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Air Force Football: Mistakes plague Falcons in loss to Navy

Four first half turnovers doom the Air Force Falcons in Annapolis as they lose to Navy 33-11.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

For the second game in a row, sloppy play by the Air Force Falcons offense led to defeat, this time to the Navy Midshipmen by a score of 33-11. The Navy victory drops the Falcons to 2-2 overall, while Navy improves to 4-0 on the season. It also is a devastating blow in the race to maintain the Commander-in-Chief Trophy for Air Force. Navy and Air Force have dominated the competition for the trophy, and the winner of this game figured to win the trophy as Army is struggling in their season to this point.

Four turnovers and a turnover on downs on the Navy one-yard line were the key stats in the Navy running out to a 21-0 halftime lead. The Midshipmen would turn away fullback D.J. Johnson on a fourth and goal run to keep Air Force from answering a Chris Swain two-yard touchdown that opened the day's scoring. Keenan Reynolds, Navy's four year starter at quarterback, would not score a running touchdown in this game, but would throw a touchdown pass to Thomas Wilson to increase the lead to 14-0 after the goal line stand. Reynolds is chasing former Wisconsin running back Montee Ball for the career NCAA rushing touchdown record, but was extremely unselfish on his reads all day on the goal line. For Navy, a late run from the one by Desmond Brown would close out the scoring in the first half.

The difference in the game was quarterback play. Reynolds was nearly flawless in the game, putting the ball in the right position time after time. He also finished the game with 183 yards on the ground, including two huge runs the setup touchdowns for teammates later in the drive. On the other hand, Falcons quarterback Karson Roberts struggled with the pitch in the option game, twice pitching poorly to teammates that directly led to fumbles and turnovers. Roberts also threw an interception on a high throw and there was a fumble on a dive mesh that Roberts should have pulled early when the defensive tackle over-committed to the fullback. Since Roberts has taken over for injured Nate Romine, the Falcons offense has struggled in consistency and ball security. Roberts would improve again in the second half, rushing for a touchdown and a two-point conversion, but it again proved to be a frustrating game for the senior signal caller.

Going forward, the Falcons now have a huge game versus winless Wyoming Saturday evening in Colorado Springs. The Falcons have lost all momentum from their 2-0 start and with Roberts struggling at quarterback, a victory over the Cowboys is as close to a must game as you can get early in the season. Roberts has yet to win a game as a starting quarterback for Air Force, something that will start to weigh on the mind of the Falcons and the coaching staff going forward. A victory versus Wyoming can help ease those thoughts and get the Falcons back on track.