By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports
Saturday will be an exciting day at Norwich University.
The campus will be celebrating the institution’s 200th anniversary and will host Coast Guard Academy in a must-see, must-watch New England Division III football game, which is scheduled to commence at 2:00 p.m. (eastern time).
Both Coast Guard Academy and Norwich enter Saturday’s clash with identical 2-0 records and know a win would keep them atop the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) standings, as well as possibly tied with WPI, which also enters the third week with the same record.
One of the players that certainly hopes to continue the Cadets’ recent momentum is Jacob Burke. The senior linebacker, who has tallied 14 total tackles this fall, is hoping to help the Cadets snap a two-game losing streak to the Bears since the rivalry resumed in 2017.
Noontime Sports caught-up with Burke to discuss Saturday’s game against the Bears, as well as what he enjoys most about being a part of this rivalry.
What makes this game (and rivalry) so special and unique from your perspective?
This game (and) rivalry are extremely special and unique because it is steeped in tradition. This year is especially important for a number of reasons.
This year, both teams are 2-0 and have a chance to start the season 3-0 and move into first place in the conference.
2019 marks Norwich’s Bicentennial and it is a privilege to be able to be a part of this game during homecoming (and) alumni weekend.
The winner of Norwich-Coast Guard also is awarded ‘The Mug,’ too, which is arguably the most important trophy to win throughout the season.
Finally, this is not just any college football game. This rivalry is known as the ‘Little Army-Navy Game’ and the name speaks for itself. The singing of each team’s alma mater after the game concludes is the culmination of a very special college football Saturday.
This game is second to none and it is an honor to be involved with such a storied tradition.
What are a few memories you have from playing in this contest?
My two most influential memories about this game include the excitement and anticipation during the week of this game last year. The week was more intense, and the entire program was more focused. The same can be said for this year, too.
My second memory of this game was losing on the final play to the Bears last year. That is a feeling you never want to repeat and that is exactly what our program promised each other.
What is the build-up to this game like on campus? Do people talk about this game outside the practice field?
The build-up to this game is always exciting. Considering it is (our) alumni/homecoming weekend, the campus is quickly filling up and the buzz around the school is extremely high. Professors and peers are (also) there to support the team, too.
When preparing for this contest, does it have a different feel than other weeks of the season?
We prepare for this week just like any other week. However, everyone in the program understands just how important this game is and how much this rivalry means so this week is more intense.
The team remains really focused despite all the distractions which allow us to prepare well.
What must your team do to be successful/score a win on Saturday?
We must play together and stick together throughout the game. We must limit mistakes and be ready to adjust on the fly while still being able to play fast and tough. We can’t beat ourselves.
What do you imagine this year’s game day atmosphere to be like? Do you anticipate a big crowd?
The game-day atmosphere is going to be awesome. The school expects a huge crowd so extra seating has been placed around Sabine Field. The entire team is looking forward to a crazy and loud atmosphere on Saturday.