Navy's Journey to Fort Worth Continues Against Hawai'i

Continuing to buckle down and survive choppy seas, the dedicated and disciplined U.S. Naval Academy Midshipmen football team pushes forward in their goal to reach December’s Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl in Fort W5rth. The Mids continue their ardent journey by returning home to host the University of Hawai’i in Annapolis on Saturday.

Navy (4-4 after losing 38-34 at then No. 25 Notre Dame last Saturday) will return home to meet Hawai’i (0-8) as the Mids continue to battle to gain bowl eligibility.

The Mids are contracted to play in this year’s 11th Annual Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth, Texas, pending bowl eligibility by winning at least six games. 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 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.

COACH’S LOG: 44-30

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 44-30 (.595) including appearances in four post-season bowl games. He is fourth all-time in Navy career wins, one win away from tying for third place. It was announced on Oct. 9 that Niumatalolo has been selected one of seven men in the inaugural class of the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame. He was one of 25 finalists for the honor and will be inducted Jan. 23, 2014 prior to the NFL Pro Bowl in Honolulu.

MIDS vs. RAINBOW WARRIORS

Navy (4-4) and Hawai’i (0-8) will meet for just the third time and the first in Annapolis. Hawai’i leads the annual series, 2-0. Both seven-point wins by Hawai’i, the Rainbow Warriors started the series with a 48-41 win in 1999 and won the second match-up in 2009, 24-17. Last Saturday while Navy lost a tough one in South Bend, Hawai’i was beaten on the road at Utah State, 47-10 in Logan, Utah.

The Navy vs. Hawai’i matchup is scheduled to kickoff Saturday at 3:30 p.m. (ET) on the natural grass turf of the 34,000-seat Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis. The game will be televised nationally on the CBS Sports Network and broadcast on the Navy Radio Network as well as Sirius Satellitte Radio (Ch. 134) and XM Satellite Radio (Ch. 193).

Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo graduated from the University of Hawai’i in 1989 and served their football coaching staff from 1990-1994 before coming to Navy in 1995. He was a quarterback for three years for the Rainbow Warriors, leading them to a bowl game in 1989. Niumatalolo is 0-1 at Navy coaching against his alma mater. For more Navy football info, visit www.navysports.com.

MIDS COUNTDOWN TO COW TOWN

Record: 4-4 Home: 3-0 • Away: 1-4 • 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 9-28 at Western Kentucky L, 7-19 ESPNEWS 19,813 Navy Leads, 2-1

W No. 3 10-5 Air Force W, 28-10 CBS Network 38,225 Air Force Leads, 27-19

L 10-12 at Duke L, 7-35 Raycom Sports/ACC Network 23,749 Navy Leads, 20-15-5

L 44-45 (2 OT) 10-19 at Toledo ESPNEWS 18,221 Toledo Leads, 3-1

W No. 4 10-26 Pittsburgh W, 24-21 CBS Sports Network 37,094 Pittsburgh Leads 22-14-3

L 11-2 at Notre Dame, 34-38 NBC 80,795 Notre Dame Leads, 74-12-1

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

NAVY KNOTS

Since 2002, nobody has run the triple-option offense better than Navy has in that period. Entering this weekend’s game against Hawai’i, Navy is ninth in the nation among NCAA Division I-A schools in rushing this season, averaging 297.0 yards per game, seventh nationally in fourth down conversions at .706 percent, eighth nationally in third down conversions at .527, first in the nation in fewest penalties per game with an average of 2.7 penalties per game and first in fewest yards penalized with an average of 23.13 yards per game.

Against Notre Dame, Navy had no penalties and no turnovers. In the last five years, Navy has been either first (2009, 2011) or second in fewest penalties per game. Twice this season (Delaware and Notre Dame, the Mids have had no yellow flags dropped on them. Navy is seventh nationally in fewest turnovers with eight.

Individually, sophomore quarterback Keenan Reynolds continues to lead the Navy offense. Reynolds, who missed half of the loss at Western Kentucky with a head injury, has rushed for 599 yards, averaging 74.9 yards per game with 14 touchdowns. In the air, Reynolds has completed 45 of 83 passes (54.2 percent) with two interceptions for 755 yards averaging 94.5 yards per game and five touchdowns. Nationally, Reynolds is tied for seventh in points per game (10.5) and second in rushing touchdowns with 14 and first in rushing TDs among quarterbacks.

