WEST POINT, N.Y. (AP) — Jakobi Buchanan scored on a 1-yard run with 73 seconds left, and Army rallied past Air Force 10-7 on Saturday to win the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy for the ninth time.
With time winding in the fourth quarter, Army drove 80 yards to the Air Force 1 and Buchanan delivered. Arik Smith’s interception on a deflected pass sealed it for the Black Knights.
Quinn Maretzki kicked a 24-yard field goal early in the second quarter for Army’s other points.
The Falcons beat Army 17-13 at home last year, stopping the Black Knights on fourth down at the goal line to escape.
Haaziq Daniels found Kyle Patterson for a 10-yard touchdown in the final seconds of the third quarter to give Air Force a 7-3 lead.
The Falcons (3-3) began the season with a dominant 40-7 win over Navy and were poised to capture their record 21st CIC. But after falling behind, Army’s Jabari Moore stopped the Falcons’ attempt to seal it with an interception at the goal line to set up the winning drive for the Black Knights, who have won nine straight at home.
Army (9-2) was coming off an emotional, hard-fought 15-0 victory over rival Navy a week ago in the first game between the schools at West Point in 77 years. The defense held the Mids to just four first downs and 117 total yards.
Stymied by the swarming Army defense, the Falcons went to the air late in the third and finally broke through behind Daniels. He hit Patterson for 16 yards and 39 yards, and Brandon Lewis for 11 yards, to key a 10-play, 87-yard drive that he finished with a 10-yard touchdown pass over the middle to Patterson with 15 seconds left in the third.
Air Force seemed ready to seal it midway through the fourth after Daniels completed a 22-yard pass to Ben Peterson on a third-and-18 play, but the Falcons got greedy two plays later and Moore made them pay with his juggling catch on the interception.
Air Force ranked second in the country averaging 336 yards rushing but was outgained 290-154. Brad Roberts ran for 83 yards on 11 carries and Daniels — who was intercepted three times — ran for 61 yards on 10 carries.
Air Force kicker Tevye Schuettpelz-Rohl, who was 5 of 7 on the season, missed twice in the first half from inside the 40, and just like last week Army entered the locker room with a 3-0 halftime lead.
Army drove 73 yards on 10 plays that took just over 10 minutes off the clock and had to settle for Maretzki's 24-yard field goal early in the second quarter.
Army lost starting quarterback Tyhier Tyler midway through the second quarter when Air Force linebacker Brandon Gooding delivered a helmet-to-helmet without a penalty. Tyler had rushed 16 times for 62 yards. He was relieved by Christian Anderson, the starter when the season began, and he finished with 85 yards rushing on 18 carries, one more yard than Buchanan had on 21 carries.
Air Force: The Falcons had lots of time to prepare for its service academy rivals. They started the season with the dominant win over Navy and had more than a month to prepare for Army. They were held to 109 yards rushing in the opening half and and 47 of those came on two carries — a 30-yarder by Roberts and a 17-yard gain by Daniels as Army dominated possession time, holding the ball for 19 minutes and converting seven of 10 third downs.
Army: Through COVID-19, the Black Knights rebounded from a subpar 2019 despite starting four quarterbacks until Tyler emerged late in the season. Though the schedule had to revamped almost entirely — it ended up including three championship subdivision teams. Coach Jeff Monken did a masterful job, and the schemes of new defensive coordinator Nate Woody led to a strong showing. Army entered the game ranked second nationally (272.1 yards per game).
Air Force: Its regular season is finished but school officials haven't said if the team would play in a bowl game, if offered.
Army: Plays next Saturday in the Independence Bowl.
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