The annual Army vs. Navy game will take place this Saturday, December 10 from M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland. There are many great rivalry match-ups in sports with a long history, but there is no other that can top Army vs. Navy. This classic match-up has been going on since the first time these two clashed on the gridiron back on November 29, 1890.
While Navy has dominated this rivalry as of late, many of these match-ups, including last season’s 21-17 Navy victory, have been close. The Midshipmen have won 14 straight over the Black Knights, but this season may be the year that Army breaks the losing streak.
If the Black Knights are to end this brutal 14 year skid against Navy, quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw and running back Andy Davidson will most likely be the main reasons why. Army’s triple-option offense has combined for 1,464 yards and 15 touchdowns on the ground so far in 2016, and leading the way is Davidson.
The sophomore has led the ground attack this season for Army rushing for over 800 yards on 150 carries and scoring nine touchdowns. Army loves to run the ball and they aren’t afraid to admit it, and the stats alone prove it.
Quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw has attempted just 84 passes this entire season. That right there is a strong indication of how much the Black Knights love that option.
On the other side of the ball, Army’s defense has been incredible this season. In fact, this may be the best Black Knights defense Navy will have faced in the past decade or so. Army is allowing just 19.1 points per game, which ranks them No. 14 overall in college football.
Navy will be short-handed for Saturday’s game, however, they won’t lean on any excuses.
The Midshipmen will have to start their third-string quarterback Zach Abey this Saturday following an injury to Will Worth in last weekend’s loss to Temple. Abey took over in that game and he will now be the starter for this week’s game vs. Army, and to say Abey is excited for the opportunity is a huge understatement.
According to a Capital Gazette report, starting vs. Army is like a dream come true for Abey, but the icing on the cake would be leading Navy to win Saturday afternoon. After all, this is the biggest game of the season for these two squads. Not only for what it represents, but also because they will have a national audience.
Abey is nervous, but who wouldn’t be? He seems ready for the challenge.
“Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve been dreaming of running out of that tunnel for the Army-Navy game. So to be honest, this is a dream come true for me,” Abey said. “It’s definitely a lot of pressure and a huge responsibility,” Abey said. “Right now, all I can do is focus on the preparation and make sure my mind is right.”
If Abey leads Navy to a victory, it will be something he treasures forever.
This season will be the first time since 2010 that both Army and Navy will meet with winning records and bowl games to follow. The Black Knights will face North Texas in the Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl on Dec. 27, while The Midshipmen square off against Louisiana Tech in the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl on Dec. 23.
Las Vegas odds makers have Navy a 6 point favorite, with the over/under number set at 47.5.
The Navy has won 14 in a row in this series, and they lead the all time series 60-49-7. This year may be a different story. Army’s defense and Navy’s injuries could be the perfect storm for an upset. If the Army does lose, it shouldn’t be by more than the spread.
Pick — Army +6
Fans can watch the Army vs. Navy 2016 game nationally on CBS. The game will also stream live on CBS Sports.com. Game time is scheduled for 3 p.m. ET.
[Featured Image by Lance King/Getty Images]