Senior QB Connor Dietz and Air Force defeats Nevada on cold night in Colorado Springs
Strong wins this weekend by Air Force 48-31 over Nevada on Friday night in Colorado Springs and Navy 56-28 at East Carolina while Army struggled and edged at home 30-22 by Ball State.
The second leg of the round robin Commander-In-Chief competition is in action this week with the Falcons traveling to West Point.
The Air Force Falcons (5-3) took over second place in the Mountain West Conference with their 48-31 win on Oct. 26 over the Nevada Wolf Pack (6-3).
The Falcons offense torched Nevada’s defense for 600 yards-139 through the air and 461 yards on the ground. Air Force was able to sustain drives by converting 9-14 third-down conversions and 2-3 fourth-down conversions.
Air Force’s senior QB Connor Dietz led an efficient passing game, completing 6-7 pass attempts for 139 yards and two touchdowns. Senior RB Wes Cobb carried the ball 30 times for 152 yards and a score, and he added 68 yards on the ground with a rushing touchdown. Sophomore RB Jon Lee ran the ball 10 times for 96 yards, junior WR Ty MacArthur had 76 yards rushing on seven carries and senior RB Mike DeWitt and senior WR Dontae Strickland each had a rushing touchdown.
Nevada’s sophomore QB Cody Fajardo threw for 211 yards, completing 15-27 passing attempts with a touchdown and an interception.
Having lost to Navy at home earlier this month, Air Force travels to West Point seeking to split its two Commander-in-Chief games with a win over Army. A win by the Falcons combined with an Army win over Navy in December would allow Air Force to retain possession of the trophy.
The Navy Midshipmen (5-3) put up 563 yards of offense on the road in their 56-28 blowout win against the East Carolina Pirates (5-4).
The game started with a back-and-forth shootout. Navy jumped out to a 14-0 lead after the first quarter. But East Carolina struck back with two scores to start the second quarter. Then, freshman QB Keenan Reynolds ran for a one-yard touchdown, giving Navy a 21-14 lead. That started a string of 28 unanswered Navy points, putting them up 42-14 to start the fourth quarter, and they never looked back.
Navy’s freshman QB Keenan Reynolds completed 3-5 passing attempts for 51 yards and two touchdowns and a pick. He was among 12 Midshipmen with at least one carry, rushing for 81 yards and three scores. Senior slot back Gee Gee Greene ran for 131 yards on 14 carries and senior SB Bo Snelson ran for 67 yards on nine attempts.
East Carolina’s sophomore QB Shane Carden went 19-29 passing for 194 yards and a touchdown and an interception. Junior RB Vintavious Cooper ran for 121 yards on 18 carries with one touchdown.
Navy’s next game is against the Florida Atlantic Owls (2-6).
The Army Black Knights (1-7) struggled to overcome an early 14 point deficit and lost 30-22 to the Ball State Cardinals (6-3) before 30,010 at Michie Stadium.
Cardinals scored two touchdowns in the first 9:08, the first as junior QB Keith Wenning completed five of five pass plays including the six yard touchdown completion to senior wide receiver Jamill Smith. The next drive; Ball State sophomore running back Jahwan Edwards ran for a touchdown from two yards out, completing a 60 yard drive.
Army answered late in the first quarter with a 76 yard drive as junior fullback Hayden Tippett ran seven yards for the Black Knights’ first score, cutting the lead to 14-7. Ball State added a 49 yard field goal from senior kicker Steven Schott. An interception by Army junior linebacker Justin Trimble led to an Army 24 yard field goal by freshman Daniel Grochowski.
In the second half, Army made it close on a 35 yard run by QB Trent Steelman to the Ball State 15 followed up by a Malcolm Brown touchdown sweep to trail 27-20. Schott scored his third field goal of the day to provide a two score lead 30-20. On the last play of the game Cardinal punter Scott Kovanda ran out of the end zone for a safety.
Steelman went 3-5 passing for 38 yards and led the Black Knights’ rushing attack with 106 yards on 17 carries. Tippett ran the ball 20 times for 100 yards and a score. Junior RB Raymond Maples carried the ball for 49 yards on 11 carries and a rushing touchdown of his own.
Wenning completed 18-27 pass attempts for 189 yards and two touchdowns. Edwards and senior RB Barrington Scott ran for 153 and 81 yards rushing respectively as Ball State out gained Army 413 to 379 yards.
Army hosts Air Force on Saturday at Michie Stadium.
Chris Eberhart contributed to this article. Ken Kraetzer reports on Army football for WVOX in New Rochelle, NY and Sons of the American Legion Radio.