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Zach Pekale | NCAA.com | December 10, 2019

Army-Navy football: Memorable moments, all-time history

College Football: Memorable Army-Navy Games | High Five

It’s been more than 129 years since Army and Navy first battled on the gridiron. Their game Dec. 14 will be the 120th all-time meeting. The Midshipmen hold a 60-52-7 head-to-head edge while the Black Knights own a 3-year winning streak.

But like the nature of this rivalry, numbers alone don’t fully encompass the history of the series. These are just a few notable happenings from the 1890s for perspective:

•    Benjamin Harrison was in his second year of his term as the 23rd president
•    Early in the year, Wyoming and Idaho were admitted as the 43rd and 44th states.
•    Ellis Island wouldn’t open for more than another year (Jan. 1, 1892).

Here are nine influential moments chronicling Army and Navy’s decorated pasts.

PREVIEW: Everything you need to know about the 120th Army-Navy game

1890 — The first game

Navy had competed as a football team since 1879 when it challenged Army to what would become the first game in an ongoing series. Except that Army side had never before played an organized game. Still, the Black Knights accepted. Despite home-field advantage in West Point, the Midshipmen’s experience propelled them to a 24-0 win.

1893 — Use your head

Navy Athletics Joseph Mason Reeves (center) became the first football player to wear a helmet in 1893.

You might be wondering why a game that ended 6-4 made this list. After all, it looks more like a baseball score. But 18 years after the first confirmed use of a glove on the diamond, Navy’s Joseph Mason Reeves flashed the leather on the gridiron. Injuries prompted the Admiral to enlist the help of an Annapolis shoemaker for his football career to continue. In doing so, he becomes the first player to use a football helmet.

MORE: Notable college football firsts, milestones

1944-45 — On top of the world

Army and Navy have met as the No.1 and No. 2 teams twice in 119 years. It just so happened to be in back-to-back years. Both times, it was the Black Knights who gained the upper hand, winning 23-7 in 1944 and 32-13 the following year.

Led by eventual Heisman Memorial Trophy winners Felix "Doc" Blanchard (1945) and Glenn Davis (1946), Army finished both seasons a perfect 9-0 as national champions.

1952 — The “M*A*S*H" game

The classic TV show M*A*S*H featured the Army/Navy game in an episode from its debut season first aired in 1973. The show’s writers scripted the 53rd meeting between the academies with the Midshipmen winning 42-36.

In reality, the ‘Mids did win the 53rd game. It took place 21 years earlier and ended 7-0, the final victory of a Navy three-game win streak. Coincidentally, the score depicted on M*A*S*H has never been the outcome in any of the first 119 games.

1963 — Victory in mourning

One of the most historic games in the series is also known for almost not happening. President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on Nov. 22. His untimely death meant the game fell within the military's 30-day national period of mourning, nearly cancelling the contest before the Kennedy family urged for the game to be played.

A decision to postpone to the following week was made right around the announcement that Navy quarterback Roger Staubach would be the recipient of the Heisman Trophy. He remains the program's second winner through 2019. On Dec. 7 — the 22-year anniversary of Pearl Harbor — Staubach and the Midshipmen defeated Army 21-15.

Trailing late, the Black Knights drove down to Navy's 2-yard line with a chance to tie the game. However, time expired before a they could run another play. This game will also be remembered for the debut of instant replay

1964 — Breaking barriers

Army snapped a five-game skid against Navy the following year with an 11-8 win. But it was the Midshipmen who took down a more significant obstacle. Sophomore wingback Calvin Huey became the first African-American to take the field for either side in the series, catching four passes for Navy.

The following season, he’d accomplish the feat at Georgia Tech’s Bobby Dodd Stadium. In Roger Staubach’s 1974 autobiography, “First Down, Lifetime to Go” he said, “Calvin Huey was just the kind of guy you liked. He had a great personality, worked hard in football and was an intelligent guy."

1983 — Go West, military man

The Rose Bowl is the only Army-Navy game venue west of the Mississippi River

A trip to Pasadena marks the sole installment of the rivalry played west of the Mississippi River. The Rose Bowl hosted in 1983 after the Army-Navy '83 Foundation, a nonprofit organization, was created to attract donations to cover the cost of the game. According to The Washington Post, that number was estimated to be around $6 million.

STRIKE A POSE: Every top-3 Heisman finisher since 1935

Despite the 2,500-plus miles separating both schools from southern California, more than 9,000 mids and cadets were reported to be in attendance as Navy won 42-13. The game returned to Philadelphia the following year and has not been further west than Landover, Maryland, since.

2015 — One of a kind

Keenan Reynolds is the only Navy starting quarterback to go 4-0 against Army.

