This time last year, Navy (7-4) - fresh off a sixth straight victory over Army (3-8) in the mother of all rivalry games - didn't even have a head coach.

Ken Niumatalolo, the first Samoan college football coach, was hired 6 days after the victory when Paul Johnson left to coach at Georgia Tech. His first game as leader of the Midshipmen was a 35-32 loss in the 2007 Poinsettia Bowl.

So what does Niumatalolo expect in his first test against Army as a head coach?

"It is very exciting," Niumatalolo said. "I think being here these past 10 games has allowed me to find out what this game is all about as a head coach.

"This is just a great game for our country. It is a great sporting event . . . I am just thrilled to be a part of it."

For Niumatalolo, the fact that Navy has won the previous six games makes little difference.

"We try to not even talk about the series and who has won and lost," he said. "What happened last year or in the past 6 years has no bearing whatsoever. This 2008 game is all that matters."

Another record attempt

Ken Niumatalolo isn't the only one who can break or tie a record today. Army senior fullback Collin Mooney can break the Black Knights' single-season rushing mark with 54 more yards in his last game.

The Katy, Texas, native has had an impressive season, averaging 6.8 yards per carry in five 100-yard games. In two of those games, he bested 200 yards.

Arrive early

With President George W. Bush attending his last Army-Navy game as commander in chief, expect a lengthy security delay entering the stadium. This is the third Army-Navy game Bush has attended during his two terms (2001, 2004).


The pregame festivities will begin outside the Linc with the march-on of the Brigade of Midshipmen at 9:17 a.m. The Corps of Cadets will follow, starting at 10:47 a.m. The Army and Navy fly-overs are scheduled for 12:07 p.m.

The big question

After being outscored, 240-71, in the last six encounters, can Army keep it close? *