Air Force vs. Army: Game Preview, TV & Radio Schedule, Livestream, Odds, More
The Falcons can reclaim the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy by beating the Army Black Knights. Here’s how to watch and what to watch for.
Can the Falcons take down another rival?
WEEK 10: Air Force Falcons (3-5, 1-4 Mountain West) vs. Army Black Knights (6-2)
WHEN: Saturday, November 3 — 10:00 AM MT/9:00 PM PT
WHERE: Michie Stadium; West Point, New York (38,000)
TV: CBS Sports Network
STREAM: Get a one-week trial of FuboTV.
RADIO: The Air Force broadcast can be found in and around Colorado Springs on KVOR 740 AM. It can also be found in Denver on 104.3 FM and on satellite radio: Sirius channel 135 and XM channel 383.
SERIES RECORD: Air Force leads the series 36-15-1. In the last meeting on November 4, 2017, Army defeated the Falcons, 21-0, in Colorado Springs.
ODDS: Army -7
STAT PROFILES: link
Saturday represents a huge opportunity for the Air Force Falcons. Not only can they reclaim some much needed momentum to earn bowl eligibility, they can lay claim to the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy with a win over the Army Black Knights.
Jeff Monken’s team has had quite a year, however, and they might be better than last year. Mountain West fans already saw the Black Knights dispatch red-hot Hawaii back in September and trample San Jose State a few weeks ago, but Army has also handed Buffalo its only loss of the season, thrown a scare into Oklahoma, and most recently took care of business against a solid Eastern Michigan team. There are pretty good reasons, in other words, that Army has climbed to 24th in Bill Connelly’s Resume S&P+ rankings and 27th by FEI.
The Falcons may have history on their side, though, because Army has beaten Air Force has home just two times since 1990. Here’s what the visitors can do to seize the CIC.
Three Keys to an Air Force Victory
1. Win in the trenches.
Considering Army’s run-heavy offense depends largely on efficiency, their offensive line, which has successfully integrated two sophomores on its right side, has done a tremendous job. The Black Knights rank fifth nationally in Stuff Rate (percentage of plays stopped at or behind the line of scrimmage), second in average third-down distance, and own a Success Rate in the top 20 in every third-down situation.
Air Force won’t make it easy, however, especially if linebackers Kyle Johnson and Lakota Wills are healthy enough to play. The Falcons still rank 10th in defensive Stuff Rate even after allowing 136 yards on the ground to Boise State’s Alexander Mattison last Saturday, and the front seven’s Havoc Rate (percentage of plays with a TFL, pass defended or forced fumble) is a solid 9.8%.
2. Keep feeding Cole Fagan.
For all of their strengths, one thing that Army does not have is a Jordan Jackson-type impact player on the defensive line. In fact, the Black Knights’ defensive line Havoc Rate is dead last in the country, though Army linebackers James Nachtigal and Cole Christiansen, with a combined 12 TFLs and six sacks, have done good work cleaning up despite this.
This could be another instance where fullback Cole Fagan sets the tone. In the past three games, he has averaged six yards per carry while also maintaining a solid 44% Success Rate and topping that percentage by Opportunity Rate (how often a runner gets more than five yards) in each game.
3. Come out ahead when Army takes its chances downfield.
One other similarity between both teams is that Army quarterback Kelvin Hopkins Jr. has been very good when asked to throw. Last week against Eastern Michigan, the junior was 7-of-8 for 125 yards; on the season, he’s averaging 21.5 yards per completion.
Because he’s only thrown the ball 64 times this year and sports a 53.1% completion rate, it’s about as close to a 50-50 proposition as you can get. Simply avoiding the plague of big plays that buried them last week against Boise State would be significant, so safeties Jeremy Fejedelem and Ross Connors will need to stay disciplined in coverage.