Navy will host Memphis and Tulsa to make up games postponed by coronavirus issues

By KAREEM COPELAND | The Washington Post | Published: November 20, 2020

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The Navy football team will get a chance to make up two of its games that were postponed because of the coronavirus.

The American Athletic Conference released an updated schedule Friday to account for recently postponed games. The Midshipmen (3-4, 3-2 AAC) will host Memphis (4-2, 3-2) on Nov. 28 and Tulsa (5-1, 5-0) on Dec. 5, with both games set for Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.

Navy's past three games have been postponed — the first two because of outbreaks at Navy and the third after positive tests at South Florida. Navy's game against the Bulls (1-7, 0-6), originally scheduled for Saturday, will not be made up. South Florida has open dates on its schedule, but Navy does not; the Midshipmen will visit Army on Dec. 12 in West Point, N.Y. The AAC championship game is Dec. 19.

Friday's announcement was a relief for Navy seniors who were worried about losing their senior day after the Memphis game was postponed last week.

"It's like, 'Was [the Oct. 24 game against] Houston my last game in Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium?' " senior cornerback Cameron Kinley said last week. "Those are the kind of things you try not to think about, but they can't help but leak into your mind."

Navy had hoped the relative bubble of the academy would prevent a virus outbreak, but that wasn't the case. The team tried to avoid face-to-face contact during the preseason by not tackling or blocking normally and holding all meetings virtually, but it was woefully unprepared in a 55-3 loss to BYU in the season opener. The team then started holding normal practices and meetings in person, but an outbreak halted all in-person activities for nearly two weeks. The Midshipmen were back on the practice field this week before positive tests at USF forced Saturday's game to be canceled.

"It's been pretty difficult to stay in it," Navy junior linebacker Diego Fagot said Monday. "These past two weeks, we didn't really know what was going to happen with the game on Saturday. Each time we were getting ready for a new team, and it got canceled. . . . Staying in great mental shape for these next two to three games has been pretty difficult.

"We talked, in our position meeting, about those goals we have still. Keeping those goals in mind is something that's really important and thinking about 'What's your why? Why are you playing football? What are you doing here?' When you put all those things into perspective, you can really accomplish anything."