The Army Black Knights (3-4) and Air Force Falcons (5-3) meet in Arlington, Texas for a Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy battle on Saturday after both had a bye week to prepare.
By Steve Wright
Here are the keys to an Army win over the Air Force Falcons:
Be The More Physical Team
Army is not as good in 2022 as it has been the last few years and Air Force – based on results to date – is the best of the three academies this season. That, however, often means nothing in these matchups, with the combination of similar styles of play and the extra boost of playing in a rivalry game considerably narrowing the gap between the two schools. Army knows that it needs to win this to stop Air Force from winning the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy before the Black Knights even get to face Navy. Expect this to be physical, rough, and a game where whichever team asserts dominance early wins.
Win the Turnover Battle
This is the No. 1 rushing offense in the country (Air Force at 336.8 yards per game) against the No. 2 rushing offense in the country (Army with 334.6 yards per game). That means these are ball-possession, clock-dominating offenses that can hit you with a quick run for six but are more likely to grind the ball down the field. That type of game amplifies turnovers, as there will be fewer possessions than in a normal contest. If either team sits at +2 or better in turnovers at the end of this one, then they will win.
Win on Fourth Down
Air Force is No. 8 in the nation on fourth down offensively and converts at 77%. Army is No. 55 in the country at 55% when attempting to convert on fourth down. The way these teams play – and the way these games go – converting on fourth and short to extend drives is critical to extend those drives, given the already mentioned limited possessions. The triple-option reads have to be perfect offensively on fourth down, while the defense will need to make a critical stop at some point to prevent an Air Force conversion.
Saturday’s game kicks off at 11:30 AM ET. You can watch this service academy battle on the CBS network.