Navy offensive tackle Jeff Battipaglia had a true homefield advantage on Saturday. Hailing from Newtown, Bucks County, Battipaglia had been to Lincoln Financial Field countless times to watch the Eagles.
This time, he had countless fans watching him.
"I had a few friends from high school [St. Joseph's Prep] sitting in the lower level," Battipaglia said. "They were close enough that I could hear them screaming my name.
"Running out of the tunnel, onto the field where I've watched so many games, it was the greatest feeling I have ever had. I've never felt anything like that before."
Battipaglia's goose bumps were not uncommon among players on both sides in Saturday's 109th battle between Army and Navy. Thanks to a hot start from Battipaglia and the offensive line, Navy was able to experience its seventh straight spine-tingling victory over Army. The Midshipmen scored just 2 minutes, 58 seconds into the game on Shun White's 65-yard run, en route to a 34-0 rout of their archrival.
"Before the game, I was trying to not get too much into it," Battipaglia said. "As soon as we ran out there, it kind of got a hold of me. Thankfully we had a few minutes until kickoff and I was able to get my head together. It was probably a good thing that we didn't start off with the ball."
Battipaglia helped push oncoming Black Knights out of the way on his left side, ultimately springing White for his dash to the goal line. The early score got the jitters out of Battipaglia and the rest of his brigade.
"It was awesome to put up a few points early so that we could get the momentum going our way. That really helped us relax," Battipaglia said.
The win also gave the Midshipmen seniors a sweep over Army for their careers. Their dismantling of the Black Knights - their record-setting 13th straight win over a service academy - gave Navy a sixth consecutive Commander-in-Chief trophy.
"Rivalry games are sometimes full of upsets," Navy senior Eric Kettani said. "We didn't want to be the year that dropped the ball. To be undefeated against Army is a great honor."
With Navy establishing numerous records on Saturday, one Army record was nearly forgotten.
Coming into the contest, Army senior fullback Collin Mooney needed only 54 yards to break the Black Knights' single-season rushing mark of 1,338.
Mooney entered the fourth quarter with 30 yards on the day - 24 short of the record.
But Mooney inched closer and closer in the final quarter and etched his name in the record book by gaining 1 yard on the very last play of his career. He finished with 54 yards on 17 carries, just enough to break Mike Mayweather's record set in 1990.
"That is something that he should be proud of," Army coach Stan Brock said.
But it wasn't something Mooney - still reeling from the loss - could yet appreciate.
"I didn't care about the record coming into this game," he said. "That was secondary. Losing to Navy hurts so much. It isn't something that I can find solace in right now. Maybe next week or next month."
Meanwhile, with 69,144 packing the Linc and more than 17,000 hotel rooms around town filled, the 81st Army-Navy game held in Philadelphia generated an estimated $35 million in economic impact for the city.
Mayor Nutter made it clear that he wants Philadelphia to remain the home of Army-Navy for years to come.
"Most people that you talk to, regardless of their branch of service, say that Philadelphia is the place," Nutter said. "There is that much more competition now [with the recent economic downturn]. We're not sitting here twiddling our thumbs. We will have a tremendously competitive bid."