When two F/A-18 Hornets buzz over the stadium prior to the 2023 Military Bowl presented by on Wednesday, Dec. 27, there will be competing rooting interests emanating from the cockpit: One plane will be piloted by 2006 Tulane graduate Adam Stephens while 2002 Virginia Tech graduate Elliott Shoup mans the controls in the other plane.

After the flyover, Stephens and Shoup will fly to Joint Base Andrews then hustle back to Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium to watch their alma maters battle it out.

“When I heard Tulane was going to play in the game, I immediately started thinking we should do a flyover,” said Stephens, who is the commanding officer of the VFC-12 Ambush U.S. Navy reserves F/A-18 squadron based out of Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach, while Shoup is second in command.

Stephens would have been excited just to do a flyover for Tulane’s appearance in a bowl game. The fact that his executive officer’s alma mater is the opponent only added to the excitement.

“It was a no-brainer to try to do it,” Shoup said. “Adam has been a loud proponent of Tulane for as long as I’ve known him, but normally he’s in his own [American Athletic Conference] circle. We don’t have the opportunity to play each other very often.”

Stephens and Shoup are flyover veterans. Stephens did one at an LSU football game in 2018 and last year before the 2022 American Athletic Conference championship game at Tulane, where Shoup joined him as part of the ground crew.

“It’s been fun to see Tulane get better over the last several years,” Stephens said. “Last year at the AAC championship I got to storm the field, which was super cool, I had never gotten to do anything like that. Elliott stayed for the whole thing and stormed the field, too.”

Shoup has performed the flyover prior to a Virginia Tech game and a NASCAR race, as well as “one for that other Virginia team.”

The two pilots placed a friendly wager on the game, with the loser purchasing a bottle of rye for the winner.

Kickoff for the Bowl is at 2 p.m. ET and the game will be televised on ESPN. Tickets are on sale now.

The Military Bowl benefits Patriot Point, the Military Bowl Foundation’s 294-acre retreat for wounded, ill and injured active-duty and veteran service members, their families and caregivers.

For the latest updates, including information on purchasing tickets, visit, follow @MilitaryBowl on Twitter and Instagram or like the Military Bowl presented by on Facebook. For sponsorship information, please contact Military Bowl Senior Director of Partnerships Marc Goldman at