Army and Navy will meet for the 119th time on Saturday afternoon in Baltimore, and the two service academy rivals will once again have the college football stage to themselves for the nation to watch.
Navy will attempt a 15th consecutive victory, but this game looks like their toughest matchup in years. Army has improved immensely, and the Midshipmen are suddenly without record-setting quarterback Will Worth. Worth hurt his foot in the AAC title game against Temple, and sophomore Zach Abey will have to do the heavy lifting this week. Compound Worth’s loss with the dispiriting 34-10 loss to the Owls — not to mention the loss of a potential New Years Six bowl berth — and this is hardly the perfect time for Navy to play this game.
Army, meanwhile, improved from 123rd in the Football Outsiders S&P+ rankings last year to 82nd this year, and improved their record from 2-10 to 6-5 and a bowl berth this year. The offense has struggled, but the defense is legitimately good, ranking 41st in the Defensive S&P+ rankings. They’ll try to drag Navy’s offense into the mud, and hope their offense can get moving against the Midshipmen’s vulnerable defense.
How to watch, stream, and listen
TV: 3 p.m. ET, CBS
Online streaming: CBSSports.com
Spread: Navy is favored by a touchdown.
Make friends: Get to SB Nation’s team blog cat for this game at Underdog Dynasty.
Three big things to know
- Can they break the streak? That’s the only question on people’s minds when it comes to this game. Army hasn’t beaten Navy since 2001, 14 straight losses to their rivals. It’s already the longest streak in the history of the rivalry, and it’s given Navy a 60-49-7 lead in the all-time series.
- Even if they fall short against Navy, it’s been a great season for Army. They are bowl eligible for the first time since 2010, and will play North Texas in the Heart of Dallas Bowl on Dec. 27. It will be only the second bowl game for the program since 1996. They have a chance to finish with a winning record, as well, something they also last accomplished in 2010.
- Navy is coming into this game with a sudden injury crisis. Quarterback Will Worth and running back Toneo Gulley both went down for the remainder of the year with foot injuries in the AAC against Temple, and it will be on Zach Abey to guide the Mids against their rivals. Army, meanwhile, hasn’t played a game since Nov. 19. Rust could be a factor for them, but you’d rather deal with that than playing without your starting quarterback.