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Army Football Game Notes: The Air Force Game

WEST POINT, N.Y. - The Army football team makes its final appearance of the season at Michie Stadium this Saturday when it hosts service-academy rival Air Force. Kickoff is set for 12 p.m., and the game will be broadcast live on CBS College Sports Network.

TELEVISION
CBS College Sports Network

  Play-by-Play: Dave Ryan
  Color Analyst: Jason Sehorn
  Cadet Sideline Reporter: Sam Roddy
  Channel Lineup: Time Warner Cable (Newburgh, N.Y.) -- 457; DirecTV -- 613; Dish Network -- 152

ARMY RADIO
Army Sports Network

  Flagship: WABC (770-AM, New York, N.Y.)
  Affiliates: WALL (1340-AM, Middletown, N.Y.);  
  WEOK (1390-AM, Poughkeepsie, N.Y.)
Play-by-Play: Rich DeMarco
Color Analyst: Dean Darling
Sideline: Tony Morino
Program Host: Bob Outer, John Minko

The 90-minute “Army Football Tailgate Show,” begins at 10 a.m.. Pre-game coverage starts at 11:30 a.m.

ARMY SPANISH RADIO
Army Sports Network

   WNSW (1430 AM, Newark, N.J.)
Play-by-Play: Clemson Smith Muniz
Color Analyst: Kenny Garay

SATELLITE RADIO
The Army Sports Network game broadcast will be carried via Sirius Satellite Radio (channel 152)  and beginning at 12 p.m.

INTERNET STREAMING
The entire Army Sports Network broadcast, including the “Army Football Tailgate Show,” will be streamed live (audio) via ITT Knight Vision on www.goARMYsports.com each week. Subscription fees apply.

On Tuesdays of game weeks, Rich Ellerson’s weekly press conference will be video streamed live on ITT Knight Vision. Thursday’s “This Week in Army Football,” show will also be video streamed live. Both events are available only to ITT Knight Vision subscribers.

COACHING MATCH UP
ARMY HEAD COACH RICH ELLERSON

  Alma Mater: Hawai’i, 1977
  2nd Season at Army (10-10, .500)
  11th Season Overall (70-51, .579)
  Record vs. Air Force: 0-1

AIR FORCE COACH TROY CALHOUN
  Alma Mater: Air Force, 1989
  4th Season at Air Force (30-18, .625)
  4th Season Overall (30-18, .625)
  Record vs. Army: 3-0

ARMY QUICK HITTERS
Army improved to 5-3 with its 29-7 victory over VMI last week. The win matched last season’s win total and marked the first time since 1995 (5-5-1) and 1996 (10-2) that Army has won at least five games in consecutive seasons. If the Black Knights can win one of their next three games (Air Force, at Kent State, vs. Notre Dame), Army will be bowl eligible for the first time since the 1996 team earned a berth in the Independence Bowl. The annual Army-Navy game presented by USAA does not count toward bowl eligibility due its Dec. 11 date, one week after the BCS and bowl selections.

The Black Knights are trying to stop a number of losing streaks against Air Force. Army has lost four straight overall to the Falcons and six consecutive outings versus Air Force at Michie Stadium. Army is also trying to stop a nine-game losing streak to its fellow service academies. The Black Knights’ last win in CIC Trophy play was a 27-24 win at Air Force on Nov. 5, 2005.

Air Force can claim its first Commander In Chief’s Trophy since 2002 with a win over Army on Saturday. The Falcons defeated Navy on Oct. 2, 14-6. The win stopped the Mids’ 15-game winning streak in service academy play and denied Navy its eighth straight outright CIC Trophy. An Army win on Saturday would give the Black Knights a chance to claim their first CIC Trophy since 1996 when they take on Navy on Dec. 11 at Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field.

Saturday’s game features two of the top rushing offenses in the nation. Army ran for a season-high 316 yards in its win over VMI and now ranks seventh in the country at 281.4 rushing yards per game. The Falcons boast the nation’s second-best rushing offense, averaging 313.56 yards per game. Army has run for 26 touchdowns in 2010, while the Falcons have scored 27 times on the ground. The Black Knights and Falcons are two of only eight teams in the nation to have as many as 26 rushing scores.

Sophomore FB Jared Hassin has been Army’s top runner in the last three games, topping the 100-yard mark in each of those contests. In the win over VMI, Hassin gained a career-high 154 yards and a touchdown on only 14 carries. A 100-yard game on Saturday would match the Academy record accomplished nine times by five different players. Hassin is Army’s leading rusher with 669 yards (83.6/game). His eight rushing touchdowns rank second on the team behind QB Trent Steelman (9).

