ANNAPOLIS, Md. (navysports.com) - Navy and Air Force meet for the 54th time, including the 21st time in Annapolis, when the two Service Academy rivals square off on Saturday afternoon (3:30 pm) at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. Saturday's game will be televised live on CBS and is presented by USAA and supported by Under Armour and Optum Serve.
• Saturday's game marks the opening leg in the battle for the Commander-In-Chief's Trophy. Air Force will host Army in Arlington, Texas on Nov. 6 and Navy will host Army on Dec. 11 at MetLife Stadium to complete the round-robin competition. Navy has won the CIC Trophy 11 times in the last 18 years (since 2003) and is 27-10 in its last 37 Service Academy games. The Mids last won the CIC Trophy in 2019.
• Navy is 12-8 against Air Force at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium and has won four straight and seven of the last eight in Annapolis. Overall, the home team has won seven-straight games in the series.
• Senior safety Kevin Brennan, senior wide receiver Mychal Cooper, senior linebacker Diego Fagot and senior slot back Chance Warren have been selected as team captains for the 2021 season.
• Cooper was also chosen to serve as the Captain of the Captains by a vote of the team captains of all 33 of Navy's varsity sports. It's the second time in three years that a football player has been selected. Ford Higgins was the Captain of the Captains for the 2019-20 academic year.
• Fagot is on the "Watch Lists" for the 2021 Chuck Bednarik Award (Maxwell Football Club) and the Bronko Nagurski Trophy (Football Writers Association of America) which are presented to the top defensive player in college football.
• Fagot was named a Third-Team Preseason All-American by Phil Steele's College Football Magazine, while Fagot (first team), senior corner Michael McMorris (third team), sophomore nose guard Donald Berniard Jr. (fourth team), senior safety Kevin Brennan (fourth team) and junior kicker Bijan Nichols (fourth team) were named to Steele's All-AAC team. Fagot is a two-time All-AAC performer, garnering second-team honors by the league's coaches as a junior and first-team recognition as a sophomore.
• Navy will play the third-toughest schedule in the country based on opponent winning percentage from 2020. The Mids' 12 opponents this fall combined for a 72-42 (.632) record last year. Only Arkansas (.644) and UMass (.644) have tougher slates based on last year's results.
• Navy will kick off and end CBS Sports college football coverage in 2021 as Saturday's Navy-Air Force game will be the first regular-season game aired by CBS, while the Dec. 11 Army-Navy Game presented by USAA will be the final regular-season game on CBS.
• The Naval Academy Athletic Association will retire Chet Moeller's No. 48 on Saturday, Oct. 2 during the UCF football game. Moeller will be the first defensive player to have his number retired at Navy, joining Joe Bellino (No. 27), Roger Staubach (No. 12), Napoleon McCallum (No. 27) and Keenan Reynolds (No. 19).
• Navy had eight different players, including three on the offensive line, make their first-career start last Saturday against Marshall: slot back Carlinos Acie, guard Nick Bernacchi, tackle Jake Cossavella, quarterback Tai Lavatai, guard Josh Pena, fullback Isaac Ruoss, defensive end Jacob Busic and linebacker Will Harbour. It was the first-collegiate game for Busic, Cossavella, Harbour, Lavatai and Pena.
• Head coach Ken Niumatalolo earned his 100th-career victory last fall (Oct. 10) when the Mids defeated Temple in Annapolis. He is the 24th active coach with 100-career wins and just the sixth active coach to achieve it at one school.
• Navy is 42-28 (.600) in the Niumatalolo era (2008-present) in one-score games (8 points or less), including 3-1 (.750) in 2020.
• The Commander-In-Chief's Trophy is presented annually to the winner of the football competition among the three major service academies — Army, Navy and Air Force — and is named in honor of the President of the United States.
• Navy has won the trophy 11 of the last 18 years and has won 27 of the last 37 Service Academy games against Air Force and Army.
• Navy has won the trophy a total of 15 times in school history: 1973, 1975, 1978, 1979, 1981, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2019.
• When there is no clear-cut winner, the trophy remains with the winner of the previous year's competition. The last time that happened was 1993.
