Army Black Knights

History in the making: Ohio State in talks with Army to play future contest

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The Ohio State Buckeyes opened up their latest national championship campaign with a 34-17 victory over the Navy Midshipmen.

The next time the Buckeyes will face a service academy, though, won’t be until after the 2016 campaign.

Ohio State is currently in talks with the Army Black Knights to schedule a game at a future date.

Amazingly, these two programs have never met on the gridiron despite their long and illustrious histories.

While Army’s schedule remains flexible due to being an independent program, Ohio State will have to work around their conference schedule. Like Navy, Army will likely serve as a season-opening opponent. The first year both teams have an opening at the beginning of their schedules will be the 2017 campaign.

Army doesn’t have any current openings early in the season that coincide with Ohio State’s 2018 schedule.

The two sides also have openings at the start of the 2019 campaign.

Due to the size of Ohio State and the importance of home games for the Buckeyes’ athletic department, Army will almost certainly be a one- or two-game contract with the contests being played at Ohio Stadium.

The two sides still need to finalize an agreement, though.

Navy extends win streak in 115th meeting with Army

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Thirteen games and counting.

The 115th edition of Army-Navy ended the same way the previous 12 meetings did…with the Midshipmen defeating the Black Knights.

Saturday’s meeting at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland, appeared to be a step in the right direction for Army despite a 17-10 loss. It’s the third time in the past four years the game was decided by only one score.

During his first year as Army’s head coach, Jeff Monken put a team on the field that nearly played Navy to a standstill. Army amassed more rushing yards than Navy — the NCAA’s top rushing team — until the final seconds of the game. Navy only had one more first down during the contest. And 50 yards of total offensive separated the two teams.

Army dominated the first quarter and a half. The Black Knights built an early 7-0 lead when wide receiver Xavier Moss returned a block punt seven yards for a touchdown.

In the end, a crucial fourth-down stop with two minutes remaining in the second quarter proved to be the turning point of the game.

After Navy stopped Army quarterback Angel Santiago from gaining one yard, momentum swung in the Midshipmen’s favor and it came courtesy of the right arm of quarterback Keenan Reynolds.

During the ensuing drive, Reynolds was 3-for-3 passing and connected with sophomore wide receiver Jamir Tillman for a nine-yard touchdown with only 18 seconds before halftime.

Reynolds finished the game 6-of-8 passing for 77 yards plus 100 rushing yards. The deciding score came early in the fourth quarter when Reynolds plunged into the end zone for a rushing touchdown.

With the victory, Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo became the first Navy coach to start his career 7-0 against Army, and he passed George Welsh (1973-81) as the winningest coach in Navy history.

The gap may have been closed by Monken and his Black Knights, but the Midshipmen will enjoy another year of bragging rights before Army gets another chance to end the current streak.

Former Army fullback walks the country in honor of fallen comrades

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No rivalry in college football contains the history, pageantry or emotion like Army-Navy. The meeting between these bitter rivals united by service to their country is truly special each and every year. When the two teams Dec. 13 at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Md., former Army fullback Mike Viti (pictured right with former US Defense Secretary Robert Gates) will increase the emotion of the game by a thousand fold.

The game will be Viti’s last stop in a 7,100-kilometer hike. Viti is walking a kilometer to honor every U.S. soldier who died in combat since 9/11.

“We’re taking time to pay homage,” Viti told CBSSports.com’s Gregg Doyel. “It’s not sexy, walking along a road, but these people died protecting our country and we’re honoring that.”

Viti, who gave up a successful job with a major hospital corporation, began his journey on April 26 in DuPont, Wash. One hundred seventy-four days later, the former Black Knights is still walking somewhere in Georgia or South Carolina, according to Doyel.

“This isn’t about us,” Viti said. “These guys paid the ultimate sacrifice, and for me it’s not good enough to say, ‘Hey, I respect what these guys did.’ It’s our job as combat vets, Army football players, to carry the legacies of our brothers and sisters in arms. Our thank you to make sure their legacies aren’t lost.”

Viti played for Army from 2003-07. The fullback never experienced a victory against Navy, but he’ll enter the stadium this year already a winner and a great example for everyone around the country.

Follow Viti’s trek or donate to his cause via MikesHikingforHeroes.com.

Army QB still dealing with injury, nears return to practice

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Army quarterback A.J. Schurr wasn’t with the team at the start of training camp. Despite being projected as the team’s starting signal caller, Schurr was held out of practice altogether due to a mystery injury.

In recent days, Army head coach Jeff Monken finally discussed the quarterback’s ailment. Schurr is dealing with hamstring issues.

“I wish we could get A.J. in there…It’s pretty significant (injury) obviously,” Monken told HudsonValley.com’s Sal Interdonato. “He’s been out for the last week and half or workouts and all this week of camp. He’s getting better. He wants to go. I’m just concerned if he really accelerates off of that or has to have a quick deceleration that he pulls it again and we are back to square one and another three weeks away. We are going to try and let him get healthy and when our training staff feels comfortable we’ll get him back him in there.”

Despite the severity of the injury, Monken will allow Schurr to participate in practice this week in a very limited capacity.

“He’ll probably throw the ball some this afternoon (Monday) where he doesn’t have to run down the line or sprint out,” Monken said. “A lot of shotgun which will be good for him to get in there and do that.”

While Schurr is out of the lineup, Monken tried to rely heavily on senior quarterback Angel Santiago. Unfortunately, Monken had to hold Santiago out of a few practices after “taking a shot to the outside of his thigh the other day (Friday) and it was sore and pretty swollen and bruised.”

Santiago returned to the practice field Monday, but he was also a limited participant.

Freshman Kado Brown might receive significant playing time this season if Schurr and Santiago can’t remain healthy.

“Coach Monken always talks about giving your best effort when you are out there and that’s one thing that I’ve tried to internalize since I’ve been here,” Brown told Interdonato. “Any time I get the chance, I try to make the best out of my opportunity and give it all I’ve got. I’m still in the process. I’m not going to say I’m confident but I am comfortable. Once I grasp it better, I think I will gain more confidence.”

Army’s QB is M.I.A. during start of camp

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A.J. Schurr left spring practice as Army’s projected starter at quarterback. As fall camp opened, Schurr was nowhere to be found.

According to HudsonValley.com’s Sal Interdonato, Schurr was not at practice Monday due to an undisclosed injury. Army head coach Jeff Monken didn’t elaborate on the situation other than to say Schurr won’t attend camp until he’s “healthy enough to practice.”

During Schurr’s first two seasons with the Black Knights, he played in 10 games, threw for 326 yards and rushed for 147 more. He’s expected to finally take over at quarterback, but he can’t when he’s not even at practice.

Schurr’s loss will likely be Angel Santiago’s gain. Santiago, a senior, started in 11 games last season. His experience will help Army as the team transitions under their new head coach.

Schurr wasn’t the only player missing from practice. Senior safety Geoff Bacon, who is a team captain, is in the same predicament as Schurr. With Bacon out of the lineup, sophomore Steven Johnson received first-team repetitions at free safety.