The Army defense is ranked 17th in the nation, allowing 313.9 yards per game. The Black Knights’ boast the 27th-best rushing defense (117.75) and have limited six of their eight opponents to less than 125 yards on the ground. Army has held four opponents to less than 100 yards rushing in 2010.

A WIN VS. AIR FORCE WOULD ...
• Give the Black Knights six wins for the first time since the 1996 squad went 10-2
• Snap Army’s four-game losing streak versus Air Force
• End Army’s nine-game losing streak in Commander In Chief’s Trophy games
• Stop Air Force’s six-game winning streak at Michie Stadium
• Assure at least the first three-way tie in the CIC standings (Air Force previously defeated Navy) since 1993 and set up a chance for Army to win their first CIC Trophy since 1996.
• Put Army three games above the .500 mark for the first time since the 1996 team ended the year 10-2
• Improve head coach Rich Ellerson’s record at Army to 11-10
• End Army’s home season with a 3-2 record
• Be Army’s first victory over a team with a winning record since a 38-10 win against Arkansas State (5-4) on Nov. 19, 2005 (lost 21 straight vs. teams with a winning record)
• Be the 648th win in the 121 seasons of Army football (647-458-51; .581).

SCOUTING THE FALCONS
1989 Air Force Academy graduate Troy Calhoun is in his fourth season leading the Falcons. Calhoun has posted a 30-18 mark through three-plus seasons and has guided Air Force to bowl appearances in each of his first three seasons.

After a 28-23 loss to eighth-ranked Utah last week, the Falcons have dropped three straight games. The streak started with a 27-25 loss at San Diego State which was followed by a 38-7 defeat at the hands of TCU.

The Falcons nearly pulled off the upset last week, but the Utes forced five turnovers and stopped the Falcons on downs twice in the fourth quarter to preserve their win. Utah led 28-10 in the final stanza, but QB Tim Jefferson busted loose for a 59-yard touchdown run and threw a 49-yard pass to Kyle Halderman with 10:22 left.  The two-point coversion was no good to keep the Utes’ lead at five points where it would remain.  Jefferson completed eight of his 13 throws for 201 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. He was also the team’s leading rusher with 67 yards and a score. The Utes limited the Falcons to only 210 yards on the ground, more than 100 yards below their season average.

Offensively, the Falcons have utilized their option offense to the tune of 313.6 rushing yards per game, the nation’s second-best average. Air Force is also throwing for 123.4 yards per game and rank 26th in the country with 437.00 yards of total offense per game. Running back Asher Clark is the team’s leading rusher with 735 yards in nine games (81.7/game). Jefferson is next on the list with 570 yards and a team-leading nine rushing touchdowns. Fullback Jared Tew ran for 540 yards in the first seven games, but is currently sidelined with a broken bone in his leg. Eight different players have at least one rushing touchdown, including seven Falcons with at least two rushing scores.

Jefferson has completed 59 of 117 passes (50.4 pct.) for 1,086 yards, seven touchdowns and six interceptions. His favorite targets are Jon Warzeka and Chas Demerath who each have 13 receptions. Halderman has 10 receptions, averaging a team-best 20.6 yards per catch. Halderman, Demerath and Zack Kauth have each caught two touchdowns, while Warzeka has one.

Defensively, the Falcons’ 3-4 alignment is allowing 369.44 yards and 22.44 points per contest. Jon Davis leads the team with 73 total tackles and ranks second on the squad with two interceptions. Jordan Waiwaiole has 64 tackles and is tied for the team lead with 2.0 sacks. Pat Hennessey has made a team-leading 7.0 tackles behind the line of scrimmage, while Reggie Rembert has collected a team-best three interceptions.

In addition to his offensive prowess, Warzeka is also a threat in the return game. He ranks sixth in the nation, averaging 29.4 yards per return. He returned a kick 100 yards for a touchdown versus Colorado State. Air Force is also adept at covering punts, ranking 21st in the nation in net punting (39.10) and 18th in the nation in punt return yardage defense (5.29). Erik Soderberg has hit 5 of 9 field goals, but is 0 for 3 from 40-or-more yards out.

THE ARMY-AIR FORCE SERIES
Air Force leads the all-time series with the Black Knights, 30-13-1. The two teams first met in 1959 and have played annually since 1971.

Army is 9-11 all-time against Air Force at Michie Stadium. The series is tied at 1-1-1 at neutral sites. The Black Knights and Falcons squared off at Yankee Stadium in 1959 and Soldier Field in Chicago in 1963 and 1965. The Falcons own a decided advantage on their home field, winning 18 of the previous 21 meetings in Colorado. One of Army’s three victories at Falcon Stadium was in 2005, the Black Knights’ last win in the series.

