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Fans geared-up for Navy, Notre Dame matchup

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Navy and Notre Dame fans got their parties started early Saturday ahead of the game at EverBank Field.

More than 1,000 Navy Midshipmen poured in from Maryland to support their team.

"Getting away from the academy for a little while, and being able to relax with your friends outside of that environment is also a great time," brigade commander Stephen Phillips said.

The Wilson family had a memorable tailgate set-up, but they are a different breed of fans. The three brothers grew up in Indiana, just miles from Notre Dame Stadium.

"I grew up and was only a couple miles from the campus my whole life but when I joined the Navy and they'd come to town, it was difficult," retired U.S. Navy corpsman Mike Wilson said.

All three of the Wilson brothers served time in the U.S. Navy and this is the first time they're all together in 13 years.

"It's just awesome to get back together with my brothers,” retired Navy chief petty officer Keven Wilson said. “For a lot of years, we were separated on different coasts."

The brothers were sporting Notre Dame T-shirts, saying they were Fighting Irish fans for longer, but have a soft spot for the Midshipmen.

"It's very respectful - all the fans. Notre Dame or Navy, they don't disrespect each other,” retired Navy senior chief Scott Wilson said. “It's just an awesome environment."
Either way, the Wilson family said it's quite an experience being able to witness the rivalry with family and friends.