PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Army-Navy game is back where many people believe it belongs.
The annual football classic took place in Baltimore last year, but this year’s edition will be played at Lincoln Financial Field on December 12th. Members of both teams were in town on Wednesday for the annual media luncheon. Navy Quarterback Keenan Reynolds was one of the players who was happy to have the game back in Philadelphia.
“I love playing in the Linc,” said Reynolds. “It’s a great stadium with a great atmosphere. It’s very loud for an Army-Navy game. I just love Philadelphia.”
Army will love the game more if it can snap a long losing streak against Navy. The Midshipmen have won the last 13 meetings between the two rivals, and are heavy favorites going into this season. Army is 2-9, while Navy will come to town with a record of 9-2. Black Knights’ Tight End Kelvin White says he and his teammates will have to play at a high level to snap the streak.
“I don’t care if they were 11-0 or if they’re the Green Bay Packers,” White said. “When we get out on the field next Saturday, we’re going to have to play our best no matter what. They have a great record this year. They’re going to a bowl game. They’re a great football team.”
Navy Coach Ken Niumatalolo insists there is no talk of the streak in his team’s locker room. Niumatalolo understands the history of the rivalry, and knows despite their official records, both teams will feel like they are 0-0 heading into their annual showdown.
“It’s going to be a tough game and a hard-nosed game,” said Niumatalolo. “A short game with not very many possessions. It’s two teams that are very similar on both sides of the ball. Whoever plays the best is going to win.”
Army appears to be better than its 2-9 record would indicate. Five of the Black Knights losses have been by seven points or less, and Head Coach Jeff Monken believes progress has been made this season. He knows emotions will be running high when his team takes the field a week from Saturday, but believes the emotion can work to his team’s advantage.
“Everybody’s emotions are running high for this game,” Monken said. “Mine will be, too. It should be. You’re not alive if you’re not in one of those locker rooms and you’re emotions aren’t running high. They better be. Execution wins the football game, but great emotion along with execution certainly helps.”