While Navy and Army basketball picked up a lot of the Veterans Day weekend headlines due to their matches against P5 programs, Maryland and Duke respectively, all three service academies represented their armed forces branch on the football field this weekend as well. Navy participated in the high-profile matchup and managed to hold their own in a competitive game against 12th-ranked UCF, Air Force kept their bowl hopes alive with a MWC win over New Mexico, and Army continued its impressive win streak at home by defeating fellow Patriot League member Lafayette.
Ironically, our weekly MVP awards are spread out equally this week where each service academy has a representative in our awards column, quite fittingly for our Veterans Day weekend celebrations.
CIC Offensive MVP: Donald Hammond III, Air Force
The Air Force Falcons defeated New Mexico Saturday night due to solid football on both offense and defense but it was Sophomore QB Donald Hammond III who stole the show. Hammond put up a raw QB rating of a 92.5 against the Lobos and while that number may not mean much to the casual fan, he had impressive statistics in the normal box score categories as well. The Hampton, GA native managed to throw for 137 yards on 19 carries, good enough for one touchdown. Hammond also threw the ball six times for a total of 145 yards and two touchdowns while leading the Falcon offense to an impressive 624 yards of total offense.
He can run.
And he can throw.
CIC Defensive MVP: Taylor Heflin, Navy
Taylor Heflin led the Navy Midshipmen in tackles with 14, five of which were solo. He continues to track the ball better than anyone on the field and was a large factor in Navy holding UCF to only 35 points, ten points below the Knights’ season average. The Navy defense also limited the AAC leaders to under 500 yards of offense - only the third team to do so this season. In addition to Heflin’s impact on the game through tackles, he also managed to recover a UCF fumble at Navy’s own 13-yard line late in the first half, preventing UCF from finding the end zone just before halftime.
Fumble!!! Diego Fagot causes it and Taylor Heflin recovers it. Navy will keep UCF off the scoreboard to end the second quarter. It's 21-3 UCF at the half— Navy Athletics (@NavyAthletics) November 10, 2018
Note: ESPN doesn’t seem to show individual play highlights unless it is a touchdown...obviously biased against solid defensive plays.
CIC Special Teams MVP: John Abercrombie, K, Army
Perfection is hard for most, but kicking seems to be a walk in the park for Army kicker John Abercrombie. Abercrombie is now 7/7 on FG attempts and 32/32 on extra points for his career. Against Lafayette, the senior kicker contributed seven points which included a 25-yard field goal to conclude Army’s opening 10-minute drive. For some it may seem boring the Abercrombie is up here each week, but it’s hard being better than perfect.