With Veterans Day just around the corner, now is a great time of the year to see two service academies battle on the gridiron. This weekend features Air Force and Army playing a neutral-site game down in Texas. And for Air Force, this weekend offers an opportunity to win possession of the Commander-In-Chief's Trophy for the first time since 2016.
Already with a head-to-head victory over Navy earlier this season, Air Force can clinch sole possession of the three-way rivalry trophy with a victory over Army. The Black Knights currently maintain possession of the trophy and can move closer to holding on to the trophy for a third consecutive season by scoring a win against the Falcons.
Air Force vs. Army
When Air Force Has the Ball
As is to be expected when talking about service academy offenses, running the ball is the bulk of the game plan. And when Air Force hands the ball off, it is typically going to Brad Roberts, a senior from Colorado. Roberts has rushed for 943 yards and 13 touchdowns this season, putting him on pace for exceeding his 2021 season totals (he has already tied his 2021 touchdown total). Roberts has been held to fewer than 100 rushing yards twice this season, including last week against Boise State.
Army has struggled against the run this season. The Black Knights are ranked 126th in all of FBS against the run by allowing 212.4 rushing yards per game. Three opponents have rushed for over 200 yards in a game against Army this season; Coastal Carolina (263), Georgia State (299), and Wake Forest (221).
When Army Has the Ball
Not surprisingly, Army's offense is geared around the run as well. And statistically speaking, Army's offense has been a bit more successful than Air Force's this season. Army spreads the ball between players more though with Tyrell Robinson and Tyson Riley each having over 300 rushing yards this season and quarterback Tyhier Tyler adding 300-plus yards of his own on the ground. Tyler leads the team with six rushing touchdowns.
The big difference and advantage going for Air Force may be its defense. Air Force has played consistently better defense than Army has played this season, and arguably against a better overall strength of schedule.
You know what you are getting when two service academies take the field. Prepare for a quick and efficient matchup with rushing offenses on full display to keep the clock moving. But in the end, it will be the Air Force defense that gives the Falcons the upper hand as the Falcons celebrate by hoisting the Commander-In-Chief's Trophy on their shoulders in Arlington, Texas this weekend.
Prediction: Air Force 26, Army 20
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