Posted on: October 1, 2011 4:00 pm
Edited on: October 1, 2011 4:40 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
AIR FORCE WON. Eight of the last ten Air Force-Navy games have been decided by a one-score margin. So when Air Force jumped out to a 28-10 lead in the fourth quarter, it seemed as though this annually decisive showdown in the battle for the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy might be different. However, Navy scored 18 points in the final 9:34 - including recovering an on sides kick and converting a 2-point attempt - to tie the game and send it to overtime. Navy's failure to convert on the extra point following overtime's first touchdown eventually decided the outcome and Air Force defended the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy with a 35-34 win.
HOW AIR FORCE WON: Falcons' quarterback Tim Jefferson orchestrated three methodical scoring drives in the first half, and the defense held strong against the bruising Navy offensive attack. The Midshipmen dominated the stats, with 466 total yards of offense and more than 40 minutes time of possession, but Air Force came up with enough big plays thanks to Ty MacCurther and Asher Clark.
WHEN AIR FORCE WON: It appeared the Falcons had this game won at several different points, but due to Navy's resilience it wasn't over until the final whistle blew. Jefferson punched in the touchdown for Air Force after Navy missed the extra point on the opening drive of overtime.
WHAT AIR FORCE WON: A great road victory against a very good Navy team. Blowing that fourth quarter lead would have been a terrible way to head into a big-time matchup next Saturday against Notre Dame in South Bend. The win also makes the Falcons 32-3 under head coach Troy Calhoun when leading at the start of the fourth quarter.
WHAT NAVY LOST: Likely a chance to reclaim the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy. The Midshipmen held on to the heralded hardware from 2003-2009 before falling to the 14-6 to the Falcons in Colorado Springs a year ago. Terrific comeback though, and memorable game for the series.
THAT WAS CRAZY: Everything? Everything.
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Posted on: September 17, 2011 9:25 pm
Edited on: September 18, 2011 1:32 am
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
WHY SOUTH CAROLINA WON: Just one reason, in the end, and we'll give you a hint: it rhymes with "Blarcus Blattiblore."
Sure, the Gamecocks got an efficient-enough performance from Stephen Garcia (18-of-25, 204 yards), minus one wretched second-half red zone interception; sure, they committed just that one turnover and won the time-of-possession battle against a team that thrives on burning clock; sure, new placekicker Jay Wooten further cemented a hot start with a key 48-yarder. But given all the success the Midshipmen enjoyed in the option and the palpable sense of pressure in Williams-Brice Stadium once the visitors took their late four-point lead, it's safe to say the Gamecocks simply don't win this game without the nation's best running back (yeah, we said it) seizing the game by the throat and refusing to let it go.
Carolina's game-winning touchdown drive spanned 15 plays; Lattimore touched the ball on 11 of those. He is, as the kids say, the man.
WHEN SOUTH CAROLINA WON: Though Navy was never likely to drive from their own 6 into field goal range after taking over with just 5:36 to play, no one in Columbia breathed easy until quarterback Kriss Proctor's 4th-and-7 pass was picked off by Antonio Allen with under 2 minutes to play. Proctor had already bailed the Mids out once on the possession with a 4th-and-15 conversion, but Jadeveon Clowney wreaking havoc in the backfield meant a second miracle was out of reach.
WHAT SOUTH CAROLINA WON: Won? Well, they're 3-0, and they "won" the right to not have a matched set of upsets at the hands of Navy shoved in their face for forever. But Steve Spurrier can't be happy after such a narrow escape at home--particularly after he admitted his team was "outplayed" a week ago at Georgia.
WHAT NAVY LOST: A chance at a potential season-making upset and arguably the biggest win of Ken Niumatalolo's career. But there's no doubt the Midshipmen gained a ton of respect, both in Columbia and across the SEC, for having pushed a top-10 team to its limit.
Posted on: August 3, 2011 2:21 pm
Edited on: August 3, 2011 2:38 pm
Without question, one of the most storied, most heralded rivalry games in college football history has been and continues to be Army-Navy. Yes, the days of Glenn Davis, Doc Blanchard, and Roger Staubach are long gone, but the legacy's still there -- as are the exemplary young men that populate each roster every year.
To that end, Showtime is teaming up with CBS Sports to produce a two-hour special on the rivalry, called A Game Of Honor, to be aired December 21 -- 11 days after the Black Knights and Midshipmen lock horns on the gridiron. Better yet, there's going to be other related programs and content about the special. Here's more info:
Look, say what you will about the football teams themselves, but when you're talking about the actual players and what they're like off the field, it'll probably become pretty clear almost immediately that these guys are the real deal. The US Military Academy and US Naval Academy are about as prestigious as it gets, and the quality of man that comes out of those academies is the proof. On the field, we'll be seeing guys like linemen, linebackers, and running backs, but they're also future generals, CEOs, and lawmakers -- and some of the most disciplined people in America.
