This Saturday the Navy Midshipmen host the Air Force Falcons in a football game that was rescheduled to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in 2001.
The two storied service academies plan on wearing special uniforms as part of a tribute to America’s armed forces. Navy’s uniforms will honor the Marine Corps, while Air Force’s will pay tribute to B-52 bomber jets.
Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo sees the game as an opportunity to partake in something larger than just football.
“Very humbling, both personally and as a program, to pay respect to those who lost their lives on 9/11,” Niumatalolo said. “Obviously, that day changed our country forever.”
Air Force opened its season last week with a nice 35-14 victory against FCS opponent Lafayette, with Falcon quarterback Haaziq Daniels running for three touchdowns on 19 carries.
Navy, on the other hand, is hoping to bounce back from a home-field embarrassment at the hands of Marshall 49-7 on Saturday. Navy’s defense allowed four rushing touchdowns to Marshall freshman Rasheen Ali in his collegiate debut—three in the first half alone.
“In our mind, this game’s over with,” Niumatalolo said Saturday. “We ain’t talking about it, we ain’t watching the film. We’ve gotta get ready for Air Force. It’s the biggest game of the year, obviously, until the last one at the end of the year (Army).”
The special Navy/Air Force game kicks off this Saturday at 3:30 PM ET on CBS.