Air Force (6-0) at Navy (3-3)
October 21st, 2023, 12:00 PM ET
Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, Maryland
Weather – Mostly Cloudy and breezy, 63 degrees
Air Force 17 – Navy 6
All of the military academies have a unique play style, which means it would be a run-based game on both sides. This came to fruition very quickly in the first quarter. On the first drive Air Force drove the ball down to the 25-yard line and attempted a field goal. The try went straight into the strong wind and dropped straight down just short of the uprights.
After that drive the rest of the quarter went back and forth with punts from both sides and a fumble by Air Force that was recovered by Navy. We ended the first quarter scoreless.
On the first play of the second quarter, Air Force went against the grain and threw a pass. The pass ended up going for 94 yards and a touchdown to give Air Force a 7-0 lead. After that score, the next six drives by both teams all ended in punts. Air Force took their touchdown lead into halftime.
The defenses continued their dominance into the third quarter. Air Force did manage a field goal to go up 10-0, but Navy just couldn’t get started. In fact, after three quarters Navy had a total of just 11 yards of offense.
The strong defense continued in the fourth for Air Force when they had a pick six to go up 17-0. Navy did finally make it to the end zone with just under a minute left in the game to avoid the shutout. Air Force continued their undefeated season.
Final: Air Force 17 – Navy 6
This is one stadium where it made sense not to have it on the actual campus. This kept having to get everyone through security up front. With that said, the entire stadium was surrounded by parking lots which took away a lot from the atmosphere. There was a lot of tailgating going on, especially with this being an all-academy game with Air Force.
One cool thing on the outside of the stadium were a couple small runner boards near the gates. These ran some announcements like what time the gates opened to the public. I found these very useful and something other stadiums could take advantage of.
On the inside, the stadium had a double deck format on the two sidelines. The North end zone had some seats, but also a large grassy area with general admission seating. On the South side there was mainly suite seating. There were medium-sized video boards in both end zones but no runner boards on the sidelines.
There were a number of concessions stands around the stadium all of them selling your usual stadium food. Chick-Fil-A had a couple of tents set up as well, but that was really the only non-regular stands at the game. The stadium also only sold bottled drinks. They did not have souvenir cups for sale.
By far the coolest thing about the stadium was the entry of the midshipmen before the game. They all marched onto the field by battalion. This was followed by the National Anthem by the drum and bugle core and a fly over. After the fly over, the midshipmen were dismissed and all ran to their seats.
Hot dog – $5.00
Bottled Soda – $6.00
Domestic Beer – $9.00
Other Sporting Event – N/A
There were a couple events that I could have attended over the weekend but both of them had things going against them.
The first was a sprint football game on Friday night. I had never heard of sprint football, but it is played just like regular football except every player has to weigh 168 pounds or lighter. Because of a moderate to heavy rain that came into the area, I didn’t want to sit out in it all evening so decided against it. In the end Navy won the game over Chestnut Hill 42-7.
The other option was a men’s soccer game on Saturday evening. I got back to my hotel after the football game and didn’t have much energy to get back through the post-football traffic, find and pay for a parking space downtown, go through security to get back on the Navy campus, and then walk all the way to the soccer field on the far side of the campus. The game with Holy Cross ended in a 0-0 tie.
I knew the Naval Academy would be a special campus, so I went on a walking tour of the facility that they offered. This ended up being a great choice as it went through a lot of the places I would have visited on my own but gave a lot of additional background I wouldn’t have known on my own.
The first area was the athletic facilities. This was something that made total sense, but I didn’t really think about until we walked through. On top of all of the swimming classes, there are also required classes in boxing, wrestling, and judo. By the time they graduate male midshipmen have to run a mile and a half in 10:30 minutes, do 35 push-ups in 2 minutes, and half a 1:45 minute plank. Female midshipmen have to run a mile and a half in 12 minutes, do 20 pushups in 2 minutes, and also do a 1:45 minute plank.
After the athletic areas, the next area we visited was Dahlgren Hall. Inside this building was a plane that was flown by the Wright Brothers on the grounds. Next to this building was Bancroft Hall where all of the midshipmen live. The building was spectacular, especially on the inside.
One of the places I was looking forward to visit was the chapel. Unfortunately, there was a funeral going on so our tour was not able to go outside. The building was beautiful on the outside. In the lower area of the chapel was the crypt of John Paul Jones, who is known as the Father of the U.S. Navy. That area was open as part of the tour.
After the tour was over, I was also able to take in the daily noon formation. At lunch, all the midshipmen group up with their battalions and march into lunch together. There were a lot of people on the day I went checking out this very cool event.
As expected, visiting here was drastically different than any other college campus I’ve been to in the best was possible. This was the highlight of the entire trip.
Maryland State House
The Maryland State House is the oldest state capitol that is still in use today. Unfortunately, they were performing a lot of work on the outside of the building so it was hard to get a good picture of the building. It sits right in the middle of the downtown area of Annapolis which makes it a nice backdrop to all the shops and restaurants in the area.
The inside of the building was fairly small. They only had the basement and the main floor that was open to the public. On one side of the main floor was the current House and Senate rooms. The other side had the old House and Senate rooms.
More than the rooms themselves, the history of this building is what makes it so special. This building served as the Continental Congress for a year from 1783 to 1784. During this time George Washington stood in the Old Senate room to resign his commission as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army. The Treaty of Paris was also signed in this room which signaled the end of the Revolutionary Way.