• The three-sided trophy stands two-and-a-half-feet tall and is engraved with the academy seals. Reproductions of the three mascots — the Army Mule, the Navy Goat and the Air Force Falcon — are ensconced on the respective sides of this bauble. The trophy is sponsored by the West Point Association of Graduates, the Naval Academy Alumni Association and the Air Force Association of Graduates.
• The year in which the trophy is won is engraved on a plate gracing the respective academy's side of the trophy.
Scouting Air Force
1-0 Overall | 0-0 Mountain West
Head Coach: Troy Calhoun
• Air Force enters Saturday's game with a 1-0 record after defeating Lafayette 35-14 in its opener.
• The Air Force roster features approximately 35 "turnbacks" who were allowed to withdraw from school last fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic and return in the spring, preserving a year of eligibiity.
• Haaziq Daniels returns as the Falcons' starting quarterback after a solid 2020 campaign. He rushed for 72 yards and 3 touchdowns last Saturday against Lafayette, while completing 3 of his 5 pass attempts for 60 yards. Daniels rushed for 96 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries last year against Navy.
• Brad Roberts, who carried the ball 10 times for 103 yards and a touchdown last year against the Mids, ran for 111 yards on 25 carries against Lafayette. Micah Davis rushed for 101 yards and 2 touchdowns on just 4 carries, while catching 2 passes for 27 yards against the Leopards.
• The Air Force defense is always strong against the run and that showed up in the opener as the Falcons held Lafayette to just 43 yards on the ground on 24 carries. The Leopards did have some success throwing the ball, completing 18 of their 29 pass attempts for 243 yards and a touchdown. Zion Kelly led the Air Force defense with 6 tackles, while Caleb Humphrey had 5.
• Last year, Air Force defeated the Mids 40-7 in Colorado Springs. It was the largest margin of defeat in the series for Navy since 2002 when the Mids lost 48-7. After that 2002 loss, the Mids beat the Falcons 7 times in a row.
Game Day Information
• The Navy football team will arrive at the Blue Angel on the West (Blue) side of the stadium at approximately 1:00 pm. The team will walk down the sidewalk and through NavyFest before walking to the tunnel. Fans are invited to stand on both sides of the sidewalk to cheer on the coaches and players.
• The March-On of the Brigade of Midshipmen will begin at 3:14 pm.
• There will be a moment of silence at 3:24 for those lives lost on 9/11 and during the Global War on Terrorism. Following the moment of silence, the Naval Academy Glee Club will sing the National Anthem.
• 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 pm.
• The Leap Frogs will jump into the stadium at 3:30 pm.
• Kickoff on Saturday is slated for 3:40 pm.
• There will be a 9/11 Tribute at halftime. The Naval Academy and Air Force Academy Drum & Bugel Corps will perform Let Freedom Ring – a montage of patriotic songs. The two bands will also perform an arrangement of America the Beautiful that will also include the Naval Academy Glee Club.
• During the singing of America the Beautiful, 135 midshipmen will unfurl a 65'x120' flag that will be flanked on each side by red, white and blue stars.
• The names of Naval Academy and Air Force Academy grads that were lost on 9/11 will be scrolled on the videoboard.
• The Honor the Fallen Heroes Group will be on the field and will be recognized at the 50-yard line. Two families of those lost on 9/11 will be with the group.
• During a timeout in the second half, Firefighter Steve Modica, who survived the 9/11 attacks, will be honored. His daughter recently graduated from the Naval Academy and has another daughter who is a senior at the Air Force Academy.
• Following the game, the playing of both schools' alma maters will take place - the losing team first, followed by the winning team. It is the best tradition in all of sports.
• CBS Sports will carry Saturday's game with Brad Nessler (play-by-play), Gary Danielson (color) and Jamie Erdahl (sideline) on the call.
• COLLEGE FOOTBALL TODAY, CBS Sports' pregame, halftime and postgame studio show, will air on the CBS Television Network and stream on Paramount+ Premium beginning at 2:30 pm leading into the contest.
• Additionally, CBS Sports Network will air a one-hour INSIDE COLLEGE FOOTBALL: ARMED FORCES SPECIAL pregame show at 10:30 am prior to televising the Army-Western Kentucky game at 11:30 am and additional coverage at halftime.
• The Navy Football Insider Show with Joe Miller will air on Thursday night from 7:00-8:00 pm on WBAL Radio (1090 AM, 101.5 FM). Pete Medhurst, Keith Mills and Scott Wykoff will also contribute to the show.