Navy has scored on 32 of its 36 possessions (.889) in the red zone this year, scoring 27 touchdowns, kicking five field goals, missing two field goals and taking a knee to end the game in Navy’s 51-7 victory over Delaware.

Mids defensive captain Cody Peterson and D.J. Sargenti, both senior outside linebackers along with junior linebacker Chris Johnson, lead the Navy defense with 84, 59 and 49 total tackles respectively. Peterson has 58 solo tackles (7.3 per game) and Sargenti has 40 (5.0). Johnson also leads the team with three pass interceptions, two pass break-ups and one fumble recovery. Peterson is second nationally in solo tackles, averaging 7.3 per game and tied for 12th in total tackles with 10.5 per game.

Since 2003, Navy has won 21 games against schools from a BCS conference. Those 21 wins have come against 10 different teams and are the most in the country by a non-BCS school.

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF’S TROPHY

A major stepping stone this year on the road to Fort Worth, 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.

Air Force defeated Army at Air Force last Saturday, 42-28 and the regular season will end in Philadelphia on Dec. 14 when Army plays Navy. Navy has been the most dominant service academy in the last decade plus, winning 20 of 22 (.909) meetings with Air Force and Army, including this year’s 28-10 win over Air Force.

MOUNTAIN WEST HIGHS:

Four league on tap Saturday as 12 MW teams battle for title and spot in six NCAA Bowl games

MOUNTAIN HIGHS

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. One MW team is undefeated so far as Fresno State (West Division) has won its first eight games.

Playing an exceptionally tough non-conference schedule, the MW Mountain Division standings this year with team records are: Boise State (6-3, 4-1 in MW), Utah State (5-4, 4-1), Wyoming (4-4, 2-2), Colorado State (4-5, 2-1), New Mexico (2-6, 0-4), and Air Force (2-7, 0-5).  Fresno State (8-0, 5-0) is leading MW West Division teams followed by: San Jose State (5-3, 4-1), San Diego State (4-4, 3-1), UNLV (5-3, 3-1), Nevada (3-6, 2-4), and Hawai’i (0-8, 0-6).

MW GAMETIME

League play Saturday will see five MW games for Week 11: Friday—Air Force at New Mexico (ESPNU, 9 p.m. ET) Saturday—Nevada at Colorado State (Mountain West Network, 3:30 p.m. ET), Utah State at UNLV (ESPNU, 8 p.m. ET), Fresno State at Wyoming (ESPN2, 10:15 p.m. ET), San Diego State at San Jose State (CBS Sports Network, 10:30 p.m. ET). One MW non-conference games this week: Saturday— Hawai’i at Navy (CBS Sports Network, 3:30 p.m. ET).

MW SUPERS

Following Week 10 action, the MW announced its three players of the week (offense, defense and special teams).  On offense, co-offensive players of the week were selected—Air Force senior running back Anthony LaCoste and Fresno State senior quarterback Derek Carr.

LaCoste, Albany, Ore., gained a career-high 263 yards on 21 carries with three touchdowns in Air Force’s 42-28 win over Army. LaCoste’s 263 yards are the second-most in Academy history, just 12 yards behind Chad Hall’s 275 to from 2007.

Carr, Bakersfield, Calif., completed 39 of 55 passes for 487 yards with three touchdowns as Fresno State defeated Nevada, 41-23. Carr has currently thrown 183 consecutive passes without an interception and he has tied the MW record by throwing a touchdown pass in 21-straight games since the Bulldogs joined the MW. Carr has thrown a TD pass in 28 straight games, the longest active streak in the FBS.

On defense, Utah State sophomore defensive end Kyler Fackrell, Mesa, Ariz., was selected after recording nine tackles (four solo) in Utah State’s 47-10 win over Hawai’i. He intercepted his first pass of the season and returned it 99 yards for his first career defensive touchdown. The 99-yard interception return is the third-longest in school and MW history.

Selected for his special teams play picked was San Jose State’s sophomore placekicker Austin Lopez, Euless, Texas. Lopez was 2 of 2 in field goal attempts and 4 for 4 in extra-point kicks in San Jose State’s 34-24 win at UNLV. Lopez converted a 44-yard field goal with 2:56 remaining in the game that point the Spartans up by 10 points.

