- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 2, 2006

Navy has a chance to beat Army for the fifth consecutive time when the archrivals meet at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia today.

It would match the longest streak by either team in the 107-game history of the storied rivalry, but there is another record the Midshipmen senior class is more focused on — 8-0. Beginning with a victory against Air Force at FedEx Field as freshmen, the Class of 2007 is 7-for-7 in games against their peers at the other service academies.

A win today would make this class the first group in program history to make it 8-for-8 and capture the Commander-In-Chief’s trophy outright for the fourth consecutive season.

“Personally, that is my No. 1 goal. Every class wants to leave their legacy,” senior linebacker Tyler Tidwell said. “If there is one legacy I want to be apart of, it is the first class to go 8-0 against the other service academies. It would be an incredible accomplishment.”

Added senior defensive back Jeremy McGown: “It means everything in the world at this school. To have a chance to a part of this is so special. It is like being placed in the middle of your dreams and actually getting to live them out. It is one of the greatest rivalries of all time mixed together with a chance to make history.”

Last season’s senior class finished their careers 7-1 against Air Force and Army. Before them, the closest group was the Class of 1982, which went 6-1-1. While several classes have achieved this feat at Air Force, no one from either Annapolis or West Point has pulled it off.

Navy leads the series with Army 50-49-7, but recently the series has not been kind to the Black Knights. The Mids have won each of the past four meetings in convincing fashion — an average of 30.5 points have separated the two schools.

Last season Army held a lead into the second quarter, but the Navy option machine eventually took over and the Mids finished with a series-record 490 rushing yards and a 42-23 victory.

“A lot of it is mental. It is a great weight on our shoulders, because they have kicked our butts the past few years,” Army senior defensive end Cameron Craig said. “We are pretty determined this year to get them and eventually every dog has his day.”

Navy enters the game on what has become a customary late-season roll during its four-year run. The Mids have won three straight, romping past Duke, Eastern Michigan and Temple.

Army comes to Philadelphia sporting a five-game losing streak, including consecutive blowout losses to Air Force and Notre Dame. While the Mids lost their starting quarterback Brian Hampton to a devastating knee injury but regrouped with sophomore Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada at the controls, the Black Knights have a big question mark under center.

Junior David Pevoto began the season as the starter but was replaced by freshman Carson Williams. Then Williams struggled against the Fighting Irish and Pevoto replaced him and played well.

“We’ll see how it goes. I think we’ll go through the week and then make the decision,” Army coach Bobby Ross said. “Then it will depend how the game goes. If it is going well I’m not going to change just for the sake of the doing it.”

Navy’s senior class would also move within one victory of tying the program win record — 36 set by the Class of 1909 — with a victory today. As soon as tomorrow the Mids will find out whom they are to face in the Meineke Car Care Bowl on Dec. 30 in Charlotte, N.C. That will be a program-first fourth consecutive bowl game and the seniors could add one final line to their resumes as the first class to win three bowl games.

On the team’s list of goals however, beating whoever the Mids play from the ACC in a few weeks doesn’t measure up to beating the team across the field from them today.

“Bowl game or not, [beating Navy] could make their season — just as it would ruin our season,” McGown said. “Bowl games in college football are honestly all about the money and getting to the game is more important. Army-Navy is forever.”

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