BOSTON -- Gillette Stadium will be the place to be this weekend when it plays host to the annual Army-Navy game on Saturday. It will mark the first time in the 124-year history of America's Game that it will be played in New England, and just the third time it will take place outside of the mid-Atlantic region.
So yeah, it's kind of a big deal. And there are several events and parties planned around the yearly clash.
There will be a Fan Fest at Gillette Stadium on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, where fans can see demonstrations and activations, and will also have an opportunity to see Army tanks and Navy assets. The Fan Fest will take place at the Enel Plaza and run from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, and from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Saturday. There will also be a Patriots-Steelers viewing party (more of a gathering, since watching the Patriots hasn't been much of a party) on Thursday.
The Patriot Games -- a two-day competition between the Cadets and Midshipmen -- will also take place around Massachusetts on Friday and Saturday:
8:00 a.m.: Tug of War at Minute Man National Park, Lincoln
9:30 a.m.: Best of Three at Boston Common
11:30 a.m.: Pull-Up Competition at Faneuil Hall
1:45 p.m.: Relay Race at Bunker Hill Monument/USS Constitution
1:15 p.m.: Obstacle Relay at Gillette Stadium
The game itself will kick off shortly after 3 p.m. on Saturday, but if you're lucky enough to be attending the big event, get to your seat early. Parking lots at Gillette Stadium will open at 9 a.m., and ESPN's College Gameday will broadcast live from lot 5B starting at 10 a.m. Gates will open at 11 a.m., with the March On One -- when the Brigade of Midshipmen and the Corps of Cadets march onto the field in formation -- set to begin at 12:10 p.m.
The national anthem will be sung by the glee clubs of both Army and Navy at 3:01 p.m., followed by a pair of flyovers: Navy's flyover at 3:05 p.m. when the Midshipmen take the field, and the Army flyover roughly a minute later when the Black Knights take the field. Kickoff is set for around 3:10 p.m.
And after the game, fans will be treated to one of the greatest traditions in sports when the the alma mater of both teams is sung with both squads standing at attention. While they'll all be fierce combatants throughout the game, everyone will be on the same team when the clock hits zero, ready to continue their careers defending the country.
What can you expect during the Army-Navy game? Here are a few news and notes about the 124th meeting between the two schools:
-Navy leads the series by a tally of 62-54-7, but Army has won five of the last seven meetings.
-Army won last year's game, 20-17, in double overtime. It was the first-ever overtime game in the historic series.
-Both Army and Navy come into the matchup at 5-6 on the season, and both will bring strong running games to the tilt. Army has averaged 208.3 rushing yards per contest this season (good for the 10th-most in FBS) while Navy has averaged 200.5 yards on the ground per game (14th).
-Navy's ground attack has been led by sophomore fullback Alex Tecza, whose 6.19 yards per carry average ranks 22nd-best in the nation. The Pittsburgh native has racked up 724 yards on 117 carries with five touchdowns this year.
-Army had four different players rush for over 100 yards in a game this season: Junior quarterback Bryson Daily, sophomore running back Hayden Reed, senior tight end Tyson Riley, and freshman running back Kanye Udoh.
-Daily ran for 817 yards on his 188 carries this season, averaging 81.7 yards per game. Those 817 rushing yards are the most by an Army quarterback since Kelvin Hopkins ran for 1,017 yards in 2018.
-Don't expect many passes to be thrown, as the Black Knights average the third-fewest passing yards (107.3) in the country. That is a shade ahead of the Midshipmen, who are averaging just 99.0 yards through the air this season.
-Neither team scores that much, either, as both sit well outside the top 100 in points. Army is averaging 20.8 points per game (111th in FBS) while Navy checks in at 18.3 points per game (123rd).
-Army heads into the contest on a three-game winning streak, with their last game coming on Nov. 18: A 28-21 win over Coastal Carolina. Navy won two of its last three games, but dropped its most recent game, 59-14, to SMU on Nov. 25.
-The Army offense was a perfect 13-for-13 on fourth down to start the season, and converted 19 fourth downs this season.
-The Navy defense brings the third-best red zone defense into the game, allowing just 22 scores in 31 opportunities by its opponents.
-The Navy defense has given up just 200 first downs on the year, which is good for the 12th fewest in the country.
-Army senior linebacker Leo Lowin earned Player of the Game honors last year when he racked up a career-best 16 tackles in the Black Knights overtime victory.
-Army can win the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy with a win on Sunday thanks to its 23-3 win over 17th-ranked Air Force on Nov. 4. The Commander-in-Chief trophy was first awarded in 1972 and goes to whichever of the service academies (Air Force, Army and Navy) has the better head-to-head record in their respective annual matchups.
While Army beat Air Force -- giving the school its first win over a ranked opponent since 1972 -- Navy lost to the Falcons, 17-6, on Oct. 21.
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