• The Navy Football Tailgate Show on WNAV Radio 1430 AM / 99.9 FM will air from 1:30-2:30 pm on Saturday with Wylie Baker and Bill Lusby serving as the hosts.
• A special Navy Football Insider Show with Scott Wykoff and Bobby Trossett will air on WBAL Radio on Saturday from 1:00-2:30 PM.
• The Navy Football Pregame Show with Medhurst, Miller, Wykoff and special commentary from John Feinstein will get underway at 2:30 pm on the Navy Radio Network, followed by game action beginning at 3:30 pm with Medhurst and Miller on the call.
• Following the contest, Medhurst, Miller and Wykoff will recap the day's events in a 30-minute postgame show.
Navy vs. Mountain West
• Navy is 28-39 all-time against schools who are current members of the Mountain West.
• The last time the Mids played a Mountain West team was on Oct. 3, 2020, when they lost to Air Force 40-7 in Colorado Springs.
Navy to Wear Marine Corps Uniform For Air Force Game
• Navy Athletics and Under Armour unveiled a special Marine Corps-themed uniform Navy will wear for Saturday's game against Air Force.
• The uniform displays elements of the Marine Corps dress blues uniform and is symbolic of Marines, both enlisted and officers.
• The Marine Corps uniform is the only uniform in the U.S. military designated to include the red, white and blue colors of the American flag. The distinctive dress blue uniform represents the values by which Marines live and has origins dating back to the American Revolution.
• The uniform includes many elements and motifs that honor the proud and storied legacy of the Corps. The Marine Corps emblem of the Eagle, Globe and Anchor (EGA) appears on both shoulders, the left front pant and on the left side of the helmet. The distinctive Marine Corps battle cry of "oorah" is featured on the front of the helmet. The Marine Corps motto, Semper Fidelis, commonly abbreviated as Semper Fi, Latin for "Always Faithful" is on the back of the helmet. The quatrefoil that dons the top of the Marine officer barracks cover is displayed on top of the helmet.
• The EGA has represented the title every Marine has earned since 1868. The eagle represents the proud nation Marines defend. It stands at the ready with our nation's coastlines in sight and the entire world within reach of its outstretched wings. The globe represents the Corps' worldwide presence, impact and reputation as a fighting force that wins on behalf of our Nation's people and progress. The anchor points both to the Marine Corps naval heritage and its ability to access any battleground across any coastline in the world.
• The quatrefoil is an interwoven braid in the shape of a cross of figure eights found on top of the Marine officers' barracks covers. Officially, the quatrefoil first became an authorized part of the uniform in 1859. The quatrefoil was the fashionable military style of the era. Popular belief tells us the quatrefoil was worn on the caps of Marines fighting on the decks of ships to be easily recognized by the Marine sharpshooters located above in the ship's rigging.
• Midshipmen interested in becoming a Marine have the opportunity to participate in programs that provide further exposure to the Marine Corps. During the summer of their junior year, midshipmen learn about the Marine Corps during "Marine Week" of Professional Training of Midshipmen, or PROTRAMID. Those considering the Marine Corps must attend Leatherneck training the summer of their senior year. Leatherneck is a four-week training evolution in Quantico, Va. In which Midshipmen are evaluated on leadership, physical training and military skills.
• As seniors, midshipmen may choose to compete for selection into the Marine Corps as a ground officer, cyberspace officer, or pilot. After graduation, all Marine Corps officers attend The Basic School in Quantico, Virginia to become more proficient in the professional knowledge and skills necessary to be effective in leading Marines. Upon graduation from The Basic School, they will have the opportunity to serve in one of the many Military Occupational Specialties throughout the Marine Air Ground Task Force.
• There are more than 70 active duty officers and senior enlisted Marines that make up the Marine Detachment assigned to the Naval Academy. Approximately 25 percent of Naval Academy graduates each year will commission into the Marine Corps through a competitive selection process, while close to 50 percent of the football players choose the Marine Corps as a service assignment.
• Four Naval Academy graduates and former Navy football players on the current football staff either served or are currently serving in the Marine Corps: cornerbacks coach Robert Green ('98), wide receivers coach Mick Yokitis ('06), Director of Operations Brian Blick ('12) and Director of Player Development Capt. Donnie Bowers ('11).