Staubach remains the lone Heisman quarterback to come from Navy. However, Keenan Reynolds is part of elite company too as the only Midshipmen signal caller to beat Army four times.

As a senior, he ran for 136 yards and two touchdowns while adding 113 yards and another score through the air in a 21-17 win over Army. Reynolds finished fifth in Heisman voting, guiding Navy (11-2) to its best record in program history and is the fourth ‘Mid to have his number retired.

2016 — Changing of the guard

Army's 2016 win over Navy ended a 14-game skid in the series

The turn of the century came with an extended period of dominance for Navy. The two sides exchanged wins in 2000 and 2001 before the ‘Mids ripped off 14 consecutive wins, cruising by a 25.7 point average margin of victory over the first nine games.

Four of the final five wins were decided by one possession before Army broke through in Baltimore, the same city where the Black Knights once stood alone at the pinnacle of college football over 70 years prior.

Army owned the trenches, rushing for 316 total yards and three touchdowns in a 21-17 win. The victory marked the start of a three-game winning streak the Black Knights carry into the 2019 game.

Army vs. Navy: Scores, all-time series

YEAR LOCATION WINNER, SCORE SERIES
1890 West Point, N.Y. Navy, 24-0 Navy 1-0
1891 Annapolis, Md. Army, 32-16 Tied, 1-1
1892 West Point, N.Y. Navy, 12-4 Navy, 2-1
1893 Annapolis, Md. Navy, 6-4 Navy, 3-1
1899 Philadelphia Army, 17-5 Navy, 3-2
1900 Philadelphia Navy, 11-7 Navy, 4-2
1901 Philadelphia Army,11-5 Navy, 4-3
1902 Philadelphia Army, 22-8 Tied, 4-4
1903 Philadelphia Army, 40-5 Army, 5-4
1904 Philadelphia Army, 11-0 Army, 6-4
1905 Princeton, N.J. Tie, 6-6 Army, 6-4-1
1906 Philadelphia Navy, 10-0 Army, 6-5-1
1907 Philadelphia Navy, 6-0 Tied, 6-6-1
1908 Philadelphia Army, 6-4 Army, 7-6-1
1910 Philadelphia Navy, 3-0 Tied, 7-7-1
1911 Philadelphia Navy, 3-0 Navy, 8-7-1
1912 Philadelphia Navy, 6-0 Navy, 9-7-1
1913 New York Army, 22-9 Navy, 9-8-1
1914 Philadelphia Army, 20-0 Tied, 9-9-1
1915 New York Army, 14-0 Army, 10-9-1
1916 New York Army, 15-7 Army, 11-9-1
1919 New York Navy, 6-0 Army, 11-10-1
1920 New York Navy, 7-0 Tied, 11-11-1
1921 New York Navy, 7-0 Navy, 12-11-1
1922 Philadelphia Army, 17-14 Tied, 12-12-1
1923 New York Tie, 0-0 Tied, 12-12-2
1924 Baltimore, Md. Army, 12-0 Army, 13-12-2
1925 New York Army, 10-3 Army, 14-12-2
1926 Chicago Tie, 21-21 Army, 14-12-3
1927 New York Army, 14-9 Army, 15-12-3
1930 New York Army, 6-0 Army, 16-12-3
1931 New York Army, 17-7 Army, 17-12-3
1932 Philadelphia Army, 20-0 Army, 18-12-3
1933 Philadelphia Army, 12-7 Army, 19-12-3
1934 Philadelphia Navy, 3-0 Army, 19-13-3
1935 Philadelphia Army, 28-6 Army, 20-13-3
1936 Philadelphia Navy, 7-0 Army, 20-14-3
1937 Philadelphia Army, 6-0 Army, 21-14-3
1938 Philadelphia Army, 14-7 Army, 22-14-3
1939 Philadelphia Navy, 10-0 Army, 22-15-3
1940 Philadelphia Navy, 14-0 Army, 22-16-3
1941 Philadelphia Navy, 14-6 Army, 22-17-3
1942 Annapolis, Md. Navy, 14-0 Army, 22-18-3
1943 West Point, N.Y. Navy, 13-0 Army, 22-19-3
1944 Baltimore, Md. Army 23-7 Army, 23-19-3
1945 Philadelphia Army, 32-13 Army, 24-19-3
1946 Philadelphia Army, 21-18 Army, 25-19-3
