*Editors note If you came here for a non-biased, stat-based preview of The Army-Navy Game, this is not that, I will go full Navy homer in this one, sorry not sorry, #BeatArmy*
Well folks, here we are. West Point, Annapolis. Black Knights, Midshipmen. Monken, Niumatalolo. It’s aaaall happening ladies and gentlemen. It’s Army-Navy Week and this historic showdown will commence for the 120th time at Lincoln Financial Field this Saturday. My friend and fellow Forgotten5 writer Alex Funderburke will urge you to consider his reasons for why Army will win tomorrow. Do not believe him. Do not be Anakin Skywalker who was fooled by the words of Emperor Palpatine. Be the resistance. With that said, this is why the greatest service academy in the world will break Army’s 3-year win streak. BEAT ARMY.
The Midshipmen had an absolute dismal 2018 where they produced a 3-10 record, arguably their worst performance in the Ken Niumatalolo Era. After opening the season with a loss to his alma mater Hawaii, Coach Ken and his Navy team went on to lose to Air Force and Army among others and ended up losing out on the Commander In Chief Trophy. There was no bowl game to look forward to and as the men in future sailors sang the lines to their alma mater upon the conclusion of their game with army, dejection was plastered on their faces as they knew they would have to endure the pain of seeing the cadets sing second for the 3rd year in a row.
Most had garnered low expectations on Navy to start their 2019 Season. No one gave much thought to what the Academy could maybe accomplish or the heights they could climb. No body believed in them, except for the people that mattered. The Midshipmen tightened their shoulder straps, locked in their helmets and went to work as they stormed through opponents on the way to a 9-2 overall record. Navy also saw themselves back in the CFP rankings at #23 where they currently stand while barely missing out on the AAC Championship Game which would have given them an opportunity to play in the NYE Cotton Bowl. Yet, despite that shortcoming, the rest of the college football landscape had taken notice of their magnificent turnaround as Navy got selected by the Liberty Bowl on NYE against Kansas State, a tremendous opportunity to get another signature program win. Navy has had a stellar season and their momentum does not seem to show any signs of slowing down. Advantage Annapolis.
The Hawaiian GOAT
Coach Ken is better than Coach Monken. I mean, it’s about time we got that out of the way. That doesn’t mean Monken is a mediocre coach at all. The man who has been at the reigns for the Black Knights since 2014 is a football mastermind in his own right. It’s just that Coach Ken is better. Plain and simple. The captain of the Midshipmen football team has been in power for 12 years. His pursuit of perfection is so intense that he has only had 2 losing seasons in that span, with one of those coming just last year. He has won 5 bowl games, 3 AAC West Division Titles, did not lose to Army for nine straight years, has won 5 CIC trophies, defeated storied rival Notre Dame 3 times, guided Navy into the American Athletic Conference after being an independent for the entirety of their history and managed to get the Midshipmen ranked in the CFP numerous times in recent seasons. His resume can be a book ad just typing them in a paragraph was exhausting. Monken is good. Coach Ken is better. Advantage to the native of Laie, Hawaii.
Malcolm “Lamar Jackson” Perry
If you see a QB juking out defenders while employing an absolute explosion of speed on his way towards the endzone, that is not in fact Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson. It is however, Navy QB Malcolm Perry. The 5’9″ Senior from Clarksville, Tennessee has had a sparkling season with a rushing total of 1,500 yards on 238 attempts. Perry has also contributed 19 TD’s on the ground while averaging a mind-boggling 6.3 yards per carry. While the service academies rely on their famous triple-option offense, Perry has had his own share of magic via the air with 1,027 passing yards on the year including 6 TD’s and a Passer Rating of 181.1. For a QB who is called to pass very sparingly, Perry has improved his passing statistics every single season which i think is another testament to his greatness. Advantage Boat School.
Army had a great 2018 Season. That is nothing but facts. After opening up their campaign at 2-2, West Point never lost again on their way to capturing the CIC Trophy, a utter dismantling of Houston in the Armed Forces Bowl and a #22 CFP ranking to finish the season. The Black Knights also gave Oklahoma, who was #5 at the time, one hell of a fight as the Sooners needed OT to defeat Army 28-21. 2019 has consisted of Monken’s squad falling back to Earth. Army has had a very poor season in which they have basically beaten no one worth mentioning. Victories against UMass, VMI are hardly front-page news. The first portion of 2019 started off well enough with a 3-1 record in their first 4 games. However, then everything went downhill as Army went on to lose their next 6 games. Advantage Roll Goats.
As with the majority of Army-Navy games, records can frankly be thrown out the window in lieu of a very competitive and close game. This year, however, I expect the rhythm of the match-up to be quite different. Both schools will be in a defense deadlock through the first half until Navy pulls away early in the 3rd quarter as their impressive 2019 form will likely overwhelm the under performing Black Knights.
Navy 35 Army 17