Tag Archives: army vs. navy

NFL 2010: Falcons Snow-Collapse the Panthers

It’s been a Sitting Pugs tradition to watch the Army-Navy game, but this year something of greater value and importance transpired,  thus, I had to bow out of Black Knights-Midshipmen revelry.  Turns out, Navy left the Army all shook up with a 31 to 17 victory.  Click here for summary, stats, and play-by-play.  The Navy out-scored the Army in 2009, 2008, and 2007.

On the topic of college ball, I may or may not be able to view and blog about as many Bowl Games like I have in previous years.  Click here to find out all the names and teams.

Before I get to today’s pomp and cirumstance, in the words of a friend, “snow vs. metrodome – 1 to 0.”  NFL.com has these added comments.

And now for your regularly scheduled blog:  The Atlanta Falcons at the Carolina Panthers.  Will the Falcons nab another victory and get their foot on a playoff spot?  The first quarter began with the Panthers on offense.  One play into their possession, a loose ball was recovered by the Falcons.  One complete pass to wide receiver Roddy White and one stretch of running by Michael Turner later, tight end Tony Gonzalez made a touchdown catch in the end zone.  Atlanta 7 and Carolina 0.  Seven minutes later, quarterback Matt Ryan threw a stunning forty-some-odd yard pass to wide receiver Henry Douglas.  The next play led to Michael Turner making his way to the one yard line, just shy of the Panters’ end zone.  Carolina’s head coach John Fox challenged the on-field call of a non-fumble (did Panthers linebacker Jordan Senn rip the ball out before Turner was down by contact?).  The Panthers lost that challenge.  Two subsequent attempts to get into the end zone were unsuccessful (including one try where Matt Ryan got tapped and was brought down just outside the goal line), and then Michael Turner got his body in for TD.  Atlanta 14 and Carolina 0.

The second quarter commenced with Panthers defensive end Charles Johnson sacking Matt Ryan.  The bottom of the second quarter said hello to a thirty-nine yard Matt Bryant field goal.  Atlanta 17 and Carolina 0.  Panthers cornerback Richard Marshall intercepted Matt Ryan as the second quarter ended.  The third quarter greeted the Panthers with a TD, courtesy of running back Mike Goodson.  Atlanta 17 and Carolina 7.  The Panthers were doing well defensively through the middle of this quarter…that is until the bottom of the third when Michael Turner made another rushing TD.  Atlanta 24 and Carolina 7.

Six minutes into the fourth quarter, the Panthers increased their lead with a FG.  Atlanta 24 and Carolina 10.  With six minutes left in the game, Falcons linebacker Stephen Nicholas re-routed the trajectory of rookie Panthers QB Jimmy Clausen’s pass and facilitated an interception made by outside linebacker Mike Peterson.  Michael Turner made yet another TD shortly thereafter.  He just jogged himself and the ball right into the end zone.  Atlanta 31 and Carolina 10.  Final score.

Observations & Miscellania:

1.  Commentary was supplied by Ron Pitts and John Lynch.

2.  Those Carolina Panther cheerleaders’ pom-poms are a gorgeous blue.

3.  In the bottom of the first quarter, Matt Ryan threw the ball to Michael Turner, who then got the first down and ran into the sidelines.  When he got up, the camera was still on him–his right elbow was smudged with black stuff…like soot. I suspect that it is from the black coating on the end zones.

4.  I’ve noticed in the last couple of seasons that the third quarter is often a momentum-shifter for Atlanta.  If they have a good first half, they are more prone to making mistakes in the third.  But, if the first half is not too great, then the third tends to be an offensive boon.

5.  Jimmy Clausen was the QB for Notre Dame for the last few years.

6.  Arthur Blank was walking around the sidelines.  He wore a beige coat (like a detective might wear).

Click here for the Falcons’ roster and the Panthers’ roster here.

Get game summary, stats, and play-by-play here.

College Football 2009: Navy chugs past Army

But first, I watched some of the Clarke Central vs. Sandy Creek High state championship football game last night on GPB.  The players looked tiny and moved as if in slowish-motion.  The Buford High players, however, resembled something fresh out of Friday Night Lights in stature.  Two words: Jessel Curry.  Click here to read all about both games and to see video clips.

Now, on to our regularly scheduled blog post:

The Navy Midshipmen won against the Army Black Knights last year.  Would they be able to do it again? Televised by CBS, the 110th Army-Navy game was narrated by Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson and took place at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.  The first quarter started with the Black Knights on offense with no points achieved.  The Midshipmen’s first turn at offense led to a failed field goal.   The quarter coiled down to roughly a minute when Midshipmen quarterback Ricky Dobbs was intercepted by Black Knights linebacker Steven Eerzinger, who then ran the ball to the twelve yard line.  Moments later, there was a field goal.  Army 3 and Navy 0.

