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Around the Yard: Navy Heading to Ireland in 2020, Army Releases 2019 Schedule, Air Force Faces Tough MWC Matchup

We take a look at the latest service academy football news heading into a weekend of big time matchups

Air Force v Boise State Photo by Loren Orr/Getty Images

The big news out of West Point yesterday was the release of their 2019 football schedule. The Black Knights get 6 home games, consisting of Rice, Morgan State, Tulane, San Jose State, UMass, and VMI. They have several marquee road games as they will get the opportunity to play in the Big House against Michigan on Sept. 7, travel to Colorado Springs for their first CIC competition in early November, and get a trip away from the cold in New York out to Hawaii on 30 Nov.

Getting back to 2018, Coach Monken assured the media this week that his team is not looking past Eastern Michigan one bit. After surviving Miami of Ohio in double overtime last week, the Army head coach knows his team will have their work cut out for them on the road against an Eagles team that is better than their record indicates. Sure, they are 4-4, but the four losses are by a combined 16 points, they have dropped two overtime games to San Diego State and Northern Illinois and they beat Purdue 20-19, the same Purdue team that put up 49 on Ohio State last week.

If they want to keep their winning streak going, there is probably not a better coach in the country to have come talk to your team than Geno Auriemma. The Uconn women’s basketball coach brought his team to West Point yesterday, having them spend time with the women’s basketball team, Cadets on campus, and he spoke to the football team before practice.

Colorado Springs Gazette beat writer Brent Briggeman gives us ten reasons why Air Force can pull off the double digit upset victory over Boise State on Saturday. Aside from the fact that they have done it before, he cites the rushing defense of the Falcons, the emergence of Jeremy Fejedelem in the secondary, and the home field advantage as reasons Air Force can get it done in a big-time Mountain West matchup this weekend.

Air Force is probably glad it’s the last time they have to face Boise State quarterback Brett Rypien, though they have gotten the better of him two out of three times! The plan seems to be simple: take away the run game and force Rypien to beat you with his arm. It worked for Oklahoma State and San Diego State this year, but Rypien is a prolific passer, and more times than not, he comes out on top.

The big news out of Annapolis yesterday was the announcement that Navy and Notre Dame will be returning to Dublin in 2020. Playing the first game in a five-game series of American football contests in Ireland, the Midshipmen and Fighting Irish will make the journey across the pond for the first time since 2012.

A really cool story from Bill Wagner of the Capital Gazette as he profiles brothers on opposite sides of this week’s matchup against Notre Dame in San Diego. Adam Amosa-Tagovailoa of Navy will square off with his brother, Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa when the two teams clash on Saturday. Myron is out of the game with a foot injury, so he won’t be playing, but it’s still a really good look at the family heritage of the two brothers, and of course, the fact that they are cousins of some guy named Tua.

Alohi Gilman, former Navy safety who burst onto the scene in 2016 as a plebe, has been waiting two years to play his former team after transferring to Notre Dame in June of 2017. He appealed for a chance to play immediately but that request was denied and he spent last year wreaking havoc on the first team offense as a member of the scout team. Navy fans certainly remember Gilman from just his one season in Annapolis. For me, it was the UCONN game. In just the second game of his career and the season, he led the team with ten tackles and had an incredible strip fumble recovery for a TD where he just took the ball away from a Huskies player into the endzone. I remember asking Coach Niumat after the game about Gilman and he just grinned, knowing he had a special player on his hand. Gilman made the personal decision to transfer to Notre Dame and of course Navy fans hated to see him go. He would have been one of the all-time greats I have no doubt, and it will be fun to see him play again, even if it’s on the wrong side of the ball.

Last, but certainly not least on this Friday, if you didn’t get a chance to check out Alex Kirshner’s look back at the longest drive in football history, read it right now! It’s just a tremendous look at that famous 27 play drive that took up nearly a whole dang quarter as the Mids defeated the Lobos of New Mexico in the 2004 Emerald Bowl. This was one of the first Navy games I ever watched and I was hooked! There is a legitimate chance I don’t end up going to the Naval Academy without turning on the TV to watch that game in 2004.

Well, it’s almost Saturday. We will be looking forward to a couple big upsets for the Falcons and Midshipmen and the continued hot play of the Black Knights! Join us on Twitter @AAE_SBN or back here in the game threads for all the action!