Best Moments in Army vs. Navy College Football Rivalry
John David Yonke
Nothing can match the heart and passion on the field during the annual Army vs. Navy game. College football would not be the same without this unique rivalry.
The teams first played on 1890 and have met every year since 1930. Described as “America’s Game,” the Black Knights of Army and the Midshipmen of Navy compete for the Secretary’s Trophy and, arguably more important, bragging rights.
The Black Knights looked like they had turned the tide in this series, winning four of five meetings from 2016 to 2020. It was the Midshipmen who pulled off the upset in 2021, though, winning 17-13. This is sure to be a closely-lined game in BetMGM’s college football odds.
Here’s a look at the Army vs. Navy rivalry:
All-time record: Navy leads 62-53-7
Record in the last ten meetings: Navy leads 6-4
Longest Win Streak: Navy 14 straight
Current Streak: Navy had won one in a row
Best game: Army 21, Navy 21 (1926)
Wait, what? The best game of all time in this series ended in a tie? You heard right!
No game better exemplifies this rivalry’s back and forth more than the 1926 meeting. Both teams entered this contest as dominant forces, and neither could topple the other. Navy was undefeated while Army had lost only once all season, and it’s believed that over 110,000 fans showed up to Solider Field to witness the epic event. Why in Chicago? The game was a monument to all American servicemen who died in World War I.
Things ended in a 21-21 tie after both teams played until darkness enveloped the field, making it impossible to shuffle on any longer.
Biggest upset: Army 21, Navy 17 (2016)
Navy rattled off a 14-game winning streak against rival Army from 2002 to 2015. The Black Knights had just about had enough of coming out on the wrong end of things and broke the streak with a 21-17 victory in 2016.
The Midshipmen entered the game as the No. 20 ranked team in the country with a 9-3 record compared to the Black Knights’ 6-5 mark.
It was a terrific season for Navy quarterback Will Worth, who had 1,397 yards and eight touchdowns passing, another 1,198 yards, and 25 scores rushing. He broke his right foot a week before the American Athletic Conference Championship game. The Midshipmen struggled to gain yardage without his presence a week later against the Black Knights, as Navy finished with just 201 yards.
This upset marked a new era in the rivalry as Jeff Monken, and Army would win four of the next five meetings.
Top performer: Halfback Joe Bellino, Navy
The statistical output may not look like much, but Joe Bellino’s performance in the 1960 Army vs. Navy game earns him the “top performer” nomination. Bellino secured the 1960 Heisman Trophy with his heroics in the 17-12 Navy victory when he gained 192 all-purpose yards.
The do-it-all halfback ran for 85 yards, caught two passes for 16 yards, returned two kickoffs for 46 yards, and intercepted a pass to add 45 return yards. After they took a 17-0 lead, Navy needed Bellino’s help to stave off a fierce Army comeback. Big-time players come through in big moments, and Bellino intercepted a Tom Blanda pass in the end zone to secure the victory.
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