The top of the second quarter gave the Black Knights an edge as they recovered a fumbled Midshipmen ball.  Near the middle of the quarter, Navy experienced an offense boost with a fifty-eight yard completed pass between Dobbs and wide receiver Nick Henderson, but there was a flag on the Midshipmen for holding.  “Big play, big penalty, ” Gary Danielson remarked.

The Midshipmen began on offense in the third quarter, and halfway through it, Marcus Curry made a touchdown reception.  In the bottom of the quarter, the Midshipmen increased their lead by with a trio.  Navy 10 and Army 3.  The fourth quarter started with a failed Black Knights field goal.  Way, way wide left.  Several minutes later, Ricky Dobbs broke the plane for a TD.  The Black Knights had a handful of chances to score in the bottom of the quarter but the Midshipmen stopped each attempt.  Navy 17 and Army 3.  Final score.  Motif of the day – really good defense on both sides.


Watch me stretching and watching the opening kickoff:

Observations & Miscellania:

1.  The National Anthem was sung by the Naval Academy Glee Club.

2.  Robert Gates, Secretary of Defense, tossed the coin.

3.  A medium-zoom-into-extreme-close-up shot of the Navy mascot masticating on something was featured before a commercial break in the firsrt quarter.

4.  An Army spirit message parodying The Men Who Stare at Goats was aired before a commercial break in the first quarter.  “Maybe you need to use a real goat.”

5.  Army wore gold pants and white jerseys.  Navy wore navy pants, navy jerseys, red waistbands (or something that appears to be a waistband) and red-lined shoulder squares.  They looked a bit …je ne sais pas…pas cool.  I kept thinking of a portrait of George Washington.

6.  The last time both Army and Navy were Bowl Game eligible in the same season was in 1996.

7.  Ricky Dobbs was born January 31, 1988.  He’s exactly seven years younger than Justin Timberlake.

8.  The Navy’s goats got another extreme close-up in the bottom of the second quarter.  One of them was still chewing on something and the other one looked bored to tears…or just sleepy.

9.  With fewer than two minutes left in the game, the Midshipmen in the stands started jumping up and down and chanting.  I have no idea what they were chanting.

Get game summary, stats, and play-by-play here.

College Football the 08: Navy Midshipmen ring around Army Black Knights’ rosies

Just over a year ago, Navy and Army came together at the  M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland, and then they left…with the Midshipmen smiling just a pinch bigger. In fact, for the five years preceding the 2007 Army-Navy game, the Midshipmen had consistently taken the wins. This year, at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the Black Knights hope to do something about their numbers. Navy wishes to maintain their own.

Broadcast on CBS, the 109th meeting between the two services academies began with President George W. Bush walking onto the field, doing some half-spirited kick of the ball (the kind where he decided spontaneously to kick it and thus wasn’t able to send that pigksin really sailing), and participating in the coin toss. In one of the close-ups of the President’s face, I couldn’t help but notice that he appeared saddened.

The first quarter began with a sixty-five yard rushing touchdown by Navy running back Shun White. Midshipmen 7 and Black Knights 0. Kyle Delahooke, punter for Navy, encountered a wonky snap about halfway through the first quarter. He was, however, able to scramble to the end zone, retrieve the ball and punt it away anyway. Navy increased their score with a field goal when they got the ball back. Shun White made another TD for Navy in the bottom of the second quarter. Midshipmen 17 and Black Knights 0. Black Knight running back Patrick Mealy returned the ball for sixty-three yards and got to the Navy 27 yard line. It was a pretty great run. Mealy was able to wiggle away the path of three (?) clusters of Midshipmen.

The third quarter rippled to just past the half when Navy fullback Eric Kettani got into the end zone. Midshipmen 24 and Black Knights 0. The fourth quarter began with a Navy field goal. Midshipmen 27 and Black Knights 0. With Fewer than one minute on the game clock, Navy linebacker Ram Vela intercepted Army quarterback Chip Bowden’s pass and then ran sixty-seven yards into the end zone.

Five out of five dentists agree. Navy did it again. The Midshipmen beat the Black Knights 34 to 0. Qu’est-ce qui ce passe avec Les Chevaliers Noirs? 1978 was the last time that Army didn’t put any numbers on the board.

Observations & Miscellania:

1. Ian Eagle and Boomer Esiason were commentators.

2. A pre-game montage that introduced two players (both fullbacks I believe), one from each team, that reiterated the American-ness of not just the game of football but also the individuals playing it here.

3. Both teams donned new uniforms. The Black Knights wore black jerseys and socks, and camouflage pants and helmets. The words “Duty, Honor, Country” were on the backs of their jerseys, just above the numbers (also camouflage). The Midshipmen wore something more akin to the San Francisco Chargers in terms of color combination/juxtaposition.

