Welcome to Army-Navy weekend. The two service academies will square off for the 119th time on Saturday and the president will be in attendance. President Donald Trump is expected to attend the game for the second time since he was elected president in November 2016.
Navy leads the all-time series 60-51-7. Here are three things you need to know about one of the best rivalries in college football.
Navy (3-9) vs. Army (9-2)
Saturday, Dec. 8
3 p.m. ET (CBS)
Army goes for 10 wins. Again.
Army’s win over Navy in 2016 was the Black Knights’ first victory in the series since 2001. A win on Saturday would be a third straight for Army and the first time since winning five straight from 1992-96 that the Black Knights had won three or more consecutive games against the Midshipmen.
A win would also mean the third 10-win season in school history and the second straight season in which the Black Knights have gotten 10 wins. Yeah, what coach Jeff Monken is doing at Army is unprecedented. The only other season in which Army got to 10 wins was in 1996 when the team was coached by current Kansas City Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton.
Navy, meanwhile, is heading toward the school’s worst season since 2002, no matter if it wins or loses Saturday. The Midshipmen are set to miss a bowl game for just the second time since 2003.
Navy allows nearly 35 points per game
The Midshipmen’s struggles are largely attributed to a defense that is having problems keeping opponents out of the end zone. Navy is giving up 34.9 points per game in 2018. Only 21 teams are allowing more points.
Navy went on a seven-game losing streak between wins vs. Lehigh and Tulsa. It gave up over 30 points in six of those games.
While Navy has been unable to stop people from scoring, the offense has taken a step backward as well. The dynamic Malcolm Perry started the season as the team’s primary quarterback but he’s served more of a multi-purpose role as Garret Lewis has become the team’s QB. Former starting QB Zach Abey is still on the roster, too. He’s now playing a slotback role, though he’s thrown 24 passes in 2018.
Army’s 1-2 punch has 24 rushing touchdowns
Perry is the only player who has rushed for over 1,000 yards and he also has seven catches. Abey has scored 14 touchdowns in a short-yardage role, but no other player has been effective as a second rushing option. Nelson Smith is the team’s second-leading rusher with 402 yards.
As Navy’s defense has struggled, Army is allowing fewer than 19 points per game and has a top-20 scoring defense. The offense has been far more efficient too. RB Darnell Woolfolk and QB Kelvin Hopkins have each rushed for over 750 yards and have combined for 24 touchdowns.
Hopkins has been fairly efficient as a passer, too. He’s 44-of-81 for 895 yards and has thrown six touchdowns and three interceptions. Look for him to target Jordan Asberry deep if the Navy defense starts to creep up toward the line of scrimmage. Asberry has nine catches for 197 yards and has caught three of Hopkins’ touchdown passes.
Yes, Asberry is the leading receiver among both teams entering the game. Long live the triple-option offense.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.