DENVER, CO – The Army West Point Black Knights (3-6) defeated rival #17 (AP)/#25 (CFP) Air Force Falcons (8-1), 23-3, at Empower Field at Mile High Home of the Denver Broncos.
It was Army’s first win over an AP-ranked opponent since 1972, when defeating #19 Air Force. Army handed Air Force its first loss of the season and broke Air Force’s 13-game win streak dating back to last season.
Army has won five of the last seven meetings vs. Air Force (2017, 2018, 2020, 2021 and 2023). Army will now have the opportunity to win the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy outright on Dec. 9 vs. Navy, as Navy fell to Air Force 17-6 on Oct. 21.
It was also Army’s first win of 20 or more points vs. an AP-ranked opponent since 1958 beating #18 South Carolina, 45-8.
Army QB Bryson Daily had a career-high 170 rushing yards on 36 carries (4.4 avg.) and two rushing touchdowns to ignite the Army offensive attack. Defensively, Nate Woody’s unit only allowed three points and forced six turnovers, two of which were interceptions by DB Bo Nicolas-Paul.
Air Force won the toss and deferred allowing the Army offense to take the field first. Bryson Daily started at quarterback, making his first start in two weeks (10/14 vs. Troy) when he left the game with an injury.
On the fourth play of the game, Daily who was playing in his first service academy game, broke free on a 62-yard touchdown run as Army jumped out to a 7-0 lead. It was Army’s longest rush of the season and the longest rush vs. Air Force since 2004.
The Army defense, specifically LB Leo Lowin and teammates came up with a huge stop on Air Force’s first drive, stopping the Falcons on fourth-and-one on their own 34-yardline as Army took over with great field position. Army would take advantage of the field position to tack on a 45-yard field goal by K Quinn Maretzki, pushing the early lead to 10-0.
On the ensuing drive, the Army defense generated a turnover as Air Force QB Zac Larrier fumbled the ball in the act of a throw, as the Black Knights recovered at the Air Force 43-yardline.
The Black Knights offense threatened again following the turnover and faced a fourth-and-2 on the Air Force 12-yard line, in which Head Coach Jeff Monken wasted no time going for it, as Daily pushed forward to keep the drive alive.
Two plays later, Daily capped the 11-play drive with his second touchdown of the game from five yards out, as Army made a statement jumping out to a 17-0 lead in the first quarter. Daily eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark in the first quarter.
The Black Knights weren’t done having fun in the first quarter, as LB Brett Gerena laid a major hit on Falcons FB Emmanuel Michel to cause a fumble that LB Jimmy Ciarlo recovered as the first quarter came to an end in emphatic fashion. Army’s 119 first quarter rushing yards were the most the Falcons defense allowed in any game all season.
Early in the second quarter, Army extended its lead, 20-0 on a 40-yard field goal by Maretzki, his second field goal over 40 yards on the day.
Air Force would get on the board before the half as K Matthew Dapore was good on a 30-yard field goal attempt.
The Army defense was not done however in the first half, forcing its third turnover of the half when DB Bo Nicolas-Paul intercepted Larrier and returned it 25 yards to set up Maretzki’s third field goal from 38 yards out as Army took a 23-3 lead into the locker room.
In the third quarter, Air Force drove to the Army five-yard line threatening to score, but Senior DB Quindrelin Hammonds sacked Larrier for a loss of 10 to force a field goal attempt which was missed by Falcons K Matthew Dapore as the Army defense came up with a huge stop to keep it a 20-point game.
In the fourth, the Army defense kept the pressure on forcing three turnovers, highlighted by Nicolas-Paul’s second interception of the game and two forced fumbles by LB Leo Lowin that were recovered by Army.
Daily passed 4-9 for 40 yards. RB Tyrell Robinson had one reception for 23 yards.
Defensively LB Camden O’Gara forced two fumbles as well.