4. 1890 was the first year of the Army-Navy game. Navy won that lollipop sucker 24 to 0.

5. Corey Johnson, outside linebacker for Navy, spent three years playing a point guard in basketball and then switched to football.

6. As per tradition, both teams gathered together on the field and listened to the each school’s bands play their own school song. The Army first and the Navy second. What a sight to see.

Get game summary, stats, and play- by-play here.

College Football: Notre Dame poker faces Navy

For forty-three years straight since 1963, Navy lost to Notre Dame. 2007 was different. The Fighting Irish and the Midshipmen gathered at the M&T Bank Stadium to answer the jackpot question of the day: Today’s jackpot question: Will Notre Dame get their groove back or will Navy see a second victory?

Broadcast on CBS, the first quarter started with Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen throwing an interception. Midshipmen cornerback Ketric Buffin caught the ball at Navy’s eighteen-yard line. No score came from it but the Navy defense gave Notre Dame more reason for pause as linebacker Corey Johnson brought Clausen down (on the Fighting Irish’s next possession) and defensive end Jabaree Tuani landed on the ball. Notre Dame would not be discouraged, though. Navy’s punt was blocked and Toryan Smith was able to run the ball into the end zone. Fighting Irish 7 and Midshipmen 0.

The second quarter was considerably uneventful until the bottom when Midshipman quarterback Jarod Bryant successfully threw to running back Cory Finnerty, who then ran twenty-two yards into the end zone for a touchdown. Notre Dame and Navy tied with seven points each. With fewer than two minutes left in the quarter, Midshipman Ketric Buffin intercepted Jimmy Clausen a second time–but Notre Dame immediately recovered the ball. Going into halftime, the Fighting Irish pushed out a twenty-eight yard field goal for a three-point lead. 10 to 7.

The third quarter progressed roughly two minutes. Navy had the ball; the quarterback was tackled before he got too far down field. His contact with the turf was captured from a high-angle medium long shot, meaning that the players’ bodies were entirely on screen but only a few of them were on screen. Number twenty-nine (I think) from Navy, slammed his hands together in frustration. I could’ve misinterpreted the sounds and sights, but I do believe that as he clapped his hands, he cried out, “phuck man.” Not too long after that moment, Notre Dame increased their lead thanks to running back Armando Allen Jr. Notre Dame did it again at the bottom of the quarter, courtesy of running back Robert Hughes. Fighting Irish 24 and Midshipmen 7.

The top of the fourth quarter put a broader smile on Notre Dame’s face in the form of a thirty-six yard field goal. 27 to 7. “Sheets of rain,” as one of the commentators put it, also started to pour down in the fourth quarter (the rain didn’t last too long, though). In the bottom of the quarter, Navy running back Shun White got the ball into the end zone. Fighting Irish 27 and Midshipmen 14. Navy wide receiver Tyree Barnes made a brilliant catch just shy of the end zone with under two minutes left to play. The review of the play ruled it down at the one-yard line rather than a touchdown. Ricky Dobbs, who took over quarterbacking duties for Navy in the bottom of the third quarter, put the ball in the end zone himself on the next play. Fighting Irish 27 and Midshipmen 21. Navy got so close to nabbing the game because they recovered the ball on their next punt-away. Unfortunately, a series of incomplete passes meant that Notre Dame took the victory 27 to 21.

Observations & Miscellania:

1. There was a montage-with-voice-over that summarized the Notre Dame-Navy rivalry before the game.

2. Craig Bolerjack and Steve Beuerlein were the commentators.

3. US Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice were at the coin toss. Navy won but deferred.

4. Nearing the end of the first quarter, before going to a commercial, the camera cut to a low-angle shot of Navy’s mascots: two goats looking very much like oatmeal. That is, their coats reminded me of oatmeal. Bill the Goat anyone? Both goats got more screentime before the start of the third quarter.

5. Upon returning from a commercial at the top of the second quarter, there was an acknowledgment of Colonel John Ripley and his contributions to the Vietnam War.

Get game summary, stats, and play-by-play here.


Be sure to watch the 2008 Army-Navy game on December 6. Kickoff will be at noon and televised by CBS. Last year’s game was in Baltimore; Navy beat Army.

And, UGA nipped Auburn in the bud. 17 to 13.

Reveling in Rivalry: More on Army-Navy

I’ve read 75% of John Feinstein’s book on the Army-Navy rivalry. I found these passages particularly intriguing:

Feinstein recounts the 1995 Army-Air Force game in chapter 16 and observes thatemotional rhetoric is a big part of football. The reason for that is simple: going out to play a football game–even going out to practice–isn’t like other sports. To play well, you almost certainly must endure pain. You are going to be hit and you must hit back–harder. You are going to feel tired, probably exhausted, but you have to keep going. You are going to endure aches and pains throughout the season, the kind that won’t go away–if they ever do–until after you stop playing the game (276).

