FORT WORTH, Texas – Stunned last Saturday by an upset road loss to Western Kentucky as well as a head injury suffered during the game by talented quarterback Keenan Reynolds, the U.S. Naval Academy Midshipmen football team has hit some stormy seas as it continues sailing towards December’s Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl.
Navy (2-1) will host Air Force (1-4) Saturday at sold-out Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Md. with a record home crowd of over 40,000 expected. The Mids and the Falcons were re-instated to be able to play late Wednesday after the Department of Defense Tuesday suspended all intercollegiate competitions at service academies because of the government shutdown.
Navy, which does not operate its athletic programs with government funds, responded by issuing the following statement after the game was re-instated. “The United States Naval Academy and United States Air Force Academy have received approval from the Department of Defense to play on Saturday at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.”
The Mids (2-1) are contracted to play in this year’s Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth, Texas, pending bowl eligibility by winning at least six games. Western Kentucky came from behind to defeat Navy last Saturday in Bowling Green, Ky., 19-7.
Navy has agreed to meet a representative of the 12-team Mountain West Conference in the 2013 Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl to be played in Fort Worth, on Monday, Dec. 30, 2013. The 11th edition of this postseason college football bowl game will kick off at 10:45 a.m. (CT) from Amon G. Carter Stadium on the campus of TCU. The game will air on ESPN, ESPN Radio and will be carried worldwide on the Armed Forces Network.
Split into two divisions (Mountain and West), the 2013 Mountain West features 12 total teams this year and will have teams in six college football bowl games at the end of the regular season, including the opponent for Navy in the 2013 Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl.
While the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl is played in honor of the armed forces and has previously hosted the U.S. Military Academy (2010) and the U.S. Air Force Academy (2007, 2008, 2009, 2012), this is the first year that the bowl is contracted with the Naval Academy.
The Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy is presented annually to the winner of the football competition among the three major service academies – Army, Navy and Air Force – and is named in honor of the President of the United States. Navy has dominated of late, winning the trophy a Service Academy record seven consecutive years from 2003-2009 and winning a Service Academy record 15 straight games against Air Force and Army in the process. Air Force lost to both Army (41-21) and Navy (28-21 OT) last year to surrender the trophy after holding it for two years (2010, 2011). Navy has won the trophy a total of 13 times since the award was started in 1972 plus three retentions for a total of 16 times. Army and Air Force will meet on Nov. 2 and the regular season will end in Philadelphia on Dec. 14 when Army plays Navy.
COACH’S LOG: 42-27
Coming off of a bowl appearance and an 8-5 record in 2012, Navy Head Coach Ken Niumatalolo is in his sixth season at the helm of the Midshipmen and 16th overall with Navy football. During his first five-plus years as head coach at Navy,
Niumatalolo’s Mids have compiled a record of 42-27 (.609) including appearances in four post-season bowl games. He is fourth all-time in Navy career wins.
Niumatalolo is the first Samoan head football coach on the collegiate level and the second Polynesian head coach in FBS history (Larry Price, who was the head coach at Hawai’i from 1974-76, was the first). Niumatalolo has recently been named one of the 25 finalists for the seven individuals who will be chosen to be part of the inaugural class to be inducted into the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame.
Niumatalolo is the first head coach in Service Academy history to win the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy in each of his first two years. He is also the only coach in school history to lead Navy to a bowl game in each of his first three seasons and he is fourth all-time at Navy in career wins and is just the sixth coach in school history to be the head coach for at least six years.
MIDS vs. FALCONS
Navy (2-1) and Air Force (1-4) will meet for the 46th time with Air Force leading the series 27-18. Navy won last year’s matchup 28-21 in overtime. Last Saturday while Navy was upset on the road by Western Kentucky, 19-7 after leading 7-0; Air Force also gave up a lead on the road and lost to Nevada 45-42. The Mids vs. Falcon matchup is scheduled to kickoff Saturday at 11:30 a.m. (ET) in the sold-out Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. The game will be televised nationally on CBS Network and broadcast on the Navy Radio Network as well as Sirius Satellitte Radio (Ch. 134) and XM Satellite Radio (Ch. 197). For more Navy football info, visit www.navysports.com.
In Annapolis, the series between Navy and Air Force is tied 8-8. The two teams first met in 1960 when the Joe Bellino-led Mids defeated the Falcons 35-3 in a game played in Baltimore.
MIDS COUNTDOWN TO FORT WORTH
Record: 2-1 Home: 1-0 • Away: 1-1 • Neutral: 0-0
Date Opponent Result/Time Television Attendance Series History
W No. 1 9-7 at Indiana W, 41-35 Big Ten Network 47,013 Series tied, 2-2
W No. 2 9-14 Delaware W, 51-7 CBS Sports Network 36,208 Navy Leads, 10-7
L at Western Kentucky L 7-19 ESPNEWS 19,813 Navy Leads, 2-1
10-5 Air Force 11:30 a.m. CBS Air Force Leads, 27-18
10-12 at Duke TBA Navy Leads, 20-14-5
10-19 at Toledo 7 p.m. Toledo Leads, 2-1
10-26 Pittsburgh 1 p.m. CBS Sports Network Pittsburgh Leads 22-13-3
11-2 at Notre Dame 3:30 p.m. NBC Notre Dame Leads, 73-12-1
11-9 Hawai’i 3:30 p.m. CBS Sports Network Hawai’i Leads, 2-0
11-16 South Alabama 3:30 p.m. CBS Sports Network First Meeting
11-22 at San Jose State 9:30 p.m. CBS Sports Network San Jose State Leads, 2-0
12-14 Army+ 3 p.m. CBS Navy Leads, 57-49-7
+Lincoln Financial Field (Philadelphia, Pa.)
