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Three Keys: Army at Air Force

Army travels to Colorado on Saturday to take on Air Force in the Black Knights first Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy contest of the season. Air Force is 5-3, but they already have a loss in play for the trophy as they lost 33-11 to Navy earlier in the season.

Army may be the best two win team in the country as the Black Knights have lost a string of heartbreakers late in games. Coming out of the bye week this would be the perfect time for the Black Knights to start to close out games and set up a winner takes all clash with Navy later in the year.

With that being said here are the three keys to Army’s clash with the Falcons:

1) Offense and defense together

One of the confounding aspects of this Army team is how at times in 2015 both the offense and the defense have had their moments to shine. In games against Penn State and UConn especially the defense held up while the offense went missing. Against Rice and Fordham it was the other way round with the offense firing and the defense failing to stop the opposition time after time. If Army can get productive performances from both units this weekend then the Black Knights will have a chance to win. Unless the special teams fall apart again in which case all bets are off.

2) Win the turnover battle

The offense is still giving the ball away too much while the defense is not generating enough turnovers on the back end. If Army defenders had been able to convert every pass they got their hands on into turnovers this year then this would not even be an issue. As it is the offense is fumbling the ball away with regularity, be it from bad ball position or poor option decision making, while the defense has generally been unable to pick up that slack. Generating a couple of turnovers in this game would go a long way toward giving Army a shot at an upset.

3) Win the rushing battle

This is one of the few times in a season where Army is facing a squad that rushes the ball as proficiently as the Black Knights. Air Force ranks second nationally in rushing yards per game at 353.4 while Army sits at seventh in the same category at 274.1 yards per contest. Interestingly the yards per attempt is more even, with Army rushing for 5.2 yards per carry and Air Force sitting at 5.5 yards per tote of the rock. If Army is to win this game the rushing game will have to be dominant. The fullbacks will have to play their best game of the year and whoever is quarterbacking will have to make fast decisions on the option. 

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