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Posted at 6:21 PM ET, 11/20/2010

Senior class recognized before kickoff

By Gene Wang

The Class of 2011 at the Naval Academy has been among the most accomplished in the history of the football program, with 33 wins and individuals such as quarterback Ricky Dobbs and safety Wyatt Middleton contributing to some of the most memorable triumphs this decade, if not all-time.

So it was fitting the 23 members of this graduating class of football players got a rousing ovation moments before kickoff, when they were honored with a Senior Salute at Navy-Marine Corps Stadium in their final game here.

"These guys have done a lot," Coach Ken Niumatalolo said. "A lot of them have played a ton of ballgames for us. Seems like Wyatt's been here for eight years. He's played a ton of football games. They've been in big games for us, helped us win a lot of games. The senior class has done a lot for us."

Among the lengthy list of notable wins was thumping Notre Dame, 35-17, this season, making them the third class in school history to have beaten the Fighting Irish three times. They also factored in heavily in a 76-35 win against East Carolina on Nov. 6, setting the modern record for points at the academy. At the time it was the most points a division I-A team has scored this season.

The senior class has compiled a 33-17 record, won three Commander-in-Chief's trophies and will have participated in four bowl games. Navy will play in the Poinsettia Bowl on Dec. 23 against a Mountain West team to be determined. If the Midshipmen win their final three games, the senior class will be the first in school history to at least 10 games in consecutive seasons and just the second service academy to do so. They also would join the Class of 1919 as the winningest in school history.

Perhaps most important, this senior class has gone 3-0 against Army, outscoring the Black Knights 89-6. The seniors have not allowed a touchdown to Army in any of those games.

"We're going to take one game at a time, but they still have a chance to do some things no senior class has done," Niumatalolo said. "Beating Notre Dame three times. I think only two other classes have done it. There are still some other goals that we're going to try to shoot for."

By Gene Wang  | November 20, 2010; 6:21 PM ET
Categories:  Ricky Dobbs, Wyatt Middleton  
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