Service Academy Preview: Navy Visits Air Force, BC Travels to West Point

Ken Kraetzer@SAL50NYRadioCorrespondent IIOctober 5, 2012

Air Force Begins Defense of Commander-In-Chief Trophy
Air Force Begins Defense of Commander-In-Chief TrophyU.S. Navy/Getty Images

It's the first weekend of the Commander-In-Chief Trophy round robin competition.

The Navy Midshipmen will play Air Force at Falcon Stadium in Colorado Springs, and Army will again seek its first win of the season, as it hosts the Boston College Eagles at Michie Stadium in New York.

The C-I-C contest continues with the visit of Air Force to West Point on Nov. 3rd and the Army-Navy match-up in Philadelphia on Dec. 8th.  Air Force has dominated the 41-year history of this competition, winning possession of the prized Trophy 18 times. 


Navy (1-3) at Air Force (2-2)

9:30 AM MT Kickoff,  Falcon Stadium, Colorado Springs, CO

CBS Television Network

Air Force has the momentum coming off of last week's 42-21 win over in-state rival Colorado State, after close road losses at Michigan and UNLV. 

The Falcons have won the last two games, with Navy breaking a seven-year winning streak by the Midshipmen.  Air Force are tough at home in Colorado Springs, winning 25-of-33 at home under head coach Troy Calhoun.  

Air Force is a great running team, leading the country in rushing with an average of 396 yards per game. 

Senior running back Cody Getz is not big at 5'7", 175 pounds, but he had a career-best game with 222 yards rushing against the Rams of Colorado St.  Senior quarterback Connor Dietz is accurate when he throws the football, with only one interception in 104 collegiate attempts.   

On defense, Air Force is not big, with sophomore Nick Fitzgerald the largest player at 6'4" and 265 pounds. The Falcons are giving up 435 yards and 27.8 points per game.


Navy is struggling so far, having lost by big scores to Notre Dame and Penn State, earning a home win over VMI from the FCS Division and last week's home shutout loss to San Jose State. 

The offense is averaging 346 yards per game, balanced by service academy standards with 127 yards passing per game coming from junior Trey Miller.  AFA has productive receivers in junior Shawn Lynch and Brandon Turner, who both have eight catches on the season. 

The Mids are averaging 217 yards per game rushing the football, led by senior Gee Gee Greene, who averages 7.8 yards a carry, and sophomore Noah Copeland, who has been a workhorse, running 41 times for 190 yards.

Navy shows more size on its offensive line than the other service academies, with senior Josh Cabral at 6'3", 297 pounds and sophomore Jake Zuzek at 6 feet and a staggering 318 pounds leading the way at guard.  

Guards tend to be the key blockers in an option offense. 

Turnovers are hurting Navy, who have lost 9-of-12 fumbles on the year, while not recovering one themselves.

Look for another win by the Falcons.


Boston College (1-3) at Army (0-4)

12 Noon EST Michie Stadium, West Point, NY

In a meeting of old time eastern rivals, Boston College will travel to West Point to renew a rivalry that started in 1917.

The Eagles have won the last five matchups, the last game between the school having been a 37-17 home win for BC in 2007.


Head coach Frank Spaziani's BC club has a lone win on the year over Maine and has lost 41-32 to Miami, 22-13 at Northwestern and last week 45-31 at home to 17th-ranked Clemson.

The Eagles like to pass, averaging 331 yards in the air—13th-best in the BCS.  Junior QB Chase Rettig has completed 97-of-170 passses, with nine touchdown throws on the year, as he is rated No. 11 in the BCS rankings.  Wideout Alex Amidon, with an average of 8.25 catches per game and 139 yards per game, is ranked fourth in the BCS. 

The offensive line, led by sophomore Andy Gallik, are all very large at 300 pounds or bigger.

Leading the defense are linebackers Nick Clancy (senior), with 13 tackles per game, and Kevin Pierre-Louis (junior), with 11 tackles, who are both among the top 10 nationally. 

Overall, BC is giving up a lot of yards and points per game at 438 and 27.8, respectively.

Army is anxious for its first win of the season after losses at San Diego State 42-7, Wake Forest 49-37, a one-point home loss to Northern Illinois 41-40 and last week's turnover-plagued 23-3 loss to Stony Brook. 

In the last three games, Army has played well on offense, with the running game ranking second in the BCS at 367 yards per game. 

Senior Trent Steelman set an Army record last week for most career yards (rushing and passing) by a QB with 2,362 yards—Tory Crawford, who played at Army from 1984-87, previously held the mark at 2,323.  

Steelman suffered a rib injury two weeks ago against Wake Forest, and it is still unclear how much this affected him last week, when he ran well but lost the football twice when hit. 


The offensive line for Army has been playing well, led by seniors Ben Jebb and Frank Allen both on the left side.  Although not big, the option offense gives the Army linemen the chance to aggressively block defenders and clear holes for Steelman and the deep group of backs Army has.

Led by senior Ray Maples, who leads the team with 487 yards—an average of 122 per game—and fullback Larry Dixon, who is often seen carrying defenders along as he has gains extra yards up the middle, the Army rushing attack is a force to be reckoned with.

Dixon, a senior, has scored four of the Black Knights 11 rushing TDs, while averaging 83 yards per contest. 

On defense, linebacker Nate Combs (senior) dives into holes to make plays against the huge offensive lines they play against each week.  Sophomore Geoffery Bacon tends to follow Combs and make plays, leading the team in tackles with 43 on the season. 

Army is playing several freshmen in the secondary, so they need to find a pass rush from Combs or others.

The key for the Black Knights is to avoid turnovers, complete drives and give the young defense a chance.

Army plays tough at home, playing in front of the 4,000 members of the Corps of Cadets, and opponents tend to look around a lot at the start like they are at Yankee Stadium.  

BC has struggled in the ACC, so don't be surprised if Army pulls of its first win.


At New London, CT, the US Coast Guard Academy Bears (2-2) are coming off a 59-0 win over Fitchburg State and will host Bridgewater State (4-1) from MA on Parents Weekend.

Merchant Marine, coming off a 34-31 win over RPI, hosts the Rochester Yellow Jackets at Kings Point, NY.


National Football Foundation Hall of Famer and former Army head coach Jim Young will be the guest this week, Tuesday at 5 PM EST on the West Point Football Report, to be aired on WVOX in New Rochelle, NY.

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