Wed, 22 Sep 2021

The Air Force Falcons and Navy Midshipmen meet up in Week 2 at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Maryland. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. ET and the game will air on CBS. As this game is taking place on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in New York, Washington DC, and upstate Pennsylvania, it should be a special day for both the athletes and their fellow cadets.

RADIO: The Air Force broadcast can be found in Colorado Springs on 740 AM (KVOR) or streamed via Air Force All-Access. The Navy broadcast can be found on the affiliates of the Navy Radio Network, including 1430 AM and 99.9 FM (KNAV) in Annapolis.

Details for Saturday's game are below:

Date: Saturday, Oct. 7

Start Time: 3:30 p.m. ET

Location: Annapolis, MD

Venue: Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium

TV Info: CBS Sports Network

Live Stream: Paramount+

SERIES RECORD: Air Force 31 Wins - Navy 22 Wins

LAST WEEK: Air Force defeated Lafayette at home, 35-14, while Navy lost to Marshall at home, 49-7.

Air Force (1-0) knocked off Lafayette 35-14 in Week 1 to open their campaign. The reigning Commander-in-Chief trophy winners gained 370 yards on the ground and didn't have a turnover in the opener. The struggles of Navy in 2020 appear to have carried over, as the Mids fell 49-7 at home to Marshall last Saturday. Punting six times and throwing two interceptions is not a recipe for success if you're a triple-option team, and Ken Niumatalolo will need to find a winning formula sooner than later.

WEEK 2: United States Air Force Academy (1-0) at United States Naval Academy (0-1)

WHEN: Saturday, September 11th - 1:30 PM MT/12:30 PM PT

WHERE: Navy-Marine Corp Stadium; Annapolis, MD

TV: CBS

STREAMING: Paramount+ (paid subscription required)

Singing the alma mater second never felt quite like this for Army.

These Black Knights accomplished something never before done in the history of their rivalry with Navy: Beating the Midshipmen at West Point.

STREAMING: Paramount+ (paid subscription required)

Tyhier Tyler scored on a 4-yard run early in the fourth quarter, the Army defense stoned Navy with a goal-line stand in the third, and the Black Knights beat their archrival 15-0 on Saturday at fog-shrouded Michie Stadium.

It was the first meeting between the teams at West Point since a 13-0 Navy shutout in 1943. The storied game is typically played at a neutral site like Philadelphia or Baltimore but the pandemic changed those plans.

The game was moved to Michie Stadium from Philadelphia because COVID-19 regulations in Pennsylvania would not have allowed the Corps of Cadets and Brigade of Midshipmen to attend.

'It's a pretty big event to shut somebody out in this game. This has such a great history to it,' Army coach Jeff Monken said. 'It was a slugfest, just back and forth. The fog rolled in. It almost seemed appropriate. for the battle that was taking place out there. It's a lot of fun to be able to celebrate like this.'

The last two time the game was played at West Point was during World War II and the first was 1890. Army didn't score a point in any of those games,

The Black Knights (8-2) posted their first shutout in the series since a 27-0 victory in 1969 and have won four of five against Navy (3-7). Navy still leads the series 61-53-7.

Navy sang second, as is tradition for the winner of the game, last year in Philadelphia after a 31-7 triumph.

'We were going to defend our house,' Army linebacker Amadeo West said. 'Very fortunate. Tonight we're going to enjoy this win cause it's a very special win.'

No fans were allowed, so there wasn't much of a home field advantage for the Black Knights. When the game began the Mids and Cadets were seated in groups on different sides and behind both goalposts, and the stadium literally shook after President Donald Trump conducted the coin toss and the Mids won.

STREAMING: Paramount+ (paid subscription required)

Army had three weeks off to prepare after its game Nov. 7 against Air Force was switched to next Saturday because of COVID-19 concerns in and around the Air Force Academy. Navy was coming in off four straight losses.

Xavier Arline started for Navy, just the fifth freshman to start at quarterback for the Mids against Army. Tyler, who had played in four games prior to Saturday, made his second straight start.

