Saturday in Annapolis will be special.
The day marks the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The deadliest assault on American soil killed nearly 3,000 people on a tragic morning in 2001, and sparked a war that claimed countless lives.
Pregame festivities will no doubt be somber and respectful, as the folks gathered in the stadium and around their televisions will have emotional memories on their minds.
But, between the lines, when the game kicks off, a bitter rivalry will write its next chapter.
The Air Force Falcons are in town to face a Navy Midshipmen team still licking its wounds from a blowout Week One home defeat dealt to them by Marshall. And don’t think the Mids have forgotten what Air Force did to them last year, as the Falcons handed Navy a 40-7 lopsided loss in Colorado Springs — the largest margin of defeat for Navy in this series in nearly two decades.
Since Navy won back-to-back games against Air Force in 2012 and 2013, neither team has won two straight in this rivalry. This will be the 54th meeting between the two teams and the 21st in Annapolis. The home team has won seven straight games in this series.
A win for Navy would not only prevent the Falcons from starting a streak, but it could also reinvigorate the Mids with some confidence as they embark on a grueling stretch of the schedule — the next five teams Navy faces were all voted to finish in the top five of the AAC preseason poll.
For Air Force, a victory makes them 2-0 on the season heading into Mountain West play.
At stake for both teams is the chance to get a leg up in the race for the Commander-In-Chief’s trophy, which was won outright by Army last season for the third time in the last four seasons.
How To Watch
- When: 3:30 p.m. EST (the March-On begins at 3:14 p.m.)
- Where: Annapolis, Maryland — Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium
- TV: Brad Nessler, Gary Danielson and Jamie Erdahl will have the call for CBS.
- Spread: Most books have Air Force as six-point road favorites.
- There will be a moment of silence at 3:24 for those lives lost on 9/11 and during the Global War on Terrorism.
- At the conclusion of the national anthem, there will be a flyover featuring two Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightnings from the “Warlords” of VMFAT-501 and two Boeing F/A-18 Hornets from the “Silver Eagles” of VMFA-115 based out of Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, S.C. From VMFAT-501, piloting the lead aircraft will be Major Andrew Christ, USNA Class of 2007. The second aircraft will be piloted by Major Kenney Ulrich, USNA Class of 2011. From VMFA-115, the third aircraft will be crewed by Captain Mark Moeller, USNA Class of 2013 and Major Christine Hall, USNA Class of 2008. The fourth aircraft will be crewed by Captain Andrew Hayes, USNA Class of 2014 and former Navy football player, Captain Gavin Jernigan, USNA Class of 2016.
- The Service Academy exchange (exchanging of students that are currently spending a semester at the other Academy so they can sit with their classmates) will take place at 3:28 p.m.