LOCKHEED MARTIN ARMED FORCES BOWL TIDBITS
Circling the Bases
The Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl is the only collegiate football bowl game that has hosted all three U.S. Service Academy football teams. The U.S. Air Force Academy (2007, 2008, 2009, 2012 and 2015), the U.S. Military Academy (2010, 2017) and the U.S. Naval Academy (2013, 2016) have all participated in the bowl. It is the ninth time in the past 11 years that an academy is playing in the contest.
Many Happy Returns
Army is appearing in the Armed Forces Bowl for the second time. The Black Knights won the 2010 game, 16-14, over SMU. Army is the sixth team to play in the bowl multiple times–Air Force (five), Houston (four), Army (two), California (two), Navy (two) and Tulsa (two).
A New State of Mind
Not only is San Diego State competing in the Armed Forces Bowl for the first time, the school is playing its first-ever bowl game in the state of Texas. It is the seventh time that the Mountain West Conference has been represented in this game, which is the second most by any league behind Conference USA (11). Air Force (2015) was the last Mountain West school.
You Play to Win the Game
The 19 combined wins between San Diego State (10) and Army (9) are the second most ever for foes entering the Armed Forces Bowl. The all-time bowl record is 23, set by Boise State (12) and TCU (11) in 2003. On three occasions, the schools have totaled 17 wins, including last year with Navy (9) and Louisiana Tech (8). In 2009, the Houston (10) and Air Force (7) teams had 17 combined victories, as did the BYU (9) and Tulsa (8) squads in the 2011 game.
The two teams have met just twice previously all time, and San Diego State owns a 2-0 record against Army. The Aztecs won by a 23-20 final score at Army in 2011 and picked up a 42-7 triumph at home in 2012. Rocky Long was the SDSU head coach in both contests.
Army has played three times at Amon G. Carter Stadium previously. The Black Knights are 0-3 in the stadium, with all losses at the hands of TCU. The most recent trip came in 2005, when the Horned Frogs picked up a 38-17 win. San Diego State is also 0-3 at Amon G. Carter with the most recent result being a 40-35 loss to TCU in 2010.
Army Bowl History
This will mark the program’s seventh all-time bowl appearance. Army is 4-2 in previous games, and those six postseason appearances have been decided by a total of 19 points, and all by a touchdown or less. The most recent contest was a 38-31 overtime win last year at the Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl.
San Diego State Bowl History
The Aztecs will be playing in their 12th major college bowl game and school-record eighth straight. The team is 5-6 in postseason games. SDSU is riding a two-game bowl winning streak with routs in the 2015 Hawaii Bowl (42-7 vs. Cincinnati) and the 2016 Las Vegas Bowl (34-10 over Houston). In its last four bowl games, the Aztecs have averaged 35.3 points per game.
These Guys Can Coach
Both Army coach Jeff Monken and San Diego State coach Rocky Long are recognized among the best in the business. This year Monken is one of eight finalists for the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award. On the other side, Long has led his team to double-digit wins in each of the past three seasons and is the winningest coach in Mountain West Conference history and a three-time MW Coach of the Year.
Army is the second academy ever to play in the Armed Forces Bowl the same season as it claimed the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy. The other academy to accomplish that feat was Navy in 2013. This year, Army blanked Air Force, 21-0, and defeated Navy, 14-13.
Home and Visitor
Army is designated as the home team. The Black Knights will be using the east sideline and the south end zone locker room. San Diego State will be the visitors and will be located on the west sideline and the northwest corner locker room.
Bowled Over by Points - Part I
Over the past three years, the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl is the highest scoring bowl game in the nation with a total of 253 points scored in the three games. The next highest bowl by total points are the Miami Beach Bowl (now the Frisco Bowl) at 248 and Rose Bowl at 241. Just 12 of the 39 bowls have even topped the 200-point mark.
Bowled Over by Points - Part II
The 253 total points is an average of 42.2 per team. No team has been held under 34 points over that time. The 2015 game between California (55) and Air Force (36) set the bowl’s all-time record for points in a game (91), but that mark lasted just one year, as Louisiana Tech (48) and Navy (45) topped that last year with 93 total points.