At the same time, we are still talking about college-aged kids, and while they're not exactly going through the "normal" college experience, they're also still learning to be adults, in a sense. Further, we're talking about young men in the military during wartime. Needless to say, that's the type of thing that weighs heavily on a lot of their minds, and so to have a game like this to act as an anchor, of sorts, to their lives over here is incredibly important.
Moreover, the football's getting better. This isn't 20 years ago, when Navy was hapless and Army wasn't a whole lot better; Army just beat SMU (in the Mustangs' backyard) in the Armed Forces Bowl to finish at 7-6 last year, and Navy's been averaging nearly 9 wins a season since 2003. Ken Niumatalolo has been a revelation as head coach of the Midshipmen, and Army brings back nearly every starting skill position player on offense. It's probably going to be a good game regardless of what level of locker room access fans get.
So to have that and this special (and all the additional content that'll be available on this website and on Showtime) is going to be truly special. These are two of the most compelling college football programs today, and A Game Of Honor ought to be a fitting reflection of that.
Posted on: April 22, 2011 4:26 pm
Edited on: April 22, 2011 4:35 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Every Friday we catch up on four stories you might have missed during the week ... and add a few extra links to help take you into the weekend.
1. Want a quarterback? Like Clemson's Tajh Boyd (pictured)? You might want to head to the state of Virginia, which despite its relatively small recruiting profile could produce starters at as many as seven different BCS programs, including potential national title contenders Alabama and Florida State. (The class of 2012 might tend more towards wideouts, though; both the Virginia-based members of Tom Lemming's top 100 are receivers.)
2. Boise State athletic director Gene Bleymaier is a funny guy. On why the Broncos are joining the Mountain West rather than the Pac-12: "We’ve applied for membership into the NFL. … The truth is schools must be invited into a conference. You don’t get to just join a conference like you can go and join Costco.” Of course, it was his less-amusing, more-serious remarks on the lack of a college football playoff that made headlines.
3. We found out this week that both Auburn and Alabama are going to take a trip to the White House this year; the Tigers to see President Obama as national champions, of course, but Penn State announced that the Tide's Week 2 visit to Beaver Stadium will also be to a "White House." It will the first white-out for the Nittany Lions since 2009, but they maybe should have picked a different opponent, at least if the Tide's infamous 2008 throttling of Georgia during a "black-out" is in any way indicative.
4. The lead item in this Tulsa World post-spring notebook on Oklahoma concerns the Sooners trying to fill the Thanksgiving week hole in their schedule, but the most interesting item comes at the notebook's end, when we discover that Bob Stoops once hitchhiked "several hundred miles" to see Bob Seger in concert.
"I put the name of the city on some cardboard around my tennis racket," Stoops said, "and went out to the highway, held up the racket and hitched a ride to the concert." So if he ever chooses to kick against the wind for no apparent reason, you'll know why.
AND A CLOUD ...
Navy's spring game will air tonight on our own CBS Sports Network, with a few twists ... And speaking of the Midshipmen, Ken Niumatalolo has signed a long-term extension , though the non-release of details means we don't know for much or for how long ...The first wave of Ohio State Tatgate smack shirts is hitting store racks and Internet shopping carts ... Colorado was the first school to go all-HD this spring when it comes to practice film, a move that's made post-practice film study much quicker and easier, the Buff coaches say ... Mike Slive reiterates that he expects the SEC to "do something more than we have done up to now" to curb oversigning ... Yes, Virginia, it is possible for a football program to attend the Humanitarian Bowl and turn a profit; Northern Illinois (somehow) just did it ... The go-to reporter for news on Chad Bumphis's ankle injury scare at Mississippi State was Chad Bumphis ... Every school keeps things simple during their spring games, but "simple" means something different at Boise State ... A look at which SEC schools are getting the biggest financial boost from their boosters ... All-American Big 12 receiver Justin Blackmon interviews All-American Big 12 receiver Ryan Broyles, and finds out Broyles' favorite XBox game is FIFA?!?
Tags: Alabama, Alabama, Auburn, BCS, Big Ten, Bob Seger, Bob Stoops, Bob Stoops Loves Bob Seger, Boise State, Chad Bumphis, Clemson, Colorado, Florida State, Friday Four Links, Gene Bleymaier, Georgia, Humanitarian Bowl, Justin Blackmon, Ken Niumatalolo, Mike Slive, Mississippi State, Mountain West, Navy, Northern Illinois, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma, Pac-12, Penn State, Ryan Broyles, SEC, Tajh Boyd
Posted on: February 18, 2011 12:16 am
Posted by Adam Jacobi
To say there has usually been a talent disparity among the triumverate of military academy football programs is, to say the least, an understatement. If the outcomes of football games were random events, then the odds of the three teams splitting their series at 1-1 apiece would be one in four. In practice, only four times since the inception of the trophy 39 years ago has that happened. Which program is superior changes, of course -- Air Force leads the series, but with only a plurality of trophy wins instead of a majority -- but rarely is it the case that all three teams are on equal footing coming into a season.
