We were promised big hits and a higher level of intensity when rivals clash and Saturday Air Force and Army delivered in a game that would have made the fans of football in the 1930’s proud. The scoring didn’t come often, as both teams were held to less than twenty points, but came in a pattern that kept those watching invested until the very end.
Both academies traded punches early on in the game, both finding success with explosive runs coming in abundance between the twenty yard lines of the field, but when it came to finishing drives off with points neither school could quite figure out how to do so. The scoreless tie was broken after a 9 play 77 yard drive early in the second quarter that allowed for Jake Koehnke to drive a 20 yard field goal through the uprights for a 3-0 margin over Army. The Black Knights answered back with a nearly 7 minute drive of their own and was capped off by Jabari Laws’s two yard touchdown run, however Cole Talley was unable to add the point after touchdown leaving the score at 6-3 for the remainder of the first half.
That score would hold for a majority of the third quarter as the defensive battle brewed on the field, Air Force was able to break through with just 2 minutes left in the 3rd as Timothy Jackson scored his first touchdown of the game from 3 yards out, Air Force-10 Army-6. On the following offensive play for Army C. Harrison found Jabari Laws for an 87 yard touchdown pass giving the Black Knights a new found lead 13-10. To cap off the explosive sequence of offensive plays Air Force would retake the lead on the following possession as Joshua Stoner scored a 5 yard touchdown run giving us our final score of 17-13 Air Force over Army as the Falcons defense shutout the Black Knights for the remaining 13 minutes of play.
The win this past Saturday makes Air Force 7-2 overall 4-1 in the Mountain West still one spot below the Boise State Broncos on the Mountain side of the conference so a conference championship game appearance is still a very real goal for this Falcons team who has found their identity after the bad loss on the blue turf in Boise. Though the execution was not perfect on Saturday the offense still made enough plays between quarterbacks Donald Hammond III and Isaiah Sanders who both called signals for a portion of the game and found varying degrees of success, with the defensive effort of the past two week the Falcons have gone from a team who leans on outscoring the opponent to a team who can shut down the opposing offense. The focus of Air Force will be put to the test in the coming week’s game against the University of New Mexico Lobos in New Mexico in what looks to be a trap game on paper, but more on that coming Friday when I release the pre game blog. Until then have a good week.