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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Small Glory Returns to Army-Navy Battle

WASHINGTON -- This year, the annual Army-Navy football game will be about more than pride, bragging rights and pageantry. When the Cadets (9-1) and the Midshipmen (8-2) square off Saturday at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia, they'll be playing for an invitation to the Independence Bowl Dec. 31 in Shreveport, Louisiana. The 23rd-ranked Cadets are attempting to secure their first 10-victory season in school history. The Midshipmen are trying to earn their first bowl appearance since 1981.


All in all, it may be the most significant Army-Navy game since 1963, when the second-ranked Midshipmen -- with their Heisman Trophy-winning junior quarterback, Roger Staubach -- secured a Cotton Bowl appearance against No. 1 Texas by holding on for a heart-stopping 21-15 victory. These days, the harsh realities of big-time college sports, the academies' rigid academic standards and their active-duty service commitments have made the possibility of Army or Navy competing for football national championships extremely unlikely in the future. So this year's game may be the closest Army and Navy can get to recapturing the magnitude of the '63 contest, which was the last time each team entered the game with at least seven victories.


"In recent years, it's been, 'Can Navy salvage its season against Army?'" Pat Donnelly, who ran for three touchdowns for Navy in the 1963 game, said this week. "It used to be just Army and Navy people used to watch it. With the bowl, it's exciting to know that there will be many others watching [this year]."