In a tradition dating back to the Gilded Age – the year 1890 to be precise – two of the great service academies will face off in a game of football. This matchup will mark the 119th meeting between these two teams. All eyes will be locked on Philadelphia to see who will emerge victorious in one of the finest sporting traditions in the United States.
First, a Little Bit of History
Virtually nothing has gotten in the way of this game being played over the last 130 years. The inaugural game in 1890 resulted in a 32-16 Army triumph over Navy. Their next matchup wouldn’t come until 1899; however, the two teams have played every season since 1930. This includes the duration of the Great Depression and USA’s involvement in World War II. The series record was split pretty evenly heading into Saturday’s game, just as any good rivalry series should be, with Navy clutching onto a 60-51-7 edge.
2018 Game Preview
At 9-2, the #22 Army Black Knights were ranked in the AP Top 25 for the first time since 1996 leading up to this week’s game. A win over Navy would make it two seasons of double digit wins for the Black Knights. A different theme has characterized the season for the Navy Midshipmen. They headed into the game with a 3-9 record, enduring their first losing season, which featured just two wins within its conference, since 2002. The teams had boasted offenses that have outshined their respective defenses. Buoying Army’s strong season is a robust passing game, averaging 10.5 yards per pass. Vegas had the over-under at 39.5 and Army as a 7-point favorite.
The 2018 Game: How It Went Down in Philly
#22 Army came away victorious for the third straight year, besting Navy by the Vegas predicted 7 points in a 17-10 win and earned the highly coveted Commander-In-Chief trophy. The pregame traditions were just as impressive as the grit displayed on the gridiron during the game, showcasing the Navy “Leap Frogs”, multiple flyovers including a division (4-ship) of Army AH-64 Apaches and Navy FA-18C Hornets, and the infamous Prisoner Exchange.
Despite a respectable comeback attempt late in the second half, Navy’s 4 turnovers proved to be the biggest deciding factor in the game, with two painful fumbles in the fourth quarter. Army capitalized on Navy’s mistakes, jumping out to a 17-7 lead on a Kelvin Hopkins Jr. touchdown. Hopkins was named the game MVP and Army West Point secured the coveted CIC trophy for the second year in a row. In a game that represents much more than just football, Army/Navy 2018 delivered as usual and continues its tradition as one of the oldest and greatest rivalries in sports.