USAFA, Colo. Air Force RB-WR Chad Hall rushed for a Falcon-record 275 yards and a touchdown to lead Air Force past Army 30-10 in front of 46,144 fans at Falcon Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 3.
The loss dropped the Black Knights to 3-6 overall and 0-1 in Commander In Chief’s Trophy play. Air Force improved to 7-3 overall and evened their CIC record at 1-1 following a September loss to Navy.
The game was tied at 10-10 in the second quarter, but the Falcons scored the game’s final 20 points, including all 13 in the second half. It was the second straight game the Black Knights did not score after halftime.
The Falcons outgained Army, 542-181. Air Force had 24 first downs compared to Army’s 10, and had a 35:16-24:44 advantage in time of possession. The Falcons ran the ball 67 times for 437 yards.
Army’s lone touchdown came on a two-yard pass from sophomore QB Carson Williams to sophomore TE Ernie Bernal. It was Bernal’s first career touchdown catch, one of his first two career receptions on the day. It was Williams’ 12th career passing touchdown, and eighth of the season, moving him into a 10th-place tie on both Army’s single-season and career list. Williams finished the afternoon 14 of 33 for 164 yards and the one score. He now ranks ninth all-time at Army with 168 career completions.
Williams also moved into Army’s single-season top 10 in several other passing categories. His 108 completions are the seventh most in Academy history, while his 1,281 yards represent the ninth-best single-season total.
Senior WR Jeremy Trimble had two catches for 55 yards to extend his streak of games with at least two receptions to 19 straight games. Trimble’s two receptions increased his season total to 47 and pushed him into a fifth-place tie on the Black Knights’ single-season ledger. His 708 receiving yards represent the fifth-best season total in Academy history.
Freshman RB Patrick Mealy was Army’s leading rusher with 31 yards on 13 carries. Senior FB Mike Viti rushed six times for 19 yards.
Senior P-K Owen Tolson averaged 58.3 yards on eight punts, including a season-long 67-yard boot that was downed at the 1-yard line. Tolson also kicked a 22-yard field goal, his fourth make in his last five attempts.
Senior LB Brian Chmura tallied a career-best 13 tackles to lead the Army defense. Senior FS Jordan Murray added 12 stops, while junior LB Frank Scappaticci had a career-best 11 stops and an interception. Junior LB John Plumstead registered his second straight career high in tackles with 10 stops, including half of a tackle for loss.
Hall accounted for 333 all-purpose yards (275 rushing, 19 receiving, 39 punt return) to break the Air Force single-game record. Falcons’ QB Shaun Carney completed 9-of-12 passes for 105 yards and a score. Carney also rushed eight times for 53 yards and a touchdown.
The Air Force defense recorded five sacks on the afternoon. Ben Garland was one of three players with a team-high seven stops, but led the squad with 1.5 sacks. Chris Thomas and Drew Fowler also registered seven tackles.
After picking up an initial first down on the first possession of the game, the Black Knights punted the ball away. Air Force took over at its own 18-yard line and marched 64 yards before the Black Knights held on third down. Ryan Harrison was true on a 35-yard field goal to put the Falcons on top, 3-0 with 6:13 left in the first quarter.
The Black Knights were able to respond with a long drive of their own to tie the game. Army moved 77 yards in 10 plays, taking 4:34 off the clock. Tolson was good from 22 yards out to knot the score at 3-3 with 1:32 left in the first quarter. The key play of the drive was a 47-yard pass from Williams to Trimble that made it 1st-and-goal from the Air Force 7-yard line.
The tie was short-lived, however, as the Carney connected with Armstrong for a 48-yard scoring toss to cap a seven-play, 80-yard drive. The extra point gave Air Force a 10-3 lead with 13:58 left in the first half.
Back-to-back sacks on Army’s next possession forced Tolson’s second punt of the game. The Falcons took over at their own 48-yard line. Air Force quickly moved inside the Army 35-yard line, but the Black Knights’ defense stopped Carney’s quarterback sneak attempt on 4th-and-1 to take over at its own 32-yard line. Army could not take advantage, however, going three-and-out. Tolson boomed a 64-yard punt that reached the end zone, setting up the Falcons at their own 20-yard line with 8:21 left in the half.
After snuffing two running plays, the Army defense created the first turnover of the game. Scappaticci stepped in front of Carney’s pass and returned his second interception of the season 21 yards to the Falcons’ 3-yard line. Mealy and Viti carried to the 2-yard line, and on 3rd-and-goal, Williams faked the handoff and found Bernal in the corner of the end zone for his first career touchdown. Adam DeMarco’s extra point tied the game at 10-10 with 5:46 left in the half.
The Falcons again responded after the Army score with a 15-play, 80-yard drive that milked 4:54 off the second-quarter clock. Carney went around the left side on an option keeper from five yards out for the touchdown. The PAT made it 17-10 with 52 seconds remaining in the first half.
Army went three-and-out on its final possession of the first half. Tolson’s third 50-yard punt of the day was the final play of the second quarter, and the Falcons took a 17-10 lead into the locker room.
Neither offense could get in gear early in the second half, exchanging punts on the first four possessions of the third quarter. Air Force finally broke through on its third possession. Following a holding penalty that made it 1st-and-20, Hall took an option pitch around the left end and scampered 58 yards down the sideline to the Army 7-yard line. Hall finished what he started, capping the drive with a one-yard touchdown plunge. The PAT pushed Air Force’s lead to 24-10 with 6:58 left in the third quarter.
Army was forced to punt on its next possession, but Tolson quickly switched the field position with a season-long 67-yard punt that was downed at the Air Force 1-yard line. Hall flipped the field right back in Air Force’s favor with a 52-yard run on third down to the Army 42-yard line. The Black Knights’ defense did not allow another first down. On 4th-and-1, the Falcons lined up to go for the first down, but a false-start penalty moved the ball back five yards. The third quarter ended, and with the wind at his back, Harrison drilled a 56-yard field goal to give Air Force a 27-10 lead with 14:55 left. Harrison set the final margin on the Falcons’ next possession with a 40-yard field goal with 7:56 left in the game.
Army has now lost 10 straight games away from Michie Stadium, including eight straight on opponents’ home fields.
Army returns home for the first time since Oct. 6 when it hosts Rutgers on Friday, Nov. 9 at 8 p.m. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN2.