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Air Force Captures 20th Commander-in-Chief Trophy

With a stingy run defense and balanced offensive attack, the Air Force Falcons dominated Army 31-12 to capture its 20th Commander-in-Chief Trophy and a visit to the White House.

NCAA Football: Air Force at Army Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

To be a pilot in the United States Air Force, you have to be blessed with 20/20 vision. For the Air Force Falcons football team, the only vision of 20 they had today was on securing their 20th Commander-in-Chief trophy. Mission accomplished as Air Force played their best overall game of the year in a thorough 31-12 victory over the Army Black Knights. The victory not only secured the coveted military academy trophy, but also made Air Force bowl eligible with a 6-3 record overall.

The Air Force defense, much like they did versus Navy, rose to the challenge of stopping the nation’s second ranked rushing offense. Army came into the game averaging 342.4 yards a game on the ground, but the Falcons defense limited the Black Knights to 144 yards on the ground and would not allow the host team to get any kind of real momentum. The pass defense was also strong, holding Army talented senior wide receiver Edgar Poe to 3 catches for 46 yards and one touchdown. The secondary also produced big plays by coming up with end zone interceptions by Weston Steelhammer in the first half and Roland Ladipo in the second half. Both those interceptions were in huge situations where it looked like Army was going to either take the lead or capture serious momentum and make it a much tighter situation.

Offensively, the Falcons would start Arion Worthman at quarterback, and the sophomore would produce a very productive game with his athleticism making a big difference for Air Force. The question leading up to the game Saturday was how effective Worthman would be passing the ball, as he entered the game at Army with only one passing attempt. Worthman (6 of 9 for 195 yards and 1 touchdown) was able to make big plays with accurate throwing to soften up the Army offense and more importantly, get the ball into Air Force’s most talented players hands in Jalen Robinette, who would have all of his production in the first with three catches for over 104 yards in the game. Robinette was double teamed most of the day so the Falcons had to look for production from other places on the day. One of the biggest plays of the game was provided by Worthman early in the second half on a scramble and pass to senior running back Jacobi Owens, who snuck behind the defense and scored on a 46 yard reception to extend the Falcons lead to 17-6. It would prove to help keep the Falcons with a double digit lead most of the second hald an limit any Army comeback attempt.

Having accomplished two of the biggest team goals with today’s victory, the Falcons will now look to finish strong in Mountain West play. They will now host in-state rival Colorado State next Saturday in an 8:15 p.m. game on either ESPN2 or ESPNU. The Rams game, along with a visit to San Jose State and hosting Boise State will provide Air Force a chance to get their Mountain West record up over .500 as they currently stand at 2-3 in conference. Army will travel to San Antonio to take on Notre Dame in the Shamrock Series.