To be in a room with that much history was surreal. Those are some of my favorite things to check out. To know I was standing in the same place as such a historical event that George Washington was a part of was better than anything in the actual building.
National Aquarium – Baltimore
The National Aquarium is located in downtown Baltimore right along the pier. There were many elementary schools that were visiting the day I went which I think took away a lot from being able to enjoy my visit.
The building was split into three different areas. The main part of the aquarium was five floors of various fish and reptiles. Each floor had a different theme from around the world highlighting what you would find in each part. As you came back down from that area you came to shark alley, where you were able to see a lot of different sharks swimming around.
The next section was the Australia section. As mentioned, this highlighted the fish and reptiles you would find in Australia. This was the one area where the school children were not in when I walked through so I appreciated the quiet.
Finally, there was a walk through to the next pier building. Here they had a dolphin exhibit and jellyfish exhibit. The dolphins were not swimming near the glass which made it hard to see them.
Overall, this visit left me pretty disappointed. Especially with the pricey $49.95 cost of entry. There just didn’t seem to be enough to see compared to some other aquariums I have been to in the past.
Fort McHenry National Monument – Baltimore
This was another location that had so much history behind it. Fort McHenry is known as the place where Francis Scott Key wrote what would eventually become the National Anthem.
The fort is known for its role in the War of 1812. After Washington D.C. was captured by the British, they launched bombs at Fort McHenry for 25 straight hours. After the smoked clear, the Americans had kept control of the fort and this became the turning point of the war.
There were also significant uses of the fort during the Civil War as a prison and as a hospital during World War I. It became a National Monument in 1939.
They have done a good job with preserving the area. There are several canyons around the area that show the type of arms used during the war. There are several buildings on the inside to show the type of barracks that were used during the time period as well.
There were a couple middle school groups while I was there, but luckily there was enough open space so it wasn’t distracting. Again, being able to be in a place where so much famous history occurred is one my favorite things to check out.
Italian Market and Restaurant
The Italian Market and Restaurant is a pretty large location that has a large variety of Italian items and wine selections in the front of the store with its own restaurant in the back. The restaurant serves a variety of pasta dishes, pizza, and even gelato.
As a big fan of pasta, I went with the fettucine alla Bolognese. The Bolognese sauce was a mixture of ground beef, tomato sauce, and a touch of cream.
I think the cream is what gave the sauce its unique color and slight difference in meat sauce flavor than I’m use to. The sauce was a little closer to pink than red. The flavor was also slightly different, but not in a bad way. The only thing that was subpar was the bread that came with it as it was a little burnt around the edges.
Chick & Ruth’s Delly
The downtown area of Annapolis is a very active place with a lot of different shops and restaurants. There were many people walking around the area as well. One of the restaurants is Chick & Ruth’s Delly, a deli that has been in Annapolis since 1965.
The restaurant was very busy with a waiting list. Luckily there were some seats open at the up-front counter that I was able to sit at. They had a vast menu to choose from. On top of the sandwiches, they also had a large choice of burgers, and served all-day breakfast.
Each of the sandwiches were named after famous people from Maryland, mainly in the political arena. I went with the Paul Reed sandwich which was pastrami on rye with coleslaw and Russian dressing along with a side of potato salad.
This sandwich was messy, but in a good way. The coleslaw was piled high and was falling off the sides of the sandwich. It did overpower the pastrami a little bit, but you could still get the flavor of the meat in there as well. This is one of the places, that although the food is good, where it was fun to take in the atmosphere of this place.
I wanted to stay close to my hotel after the game due to the traffic around the stadium. After looking through some options I chose the Lebanese Tavern, or LEBTAV for short. Adding different styles of food is always something I enjoy, and this fit that bill well.
The location was fairly small, but on top of the restaurant they also sold a variety of Lebanese ingredients and deserts at the front of the store. They were not very busy while I was there, but did have a steady amount of people that came in.
For my meal, I went with the beef shawarma bowl. This was a bowl with basmati rice, beef, onions, tomatoes, and pickled vegetables. It also came with hot and fresh Lebanese bread. There was also a sauce bar with a variety of flavors to choose from.
I enjoyed the meal quite a bit. First, the bread was great. Having bread piping hot is always a great bonus (especially when it is isn’t burnt like at the Italian Market and Restaurant). The bowl itself was also tasty. The beef had great flavor. And the variety of vegetables mixed in with the rice was blended just right.
Phillips Seafood – Baltimore
If you are in the state of Maryland, a crab cake has to be on the list of things to try. There are a lot of different places you can go to for seafood in the Baltimore/Annapolis area. I decided on Phillips Seafood which was near the National Aquarium in downtown Baltimore in the Pratt Street Power Plant.
The restaurant was more on the upscale side. They had a lot of seating inside as well as a large patio outside for the nicer weather during the summer. The décor in the restaurant was on point. They had a few ships on display as decoration that made it a nice place to sit down and have a meal.
I knew I needed to try to crab cake, so decided on the fried seafood trio. This came with a crab cake, fried shrimp, and a fried piece of beer-battered haddock. It also came with sides of fries and coleslaw. The crab cake was good, but I honestly preferred the shrimp and fish more. The shrimp were large and had good flavor. Adding some lemon juice, malt vinegar, and tarter sauce to the fish gave it a lot of flavor as well. I am glad that I tried the crab cake, but the high cost of them would not make it a go-to on my list very often.