Army Train Keeps on Trucking Right Into Lincoln Financial Field Against Rival Navy

U.S. Naval Academy Midshipmen Head Football Coach Ken Niumatalolo enters the stadium with his team prior to the start of a game against the Temple Owls, Dec. 3, 2016.  (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Petty Officer Anthony Koch)
U.S. Naval Academy Midshipmen Head Football Coach Ken Niumatalolo enters the stadium with his team prior to the start of a game against the Temple Owls, Dec. 3, 2016. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Petty Officer Anthony Koch)

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Army is one win away from a dream season being nearly complete.

The Black Knights enter Saturday’s Army-Navy game presented by USAA with a 9-2 record and riding a seven-game winning streak. Five of those seven wins have been by two touchdowns or more.

The last time Army tasted defeat came during the very first month of the season on September 22. Traveling across the country to Norman, Okla., Army took No. 3 Oklahoma into overtime before the Sooners survived thanks to an interception at the two-yard line.

In short, Army has gone toe-to-toe with everyone this season (except for its season-opening loss at Duke 34-14) and will arrive in Philadelphia with all kinds of momentum. But the Black Knights acknowledge they can’t let their guard down come kickoff Saturday at 3:00 p.m.

“They’re a good football team. They have been every year I’ve played them,” Army linebacker and co-captain Cole Christiansen said. “This game is a dogfight every single time. It doesn’t matter what the records are or who they’ve got.

“They have talented guys so we’re preparing as hard as we ever have. That’s our objective every week, to get better in our preparation and be focused.”

Army head coach Jeff Monken, a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award, said at the recent Army-Navy press conference that his team’s two-game winning streak against Navy means nothing because it’s a brand new season with new players.

“There’s a lot of guys on this team that have played and been with us that have seen our fortunes change in this game and as a program,” Monken said. “This team this year has nothing to do with the game last year. This team is responsible for this game and we want to win this game together for the 2018 team.”

While Army has clinched its second-straight Commander-In-Chief Trophy thanks to a win over Air Force and then the Falcons win over Navy, the Black Knight aren’t content to just retain the Trophy.

“Keeping (the CIC Trophy) here is definitely a good thing and I was excited when we beat Air Force,” Christiansen said. “But in my mind, retaining it isn’t the same as winning it. To me it wouldn’t mean nearly the same like if we go out and win it.”

A win Saturday would catapult Army into its third-straight bowl game in a couple of weeks when the Black Knights will face Houston in the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl on Saturday, Dec. 22.

“I think we’re confident. And I think w’eve been confident the last two years that I’ve been here,” Christiansen added. “I don’t feel like our mentality has changed in how we approach them. Our team has smelled blood in the water every year because we’re hungry and want to win.”

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