Air Force thumps Army for Com­man­der’s Tro­phy

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - SPORTS - By John Kekis

Arion Worth­man passed for 195 yards and one touch­down and rushed for 63 yards and an­other score, and Air Force beat Army 31-12 on Satur­day to win the Com­man­der-in-Chief’s Tro­phy.

Arion Worth­man passed for 195 yards and one touch­down and rushed for 63 yards and an­other score, and Air Force beat Army 31-12 on Satur­day to win the Com­man­der-in-Chief’s Tro­phy.

The sec­ond leg of the round-robin com­pe­ti­tion be­tween the three ser­vice acad­e­mies ended with the Fal­cons claim­ing the prized hard­ware, em­blem­atic of supremacy among the three schools, for the 20th time. Air Force (6-3), which dis­patched Navy 2814 a month ago, has won all but two of the last 20 games against Army and is 14-10 at Michie Sta­dium.

“There are much, much pret­tier foot­ball teams, but we do a su­per job when it comes to play­ing to­gether in a group that’s just un­re­lent­ing in terms of prepa­ra­tion,” said Air Force coach Troy Cal­houn, who is 9-1 against Army. “We’re just a gritty, feisty, over­achiev­ing (team). It’s un­like any­thing I’ve ever been around.”

Army (5-4) needs to win two more games to be­come el­i­gi­ble for the post­sea­son for only the sec­ond time in 20 years.

Worth­man made his first ca­reer start at quar­ter­back for the Fal­cons, tak­ing over for in­jured starter Nate Romine. In Air Force’s come­back win over Fresno State last week, Worth­man dis­played an in­stant burst of speed run­ning the triple op­tion with keep­ers around the edge and used his 5-foot-11, 200-pound frame to mus­cle through the mid­dle on in­side runs.

On Satur­day, Worth­man dis­played his mul­ti­ple tal­ents again, giv­ing Army fits all after­noon, scram­bling out of trou­ble when he had to and hit­ting the Black Knights time af­ter time with key plays. Af­ter an even-fought first half, he gave the Fal­cons some breath­ing room on the first pos­ses­sion of the third quar­ter, scram­bling right on a pass play when pro­tec­tion broke down and hit­ting wide-open Ja­cobi Owens for a 46-yard touch­down.

“He has great in­stincts,” Cal­houn said of Worth­man, who found out Fri­day he was start­ing. “He’s just one of those guys. He re­ally fits into this group.”

In their win over Navy, the Fal­cons held the Mid­dies to 57 yards on the ground, 259 yards be­low their av­er­age and lim­ited Army to 144 yards on 40 rushes. Army en­tered the game ranked sec­ond in the na­tion in rush­ing with a 342-yard av­er­age and man­aged just 65 on 19 car­ries in the open­ing half, and Kell Walker ac­counted for half that to­tal on a 32-yard scor­ing run.

“There’s not much to say af­ter this one,” Army coach Jeff Monken said. “Aw­fully dis­ap­point­ing. Words can’t de­scribe this dis­ap­point­ment.”

THE TAKEAWAY

Air Force: The Fal­cons clinched their third straight post­sea­son bowl and may have found their quar­ter­back of the fu­ture in Worth­man, just a sopho­more. Romine re­lieved him late in the game.

Army: Army has no tiein this year to a bowl and prob­a­bly needs to win its next two games, against Notre Dame and Mor­gan State, prior to the fi­nale against Navy on Dec. 10 to have a chance to play in the post­sea­son.

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