Redskins

Navy out to avenge heartbreaker against Air Force

201209291734632651240-p2.jpeg

Navy out to avenge heartbreaker against Air Force

AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. (AP) If there are two teams that shouldn't mind a 9:30 a.m. kickoff, it's Navy and Air Force. The Midshipmen and Falcons are used to getting up at the crack of dawn.

``I really don't think it's a factor, at least for the players. During basic training you are up at 4:15,'' Falcons coach Troy Calhoun said.

Accommodating CBS television, the rooster-rising kickoff time is the earliest in the history of Falcon Stadium, which should be selling coffee and hot chocolate by the gallons for what's expected to be a bitterly cold and snowy morning in the mountains.

With these two option offenses, though, the game could be over by lunchtime.

While the timing won't mean anything to these two teams, the trophy means everything.

The Falcons (2-2) have won the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy the last two years after Navy (1-3) held the prize from 2003-09. Last year's game ended in controversy and a 35-34 Air Force overtime win in Annapolis, Md.

The trophy goes to the military academy with the best record in round-robin competition between Air Force, Navy and Army.

``It's in a glass case in the Clune Arena,'' Falcons running back Cody Goetz said. ``We want to keep it here.''

``You have to understand that there's a trophy case in our locker room that's been empty the past couple years,'' Navy running back Bo Snelson said. ``The only ones who have ever seen that trophy are the (Class of) 2013 guys. It hurts that we haven't been able to bring it back.''

Either Air Force or Navy has taken the trophy in the last 15 years, shutting out Army since 1996. The only time Calhoun has lost a home nonconference game was in 2008, when Navy won 33-27 at Falcon Stadium.

``There is a little hatred between the two teams,'' said Goetz, whose Falcons lead the nation with a nearly 400-yard rushing average. ``We know in time we will be serving together, but at the same time, we really don't like each other.

``You want to make sure everyone knows you are the best service academy. We could be playing poker and still want to beat them just as bad.''

In a game that featured nine touchdowns, a stunning comeback and a much-debated penalty, the duel between Air Force and Navy last year was decided by one of football's most mundane plays: the extra point attempt.

Tim Jefferson ran for a 1-yard touchdown in overtime and Parker Herrington added the conversion to give Air Force a wild 35-34 victory. After the Falcons blew an 18-point lead in the fourth quarter, Navy's Kriss Proctor ran for a 1-yard touchdown to begin the overtime. But he was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct for getting up in a defender's face, and Jon Teague's long conversion attempt from 35 yards out was blocked by Alex Means.

That heartbreaker took its toll as the Midshipmen never really righted their ship.

``I think it was a turning point in our season,'' Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo said. ``That was a devastating game for us. We had a hard time bouncing back from that one. To lose the way we did made it even harder. It's hard enough to lose to our rival, much less the way we did.''

It wasn't just the ending that bothered Niumatalolo.

``Last year, I thought we were a little too amped up, too emotional,'' Niumatalolo said. ``I take blame for that. I think our whole offseason stuff was about getting the trophy back. Our guys were probably too tight at the beginning. We just have to relax and play. Football is an emotional game, but you still have to be able to control yourself.''

Navy senior linebacker Brye French said the Midshipmen were so determined to get the Commander-in-Chief's trophy back that they didn't keep an even keel last year.

``I think maybe we built the game up too big. There might have been too much pressure,'' French said. ``Of course it's a big game, everybody knows that, but last year we worried more about the outside factors instead of just worrying about the team. That's something we've been working on this week.''

Last year's loss still drives him.

``Seeing guys crying and upset in the locker room was rough,'' French said. ``Something clicked in my mind. I want to be part of getting this thing back. I want to provide some leadership for the guys so we can get the trophy back. Our freshman year, we had that ring. It's been sitting in a drawer ever since.

``You look at the older guys before us, they have four (rings). It's tough only having one. It's even harder that some of the younger guys don't know what that's like, the success of Navy football in the past.''

