Sure, the game’s more than a week away, but the trash talking has started on both sides and will be in full effect well before kickoff. It’s not always a good idea to let facts get in the way of a good rivalry game, but for those curious, here’s four quick hits:
1. QB question: Army’s official depth chart lends no hits on the health of junior quarterback Trent Steelman, who injured his knee in a 42-14 loss at Temple on Nov. 19. Steelman shares top billing with freshman Angel Santiago, who’s played in four games this season and completed 7 out of 21 pass attempts.
2. Down time: The three-week break between games for both teams is a relatively new twist. In 2009, as conference championship games solidified their takeover of the first weekend of December, the Army-Navy showdown migrated to the second week. It’s the only Football Bowl Subdivision game in town on Dec. 10. Navy’s 2-0 under the new arrangement, but the two other times games were played late were Army victories: A 6-0 win on Dec. 13, 1930, and a 17-7 win on Dec. 12, 1931. Both were at Yankee Stadium, and both were played for charity at the request of President Herbert Hoover (history buffs, go here for more on presidential involvement in the rivalry).
3. First-strike capability: The first of many potentially meaningless statistics — Navy is 4-0 this season when leading after the first quarter, but is 0-4 when trailing. Unfortunately for Army fans, the Black Knights have allowed four opponents to score in the first two minutes of play this year. Army went 1-3 in those games, but did rally for 45 straight points to beat Tulane 45-6.
4. Beyond the game: Joseph White of The Associated Press probably got the quote of the day from Wednesday’s Army-Navy luncheon, as Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo offered a 40-word piece of perspective. From the article:
Yeah, the education is second to none, there’s great career opportunities and being able to provide for your families, but there’s also a chance they might have to pay the ultimate sacrifice. They’ll be in harm’s way — that’s a reality.”