• Graham Knight

Air Force Can Claim CIC With Win Over Army

by Graham Knight

For the Air Force Falcons, the stakes couldn’t be higher heading into the Commander's Classic against Army.

With their win against Navy, a victory over the Black Knights would secure them the Commander in Chief’s Trophy for the first time for this senior class. Plus, it's a chance to avenge a hard-fought 10-7 loss to Army to end last season.

That game last year was decided in the final 73 seconds, so the Falcons have had a year to think about what might have been.

Option offense versus option offense means sustained drives and holding onto the ball, and a history of low-scoring contests.

"I think part of it, there aren’t as many possessions, you know, when you play a game," Air Force Head Coach Troy Calhoun said.

In fact, both Army and Air Force are in the top three in the nation in time of possession.

And, don’t think Coach Calhoun and Falcons didn’t notice that Wake Forest hung 70 on Army two weeks ago.

A still image from stock video of the Commander In Chief's Trophy with the US Air Force Academy's section of the trophy facing the camera.
The Commander In Chief's Trophy is awarded annually to the Service Academy team with the best record among the three Division I academies. Air Force has won the trophy 20 times in its 50-year history.

"Clearly, we’ve looked at that film from every angle that you can get," Calhoun said, "and to see what maybe you can pull and maybe what wouldn’t fit."

Coming off a tough loss themselves -- to San Diego State -- the bye week came at a good time for the Falcons.

"I think it’s good for your team, not only for this game, but I think there are some things that are building a little bit of camaraderie and interaction that helps you down the road, too," Calhoun said.

But, make no mistake about it, winning the CIC is motivation enough.

"For sure, that’s definitely a big one for me," said Jordan Jackson, the Falcons' senior defensive tackle. "That’s something that, [when] you come here, you want all four years that you’re here. So, not getting it once and now getting a shot to go get it is definitely big for us. It’s a whole new week and there’s a championship to be won this week."

The neutral site aspect of things adds another level of excitement for the teams and service academy football fans.

"If there’s an event, there’s an outing," Calhoun said, "where a good number of our service members are able to go there and you provide them a little bit of joy for one day, makes it even better."

Quarterback Haaziq Daniels was injured in the loss to the Aztecs, but coach Calhoun says all three of his signal callers have practiced so far this week. Daniels might have a little more to prove than most: He threw 3 interceptions in last year’s game against the Black Knights.

edited for web by Joe Harman