The game turned in the third quarter with Army clinging to a 3-0 lead and on its heels after Arline ripped off a 52-yard run. He was poised to cross the goalline when Cedric Cunningham ran him down and pushed him out of bounds at the 2.

When two runs netted nothing, Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo called timeout. The Army defense then rose to the occasion again, with senior linebacker Jon Rhattigan stopping Arline inches of the goal and West stopping Nelson Smith on fourth down.

'It's huge,' Niumatalolo said. 'You don't get that, it's a defensive struggle. You've got to convert there. You have to convert.'

Army went up 3-0 on Quinn Maretzki's 37-yard field goal early in the second quarter, set up by Tyler's 28-yard completion to Tyrell Robinson, just the second completion of his career.

Tyler scored after a Navy turnover, the only one of the game, and Daryan McDonald tacked on a safety late in the fourth when he tackled Navy wide receiver Mark Walker in the end zone on a reverse.

Three Keys to an Air Force Victory

1. START FAST

This game has all the makings of a momentum game, momentum that Navy will desperately need to find its way back on course for the 2021 season, momentum that Air Force just as desperately needs to have any chance at ending a very long CiC drought. And, most notably, momentum that could come on any given play Saturday with a stadium full of cadets and fans alike desperate to cast aside their ability to speak for days, to help propel their team for one afternoon.

Neither team can afford to get behind by more than a score or two in this kind of engagement. For the Falcons it may actually be more dangerous with all of the added intensity filling the Naval Academy's home crowd. It will be very important for Air Force to find their game quick, and surface early reminders that another 30-plus point deficit may loom.

2. DON'T BE FOOLED

Neither of these teams are strangers to trick plays, especially when playing one another. This is the kind of game that Navy should be far more desperate for the benefits of a imaginative big play than Air Force. In fact, the last time that Ken Niumatalolo's squad beat the Falcons, it was greatly helped by these kind of plays.

The Mids still feature one of the slot-backs with experience at quarterback in Chance Warren who was part of that 2019 victory. Tyger Goslin is another player with starting experience under center, prior to his recent transition to slot-back. It's not unlikely that, if successful, this kind of play will account for most if not all of Navy's gains through the air. Don't let it happen.

3. GET A HAT ON DIEGO FAGOT

One of the things that everyone who watches this game from a national perspective should walk away with is an appreciation for great inside linebacker play. Two of the best players in the country at this position will be playing on Sunday, in Navy's Diego Fagot and Air Force's Demonte Meeks.

Fagot is a preseason All-American, and he's been decorated with that honor previously. This guy has been a menace for the Mids for a while now, and he could single handedly disrupt a lot of what the Falcons want and need to do. In last years game, Fagot went down with an injury, hopefully that's not his fate on Saturday. The Air Force offensive line would do well to find chemistry early and get to the second level to try and neutralize Fagot as often as possible. Regardless of your rooting interest, appreciate the play of Fagot and Meeks on Saturday.

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CONCLUSION

It's so rare that a Ken Niumatalolo coached team has back-to-back down years. Unfortunately for the Mids, this game could propel what seemed improbable into reality.

Navy has spent more than a year trying to find its way on offense. Really, ever since Malcom Perry graduated and went on to the NFL. And it's no coincidence that in that time, they have played musical quarterbacks with little to no success. Quarterback is not the sole reason for Navy's struggles, but it's certainly not been a position that's capable of covering other sins.

The defense hasn't fared much better in Annapolis, despite some NFL talent and the aforementioned stud in the middle, Diego Fagot. The defense, quite honestly, is the likelier unit to spark a Navy reversal of fortune, and their effort will need to be herculean on Saturday to win the game.

Opposite them, Air Force is also trying to figure things out in this very young season. Despite a nearly 400-yard offensive effort, there is still a lot of opportunity for improvement on offense. The same can be said for their defense, which is loaded with talent and experience.

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