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Preview, How to Watch: Army, Air Force face off for Commander-in-Chief’s trophy

Army is coming into the contest without a bye week and Air Force hasn’t had a proper game in nearly two weeks. How prepared are both teams for each other?

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NCAA Football: Army at Air Force Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Army-Navy game is in the rearview but that’s not the end of Service Academy football for this season.

Following a reported COVID-19 outbreak at the Air Force Academy, the original game date for Nov. 7 was postponed until Dec. 19 — not an ideal set up for an Army (8-2) just coming off competing against Navy. Meanwhile, Air Force (3-2) hasn’t had the luck of reshaping their schedule like Army. And while this year’s time is unique, the next two contests for the team are also unique in that they’ll be played at a neutral site — Globe Life Field in Arlington, TX.

Offense

In the few games Air Force has played, quarterback Haaziq Daniels has shown both growth and potential. Yes, both teams run the option offense, but in the last few years have made small tweaks that don’t make this scheme a hard and fast rule for either team and Daniels is a peak at that progression. The sophomore has shown promise through the air, including a 49-yard pass during the Utah State game. Air Force, like Army, has had more than one player under center. Junior Warren Bryan started in the Boise State game.

For the Black Knights, Tyhier Tyler is coming off an impressive performance against Navy. It was the sophomore’s second career start and he finished with 96 rushing yards and the game’s lone touchdown. He’s not quite the same weapon in the passing game, but is fast and is nimble on the edge. However, the Falcons still have the additions of Kadin Remsberg and Timothy Jackson, both veteran ball carriers, and 6’6” tight end, Kyle Patterson, the team’s leading receiver.

Defense

Against Navy, Army held the team to just over 100 rushing yards and was able to keep them at bay in the red zone. Currently, Army is ranked third in the country in defense, with Air Force close behind at eight and they didn’t return any defensive starters this year.

On their side, Army is toting Cedrick Cunningham, Amadeo West, and Jon Rhattigan, who has 71 total tackles, including nine tackles for loss this season.

Things to consider

While they may be on fire from their most recent rivalry shut out, the Black Knights are going into Saturday without a proper bye week. The Falcons, on the other hand, haven’t played a game in nearly two weeks, the last being a double-digit win against Utah State. Aside from that game, they also had a notable win against New Mexico.

As it stands for both teams, classes and finals are over. The opportunity to solely focus on football is a chance that one could argue never comes along for a student-athlete, especially at a Service Academy. Just like anything else this season, Saturday’s contest for the Commander-in-Chief’s trophy is now more than a month in the making and surely both teams have prepared to the best of their abilities to come out on top.

How to Watch

Kickoff: 12:00 p.m. (EST) on Saturday, December 19.

Watch: CBSSN — Ben Holder will handle the play-by-play duties, the color analyst is Ross Tucker and the sideline reporter is Tina Cervasio. Active and Reserve service members can also stream the game for free.

Where: Michie Stadium – West Point, NY

Spread: FanDuel has Air Force favored at -2.5, with the over-under at 37.5.

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