AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. (AP) — Haaziq Daniels and the Air Force ground game finally got on track late to help the Falcons hold off Navy 13-10 on Saturday.
The option quarterback clinched the win for the Falcons (4-1) with an 18-yard scamper on third-and-6 in Navy territory, allowing them to run out the clock. This was soon after Matthew Dapore connected on a 22-yard field goal with 4:14 left to give Air Force the lead.
Daniels had 65 yards rushing to go with 156 through the air, including a 67-yard touchdown pass to David Cormier on the third play of the game. The Falcons gained almost 90 of their 200 yards rushing over the final two drives.
Tai Lavatai tied the game at 10-apiece with 10:50 with a 5-yard run on third-and-goal. Lavatai drifted back to pass but when the middle opened up, he cruised into the end zone.
After Dapore’s field goal, Navy went three-and-out. The Midshipmen finished 4-of-13 on third downs for the game.
The Falcons raced out to a quick 10-0 and rode their defense to a victory in the first leg of the Commander-In-Chief’s Trophy. The annual award goes to the round-robin winner between the service academies.
The Falcons got off to a fast start with Daniels completing a long pass to Cormier for a touchdown. It was a pair of first-half fumbles from Daniels that kept Navy within striking distance. The first was with the Falcons deep in Midshipmen territory early in the second quarter.
Then, with 34 seconds left in the half and facing third down, Daniels tried to find a receiver downfield but was stripped from behind by Jacob Busic. Navy turned that into a 37-yard field goal to trim Air Force’s lead to 10-3 at halftime.
Earlier this week, the Air Force football program received two years of probation from the NCAA as part of its sanctions for recruiting violations.
Navy: The Midshipmen boast one of the top rushing defenses in the country and demonstrated why. The Falcons couldn’t get on track. They were averaging 412.2 yards.
Air Force: The Falcons are in position to win their first outright CIC Trophy since 2016. The Falcons play Army in Arlington, Texas, on Nov. 5.
- Navy plays host to Tulsa on Saturday.
- Air Force is at Utah State on Saturday.