1947 Philadelphia Army, 21-0 Army, 26-19-3
1948 Philadelphia Tie, 21-21 Army, 26-19-4
1949 Philadelphia Army, 38-0 Army, 27-19-4
1950 Philadelphia Navy, 14-2 Army, 27-20-4
1951 Philadelphia Navy, 42-7 Army, 27-21-4
1952 Philadelphia Navy, 7-0 Army, 27-22-4
1953 Philadelphia Army, 20-7 Army, 28-22-4
1954 Philadelphia Navy, 27-20 Army, 28-23-4
1955 Philadelphia Army, 14-6 Army, 29-23-4
1956 Philadelphia Tie, 7-7 Army, 29-23-5
1957 Philadelphia Navy, 14-0 Army, 29-24-5
1958 Philadelphia Army, 22-6 Army, 30-24-5
1959 Philadelphia Navy, 43-12 Army, 30-25-5
1960 Philadelphia Navy, 17-12 Army, 30-26-5
1961 Philadelphia Navy, 13-7 Army, 30-27-5
1962 Philadelphia Navy, 34-14 Army, 30-28-5
1963 Philadelphia Navy, 21-15 Army, 30-29-5
1964 Philadelphia Army, 11-8 Army, 31-29-5
1965 Philadelphia Tie, 7-7 Army, 31-29-6
1966 Philadelphia Army, 20-7 Army, 32-29-6
1967 Philadelphia Navy, 19-14 Army, 32-30-6
1968 Philadelphia Army, 21-14 Army, 33-30-6
1969 Philadelphia Army, 27-0 Army, 34-30-6
1970 Philadelphia Navy, 11-7 Army, 34-31-6
1971 Philadelphia Army, 24-23 Army, 35-31-6
1972 Philadelphia Army, 23-15 Army, 36-31-6
1973 Philadelphia Navy, 51-0 Army, 36-32-6
1974 Philadelphia Navy, 19-0 Army, 36-33-6
1975 Philadelphia Navy, 30-6 Army, 36-34-6
1976 Philadelphia Navy, 38-10 Army, 36-35-6
1977 Philadelphia Army, 17-14 Army, 37-35-6
1978 Philadelphia Navy, 28-0 Army, 37-36-6
1979 Philadelphia Navy, 31-7 Tied, 37-37-6
1980 Philadelphia Navy, 33-6 Navy, 38-37-6
1981 Philadelphia Tie, 3-3 Navy, 38-37-7
1982 Philadelphia Navy, 24-7 Navy, 39-37-7
1983 Pasadena, Calif. Navy, 42-13 Navy, 40-37-7
1984 Philadelphia Army 28-11 Navy, 40-38-7
1985 Philadelphia Navy, 17-7 Navy, 41-38-7
1986 Philadelphia Army, 27-7 Navy, 41-39-7
1987 Philadelphia Army, 17-3 Navy, 41-40-7
1988 Philadelphia Army, 20-15 Tied, 41-41-7
1989 East Rutherford, N.J. Navy, 19-17 Navy, 42-41-7
1990 Philadelphia Army, 30-20 Tied, 42-42-7
1991 Philadelphia Navy, 24-3 Navy, 43-42-7
1992 Philadelphia Army, 25-24 Tied, 43-43-7
1993 East Rutherford, N.J. Army, 16-14 Army, 44-43-7
1994 Philadelphia Army, 22-20 Army, 45-43-7
1995 Philadelphia Army, 14-13 Army, 46-43-7
1996 Philadelphia Army, 28-24 Army, 47-43-7
1997 East Rutherford, N.J. Navy, 39-7 Army, 47-44-7
1998 Philadelphia Army, 34-30 Army, 48-44-7
1999 Philadelphia Navy, 19-9 Army, 48-45-7
2000 Baltimore, Md. Navy, 30-28 Army, 48-46-7
2001 Philadelphia Army, 26-17 Army, 49-46-7
2002 East Rutherford, N.J. Navy, 58-12 Army, 49-47-7
2003 Philadelphia Navy, 34-6 Army, 49-48-7
2004 Philadelphia Navy, 42-13 Tied, 49-49-7
2005 Philadelphia Navy, 42-23 Navy, 50-49-7
2006 Philadelphia Navy, 26-14 Navy, 51-49-7
2007 Baltimore, Md. Navy, 38-3 Navy, 52-49-7
2008 Philadelphia Navy, 34-0 Navy, 53-49-7
2009 Philadelphia Navy, 17-3 Navy, 54-49-7
2010 Philadelphia Navy, 31-17 Navy, 55-49-7
2011 Landover, Md. Navy, 27-21 Navy, 56-49-7
2012 Philadelphia Navy, 17-13 Navy, 57-49-7
2013 Philadelphia Navy, 34-7 Navy, 58-49-7
2014 Baltimore, Md. Navy, 17-10 Navy, 59-49-7
2015 Philadelphia Navy, 21-17 Navy, 60-49-7
2016 Baltimore, Md. Army, 21-17 Navy, 60-50-7
2017 Philadelphia Army, 14-13 Navy, 60-51-7
2018 Philadelphia Army, 17-10 Navy, 60-52-7

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