Two of the United States' military branches will face off on the gridiron this weekend when the Navy Midshipmen (1-3) visit Colorado to take on the Air Force Falcons (2-2).
Both teams are among the best rushing offenses in college football, and played a thrilling overtime game last October at the Naval Academy in Maryland.
The Falcons have won two straight meetings with the Midshipmen, and are undefeated at home thus far in 2012. Meanwhile, Navy is 0-2 outside of Annapolis.
Here we get you set with everything you need to know to enjoy Saturday's Week 6 matchup.
Where: Falcon Stadium, U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo.
When: Saturday, October 6 at 11:30 a.m. ET
Listen: WNAV 1430 AM (Annapolis), KKFN 104.3 FM (Denver)
Live Streaming: CBSSports.com
Betting Line: Air Force (-10), according to Covers.com.
The Falcons have won two straight over the Midshipmen dating back to 2010 at the Air Force Academy. Last year Air Force broke Navy's heart with a dramatic 35-34 overtime win at Navy Memorial Stadium.
One year later the Midshipmen will look to end a bitter losing streak to their military brothers and return to their winning ways of old. Otherwise, Air Force will win its third straight over Navy and officially have a stranglehold on the rivalry.
Who May Not Play for Navy
*According to USA Today
WR Matt Aiken (Knee), questionable
RB John Howell (Knee), doubtful
TE Evan Campbell (Ankle), out indefinitely
OL Chris Johnson (Knee), out for season
Who May Not Play for Air Force
*According to USA Today
OL Jason Kons (Illness), out indefinitely
OL Michael Husar (ACL), out for season
DB Jay Fullam (Shoulder), out for season
Neither program is ranked heading into Week 6's matchup and neither will be able to leap into the AP Top 25 with a win.
Even if the Falcons improve to 3-2 on the season with a win at home on Saturday, they won't have enough resume-boosting wins to garner a coveted spot in the rankings. Air Force missed its shot at the Top 25 when it fell at Michigan earlier this season.
At 1-3, Navy would have to win out most likely to have any shot at joining the Top 25 in 2012.
What They're Saying
Navy senior Bo Snelson is well aware of the importance of Saturday's matchup with Air Force (via The Baltimore Sun's Don Markus):
"There is a trophy case in our locker room that is empty because of this game."
He and his teammates will attempt to bring the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy back to the Naval Academy for the first time in three years.
Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun wants his players to know just how good they can be this season (via The Denver Post's Irv Moss):
"You just hope some guys realize that we have a capable squad."
Calhoun thought his team gained some confidence after beating Colorado State last weekend and hopes it can start a winning streak against Navy this Saturday.
Navy Player to Watch
Senior running back Gee Gee Greene will be the player to watch for the Naval Academy on Saturday. With a name like Gee Gee, you know the 5'8" back from Columbia, S.C. can play some football.
Greene has rushed for nearly 1,000 yards over the past two seasons combined and is averaging an impressive 7.8 yards per carry for the Midshipmen this season. Navy will look to get the senior involved early and often on the road this weekend.
Air Force Player to Watch
The Falcons will rely heavily on senior running back Cody Getz on Saturday vs. Navy. Getz is Air Force's leading rusher after four games and is averaging a stellar 8.2 yards per carry this season and has scored seven touchdowns on the ground already.
Getz's 83 rushing attempts in 2012 are already more than he had his first three seasons with the Falcons combined. The 5'7" back from Georgia ran for 130 yards at Michigan in Week 2 and is on pace to rush for more than 2,000 yards this year.
Saturday's game will come down to which offense has more success running the ball. Both programs are known for their run-first mentality and always lead the nation in that category. In 2012, Air Force ranks first in the country in rushing yards per game, averaging over 396 per game.
On the other hand, Navy has had a down year by its standards. The Midshipmen rank just 24th in the nation, averaging just under 217 yards on the ground per week. The edge goes to the Falcons in this matchup. They'll be playing at home with a superior ground attack, which will allow them to dictate pace and wear out both Navy's defense and the clock.
On the Hot Seat
The head coach of the Naval Academy, Ken Niumatalolo will be on the hot seat this weekend in Colorado. After leading the Midshipmen to a winning record and bowl game appearance in each of his first three seasons with the program, Niumatalolo has gone 6-10 at the Naval Academy since the start of 2011.
A third straight loss to rival Air Force and a 1-4 start to the season would have Niumatalolo under serious pressure to rally the program and ultimately save his job.
Navy is 0-2 away from home this fall, and has been outscored 96-17 in its three losses. Meanwhile, Air Force is 2-0 at home and has outscored its opponents 91-42 there. With that said, I like the Falcons to extend their winning streak vs. Navy to three straight games on Saturday. They are the superior team and have a mighty advantage playing at home.
Air Force 47, Navy 24
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