Midshipmen Notebook

Kicker Joe Buckley a Popular Player at Navy

Navy's Joe Buckley follows through on the game-winning kick as he watches it sail through the uprights in overtime against Air Force.
Navy's Joe Buckley follows through on the game-winning kick as he watches it sail through the uprights in overtime against Air Force. (By Jonathan Newton -- The Washington Post)
  Enlarge Photo     Buy Photo
By Camille Powell
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Hitting what turns out to be a game-winning field goal is a big deal for a place kicker on most football teams. At Navy, it can bring special treatment.

After Geoff Blumenfeld nailed a 30-yard field goal with four seconds left to give Navy a 24-21 win over Air Force in 2004, he was served breakfast in bed by a Midshipman in full dress uniform. When Joey Bullen did something similar a year later -- converting a 46-yard field goal in the last second of a 27-24 win over the Falcons -- he received a signed picture from the secretary of the Navy. Kicking a game-winning field goal against Duke in 2007 earned Bullen an extra 20 minutes of sleep every day for a week from his company officer.

So what did junior Joe Buckley get after making three field goals, including a 38-yarder in overtime that provided the winning margin in Navy's 16-13 win on Saturday over Air Force? For one, he gained the gratitude of his classmates; one of the biggest cheers after the game came when it was announced inside the stadium that all Midshipmen -- including restrictees -- would receive overnight liberty.

On Sunday, "my company had a barbecue for evening meal, and it was nice because I saw all my classmates and everyone was so happy. It was awesome to talk to them about it and relive it again," Buckley said. "At inspection [on Monday], I had a button missing but my squad leader just overlooked it. That was kind of nice. But other than that, I've tried to be low-key and tried to play it off. We have a big game this weekend."

Salute to a Tripleheader

Navy's game on Saturday at Rice will be part of a service academy tripleheader on the CBS College Sports network. Army will host Vanderbilt at noon, followed by Navy-Rice at 3:30 and Air Force-Texas Christian at 7:30. The network will have special programming leading into the tripleheader as part of the network's "Armed Forces Appreciation Week."

Throughout the week, CBS College Sports will air classic service academy football games and features on current and former players. An original 30-minute special "Inside Academy Football" will air on Friday night at 7.

On Saturday, there will be a special one-hour "Salute to the Armed Forces" pregame show at 11 a.m. Each game will have a special pregame presentation; for Navy, team captains Osei Asante and Ross Pospisil will present 1960 Heisman Trophy winner Joe Bellino with a football and American flag that came from the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Nimitz. CBS golf analyst David Feherty will work as a sideline reporter during the Navy-Rice game.

© 2009 The Washington Post Company