Annual Clash Between Army-Navy Moved To Garden State To Honor 9/11

Here’s a novel concept for New Jersey bettors concerning the Army-Navy clash on Saturday.

Just enjoy it.

Savor the renewal of a heralded rivalry between the service academies dating back to 1890. Watch the game starting 3 p.m. on CBS and don’t worry about wagering.

Because this game occurs at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, rules forbidding bets on New Jersey college teams or on college events in the Garden State come into play.

No biggie.

In the long run, it hardly matters that one game can’t be wagered upon (New Jersey bettors near the border can even hop into Pennsylvania if they want to).

It also doesn’t matter much that betting odds may or may not go up for the scant list of weekend games like Montana vs. James Madison, East Tennessee State vs. North Dakota State, or San Diego State vs. Villanova.

College football practically takes the weekend off in the calm before the bowl-betting storm next weekend. Bettors may already be shifting their focus to other sports or doubling up on the NFL Sunday schedule for this weekend.

Either way, gamblers watching Saturday’s contest can savor the game for the game itself and remember why they love college football in the first place.

For openers, how many other games have enjoyed the President in attendance?

Inside The History Of Army-Navy

Presidents who have attended Army-Navy games include:

  • Theodore Roosevelt
  • Woodrow Wilson
  • Calvin Coolidge
  • Harry Truman
  • John F. Kennedy
  • Gerald Ford
  • Bill Clinton
  • George Bush
  • Barack Obama
  • Donald Trump

If Joe Biden is at the game, he will be the 11th sitting US President at this event.

Why The Game Switched Locations

One can admire the principle of the academies in moving the game out of its traditional Philadelphia venue, where it will return next year.

MetLife Stadium, just across the Hudson River from Manhattan, hosts the game in the year in which America recognizes the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

State Of The Army-Navy Rivalry

Navy has a 61-53-7 series lead, forged in the last 20 years. It reeled off a series-record 14 consecutive victories from 2002-2015.

Army has rallied to win four of the last five, including a 15-0 triumph last year.

The games tend to be low scoring because the academies champion run-first option plays that gouge the clock. The last time this game cleared the 40-point total was Navy’s 34-7 triumph in 2013.

There are contradictions in that formula this year, however. Army had outbursts of 63, 56, and 52 points this year and Navy hasn’t been bad offensively. It produced a 38-14 triumph over Temple in its last outing two weeks ago.

Army averages 35.5 points per game and Navy stands at 20.4.

Army yields a 22.8 per-game average. Navy gives up 29.6.

Army churns out yardage at a clip of 394.8. Navy’s average is 283.3.

Army gives up 324.1 yards per game, while Navy allows 359.8.

The early Saturday forecast calls for occasional showers, temperatures in the 60s, and winds at about 11 mph. That would be mild enough not to be a factor, if the showers remain light.

Analyzing Army-Navy 2021

Army carries an 8-3 mark with four consecutive victories that followed a 70-56 setback to Wake Forest on Oct. 23.

Imagine having the over 53 in that one. It came in just after halftime. And then it came in again, with 20 points left over. A double over.

Army then went on the win streak that produced a payoff last weekend.

It was announced that the Black Knights will be in the Armed Forces Bowl for the fourth time. They will face Missouri, 6-6, of the Southeastern Conference, on Dec. 22 (8 p.m. on ESPN).

Army was installed as a -3.5 favorite by DraftKings Sportsbook after that matchup was announced.

It is the fourth bowl in five seasons for Army, which has a 43-19 record since 2017.

Navy has a misleading 3-8 mark this season. Two of its losses came against national powerhouses.

The Midshipmen only lost 27-20 to CFP-bound Cincinnati, the fourth-ranked team in the country.

They were also beaten 34-6 by Notre Dame, the fifth team in the rankings. Navy gets points for strength of schedule.

These teams are joined by more than an annual matchup. They played in the last two Liberty Bowls.

Navy beat Kansas State 20-17 in 2019 and Army lost to West Virginia 24-21 last year.

Players To Watch

There is no star power on these clubs. Different players can operate at the quarterback position.

Air attack? Not usually. The top receiver on the Army team has 18 catches in 11 games.

The top Navy receiver has 10.

Here are names to look for:

Army quarterback Christian Anderson leads the passing attack with 545 yards. He has also rushed for 519.

Tyrell Robinson has ground out the most rushing yards, 582.

Isaiah Alston has the most receiving yards, 384. That’s on 18 catches, or fewer than two per game.

Andre Carter leads the defense with 13.5 sacks.

For Navy, quarterback Tai Lavatai has 367 passing yards and 309 rushing yards.

Isaac Ruoss leads the ground game with 608 yards. Carlinos Acie is right behind at 546 yards.

Receivers Mychal Cooper and Chance Warren pace the team with 10 receptions. This is a ground-oriented team.

Clay Cromwell leads the defense with 2.5 sacks.

Notable Army-Navy Alumni

This game has featured noteworthy NFL talent.

The most famous is Roger Staubach, the Heisman Trophy winning Navy quarterback drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in 1964. They waited five years for him to fulfill his service obligations to the country and then he played for them from 1969-79.

Staubach earned two Super Bowl rings, one Super Bowl MVP, six Pro Bowl appearances, and induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

New York Giants fans witnessed Phil McConkey’s touchdown pass and 25-yard punt return in their 39-20 victory over the Denver Broncos in the 1987 Super Bowl.

McConkey played for Navy.

The Baltimore Ravens have offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva, who played for Army and is a two-time Pro Bowler.

 

Photo by Ryan Rahman / Shutterstock.com

About the Author

Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo, a multiple national award-winning boxing commentator and writer, authors NFL betting columns for the Press of Atlantic City and IGaming Player, among others.