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They Said It — Service Academy Quotes: Air Force QB mystery, Army talks block vs. Buffalo

Who will start at quarterback for Air Force against Navy? Troy Calhoun didn’t tip his hand this week while speaking to the media. Army is off this week, but players reflected on a big play in the Black Knights win over Buffalo.

NCAA Football: Nevada at Air Force Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

One of the big mysteries heading into 2018’s first C.I.C. contest between Navy and Air Force is figuring out who will start under center for the Falcons.

Isaiah Sanders seems to be healthy, but Donald Hammond played well on Saturday against Nevada, tallying two touchdowns and about 100 yards of offense. But also, senior Arion Worthman is in the mix too. A year ago against the Mids, Worthman scored four touchdowns while throwing for 257 yards and rushing for 139 more.

So, who’s getting the start? Troy Calhoun won’t say.

“That’s one of things as we move this week,” Calhoun said at his weekly press conference. “The work that we do on Tuesday and the work that we do on Wednesday, those two days are the strongest determinants, (with) who begins at any position, and certainly at quarterback too.”

Calhoun also wouldn’t entertain the idea of a position change for Worthman. When asked about the senior, he simply said, “He’s a quarterback.”

Air Force players aren’t talking about who might be the Falcons starting quarterback either. Wide receiver Jake Matkovich was the only one to offer a sliver of a real opinion, telling the Colorado Springs Gazette that Hammond “throws it with a little more zip to it.”

Niumatalolo told the Gazette that all three quarterbacks were similar, but he was impressed by Hammond, saying he had a “cannon” for an arm. Hammond is a tough runner too, the Navy coach noted.

“The corner was waiting on him and he just kind of ran over the corner and kept running,” Niumatalolo told the Gazette.

One thing Niumatalolo is a bit unsure of is how Army will line up defensively. The Falcons haven’t faced a triple option team yet this season.

“They haven’t played an option team yet so we’re not really sure. A lot of the concepts they’re running against conventional teams seem similar to years past,” Niumatalolo told the Capital Gazette. “They don’t seem far off from what they’ve done in the past, but we really don’t know because they haven’t played an option team.”

Breaking down Army’s field goal block vs. Buffalo

Perhaps the biggest turning point in Army’s 42-13 win over Buffalo last week came late in the second quarter, when the Black Knights blocked a field goal attempt and ran it back for a touchdown. When Buffalo was lining up for an attempt, Army led by a single score, and a kick through the uprights would’ve made the game 14-10.

Instead, Wunmi Oyetuga swatted the kick down and Elijah Riley scooped the ball up and sprinted 80 yards for a touchdown. It was a 10-point swing and propelled Army to its third victory of the season.

Army is off this week, so Jeff Monken didn’t have a weekly press conference. Instead of hearing from the head coach, listen to Oyetuga and Riley break down the play of the game.