Air Force Scores 24-14 Comeback Victory

Davyd Brooks celebrates with Larry Dixon following his first quarter scoring run.

Davyd Brooks celebrates with Larry Dixon following his first quarter scoring run.

Nov. 5, 2011

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USAFA, Colo. - Army jumped out to a 14-0 first-quarter lead, but Air Force scored 24 straight unanswered points in the second half to claim a 24-14 win at Falcon Stadium on Saturday. The victory clinched the Falcons' (5-4) second straight Commander In Chief's Trophy.

Army (3-6) had two chances to extend their lead in the second quarter, but was stopped on fourth down from the 1-yard line and fumbled the ball at the 1-yard line with 25 seconds left in the half. The ball went out of the back of the end zone for a touchback.

Turnovers continued to plague Army in the second half. Three straight fumbles led to 13 of Air Force's 24 points in the second half. Army was on the short end of a 5-2 turnover margin, dropping their record to 9-41 in the last 50 games with more giveaways on Sept. 20, 2007.

As a team, Army's top-ranked rushing attack gained 340 yards, its eighth 300-yard game of the season, but only 54 of those yards came in the second half.

Sophomore RB Raymond Maples led the Black Knights with 132 yards on 17 carries, his fifth 100-yard game in the last six outings. Maples is the 13th Army player to post at least five 100-yard games in a season, and the first since Collin Mooney in 2008. The fullback tandem of junior Jared Hassin (14-68) and freshman Larry Dixon (11-42) combined for 110 yards on 25 carries.

Senior QB Max Jenkins was 2-for-19 passing for 26 yards and an interception. Jenksin ran 12 times for 38 yards and a score, playing every offensive snap for the first time in his career.

The Black Knights outgained the Falcons, 366-301, including a 340-179 edge on the ground. Air Force gained 220 of their yards, including 123 rushing yards, in the second half.

Air Force QB Tim Jefferson accounted for 188 yards of total offense with 66 yards and two touchdowns on the ground and 122 yards on 6-of-12 passing. Asher Clark ran for a team-high 78 yards.

Sophomore DL Holt Zalneraitis paced the Army defense with a career-high eight tackles. Junior DE Zach Watts notched a career-high 2.0 tackles for loss, including the Black Knights' only sack. Senior LB Steven Erzinger and junior DB Kyler martin both recorded fumble recoveries, while sophomore DE Clayton Keller forced an Air Force fumble.

Brady Amack led five Air Force players in double figures with 14 total stops. Jon Davis accounted for 12 tackles, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and an interception.

Army took the opening possession and marched 81 yards on 12 rushing plays. Jenkins capped the drive with a one-yard plunge. Alex Carlton's extra point put Army on top 7-0 with 9:19 left in the opening quarter. Maples led the offense on the drive, rushing four times for 29 yards, while Hassin added 28 yards on just three carries.

The Black Knights forced the Falcons to punt on their first possession and drove to the Air Force 20-yard line. The Falcon defense held on 4th-and-2, setting up the Air Force offense at its own 19-yard line.  On the first play, Jefferson mishandled the exchange and Erzinger fell on the ball to give Army a first down at the Air Force 18-yard line with 2:37 left in the first quarter.

The Army offense took advantage, needing only two plays to score its second touchdown of the quarter. After a five-yard run by Maples, Dixon sprinted 13 yards up the middle to extend Army's advantage. The extra point made it 14-0 with 1:58 left in the first.

After Air Force picked up a first down, the Black Knights' defense, aided by an illegal motion penalty on 3rd-and-1, forced another punt. The 53-yard boot, coupled with an illegal block penalty, pinned Army at its own 6-yard line with 14:19 left in the second quarter. The Black Knights did not score on the ensuing drive, but they were able to move the ball near midfield and turn field position around. Chris Boldt's 46-yard punt, along with an illegal block penalty, stuck Air Force at its own nine-yard line.

The Army defense forced another punt, and the Black Knights took over at the Air Force 44-yard line. The Black Knights drove to the 1-yard line, but Jenkins was denied on a 4th-and-goal, turning the ball over on downs. The play was reviewed, but the officials' call on the field was upheld.

The Falcons drove the ball all the way inside the Army 30-yard line, but  Keller forced Air Force's second fumble and Martin fell on the ball to thwart the drive. Army took over at its own 28-yard line with 2:38 left in the half.

Maples broke loose for a 30-yard gain to move the ball into Air Force territory. Scott Williams appeared to go in for an 18-yard touchdown, but he fumbled the ball out of the back of the end zone, giving the Falcons a first down at the 20-yard line with 25 seconds left. Air Force took a knee to end the half.

Maples ran for 117 yards on 12 carries in the first 30 minutes. Fullbacks Hassin and Dixon combined for 105 yards on 20 carries. Army outrushed the Falcons, 286-56 in the opening half. Clark led the Falcons with 38 yards on the ground, while Jefferson completed two of his six throws for 25 yards.

The Falcons needed only seven plays to score their first points on the opening possession of the second half. A 37-yard pass from Jefferson to Jonathan Warzeka highlighted the drive that ended on a 37-yard field goal by Parker Herrington with 11:55 left in the third quarter.

After an Army punt went into the end zone, the Falcons marched 80 yards for their first touchdown. Zack Kauth made the highlight play of the drive, snatching a 35-yard pass away from an Army defensive back that gave the Falcons the ball at the Army 3-yard line. Two plays later, Jefferson found the end zone from two yards out. The Falcons went for two, and Clark took the toss around the right side for the conversion, cutting the Army lead to 14-11 with 4:54 left in the third quarter.

Army fumbled the snap on its next play, and the Falcons recovered at the Army 30-yard line. The Black Knights did not allow a first down, but Herrington drilled a 39-yard field goal to tie the game at 14-14 with 3:35 left in the third quarter.

On their next possession, the Black Knights were faced with a 4th-and-6 from their own 32-yard and lined up in punt formation. Army tried to fake the punt, but Justin Allen fumbled the pitch from the upback and the Falcons recovered at the Army 14-yard line. Jefferson scored his second touchdown of the game on a one-yard rush just four plays later to give Air Force its first lead of the game. The PAT extended the Air Force advantage to 21-14 with 15 seconds left in the third quarter.

After an initial first down, Air Force forced Army's third fumble of the half, ripping the ball out of Hassin's hands. The Falcons recovered at the Army 19-yard line with 13:27 left in the fourth quarter. Clark appeared to score on a 17-yard run, but a holding penalty called the play back. Army held on third down, but Herrington drilled a 39-field goal to take a 24-14 lead with 11:49 left in the final stanza.

Army was forced to punt again, but Boldt drilled a career-long 72-yard kick that rolled out of bounds at the Air Force 5-yard line. The Falcons were able to dig themselves out of the field-position deficit before stalling at their own 40-yard line. The ensuing punt went out of bounds at the Army 24-yard line with 6:30 left in the fourth quarter.

Army went to the air on the resulting possession, gaining 26 yards on two completions. The Black Knights moved the ball to the Air Force 30-yard line, but Jenkins' pass attempt was deflected and intercepted by Davis who returned the ball to the Falcons' 37-yard line with 3:53 to go. Air Force was able to run out the clock and clinch the victory.

The Black Knights have now lost six straight versus the Falcons and 12 straight in the CIC series.

Army will square off with Rutgers next Saturday at Yankee Stadium. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m.

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