The highly anticipated football game between the Navy and Air Force is coming to a head today. It’s set for 12:30 PM (PST) at the Air Force Falcons’ home of Colorado Springs, Colorado. Their rivalry isn’t as storied as the Army and Navy’s, but it has its share of hype.
The Air Force was established well over a century after the Army and the Navy, who have met on the gridiron nearly every year since 1890. All three services have been battling it out since 1972, and slowly building their reputations along the way. Though their rivalry isn’t as classic, the Air Force-Navy games are filled with passion (and plenty of trash talk).
The Navy Midshipmen have played a total of 1,328 games — that’s 606 more than the Air Force. However, they have no big-league victories, whereas the Falcons boast four conference championships. The Air Force also has more wins over the Navy; the all-time record between the schools is 29-21, and the longest win streak (11) occurred from 1982 to 1992 with a dominant Falcons’ team. But with the Midshipmen taking home the big ‘W’ last year in a heated match that ended 48-45, the Falcons will be eager for revenge.
According to ESPN’s Football Power Index, today’s match is predicted to go to the Air Force Falcons by 60%.
One player to watch is Falcons’ receiver Marcus Bennett. He has accounted for 238 yards of field play in just 12 receptions. Another standout is Midshipmen running back Malcolm Perry, who’s played multiple positions on both offense and defense. He already has 530 rushing yards and 6 rushing touchdowns this season, averaging 7 yards per attempt; it’s obvious what the Navy’s offensive strategy is with Perry as their weapon. In 2017 he accumulated an impressive 1182 rushing yards, averaging almost 9 per attempt.
Going into today’s match, the Navy is 2-2 and the Air Force is 1-3, following a narrow loss against Nevada on 9/29. This early in the season, records don’t mean much, but the point deficits in some of their games is notable. The Navy’s victory over Lehigh on 9/15 was by 30 points (the final score being 51-21). The Air Force also competes in this category with a 38-0 shutout over Stony Brook on 9/1.
Both teams have strong offenses, but the Midshipmen are a powerhouse, especially when they feed the ball to Perry; they only average 77 yards passing, versus a staggering 356 yards rushing. It’s also important to consider the Falcons’ sturdy defensive front, as displayed by their shutout of Stony Brook. While they’re fairly balanced across the board, the Navy’s lack of offensive versatility may just be the crux of the game. If the Air Force can stop the run, they can beat the Navy.
Whether you’re a diehard, rain-or-shine fan, or you watch at home from your couch, be prepared for a real showdown at Falcon Stadium.