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Air Force Football: Navy Week Starts 45th Commander-In-Chief Trophy Mission

The Air Force Falcons face the Navy Midshipmen this Saturday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. in Colorado Springs on CBS Sports Network. This game is a match-up of the two teams that have won the last 19 Commander-In-Chief trophies.

Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

Navy week.

That is about as complex as it needs to get this week for the Air Force Falcons as they prepare for the first leg of the Commander-in-Chief Trophy duals. It's the Navy Midshipmen who are coming to Colorado Springs this Saturday afternoon in the first of three big games to decide the champion of the military academy football teams. It's a battle between the two teams who have combined to win the last 19 trophies in this 44 year old tradition.  This game doesn't get its own day like Army vs. Navy, but it has been the game for the past 20 years, and even with Army's 3-1 start, anyone who is paying attention knows that this is the game that will more than likely decide the fate of the trophy which currently resides in Annapolis with the Midshipmen.

There are some significant changes in this year's game compared to the last few times these two teams have met on the gridiron. The first is that Navy superstar quarterback Keenan Reynolds is finally graduated after what seems like an eight-year enlistment. Reynolds has been a huge factor in the last four games and watching senior quarterback Will Worth under center for Navy will be a strange sight. For the Falcons, it will be the first opportunity for senior quarterback Nate Romine to face the Midshipmen. Romine will lead a group of 32 seniors into the game that are hungry to recapture the trophy that they won in 2014 but lost last year in part to Romine's injury two weeks before the Navy game.

These teams are so similar that this game will come down to what it came down to last season, turnovers. The Falcons committed four costly turnovers to help Navy secure a 33-11 victory in a rainy Saturday afternoon game in Annapolis last year. The turnover battle will be a major key this season, because coming into this game statistically, the Falcons and the Midshipmen could switch uniforms and people might not be able to tell the difference. Here is a statistical breakdown of the two teams in some key areas:

Air Force (3-0)

Navy (3-0)

Points (PPG)

112 (37.3)

101 (33.7)

Rushing Yards (Avg.)

1078 (359.3)

949 (316.3)

Rush Yards Allowed (Avg.)

155 (51.7)

492 (164.0)

Passing Yards (Avg.)

381 (127.0)

312 (104.0)

Passing Yards Allowed (Avg.)

773 (257.7)

587 (195.7)

Fumbles -€” Lost

7-2

5-3

Third Downs

53% (25-47)

37% (15-41)

Third Downs Allowed

43% (21-49)

37% (15-41)

Time of Possession

36:44

30:12

The statistics tend to favor Air Force, and the Falcons also enjoy home field advantage. In breaking down the two teams, the Falcons also have the better victory with a road win over Utah State last week 27-20. Navy's best win so far this season is a 28-24 home victory over Connecticut, which currently has a record of 2-2 and had a hard time with Maine, a FCS school. On the other hand, head coach Troy Calhoun has struggled with his team's match-ups against Navy as he sports a record of 3-6 against the Midshipmen. Saturday's contest will be an entertaining ball game that will feature a lot of option attack and intense competition. I am predicting an Air Force victory of 31-21 over Navy.