-Navy ri­valry fea­tures Trump toss­ing coin

The Telegraph (Macon) - - Sports - BY DAN GELSTON

A gen­eral’s pep talk about ac­tual life-and­death bat­tles emerged as a driv­ing force this sea­son for the Army foot­ball team.

In the Army, the gen­eral said, you win or you die.

Far more con­se­quen­tial than brag­ging rights on the foot­ball field, but use­ful for a team that no longer ends its sea­son against Navy.

“It is dra­matic,” team cap­tain Cole Chris­tiansen said. “But I think it’s helped us a lot.”

Chris­tiansen has been part of Army’s turn­around from peren­nial los­ing pro­gram to its lofty sta­tus to­day: ranked in the AP Top 25 for the first time since 1996, on a seven-game win­ning streak, headed to a bowl game and a 7-point fa­vorite in Satur­day’s 119th meet­ing against Navy.

The Army-Navy ri­valry has of­ten been known as pa­tri­otic – and for years, one of the most lop­sided in sports. Navy hooked an an­chor to the Com­man­der-in-Chief’s Tro­phy with a se­ries-best 14game win­ning streak from 2002-2015.

The No. 22 Black Knights (9-2) are on top these days, win­ners of two straight in the se­ries headed into Satur­day’s game at Lin­coln Fi­nan­cial Field, home of the Su­per Bowl cham­pion Philadel­phia Ea­gles.

Navy leads 60-51-7. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump will of­fi­ci­ate the coin toss Satur­day in the first Army-Navy game he has at­tended as pres­i­dent, where he’s also ex­pected to make an an­nounce­ment con­cern­ing the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Trump was at the 2016 game as pres­i­dent-elect.

BUTCH DILL AP

Alabama quar­ter­back Tua Tago­v­ailoa is sec­ond in the coun­try passer ef­fi­ciency and yards per at­tempt. He also is third in pass­ing touch­downs with 37.

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