Forget time of possession when Air Force has the ball.
Thanks to quick-strike scores, quarterback Blane Morgan and No. 25 Air Force needed only a few minutes to take charge on the way to a 35-7 victory over Army on Saturday.
Despite having the ball for little more than nine minutes in the first half, Morgan directed a big-play offense that scored four first-half touchdowns, including three of 45 yards or better.
Morgan connected on touchdown passes of 54 and 74 yards to Dylan Newman as Air Force's top-ranked rushing attack (296.8 yards per game) took a back seat to its passing game for a day.
"We have other weapons on this team beside the ground game," Morgan said. "Teams are going to have to defend against all the options."
Air Force coach Fisher DeBerry said his traditionally run-oriented team is going to continue to put the ball up.
"We've always played a little too much to the conservative side here," He said. "Our game is throwing the football when we get the chance."
"If we're successful with the pass, it's just going to open up our whole offense."
The Falcons (8-1), meanwhile, limited Army's dangerous multiple option attack to just 192 yards on 57 carries. The Cadets (2-6) came into the game averaging 274 yards rushing per game, third in the country behind Navy (292.6) and Air Force.
| Air Force's defense bottled up Grady Jett and the rest of Army's offense Saturday. (AP) |
"We didn't give ourselves a chance to win this game," Army coach Bob Sutton said. "We had seen their long passes. We just didn't respond like we're capable of."
Air Force won its 12th Commander in Chief's Trophy, given to the service academy team with the best record in an annual round-robin competition. Air Force beat Navy 49-7 earlier this season.
The Falcons, who average 42 points a game, scored on their first two possessions.
Receiver Matt Farmer scored first on a 45-yard reverse play around the right end. Farmer took the ball on a flip from Morgan and found the right sideline virtually abandoned by Army's defense.
"I got the ball and I looked up and there was nobody there," Farmer said. "There were two blockers for one guy. It really wasn't that hard."
The Falcons' second touchdown came on a 54-yard pass from Morgan to Newman. Morgan started left as if running the option, then pulled up and found Newman wide open down the left sideline.
Army cut the lead to 14-7 in the second quarter, grinding out a 15-play, 80-yard drive that quarterback Johnny Goff ended with a 1-yard run. The big play was fullback Craig Stucker's 17-yard burst up the middle to the Air Force 11.
Air Force immediately responded three plays later on Morgan's 74-yard pass to Newman.
The Falcons closed out the first-half scoring with Morgan's 1-yard run.
Air Force added a touchdown in the second half on Qualario Brown's 3-yard run.
Air Force finished with 265 yards rushing on 41 carries. Spanky Gilliam led the Falcons with 54 yards on five carries. Morgan had 51 yards on 12 carries.
Stucker led Army rushers with 50 yards on 11 carries.
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