FAL­CONS BOWL OVER JAGUARS

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - Rick Scu­teri, The As­so­ci­ated Press

Wrap­ping up his sopho­more sea­son Fri­day in Tuc­son, Air Force quar­ter­back Arion Worth­man bolts for a first down against South Alabama in the Ari­zona Bowl. Worth­man com­pleted 7-of-10 passes for 207 yards and one TD for the 10-3 Fal­cons, who won 45-21.

tuc­son» Air Force could not get its usu­ally re­li­able triple op­tion rolling. South Alabama’s de­fense clogged the in­side lanes and used its speed to keep the Fal­cons from get­ting to the edge.

Air Force coun­tered by go­ing to the air, some­thing it rarely does.

Arion Worth­man threw for 207 yards to bal­ance out Air Force’s run-heavy of­fense, Ja­cobi Owens scored two touch­downs and the Fal­cons over­came a slug­gish start to pound South Alabama 45-21 in Ari­zona Bowl on Fri­day.

“They re­ally were com­mit­ted to the run and forc­ing us to throw,” said Worth­man, who also had 71 yards on 21 car­ries. “We were able to hit some passes early and through­out the en­tire game.”

Air Force (10-3) strug­gled to get its triple-op­tion of­fense go­ing, fall­ing into an 18-point hole dur­ing the first half. But once the Fal­cons got rolling, they couldn’t be stopped. They scored 42 con­sec­u­tive points, turn­ing the game into a rout.

Worth­man was the trig­ger, jump-start­ing Air Force’s op­tion while com­plet­ing 7-of-10 passes — in­clud­ing a 75-yard touch­down strike to wide re­ceiver Jalen Robinette to open the sec­ond half.

The sur­prise con­tri­bu­tion from Worth­man — he had only 339 to­tal yards pass­ing en­ter­ing Fri­day — caught the Jaguars off guard and opened up the run­ning game a lit­tle more for the Fal­cons.

“They did some things in the pass­ing game that we didn’t see com­ing into the game,” South Alabama line­backer Dar­rell Songy said. “We just needed to ad­just bet­ter dur­ing the game.”

South Alabama (6-7) ap­peared to be headed to­ward its first bowl win after jump­ing on the Fal­cons early, start­ing with Dal­las Davis’ 75-yard touch­down pass to Josh Magee on the game’s first play.

But the Jaguars couldn’t sus­tain their early of­fen­sive suc­cess or stop the Fal­cons, and lost a bowl game for the sec­ond time in three sea­sons.

Davis threw for 245 yards and a touch­down, but also had an in­ter­cep­tion and lost a fum­ble. Magee had five catches for 154 yards.

“I told the kids in the locker room that we’ve been a Di­vi­sion I pro­gram for four years and we’re not where you want to be yet,” South Alabama coach Joey Jones said. “But they pushed the cart way up the hill to­day.”

South Alabama landed the first blows by hit­ting a few long passes.

Davis fol­lowed his open­ing TD strike by hit­ting Chris Lewis on a 51-yard pass to set up Dami Ay­oola’s 2-yard TD run. Davis next found Magee on a 37-yard pass, then scored him­self on a 4-yard run that put the Jaguars ahead 21-3.

“They shocked us to a de­gree,” Air Force coach Troy Cal­houn said. “No mat­ter how well you try to pre­pare, it can hap­pen.”

Se­nior re­ceiver Jalen Robinette wrapped up his Air Force ca­reer Fri­day with two catches for 124 yards. Rick Scu­teri, The As­so­ci­ated Press

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