FALCONS BOWL OVER JAGUARS
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