The Army Black Knights could not generate any consistent offense in West Point, New York, Saturday afternoon as the Air Force Falcons defense dominated every aspect of the game in leading Air Force to a 23-6 victory over the Black Knights. The victory earned the Falcons their 19th Commander-in-Chief Trophy, which is the number one goal for the Academy's football team every year.
It was on third down that Air Force did most of their defensive damage, holding the Black Knights to just one conversion in 12 attempts. The Falcons completely took the inside running game away from Army, holding top rusher Larry Dixon to 13 yards on 10 carries and holding one of the top rushing teams in the country to a total of 122 yards on the ground. In total, the Falcons only allowed 169 yards offense, by far their best performance defensively this season and one of the best efforts in Air Force Football history.
Jordan Pierce was a big contributor on the day, sacking Army quarterback Angel Santiago twice and helping aggressive linemen Nick Fitzgerald and Troy Timmerman control the line of scrimmage taking away the running game Army has been able to establish all season. By controlling the ground game, the Falcons also had a huge time of possession advantage, holding the ball for 35 minutes and 59 seconds. That time of possession showed in the second half as Air Force ground down an Army defense that played an aggressive, disciplined game in the first half limiting the Falcons to 6 points and keeping the game close.
The Falcons also unleashed another offensive weapon in senior tight end Garrett Griffin. Griffin scored the first touchdown of the game early in the second half when he caught a quick hitting pass from quarterback Kale Pearson and outran the Army safety to go 54 yards for the touchdown that gave the Falcons a 13-3 lead. Griffin would add a second touchdown halfway through the fourth quarter from two yards to score the final points of the day in the game. Griffin, with 56 yards receiving and Jalen Robinette with 50 yards through the air helped the Falcons establish a passing game that Army could not contain. Once Air Force started moving the ball through the air, it opened up space for running back Jacobi Owens who would have a solid game himself rushing 27 times for 118 yards. Fullback Shayne Davern would add another 55 yards and Pearson added 41 yards on the ground to continue the balance Air Force has enjoyed on offense this season.
The victory secures another one of the main goals for the Air Force football team as it helped the Falcons become bowl eligible for the seventh time in Troy Calhoun's coaching history at Air Force . The Falcons improve to 6-2 on the season, putting them in a position to be invited to one of the Mountain West automatic bowl bids. The Falcons also complete a perfect 4-0 record in their non-conference schedule having swept the service academies for the first time since 2011. Air Force heads to Las Vegas next week to take on the UNLV Rebels in a conference match-up.