This Saturday the Navy Midshipmen host the Air Force Falcons in a football game. The game was rescheduled to align with 9/11’s 20th anniversary. It was also recently reported the two branches plan on wearing special uniforms. Wearing them to honor our armed forces, the Air Force’s uniforms pay tribute to B-52 bomber jets, while the Navy’s honor the Marine Corps.
FOX News spoke to Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo, who appreciates the opportunity and recognizes the event is bigger than football. “Very humbling, both personally and as a program, to pay respect to those who lost their lives on 9/11,” Niumatalolo said. “Obviously, that day changed our country forever.”
That being said, the Navy has a big fight on its hands. The Air Force started the season last week with a big 35-14 victory against Lafayette. The Falcon quarterback showed up to play, running three touchdowns on 19 carries.
Meanwhile, the Navy opened its season with a 49-7 loss. Allowing four rushing touchdowns to run through their defense, the Midshipmen are hoping to bounce back.
Niumatalolo seems unfazed, saying the game is as good as won in his head. “In our mind, this game’s over with. We ain’t talking about it, we ain’t watching the film. We’ve gotta get ready for Air Force. It’s the biggest game of the year, obviously, until the last one at the end of the year (Army).”
This special Navy/Air Force game will take place tomorrow at 3:30 p.m. ET.
College Football Teams Honor 9/11 20th Anniversary With Special Helmets
The Navy and Air Force teams aren’t the only ones honoring 9/11 victims for its anniversary. Both the Florida Gators and Ohio State will pay their respects with special helmets.
Revealing their new helmets for the game yesterday, the helmets are all white, with their signature orange completely gone. The team’s color scheme was replaced and painted to look like an American flag.
Florida running back Malik Davis expresses gratitude at being able to honor first responders. “[The first responders] put themselves last and they put the health of others first, so it means a lot to me and I’m happy we’re able to go out and represent them this weekend.”
Additionally, Ohio State will don special 9/11 decals for their Oregon game this Saturday. Buckeyes head coach Ryan Day reports the tribute is personal for their team.
“We had a player on our team that lost a family member (in the attacks). It was just very, very real being in the Northeast. It doesn’t seem that long ago to me, but being from the Northeast, it was a very, very difficult time. This year brings up a lot of memories.”
It’s both humbling and heartwarming to see so many teams and organizations honoring 9/11 victims and first responders.