Nov. 5, 2016
WEST POINT, N.Y. (AP) - Arion Worthman passed for 195 yards and one touchdown and rushed for 63 yards and another score, and Air Force beat Army 31-12 on Saturday to win the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy.
The second leg of the round-robin competition between the three service academies ended with the Falcons claiming the prized hardware, emblematic of supremacy among the three schools, for the 20th time. Air Force (6-3), which dispatched Navy 28-14 a month ago, has won all but two of the last 20 games against Army and is 14-10 at Michie Stadium.
''There are much, much prettier football teams, but we do a super job when it comes to playing together in a group that's just unrelenting in terms of preparation,'' said Air Force coach Troy Calhoun, who is 9-1 against Army. ''We're just a gritty, feisty, overachieving (team). It's unlike anything I've ever been around.''
Army (5-4) needs to win two more games to become eligible for the postseason for only the second time in 20 years.
Worthman made his first career start at quarterback for the Falcons, taking over for injured starter Nate Romine. In Air Force's comeback win over Fresno State last week, Worthman displayed an instant burst of speed running the triple option with keepers around the edge and used his 5-foot-11, 200-pound frame to muscle through the middle on inside runs.
On Saturday, Worthman displayed his multiple talents again, giving Army fits all afternoon, scrambling out of trouble when he had to and hitting the Black Knights time after time with key plays. After an even-fought first half, he gave the Falcons some breathing room on the first possession of the third quarter, scrambling right on a pass play when protection broke down and hitting wide-open Jacobi Owens for a 46-yard touchdown.
''He has great instincts,'' Calhoun said of Worthman, who found out Friday he was starting. ''He's just one of those guys. He really fits into this group.''
In their win over Navy, the Falcons held the Middies to 57 yards on the ground, 259 yards below their average and limited Army to 144 yards on 40 rushes. Army entered the game ranked second in the nation in rushing with a 342-yard average and managed just 65 on 19 carries in the opening half, and Kell Walker accounted for half that total on a 32-yard scoring run.
''There's not much to say after this one,'' Army coach Jeff Monken said. ''Awfully disappointing. Words can't describe this disappointment.''
Air Force: The Falcons clinched their third straight postseason bowl and may have found their quarterback of the future in Worthman, just a sophomore. Romine relieved him late in the game.
Jalen Robinette had three catches for 104 yards to become Air Force's all-time leading receiver with 2,410 yards, 18 more than Ernie Jennings (1968-70).
Air Force: Hosts Colorado State next Saturday.