We may be at such a situation, though. 2010 marked the first instance in college football history that Army, Navy, and the Air Force all reached bowl games in the same season. Will the trio repeat the feat in 2011? It's quite possible.
Air Force comes into the 2011 (pardon the expression) flying high, and it's easy to see why: the Falcons beat took the C-i-C trophy for the first time in eight years last season, besting Navy 14-6 and walloping Army 42-22. Better yet, QB Tim Jefferson is back for his senior season after rushing for 15 touchdowns and throwing for 10 more. He's the linchpin of the offense and one of the best option quarterbacks in the nation.
The Air Force offense is hardly a one-man show, of course, and it's no surprise that four different players notched over 100 carries on the season in 2010. Tailback and human/waterbug hybrid Asher Clark is also back; Clark led the Falcons in rushing yardage and added five more rushing TDs.
Still, it'll be interesting to see how Air Force's ground game changes with the addition of Des Kitchings as running backs coach and running game coordinator. Kitchings was most recently at Vanderbilt for three seasons, and he was brought in to replace Jamel Singleton, the longtime Air Force assistant who recently joined the staff of incoming Indiana head coach Kevin Wilson this offseason. There probably won't be sweeping changes or anything -- this is still Troy Calhoun's team, after all -- but this is our first opportunity to see how Kitchings addresses the Falcons' ground game and what changes he might implement.
While the current Commander-in-Chief's Trophy holder is Air Force, this rivalry has belonged to Navy for the majority of the decade; the Midshipmen swept the three-pronged rivalry for the seven prior seasons, and even despite losing to the Falcons in 2010, Navy still went 9-4 and earned a bowl bid. This is still a very strong program, in other words.
Unfortunately for Navy, the impossible task of replacing Ricky Dobbs begins this week. Dobbs was arguably Navy's best quarterback since the days of Roger Staubach ('63), and though Dobbs didn't live up to his preseason Heisman hype as a senior, for crying out loud, the man had Heisman hype. Senior-to-be Kriss Proctor appears to be the best bet to replace Dobbs, but if Navy sees a solid spring from Trey Miller, there could be some drama at the QB position.
Where Navy really needs to excel this spring is on defense, however. The Midshipmen struggled at times in 2010, giving up 23 points and almost 400 yards per game, and now that defense needs to replace six starters. Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo recently restructured some of his defensive assistants' responsibilities; perhaps that will help the Middies' middling D.
As for Army, for once, the Black Knights are no slouch, having reached their first bowl in 13 years last season: a stirring (if sloppy) 16-14 upset of SMU in the Armed Forces Bowl. The Cadets return starting quarterback Trent Steelman... sort of. Steelman will miss spring practice after undergoing shoulder surgery last month. It's on his non-throwing shoulder --the left -- so even if rehabilitation goes slowly, it shouldn't drastically affect his throwing motion.
That said, in 2010, Steelman ran the ball 197 times (which isn't even counting the option plays where he pitched the ball and absorbed contact) to 133 pass attempts, so it's not like he can hide a bum shoulder by hanging out in the pocket all afternoon. The Black Knights will look to depend on Steelman in the fall, so it will be extremely interesting to see how the offense handles not having its leader in the saddle during these spring sessions.
The Black Knights' new team captain is linebacker Steven Erzinger, replacing graduating linebacker Stephen Anderson (so many linebackers; so many Steves) who held the title for the last two seasons. Army technically ranked 29th in total defense in 2010, but a closer look at the yards given up per play actually puts Army down at 84th in the nation, so the defense wasn't so much "good" as "not on the field very much." Erzinger's first task, without doubt, is to get his guys into that "good" category if the Cadets want a shot at the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy.
Posted on: December 3, 2010 6:48 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
Earlier today, some rumors started floating that Minnesota had interviewed Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo and considered him a finalist for the Gophers' head coaching spot. Unsurprisingly, the rumors were started by Tom Dienhart , who -- and we don't mean this as pejoratively as it probably sounds -- does this sort of thing a lot.
Well, Navy associate SID Scott Strasemeier is on Twitter, and caught wind of Dienhart's reporting. Hilarity, as they say, ensued.
"Tom, this is not true," Strasemeier replied to Dienhart. "Coach Niumatalolo has not interviewed with Minnesota nor have we been contacted for permission."
This isn't the first time that one of Dienhart's rumors has been shot down by a school official on Twitter; just last week, Dienhart's rumor about Rich Rodriguez 's imminent firing was dismissed by Michigan AD Dave Brandon in a tweet, although it's debatable whether RichRod did himself any favors on that front yesterday.
Still, between this and the Jon Gruden follies from earlier this week, it's demonstrably important to take any rumors of coaching hires or interviews with a grain of salt -- provided that grain is the size of an ottoman. Besides, if the school's conducting its business properly, its new coach's name won't be floated until the hiring's announced.