Army Faces Air Force Saturday Afternoon

Trent Steelman

Trent Steelman

Nov. 1, 2012

WEST POINT, N.Y. - The Army football team will close out its abbreviated two-game homestand on Saturday, Nov. 3, when the Black Knights host service academy rival Air Force at Michie Stadium. Kickoff is slated for 12 p.m.

Army will celebrate 35 years of Women's Sports at West Point throughout the day, and members of the 1977-78 women's basketball team will be available in Black Knights Alley prior to the game for autographs and photographs. Additionally, an autograph session with members of the Army football team will be conducted inside Gate 1 following the game.

CBS Sports Network will broadcast Saturday's contest to a national audience with Ben Holden (play by play), Randy Cross (color analyst) and West Point Cadet Ted Kostich (sideline reporter) calling the action.

The Army Sports Network will have the audio call of the game on its flagship station WABC (770-AM), as well as WALL (1340-AM) and WEOK (1390-AM), SiriusXM Satellite Radio (Sirius channel 134/XM channel 193) and Knight Vision. Rich DeMarco (play by play), Dean Darling (color analyst) and Tony Morino (sideline reporter) will cover the game on the Army Sports Network.

Live statistics for the contest will be offered via GameTracker by logging onto Army's official athletics website (www.goARMYsports.com). In-game Twitter updates will also be provided from the Black Knights' official football handle (@Army_Football). A live blog will also be provided.

Saturday's tilt will feature the nation's top two rushing offenses with Army (383.1) and Air Force (366.2) listing first and second, respectively, in rushing yards per game. The Black Knights piled up 341 yards rushing in last week's 30-22 setback to Ball State. The Falcons totaled 461 yards on the ground in their 48-31 victory versus Nevada.

Senior quarterback Trent Steelman ran for 101 yards, and sophomore fullback Hayden Tippett rushed for a career-high 100 yards and one touchdown last week, but Ball State grabbed an early 14-0 lead and never trailed en route to the victory. Army (1-7) has lost three straight games since upsetting Boston College on Oct. 6.

Senior running back Wes Cobb ran for a career-best 152 yards and one TD, and senior quarterback Connor Dietz accounted for 207 yards of total offense and three scores to help Air Force to its third consecutive victory. The Falcons (5-3) have won four of their last five games after beginning the season 1-2.

Army head coach Rich Ellerson, who is in his fourth season at West Point, owns a 16-29 record as the Black Knights mentor. Ellerson, who is 0-3 all-time versus Air Force, boasts a 76-70 career record.

Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun, who is in his sixth season directing the Falcons, carries a 46-27 career record into Saturday's contest. Calhoun, who previously served as an assistant coach in the National Football League, is a perfect 5-0 all-time versus Army.

Army and Air Force will be meeting for the 47th time when the two rival service academies collide on Saturday. The Falcons, who have won the last six meetings, lead the all-time series, 32-13-1. The Black Knights' most recent win dates back to a 24-17 road victory in 2005. Army has not defeated Air Force at West Point since posting a 23-7 triumph in 1996.

Army's prolific rushing attack is paced by junior running back Raymond Maples, who leads Army and ranks 27th nationally with 104.2 yards per game. Steelman, meanwhile, lists second on the team and 29th nationally at 101.2 yards per contest.

Steelman is also completing 45.5 percent of his passes for 394 yards and one touchdown. One of his favorite targets in the passing game is sophomore wide receiver Chevaughn Lawrence, who paces the Black Knights with 13 receptions for 227 yards. Junior wide receiver Patrick Laird ranks second on the team with eight receptions and 101 receiving yards.

Army's defense, which is yielding nearly 460 yards of total offense and more than 36 points per game this season, will try to limit an Air Force offense that is racking up more than than 480 yards of total offense and better than 34 points per contest.

Sophomore linebacker Geoffery Bacon leads Army's defense with 87 tackles. He enters the weekend ranked sixth nationally in tackles per game (10.88). Freshman safety Brandon Fusilier-Jeffires lists second on the squad with 59 tackles. Senior linebacker Nate Combs, who has missed the last two games due to an injury, continues to top the squad with six sacks and nine tackles for loss.

Dietz, who directs the Air Force offense, has produced 1,374 yards of total offense and 11 touchdowns this season. The fourth-year signal caller is completing 63.2 percent of his passes for 847 yards and seven scores. He is also the team's second-leading rusher, having piled up 527 yards and four TDs on the ground.

Senior running back Cody Getz, who missed the Nevada game due to injury, leads the Falcons and ranks fourth nationally with 132.6 yards per game. Getz also paces Air Force with eight rushing touchdowns.

Junior wide receiver Ty MacArthur paces the Air Force receiving corps with 18 catches for 346 yards. Senior wide out Drew Coleman (eight catches, 215 receiving yards) leads the contingent with three touchdown receptions.

The Falcons' defense is allowing 421.5 yards of total offense and 27.5 points per game this season. Senior linebacker Austin Niklas leads Air Force with 75 tackles and lists third on the team with four tackles for loss. Senior linebacker Alex Means tops the squad with 7.5 tackles for loss and two sacks.

Following Saturday's tilt versus Air Force, Army will make the short trek to Piscataway, N.J., to face Rutgers on Saturday, Nov. 10. The kickoff time from High Point Solutions Stadium will be determined either Saturday night or Sunday morning.

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