Air Force wins 21st Commander-In-Chief's Trophy, first since 2016 after beating Army 13-7
The Air Force defense stepped up on Saturday for the trophy-clinching victory over Army
Air Force clinched the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy outright with a 13-7 win in the 2022 Commander's Classic against Army in Arlington, Texas. The victory gives the Falcons a series-best 21 victories in the 51 years of the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy competition, but it's the program's first outright win since 2016.
Quarterback Haaziq Daniels (14 carries, 89 yards, one touchdown) and fullback Brad Roberts (33 carries, 135 yards) led a rushing attack that totaled 227 yards on 52 carries. Daniels was resilient, shaking off a first half interception to lead a go-ahead touchdown drive early in the third quarter capped by a 17-yard touchdown run.
But while the Falcons offense was able to move the ball well on a down-to-down basis, this was a game that was won largely thanks to the efforts of the Air Force defense.
Army was held to just 145 yards of offense and 2.2 yards per rushing attempt, and outside of two explosive pass plays in the second quarter which set up Army's lone touchdown, the Falcons defense was consistent and reliable. The same cannot be said for Air Force's offense, however, which while productive on the final stat line had an abnormal amount of procedural penalties, a missed field goal and just one touchdown across four good scoring opportunities.
Air Force had the ball at the 1-yard line with first-and-goal early in the fourth quarter, facing a chance to extend the lead to double digits, but two false start penalties and a couple short runs meant the Falcons had to settle for a field goal. After the defense got a quick stop on the ensuing possession, Air Force had another short-yardage situation with a chance to end the game with less than two minutes remaining but could not convert.
Army had one last chance with the ball, but that's when Air Force's defense had to go get the job done again. It did just that, batting down several Army passes before finally snagging the game-winning interception.
Beating Army had been the most troublesome leg for Air Force in recent years, losing four of the last five to the Black Knights prior to Saturday's game. Those losses contributed to three Army wins (2017, 2018, 2020) and one shared trophy (2021) in that span. It was also a reversal of how the Air Force-Army series had gone throughout the Troy Calhoun era; he won nine of hits first 10 against Army since being named the Falcons head coach prior to the 2007 season.