In the days leading up to his final game in the Army-Navy football rivalry, senior inside linebacker Cody Peterson is keenly aware of what is at stake for him and the rest of the Midshipmen, who have won the last 11 meetings in the annual series against their archrivals.
"I think as a senior, you have a responsibility to uphold the standard as far as Navy football goes," Peterson said Wednesday morning during media day at Lincoln Financial Field. "There's pressure to get No. 12. We want to make sure that we do our job as seniors and leave on a good note."
The 11-game run – which began with a 58-12 rout on Dec. 7, 2002 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. – is the longest by either side in the series. Navy’s recent dominance has not been overlooked by Black Knights offensive tackle Michael Kime.
“I don’t like to look at it as how they’ve beaten us every year. I like to look at it as the guys I knew on those teams,” the senior said. “For example, I remember after we lost [31-17 on Dec. 11, 2010 in Philadelphia], [linebacker] Steve Erzinger in his senior year, what he said was, he was going to be remembered for a legacy of failure. I listened to those words when I was just a sophomore, and I said if I have any chance to break that ... I want him to know that we’re going to stop this so that his legacy won’t be remembered for that. It’ll be remembered for how he helped inspire the team that ended that streak.”
Army senior linebacker Thomas Holloway said the losing skid is a topic du jour for those outside of the program.
"If anything, I think that the recent losses that we have experienced to Navy have given us an added level of motivation to change it and break that streak,” he said. “I think we can do that this year. I think we have everything that we need. We’ve seen the progress that we’ve made throughout these contests in the past few years with last year being an incredible game.
"This year, we’ve just got to change that. We’ve got to change that just like the Army team changed that from 1963 to 1964. We have the right attitude going forth, and I don’t think that the losses throughout the past decade have developed this mindset on our team that we can’t do it, that it’s impossible. If anything, I think it’s given us a little boost to change it."
Last year, the Midshipmen needed a Black Knights fumble at Navy’s 14-yard line on a potential game-winning drive to escape with a 17-13 victory on Dec. 8. Peterson noted that it is an example of the degree of difficulty that awaits the Midshipmen when they tangle with Army on Dec. 14 at Lincoln Financial Field.
“It's hard to win,” Peterson said. “I think that’s just a testament to our coaches. They prepare us very well. The players trust the coaches and especially when it comes to the small things like taking care of the ball, turnovers, penalties, that’s something our coaches do very well with us, and I think it pays off. … We don’t talk about it much. We do a good job of just taking things one game at a time and try not to let that pressure get to us at all.”