Most of the last several meetings have been lopsided affairs. Only one of the last 15 games has been decided by a touchdown or less (27-24 Army win in 2005), and only three games in that span have had a single-digit margin of victory (31-22 Air Force in 2004; 27-24 Army in 2005; Air Force 16-7 in 2008).

THE LAST MEETING - AIR FORCE 35, ARMY 7 (NOV. 7, 2009)
USAFA, Colo.  — Air Force broke open a 7-7 halftime tie with 28 unanswered points to score a 35-7 victory over Army at Falcon Stadium. Army outgained the Falcons 138-39, including a 127-4 rushing advantage, in the first half, but Air Force turned the tables in the second half with a 252-98 advantage in total yards which included a 156-65 advantage on the ground. The Falcons ended the game with a 291-236 total offense advantage, while the Black Knights outrushed the Falcons 192-160. Air Force entered the game ranked fourth in the nation with 275.56 rushing yards per contest.
  
Asher Clark’s 36-yard touchdown run on Air Force’s first possession of the second half started the Falcons’ run. Air Force tacked on a 73-yard touchdown pass from Tim Jefferson to Kevin Fogler in the third quarter, a two-yard Jefferson touchdown run and an eight-yard Clark scoring jaunt in the fourth quarter.
  
Trent Steelman accounted for Army’s lone touchdown with a 42-yard run in the first quarter. Steelman led the Black Knights with 102 yards on 18 carries to become the first Army rookie quarterback to rush for more than 100 yards in a game. Steelman completed 2-of-6 passes for 17 yards.
  
Stephen Anderson had a career-high 16 tackles, including 2.5 for loss before suffering a season-ending knee injury. Andrew Rodriguez also posted a career best with 14 stops. Josh McNary added a sack to both his Academy single-season (11.5) and career (17.0) records.
  
Jared Tew ran 25 times for 102 yards to pace the Falcons. Clark added 82 yards and two scores on 13 attempts. Jefferson complted 4-of-7 throws for 131 yards and a score. Fogler caught three of those passes for 129 yards and a touchdown. .
  
John Falgout and Justin Moore both reached double-digit tackles for the Falcons with 14 and 11 stops, respectively.

KEEPING YOUR BALANCE

Army has had five different players lead the team in rushing this season. Sophomore FB Jared Hassin is the only player to do it more than once, topping the list four times, including the last three games.

Hassin and sophomore QB Trent Steelman each cracked the 100-yard mark against Rutgers. It was the first time that two Army players rushed for 100  yards in the same game since Joe Gerena (122) and Brandan Rooney (115) versus Ball State on Sept. 25, 1999. Army almost did it again against VMI. Hassin had 154 yards and senior SB Patrick Mealy posted 97 rushing yards.

In the opener at Eastern Michigan, Army had four different players run for a minimum of 60 yards. It was the first time Army had four players each record at least 60 yards in the same game since Sept. 13, 1997 versus Lafayette. It was the first time the Black Knights accomplished that feat against a Football Bowl Subdivision team since Oct. 1, 1994 at Wake Forest.

Six different players have scored rushing touchdowns for the Black Knights, surpassing last season’s total. Five of those players have multiple rushing scores.

QUALITY, NOT QUANTITY
While Army has only completed 42 passes through eight games (5.3/game) and ranks last in the nation with only 73.5 passing yards per game, the Black Knights have been effective when throwing the ball.

Of Army’s 42 completions, 31 of them have accounted for first downs and/or touchdowns. 

SCORING SIX IN SIX STRAIGHT
Trent Steelman has scored at least one rushing touchdown in each of Army’s last six games. He is one of only four Army players to accomplish that feat since 1945.

Steelman is the first Army player to reach the end zone on a running play in at least six straight games since Mike Mayweather did it six games in a row during the 1988 season.

THE MAGIC NUMBER
Army won its 11th straight game when holding an opponent to 14 points or less in its 29-7 win over VMI. The last time the Black Knights allowed 14-or-fewer points and lost was Sept. 2, 2006 in a 14-6 loss at Arkansas State. Since 2000, Army is 14-2 when holding opponents to no more than 14 points.

Army’s win at Eastern Michigan marked the first time the Black Knights won a game when giving up at least 27 points since a 34-27 victory over Massachusetts on Nov. 12, 2005. Army had lost 25 straight games when allowing 27-or-more points.

After their 23-20 loss at Rutgers, the Black Knights are 19-104 since 1996 when allowing opponents to score 18-or-more points. In that same span, Army is 28-7 when the opponent tallies 17 or less.

UP NEXT ...

The Black Knights start their stretch of three straight games away from West Point when they travel to Kent State.



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