The Best in the Country
Army leads the nation in rushing yards at 368.1 yards per game. Meanwhile, the Aztecs boast senior running back Rashaad Penny, who leads the country individually with 2,027 rushing yards.
Close Encounters for the Eighth Time?
Seven of the 14 Armed Forces Bowl games have been decided by less than a touchdown, including a 35-34 victory by Houston over Pittsburgh that featured the largest fourth-quarter comeback in any bowl game ever (25 points). Last year’s game was a 48-45 thriller won as time expired when Louisiana Tech kicked a game-winning field goal to beat Navy.
Accommodating to Visitors
The school designated as the home team has won just five of the 14 games -- Boise State (2003), Cincinnati (2004), Utah (2006), Air Force (2009) and Houston (2015). Just one of the past seven home teams has been victorious. Despite playing on its home turf and using its own locker room, TCU was the visiting team for the inaugural game.
Home for the Holidays
This year’s game is being played before Christmas for the second straight year and for the sixth time in its 15-year history. The first four games were played on Dec. 23 before the game became a post-Christmas contest from 2006-15. The Dec. 23 date is the most common date in the game’s history (six games). The next most common dates have been Dec. 30 and Dec. 31 (three times each).
Weather It Matters
The average temperature over the 14 previous Armed Forces Bowls has been 46 degrees. Two games have been played in better than 60 degrees, topped by the 2005 game between Kansas and Houston (67 degrees). The coldest game was played in 2004, when Cincinnati and Marshall played in 28-degree conditions with a wind chill of 15.
Double the Fun
San Diego State has 10 wins heading into the bowl game. The Aztecs are the fifth team to finish their Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl sesason with double-digt wins. In addition, Army (9-3) is just one win shy of joining that fraternity. Previous teams with 10-win seasons include: Boise State in 2003 (13-1), TCU in 2003 (11-2), Houston in 2009 (10-4) and BYU in 2011 (10-3).
Starting off Right
The team that has won the coin toss has
won five of the last six games, including the past two. Overall, the school that won the flip is 9-5 (.643).
Able to Stay in Pajamas Later
The 2:30 p.m. start is the game’s second latest kickoff since 2006. The first four contests were played after 5:30 p.m., while none of the next nine started past 1 p.m. Last year’s game was a 3:30 p.m. kickoff.
Coming from the Coasts
Both schools had 1,000-plus mile trips to Fort Worth. Army travelled 1,616 miles, while San Diego State went 1,328 miles.
Feels a Little NFL Drafty Here
A total of 66 players that have participated in the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl since the inaugural game in 2003 have been selected over the last 14 NFL Drafts, including three Louisiana Tech players in 2016. Led by the California Golden Bears (16), 15 schools that have participated in the Armed Forces Bowl have had players drafted. Only Air Force and Army have not. Five former Armed Forces Bowl participants were NFL first-round picks, highlighted by Cal quarterback Jared Goff, the No. 1 overall pick by the Los Angeles Rams in 2016. Other former first-rounders include: Kansas defensive back Aqib Talib (2008), Cal center Alex Mack (2009), Cal defensive tackle Tyson Alualu (2010) and BYU defensive end Ezekiel Ansah (2013).
Fighting Spirit Scholarships
Retired U.S. Army Capt. Ferris Butler and retired U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Adam Keys are the recipients of Lockheed Martin’s inaugural Fighting Spirit Scholarship for wounded veterans. The scholarship provides wounded veterans opportunities to learn to fly and sail through programs at nonprofit organizations Able Flight and Warrior Sailing Program. Able Flight selected Butler, a Chester, Md., resident who sustained severe lower leg injuries in Iraq in 2006 when struck by an improvised explosive device (IED). Butler, a double amputee, is the recipient of the Purple Heart, Bronze Star and Meritorious Service Medal. Warrior Sailing Program selected Keys, an Annapolis, Md., resident injured in Afghanistan in 2010 after an IED detonated near his patrol vehicle. Keys, a triple amputee, is the recipient of the Purple Heart.