All Times Eastern
Since 2002, nobody has run the triple-option offense better than Navy has. Navy is averaging 301.0 yards per game, currently sixth in Div. I-A team rushing rankings.
Sophomore quarterback Keenan Reynolds, who is on the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback award watch list, received a head injury in the second quarter against Western Kentucky and did not return to the game. For the year, Reynolds has carried the ball 52 times for 259 yards and four touchdowns. Reynolds has also complete 14 of 21 passes (66.7 percent) for 324 yards and two touchdowns.
Without Reynolds in the lineup for more than half of the Western Kentucky game, Navy is now averaging 429 yards per game in total offense. Navy opened the year with 515 yards in total offense against Indiana and topped that sterling effort with 589 total yards against Delaware. Western Kentucky held the Navy offense to 183 total yards.
Since 2003, Navy has won 20 games against schools from a BCS conference. Those 20 wins have come against 10 different teams and are the most in the country by a non-BCS school.
Continuing to come up with big plays at the right time, leading Navy defensively, is senior linebacker Cody Peterson, (Olympia, Wash.) who has 26 total tackles (18 unassisted and eight assists) for the Mids. The team’s defensive captain had seven total tackles against Delaware (six unassisted and one assist).
MOUNTAIN WEST HIGHS: League play in full swing this Saturday as 12 MW teams battle for title and spot in six NCAA Bowl games
While the search for the Mountain West representative (six NCAA bowl affiliations) in the 2013 Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl will continue until the end of November. Only one MW team is undefeated so far as Fresno State (West Division) has won its first four games.
Playing an exceptionally tough non-conference schedule, the MW Mountain Division teams this year and their records are: Utah State (3-2, 2-0 in MW), Wyoming (3-2, 1-0), Boise State (3-2, 1-1), Colorado State (2-3), New Mexico (1-2), and Air Force (1-4, 0-4). Fresno State (4-0, 2-0) is leading MW West Division teams followed by: Nevada (3-2, 2-0), UNLV (3-2, 1-0), San Diego State (1-3), San Jose State (1-3, 0-1), and Hawai’i (0-4, 0-2).
Key MW games for Week 6: Friday—Nevada at San Diego State (ESPN, 9 p.m. ET); Saturday–Air Force at Navy (CBS Network, 11:30 a.m. ET); New Mexico State at New Mexico (ROOT, 7 p.m. ET).
Following week 5 action, the MW selected three players of the week (offense, defense and special teams). On offense, UNLV junior wide receiver Devante Davis, Galena Park, Texas caught a career-high 10 passes for 164 yards and three touchdowns as UNLV ended a 23-game road losing streak with a 56-42 victory at New Mexico. Davis is the first wide receiver to garner the MW offensive Player of the Week since Sept. 26, 2011.
On defense, Colorado State senior linebacker Shaquil Barrett was honored after recording 13 tackles, four tackles for a loss, three sacks, two forced fumbles one pass breakup and one quarterback hurry in Colorado State’s 59-42 home win over UTEP.
Selected for his special teams play for the second consecutive week, UNLV sophomore punter Logan Yunker punted three times for an average of 51.7 yards per punt during UNLV’s 56-42 victory at New Mexico. Yunker is now averaging 46.4 yards per punt, which is seventh-best in the nation.
MW LONE STAR CONNECTION
Great Texas prep football players appear all over college football and the Mountain West is no exception with a total of 104 active players combined on the 12 MW teams in 2013, with the Mountain Division having 84 on its six teams’ rosters and the West having 20 on the rosters of its six teams. Leading the way with Texas players are the Air Force Academy with 19 followed by Boise State and Colorado State with 16 each. Other schools with double doses of Texans are New Mexico with 15, Wyoming with 11 and UNLV with 10 Texas players on their rosters.
For additional Mountain West info, visit www.theMW.com.
IT’S A DATE
This will mark the third time in its 11-year history that the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl will be held on December 30, as the 2010 and 2011 contests were both held on that date. The most recent Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl was played Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012 featuring a match-up between the Rice Owls and U.S. Air Force Academy Falcons, in which the Owls claimed the bowl victory 33-14. Last year’s showcase drew an attendance of 40,754.
Tickets for the 2013 Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl are now on sale through ArmedForcesBowl.com. Armed forces veterans and active-duty personnel receive free admittance via the bowl’s corporate armed forces ticket underwriting program, while supplies are available.
ARMED FORCES SALUTE
Owned and operated by ESPN Events, a subsidiary of ESPN Regional Television (ERT), the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl has featured the “armed forces” theme since 2006. Patriotic overtones recognizing all five branches of the service are prevalent throughout the game. Past Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowls have included fan-fest areas showcasing armed forces hardware; flyovers; demonstrations by several of the military's top skydiving teams; custom homes awarded to wounded warriors; on-field induction ceremonies; armed forces bands and honor guards; the annual Great American Patriot Award presented by Armed Forces Insurance; and the Armed Forces Merit Award presented by the Football Writers Association of America.
For additional information about the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl, please visit ArmedForcesBowl.com, Facebook.com/ArmedForcesBowl or Twitter.com/ArmedForcesBowl.
ARMED FORCES MERIT AWARD
The nomination process for the Armed Forces Merit Award http://www.armedforcesbowl.com/armed-forces-merit-award/> presented by the Football Writers Association of America The 2013 recipient will be announced November 11 on Veteran's Day with the second award winner being notified by the last full week of October. Here is the link to an article on Nate Boyer from the University of Texas, the first recipient of the Armed Forces Merit Award<http://www.armedforcesbowl.com/armed-forces-merit-award/> presented by the Football Writers Association of America <http://collegepressbox.com/media/awards/fwaa/merit/index.html>.
The special award is a project of the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl.