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1973: The Biggest Blowout in Army-Navy History

And some people thought last year was a beat down...

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Army-Navy rivalry is one that existed long before the academies at West Point and Annapolis played their first football game against one another in 1890, but it's football that has intensified the rivalry and took it to another level.

The two teams have played annually since 1930 (that's 84 years and counting if you're keeping score at home) in the famed Army-Navy game where one branch of the military gets to hold bragging rights for a year - or in Navy's current state, 12 years. There really is no other rivalry like it in college football.

One of the things about rivalries aren't just the wins and losses year after year that decide bragging rights for a season; it's the historical wins and losses, and the moments.

One thing Auburn fans will always have over Alabama is "Bo Over The Top" in the 1982 Iron Bowl (plus Chris Davis' "Kick Six" last year). While current Michigan fans may not remember it, they've seen the spot in the record book that says they beat Ohio State in their first meeting ever, 34-0, in 1897.

And you can bet that in the storied rivalry of Army vs Navy, both sides remember 1973.

It was the 44th consecutive meeting between the two sides and the place would be John F. Kennedy Stadium in Philadelphia. But in this season, like most of the teams the academies trotted in the 1970's, this Army and this Navy squad were special kinds of mediocre. Or at least their records said so.

Coming into that final game of the season the Midshipmen had won just three games and were riding a four game losing streak; but things were much worse on Army's side. The Black Knights were 0-9 and had lost every game but three by 29 points or more.

So this time around, the final game of the season would either add an extra win to Navy's below-average season, or it would prevent Army from turning out one of the worst season's in college football history.

The Midshipmen set out to make sure the latter would become a reality and drug the Black Knights up and down the field in Philadelphia on the way to beating them 51-0.


The Mids scored 31 points in the second quarter and for the first time in the history of the rivalry, one side had two players rush for over 100 yards. Running back Ed Gilmore ran for 123 yards in his first game of the rivalry and junior back Cleveland Cooper, the first African-American player in Navy's football history, added 102 yards.

Army turned the ball over five times and Navy's offense went for 460 total yards on the day.

Navy shut out Army in the following season too, beating the Black Knights 19-0.

Navy wasn't great in the 1970's,but they could always hang their hats on being better than Army. While the Mids had a record of 49-62 in the decade, the Black Knights held an abysmal record of 36-68-3 and lost 7 of 10 meetings against Navy.

Navy also had a bowl win to hold over Army's head in the decade - a 23-16 win over BYU in the 1978 Holiday Bowl - and sported a first team All-American in defensive back Chad Moeller in 1975.

But no matter the other accolades and stats that Navy has over Army, one thing they will always own, until the mark is broken, is the biggest blow out in the history of the rivalry.