Three Game Keys: Army

While the postseason will not be a part of their immediate future, the Air Force Falcons will look to finish the year in style and turn around what has been a disappointing season. Bagging a win over a service academy rival will give Troy Calhoun's team a meaningful achievement in 2013. Here are three keys to a successful day against Army and a happy postgame locker room in Colorado Springs:


1) The first key for Air Force is to limit Army's time of possession. While you would think two triple-option offenses would be close in this department, the reality is that Air Force is only 74th in the nation. On the flip side, Army is 17th. In a game where neither offense is the quick-strike type, controlling the ball and moving the chains should be huge. Air Force has to find a way to maintain possession and not be on the defensive the whole game versus a team that can dominate in that facet of football. Time of possession doesn't matter for all teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision; just ask Oregon or Baylor. However, this remains relevant for Air Force and Army.

2) The second key for Air Force is to pin Army deep and make the Black Knights earn whatever points they get. Army truly has one of the worst special teams units in the nation. There are 125 FBS teams in the nation. Not one of them is worse at returning kickoffs than Army, according to the NCAA's current collection of statistics for the 2013 season. The Black Knights also are one of the worst punt return teams in the country. The harsh reality for Army head coach Rich Ellerson is that his special teams units rarely ever set up the Black Knights with good field position. Air Force has to take advantage of a weakness like that and keep Army from generating short fields.

3) The third and final key is getting a quick start. Army has the top rushing attack in America. On top of the time of possession battle, it is important for any Army opponent to get the Black Knights out of their element. If Army is playing when ahead, its ability to run the ball will make life very difficult for the Falcons as they attempt to play from behind. Army would like nothing more than to get up on Air Force and drain the clock. If Air Force can start fast, however, the Falcons can take away that scenario.

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