WEST POINT – The Army Black Knights defeated Academy rival Air Force, 10-7 on Saturday afternoon at Michie Stadium to capture its third Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy in the last four seasons.
The Black Knights (9-2) put together a 16-play, 80-yard drive that ate up 7 minutes and 11 seconds in the fourth quarter that proved to be the difference in the 10-7 victory.
The drive included a conversion on a fourth and four where Christian Anderson executed a perfect boot to rush for seven yards and the first down to continue the drive.
The Black Knights once again faced fourth down with a fourth and goal, do-or-die moment in the game and Jakobi Buchanan muscled his way in for the one-yard score. A Quinn Maretzki extra point put the Black Knights up, 10-7.
The Black Knights got on the board first, as Quinn Maretzki converted on a 24-yard field goal attempt with 11:23 left in the second quarter, going up 3-0.
Air Force (3-3) took the lead 7-3 with 15 seconds left in the third quarter as they finished off a 10 play, 87-yard drive for their one and only touchdown of the day. Quarterback Haaziq Daniels connected with Kyle Patterson for the 10-yard touchdown reception.
Down 7-3 heading into the fourth quarter, the Black Knights displayed their toughness and never-say-die attitude. Quarterback Christian Anderson, who entered the game in the second quarter in place of injured starter Tyhier Tyler never missed a beat, extending the game-winning drive on fourth down with his feet and finishing the day with 85 yards rushing on 18 carries and was also 1-for-1 passing.
Buchanan, who shared the load at b-back with starter Sandon McCoy, was outstanding on the final drive, muscling in the for the game-winning touchdown with 1:13 left in the game.
He finished with 86 yards rushing on 21 carries.
The defense made key stops all day, but none bigger than two interceptions in the fourth quarter. As Air Force was driving and at the Army 40 yard line, Jabari Moore intercepted Daniels in the end zone for a touchback, his third interception of the year.
Then linebacker Arik Smith sealed the game for the Black Knights as he intercepted a tipped ball from Kwabena Bonsu with 1:05 left in the game to dash the Falcons’ hopes.
Army Head Coach Jeff Monken said,”I am so incredibly proud of our team and happy for our seniors. They captured the Commander-in-Chief’s trophy for the third time in their careers. They became the winningest class in program history with 35 victories. That is quite an accomplishment with the history that we have here at West Point. I’m just happy for our team. This season and this year have been a challenge for every human being on the face of this planet and our guys have had those challenges too, but there is a spirit in this team and our love for each other and this brotherhood that is uncommon. This is the best team that I’ve ever been a part of.”
The Black Knights await their opponent in the Independence Bowl, set for Saturday, Dec. 26 in Shreveport, La.