---

AP Sports Writer Dave Ginsburg contributed from Annapolis, Md.

---

Follow AP Sports Writer Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter:http://twitter.com/arniestapleton

Quick Links

What exactly was Alex Smith thinking when he went out of bounds on the last drive?

What exactly was Alex Smith thinking when he went out of bounds on the last drive?

FEDEX FIELD -- Late in the Redskins win over the Cowboys, when the contest was still very much in question, Alex Smith made an incredibly poor decision. 

It was situational football at its peak. The Redskins had the ball with under 90 seconds left and a three point lead while Dallas had just one timeout left. A first down would end the game, but beyond getting a new set of downs, forcing Cowboys coach Jason Garrett to use his final timeout was the next highest priority. 

Somehow, Smith achieved neither. 

On third-and-9 from his own 36-yard-line, Smith took the snap and worked left on a play-action bootleg. There was room to run for a modest gain, but it seemed obvious Smith would not pick up the first down. 

Only Smith didn't see it that way. 

"I knew a first down would end the game and I did have glimpses of myself getting the first down whatever it took," the quarterback said. 

Instead of getting the first down, Smith got dragged out of bounds by Dallas LB Sean Lee. That stopped the clock for the Cowboys, and allowed Garrett to save his final timeout. 

Barring a turnover, it was the worst possible outcome on the play. 

What makes the situation so strange is that Smith is a very smart player. A 14-year veteran, Smith is known as a guy that won't make mistakes to hurt his team and gives his squad a chance for a win every week. Only late in the game, Smith tried to make the play to go for the win, and made a huge mistake instead. 

"I all of a sudden found myself pretty awkward on the sidelines there and can’t have it," Smith said. "[I] could have obviously cost us the game in hindsight at that point, I think kinda abandon ship and go down there on the sideline.”

The good news for Smith, and for the 4-2 Redskins, is that Cowboys kicker Brett Maher plunked the upright on his game-tying field goal attempt. An attempt that might not have happened if Smith stayed in bounds. 

In the end, it didn't cost the Redskins. 

MORE REDSKINS NEWS:

Quick Links

Capitals vs. Canucks: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

oshie-canucks-caps-usat.jpg
USA Today

Capitals vs. Canucks: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

The Washington Capitals (3-2-2) head to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada after an overtime/shootout loss against the Florida Panthers last Friday. 

The Caps are determined to avoid the devastation they felt in the first period when they gave away four goals to the Panthers. They will need to focus in the power plays and avoid penalties at all costs.

Many fans were looking forward to the reunion with former player Jay Beagle, who is now centerman for the Canucks, but he is unfortunately out on injury. However you can look out for Caps Nic Dowd, who will have his own homecoming game against his former team. 

Here is everything you need to know about Capitals vs. Canucks which takes place at 10:00 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Washington.
 

CAPITALS vs. CANUCKS HOW TO WATCH

What: Washington Capitals vs. Vancouver Canucks, Game 8 of the 2018-19 NHL Regular Season

Where: Rogers Arena, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

When: Monday, October 22 at 10:00 p.m. ET

TV Channel: The Capitals vs. Canucks game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (NBC Sports Washington Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can live stream Capitals vs. Canucks on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and on the NBC Sports App.

Radio: Caps 24/7 Radio, 106.7 The Fan FM

CAPITALS vs. CANUCKS SCHEDULE

9:00 PM: Caps Faceoff Live
9:30 PM: Caps Pregame Live
10:00 PM: Capitals vs. Canucks
12:30 PM: Caps Postgame Live

CAPITALS vs. CANUCKS PLAYERS TO WATCH

Lars Eller, F, Capitals: In his last game, he had a three-point night with three assists. He is a messaive help and shined within the trio of Vrana and Connoly on Friday.

Tim Schaller, F, Canucks: He was struggling in the preseason but came back with a vengeance. He assisted with a penatly kill and is a key component in fourth line. 

MORE CAPITALS NEWS: