Report Card: Army vs. Air Force

Air Force converted two turnovers into touchdowns to defeat Army 42-22 at Michie Stadium on Saturday. Tim Jefferson completed two long touchdown passes to Jonathan Warzeka to beat Army for the 20th time in the last 22 games. Air Force, which has already defeated Navy, won the service academy annual Commander-In-Chief's Trophy for the first time since 2002.



Air Force

Trent Steelman completed 6 of 12 passes for 81 yards. Just before the end of the first half Steelman badly missed Austin Barr who was open at the 50-yard line. Trent made a terrible decision to force a throw into coverage near the end of the first half that was picked off. The interception, his first this year, set up an Air force touchdown that gave the Falcons a 21-13 halftime lead. Steelman was lucky at least two other passes weren't picked. George Jordan made a nice catch on a seven yard out for a first down. Austin Barr, for the second week in a row, showed good concentration on a tipped ball when Steelman overthrew an open George Jordan and caught a 9-yard touchdown. Wide receiver Davyd Brooks had a nice catch and juke on a 22-yard catch that set up Army's second field goal. Jon Crucitti had two catches for 32 yards. Crucitti had a terrific catch on a wobbly duck from Steelman. Slot back Raymond Maples dropped a pass in the flat. The offensive line did a good job giving Steelman time.
Army ran for 261 yards and averaged 4.9 yards a carry while scoring a touchdown. Jared Hassin once again ran for over 100 yards getting 114 yards on 17 carries. Hassin ran hard and broke a number of tackles. Unfortunately his fumble popped directly into the arms of the Falcons linebacker Waiwaiole and was returned 52 yards for a touchdown and essentially ended Army hopes. Backup fullback Jacob Bohn made his one carry count as he ran over two Falcons defenders to score his first career touchdown on an 18-yard run. Trent Steelman ran for 65 yards on 11 carries. He struggled handling a few snaps. He showed good quickness on a 28-yard quarterback draw. Pat Mealy didn't find a lot of running room rushing for 39 yards as the Falcons took away the perimeter with their cover three and talented cornerbacks. Army's center Zac Peterson returned and did a solid job as the offensive line created running room for the B backs.
Army allowed Tim Jefferson to complete only 3-of-7 passes but two went for long touchdowns to Jonathan Warzeka that broke the game open. Josh McNary had to leave the game early with a sore hamstring and that hampered Army's usually strong pass rush. SAM safety Donnie Dixon had one of his best games with 12 tackles, a forced fumble and a huge hit on Jefferson that knocked him out of the game for a while in the first half. Dixon also nearly forced an interception on a blitz when Stephen Anderson dropped a wobbly floater from Jefferson. Anderson also knocked down another pass attempt. Donovan Travis, who had three tackles, was beaten by Warzeka on a 53-yard touchdown pass when he broke the wrong way then fell. Warzeka later victimized Jordan Trimble, who played cornerback this week, on a 63-yard bomb from Jefferson. Trimble took a horrible angle as Warzeka raced by him. Josh Jackson, who had 3 tackles, did a nice job in coverage but missed a few tackles.
This was a concern coming in as the Falcons are the nation's second leading rushing team. While the Black Knights held them below their season average, Air Force ran for 277 yards and 5.2 yards a carry. Stephen Anderson played well and had nine tackles. He had a tremendous highlight reel play when he leaped over the line to stuff the quarterback. Army fans will miss seeing Anderson's fire and determination at Michie. A.J. Mackey had seven tackles in his first career start and forced a fumble. Rover Steve Erzinger had six tackles. Nose tackle Mike Gann had five tackles and one for a loss. Army did miss too many tackles in the open field. Dixon and Jackson both missed Clark at the 10-yard line just before the end of the first half and his run to the two-yard line set up a touchdown instead of forcing the Falcons to settle for a field goal.
Alex Carlton had his best game of the season hitting all three field goal attempts including two from over 40 yards. Jonathan Bulls had a tremendous game averaging 42.2 yards per punt and placed all four punts inside the 20 with no return yards allowed. Josh Jackson had two punt returns for 16 yards. He missed a great opportunity at a run back when he fumbled Tim Jefferson's pooch punt. Kicker Matt Campbell had a nice touchdown saving tackle on a 41-yard Warzeka kickoff return. Army did an good job on all other kickoff returns
The Black Knights came out ready to play but were forced to settle for too many field goals. I was disappointed Ellerson chose to take the field goal rather than going for it on fourth-and-1 on the opening drive. Payam Saadat switched to a different flex look at times with two down linemen and with no nose tackle but it didn't work. Ian Shields decision to run three straight times near the end of third quarter before Carlton's 46-yard field goal was too conservative.
Arrny had it chances but two costly turnovers and two big plays gave the Falcons the victory. While Army is better its obvious that the Falcons possess better team speed and are the superior team.

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