WEST POINT, N.Y. - The Army football team will begin its quest for the 2010 Commander in Chief's Trophy this Saturday when the Black Knights host service-academy rival Air Force at Michie Stadium. Kickoff for the game is set for noon.
The Army Athletic Association will be honoring the 1985 Peach Bowl team during the game and the first 5,000 ticketed fans will receive a print of the official team photo upon entering the stadium gates.
The game will be televised nationally on CBS College Sports Network with Dave Ryan (play by play), Jason Sehorn (color analyst) and Cadet Sam Roddy (sideline reporter) calling the action. A live video stream of the broadcast will be available via CBS College Sports XXL (www.cbssports.com).
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), Sirius Satellite Radio (channel 152) and ITT 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.
Army (5-3) comes into Saturday's showdown fresh off a 29-7 defeat of VMI. The Black Knights rolled up 316 yards rushing against the Keydets, en route to their fourth double-digit victory of the season. Army has alternated wins and losses over its last five games, but the Black Knights will look to buck that trend and make it two wins in a row on Saturday.
Air Force (5-4) has dropped three straight games as it enters this weekend's action. The Falcons' most recent loss was a 28-23 setback to nationally-ranked Utah last Saturday night. Three of Air Force's four losses this season have come against teams currently ranked in the top 10 of the BCS standings (Oklahoma, TCU and Utah).
Army head coach Rich Ellerson is in his second season leading the Black Knights. He has guided Army to a 5-3 mark through eight games this season after posting a 5-7 record last year. Ellerson, who currently holds a 10-10 mark at West Point, has Army one win away of bowl eligibility for the first time since 1996.
Troy Calhoun is in his fourth season as the head coach at Air Force. He has led the Falcons to a 30-18 record since taking over the reins of the program. His Air Force teams have never lost to Army, going 3-0 versus the Black Knights since becoming head coach prior to the 2007 campaign. Calhoun has guided Air Force to bowl games in each of his first three seasons.
Army and Air Force have met 44 times previously in a series that dates back to 1959. The Falcons have enjoyed the upper hand against the Black Knights over the years, having compiled a 30-13-1 all-time record in the series. Air Force has won the last four meetings, including last season's 35-7 decision at USAFA, Colo. Army's last victory over Air Force was a 27-24 victory during the 2005 season.
Army's offense has been piling up the points all season long and the Black Knights enter Saturday's showdown versus Air Force averaging 30.4 points per game. Army continues to do most of its damage on the ground via its triple option attack. The Black Knights rank seventh nationally in rushing yards per game, averaging 281.4 yards per contest.
Army has surpassed the 200-yard plateau in each of its eight games this season, including three 300-yard performances. Sophomore quarterback Trent Steelman, who has rushed for 499 yards and a team-best nine touchdowns through eight games, leads the Black Knights' offense.
Sophomore fullback Jared Hassin, who has posted three consecutive 100-yard rushing efforts, tops Army with 669 rushing yards and lists second on the team with eight rushing touchdowns. Hassin, who is averaging a team-best 83.6 yards per game, ran for a career-high 158 yards last week versus VMI.
Army has already scored 26 rushing touchdowns through eight games after finishing 2009 with just 13 ground scores.
Steelman, who has thrown for another four scores, has improved as a passer during his second season in Ellerson's offensive system. His top target when he drops back to pass is junior wide receiver Austin Barr, who enters Saturday's contest versus Air Force leading the Black Knights in receptions (11), receiving yards (154) and receiving touchdowns (two).
Hassin has proved himself to be a viable option in the passing game as well, listing second on the squad with nine receptions and 127 receiving yards. Junior wide receiver Davyd Brooks (seven receptions, 93 yards) and sophomore wide out George Jordan (six receptions, 62 yards) have been key contributors in the passing offense as well.
The Air Force offense is led by its prolific triple option attack, which ranks second in the country with 313.6 rushing yards per game. The Falcons' offense, which averages 29.1 points per game, is directed by junior quarterback Tim Jefferson. The third-year signal caller has thrown for 1,086 yards and seven touchdowns and rushed for 570 yards and nine TDs.
Junior running back Asher Clark tops the Falcons in rushing, averaging 81.7 yards per game with three touchdowns. Air Force has scored 27 rushing touchdowns this season, with eight different Falcons running to paydirt.
Junior wide receiver Jon Warzeka (13 receptions, 232 yards) and senior tight end Chaz Demerath (13 catches, 193 yards) are the Falcons' leading pass catchers. Senior wide out Kyle Halderman (10 receptions, 206 yards) has been a threat in the passing game as well.
Army's defense, which held VMI to just seven points last week, is allowing a mere 21.8 points per game this fall. The Black Knights defense is an opportunistic unit that ranks fifth nationally in turnover margin (1.25) and 22nd in the country in turnovers gained (18).
Senior linebacker Stephen Anderson leads the Black Knights' defense with 56 tackles, including six tackles for loss. Junior linebacker Steve Erzinger lists second on the team with 50 tackles, while senior defensive end Josh McNary tops the team with 12 tackles for loss and 9.5 quarterback sacks.
The Air Force defense is yielding 22.4 points per contest and 369.4 yards of total offense per game. The Falcons' defensive unit is led by junior defensive back Jon Davis, who has recorded a team-best 73 tackles on the season.
Following Saturday's contest versus Air Force, Army returns to the road for its final three contests of the season. The Black Knights begin their road swing with a pivotal game at Kent State on Nov. 13.