On this Veterans Day, we honor the military and everyone does it differently.  Some have the day off, others go to parades and there are those like me: play video games.  I’m not talking about video games like Call of Duty or other related FPS games in my case, but NCAA Football 2005.  You’re probably staring at me with a raised eyebrow like, “What does football have to do with the military?”

In terms of pre-game ceremonies, a lot.  In terms of on-field product, absolutely nothing.  Well, unless the two teams have members of the military playing, and what teams come to mind when you think of “soldiers on rosters”?  Yup, the Army Black Knights, Navy Midshipmen and Air Force Fighting Falcons.

Any college football fan knows the three schools play each other for the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy.  To celebrate Veterans Day, I figured I’d boot up the PS2 and play some NCAA 05 as one of the three service academies.  If you had noticed my About page, I have Navy listed as one of the college football teams I follow, which is why it’s not surprising I opted to play as the Midshipmen against Army.  The Army-Navy Game’s one of my favorite rivalries in college football; besides the obvious success of Navy in the last decade, the history and the prestige of the game among the two academies make it amazing.  Sorry Air Force, maybe next year.

The rules were simple.  5-minute quarters (there was a Truck race later in the night, I wasn’t going to spend the entire evening on a game) in snowy conditions because who doesn’t love bad-weather games?  And because why not: I wrote a game recap below as if it was that of a real game in 2004. Enjoy.

The 2004 Army-Navy Game took place under precarious skies as Philadelphia was rocked by a snowstorm in the week leading up to Saturday.  Field workers were able to clear the field on time for gameday.

The Black Knights won the coin toss and elected to defer.  The Midshipmen struggled to move the ball on their opening drive and punted, but quickly regained possession when ROLB #40 intercepted QB #7; the play had been set up by Army’s protection collapsing from Navy’s blitz.  The turnover did not produce results for Navy, though, as HB #34 fumbled on third down and FS #20 recovered the loose ball.  The inability to capitalize on takeaways also befell Army as they went three-and-out, leading to a scoreless first quarter.  13 seconds into the second quarter led to the first points of the game as Navy’s K #81 converted a 45-yard field goal, followed by QB#6 throwing a 21-yard touchdown pass to TE #39 to put Navy up 10–0.  On the ensuing drive, Army was stopped on third down but successfully attempted a fake field goal as their holder, QB #5, lobbed a 37-yard touchdown pass to TE #91.  With just two seconds left in the first half, Army took the lead when QB #7 threw a 7-yard touchdown to WR #19 to make the score 14–10.

The third quarter was uneventful in comparison to the second, the lone score coming with 3:42 left via Navy’s QB #6 recording a 2-yard touchdown run to take the lead.  Navy attempted to increase the margin with a 25-yard field goal, but it sailed wide right.  In the fourth quarter, Navy increased their lead to 20–14 with a 35-yard field goal.  The Black Knights attempted a 27-yard field goal, which also went wide right.  With 1:22 left in the game, Army failed to convert on fourth down, resulting in Navy sealing the deal with 58 seconds left in the game via a 32-yard field goal.  As they trailed by nine with less than 40 seconds remaining, Army began to attack through the air.  However, QB #7 was intercepted by FS #33 to close out the game with a 23–14 Navy victory.

A game dominated by struggling passing attacks, both of Navy’s quarterbacks ended the night with passer ratings of less than 46.  QB #6 competed just 5 of 33 passes for 80 yards and a touchdown for a rating of 45.5, while QB #2’s lone pass was dropped, resulting in a 0.0 rating.  With his lone throw being a touchdown pass, Army’s QB #5 had a rating of 740.8; in comparison, QB #7, who completed 9 of 31 for 187 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions, had a 77.5 rating.

With the win, the all-time record in NCAA 05 matched that in real life as Navy tied the series at 49–49–7.  The only difference is the final score as Navy won in a more convincing fashion in real life, 42–13.

Happy Veterans Day, everyone.