MW NATIONALLY

The Mountain West is one of two FBS leagues (Pac-12) with two quarterbacks in the nation’s top seven and at least four of the top 19 in passing average per game. Fresno State senior Derek Carr leads all MW quarterbacks with 382.6 yards per game to rank second nationally, followed by San Jose State senior David Fales (321.9 ypg, seventh), Wyoming junior Brett Smith (295.9 ypg, 14th) and Nevada junior Cody Fajardo (279.4 ypg, 19th).

The Mountain West is one of two conferences in the nation (Pac-12) with four of the top 17 QBs in total offense. Fresno State senior Derek Carr ranks second nationally with 389.9 total yards per game, followed by Wyoming junior Brett Smith, who ranks eighth with 349.8 total yards, San Jose State senior David Fales, who ranks 10th with 345.6 yards per game and Nevada junior Cody Fajardo, who ranks 17th with 321.9 yards per game.

Fresno State sophomore Davante Adams ranks second nationally with 10.0 receptions per game. Nevada senior Brandon Wimberly currently ranks 12th with 7.4 catches, while Fresno State junior Josh Harper is tied for 13th with 7.4 per game. Fellow Bulldog Isaiah Burse is tied for 18th at 7.0. The Mountain West is one of two FBS conferences (American) with four players averaging seven or more receptions per game, and Fresno State is the only team in the country with three receivers averaging at least seven catches per contest.

Sophomores Jay Ajayi (Boise State) and Kapri Bibbs (Colorado State) are two of 12 players in the FBS with 12 rushing touchdowns on the season. Through the first eight games, Bibbs has 15 rushing touchdowns to lead all FBS players and to mark the most by a Ram sophomore in program history. His 15 rushing TDs are the fourth-most in a single season at CSU, and are the most by a Ram rusher since Cecil Sapp had 17 in 2002. Ajayi is tied with eight others for fourth nationally with 12 rushing TDs on the year.

Fresno State sophomore Davante Adams is tied for first nationally with Oregon State’s Brandin Cooks) with 14 receiving touchdowns, while San Jose State senior Chandler Jones and UNLV junior Devante Davis are tied for fourth with 10 each. Fresno State junior Josh Harper is tied for eighth with nine receiving touchdowns, making the Mountain West the only FBS conference with more than two receivers with at least nine TDs on the year.

The Mountain West is the only league in the FBS to tout three of the top nine tacklers in the country. San Jose State senior Keith Smith leads the FBS with 13.6 total tackles per game, followed by Wyoming junior Jordan Stanton (11.6,

third) and Utah State senior Jake Doughty (10.8, ninth).

FOUR MW RECEIVERS JOIN CENTURY CLUB IN WEEK 10

Four MW players recorded 100-yard receiving efforts in Week 10. Fresno State junior Josh Harper led the league after totaling a career-high 253 receiving yards and two touchdowns on a career-best 17 receptions vs. Nevada. His yardage was the thirdhighest in Bulldog history and ties San Diego State’s Jeff Webb (vs. BYU on Oct. 4, 2003) as the fourth-highest in Mountain West history. San Diego State junior Ezell Ruffin registered 165 yards receiving and two touchdowns on seven catches vs. New Mexico, marking his fourth 100-yard game of the season and third straight.

Utah State senior Travis Reynolds finished the contest vs. Hawai‘i tying his career high with eight catches for a career-best 152 yards and one touchdown. Reynolds’ 152 receiving yards are the most by an Aggie receiver since Kevin Curtis had 177 yards against Middle Tennessee on Nov. 30, 2002. It was also the second 100-yard game of Reynolds’ career. Colorado State junior Charles Lovett collected a career-best 103 yards and a TD on seven receptions against Boise State, marking the first 100-yard receiving game of his career.

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.

TICKET TIME

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 NOMINEES

A total of six players competing in the Football Bowl Subdivision have been nominated for the second annual Armed Forces Merit Award presented by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA). The 2013 recipient will be announced November 11 on Veteran's Day. Players nominated were Kelly Davison of UCF, Michael Kelley of UTEP, Brandon McCoy of North Texas, Stephen Rhodes of Middle Tennessee, Jake Sheffield of Arizona State and Daniel Rodriguez of Clemson.  Nate Boyer from the University of Texas was the first recipient of the Armed Forces Merit Award presented by the FWAA. The special award is coordinated by the media operations staff of the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl in conjunction with the game's Executive Director Brant Ringler and Steve Richardson, the executive director of the FWAA.