That makes it important to emphasize and reemphasize the commitment individuals have to a team. If you are determined not to let your friends, your buddies, your comrades down, you will push forward even when your body is telling your mind it has had enough” (277).

Feinstein then articulates, “What bothered the Army players most about the losing streak to Air Force was that they couldn’t figure out a reason for it. If they had lost six straight times to Notre Dame they wouldn’t like it, but they would understand it. But being dominated by Air Force made no sense because the schools were similar, even if the dorms at Air Force were a little plusher and there were more TVs–and the gap between Army and Navy each year was usually about the width of a thumbnail.

The losing streak had fallen into a distressing pattern: at home, the Cadets would keep the game close–losing 15-3, 7-3, and 10-6. On the road, they would get blown out: 29-3, 25-0, 25-6. In fact, Army hadn’t scored a touchdown at Air Force since 1987. That was a long time to go between extra-point attempts” (277-278).

Contributing factors to the Air Force might? Altitude (thin air, less oxygen) was considered, but attempts to address that issue didn’t resolve the matter of losses. Consistent coaching staff wasn’t it either (278). Feinstein suggests, “a large part of it was recruiting. For geographic reasons, Air Force had an advantage in recruiting anyone west of the Mississippi, and it had a large edge in California, which was one of the most football-rich states in the country” (278-279).

In terms of attracting future players, I really like the inclusion of this point:

Finally, there was image. Army and Navy certainly had the edge in tradition, and no game Air Force was going to play in was going to equal Army-Navy in national appeal or or attention. But, that was one game. Air Force sold, to put it bluntly, the Wild Blue Yonder. Tom Cruise in Top Gun was the best recruiter Air Force had. Come to Air Force, fly superfast jets for a living,and hang out with Kelly McGillis when you’re on the ground. Even General Graves admitted that the more glamorous image of the Air Force worked in its favor.

‘There is such a thing as Army Aviation…but let’s face it, when you think of Air Force, you think of flying, blue skies, sunglasses and all. When you think of Army, you then to think about activities that usually are associated with mud.’

“Ouch. The Army coaches would no doubt wince at that description, but there was little doubt that just as Navy pitched the romance of the sea, Air Force talked often about the glamour of the sky. Army had to sell tradition and leadership. Sometimes that worked. In recent years, it had not been enough to beat Air Force” (279).

Army did lose to Air Force that year and not only did it take them an extra long time to get home (plane and weather issues), but just getting away from the vicinity of Air Force’s stadium was taxing because “traffic is always slow getting out of Air Force because there is only one main road leading out of the stadium. Unlike other schools, Air Force refuses to clear a path for the visiting team’s bus to get them through the traffic” (288).

Chapter 18 covers the period of time leading up to the Army-Navy game of 1995. Feinstein notes that Charlie Weatherbie of Navy and Bob Sutton of Army view the rivalry between the academies differently. Weatherbie “had thought the people on the Yard made too much of the rivalry with Army… ‘I’m not saying it isn’t a great rivalry or a big deal, but I don’t see it as being any different from Oklahoma-Oklahoma State or Alabama-Auburn or Florida-Florida State. Those are all big rivalries. They all come at the end of the season, so that makes them seem bigger. Navy-Army…is right up there with games like that. But I don’t see it being something beyond that‘” (310-311).

Clearly, Bob Sutton “felt differently. He had coached in twelve Army-Navy games, eight as an assistant, four as a head coach. He had been involved in other rivalry games before arriving at Army, including Michigan-Ohio State and North Carolina State-North Carolina. In his mind, nothing came close to Army-Navy. If someone had told him be could coach only one more game in his life, it would be Army-Navy.

‘It’s not something you can understand until you’ve been through it…The seniors all know it’s the last game they’ll ever play, with maybe on exception every three or four years. They all want that last memory of football to be a good one, and they’ll do anything to win‘” (311).

I’m wondering the following:

1. Does Air Force still choose not to provide an open path for the visiting team after the game is over?

2. Is the Army-Navy rivalry different from those between non-service schools? If so, how?

I liked that Feinstein brought up Air Force’s benefiting from Top Gun in PR and branding. Released in American theatres in May of 1986, Tony Scott’s film came into a country led by Ronald Reagan. According to IMDB, Scott’s film had a budget of around $15,000,000 and more than made its money back.

If the visual presentation of Air Force incited desire to matriculate, the music sealed the deal. Can you “Take My Breath Away” ?

For more Army-Navy excerpts, click here.

I was five years old when Top Gun played in theatres. We had the soundtrack on vinyl–I wonder if we still do. Bob Sutton was born one day and thirty years before I was; I am also exactly two days older than Justin Timberlake.