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Takeaways: Turnovers doom Air Force against Army

With the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy on the line, the Falcons couldn’t seal the deal in West Point.

Air Force v Army Photo by Edward Diller/Getty Images

Well, that was certainly not the way that Air Force fans wanted the season finale to go. If you want the full, painful recap, you can check out Mitch’s thoughts right here. If not, we can jump right into a few thoughts and takeaways from Saturday’s contest.

On the bright side, Air Force was easily the better-dressed team on the field. It’s tough to top the Air Power Legacy uniforms any day, especially when Army trots out their standard triple-blacks. The weather also turned out to be far better than last week’s Army-Navy game in that we could actually see the players on the field throughout the game.

Otherwise, we’re mostly looking at a number of negative takeaways, so let’s get into it:

Takeaways

Interceptions everywhere

Only one quarterback threw for more than 100 yards on Saturday, and that quarterback was Air Force’s Haaziq Daniels. Unfortunately, only one quarterback had three passes picked off as well. Again, it was Daniels. He had been interception free on the year to this point, but Air Force attempted 14 passes on the day, which left ample opportunity for trouble.

All three picks came on deep attempts in Army territory, and two came on the Falcons’ final possessions. The passing woes capped off a night where Air Force couldn’t find a rhythm and found the end zone just once.

Tackles aplenty

Alright, so there’s one positive takeaway from Saturday’s game against Army — team tackling. The Falcons finished with six defenders in double-digits for total tackles, yet there were just 13 solo stops between them. Parker Noren led the way with six of those, but it speaks volumes to Air Force’s ability to clamp down on the Army offense.

Unfortunately, Army ran nearly double the offensive snaps that Air Force ran, which may have contributed just slightly to the tackling stats. Air Force’s longest drive on the night was a 10-play touchdown, while Army’s scoring drives consisted of 20 plays and 16 plays.

Kicking woes

The tale of Tevye Shuettpelz-Rohl is somewhat Jekyll and Hyde as far as the season goes. He didn’t miss a single extra point attempt, yet his performance against Army left quite a lot to be desired. Schuettpelz-Rohl couldn’t connect on either of his field goal attempts — one of 32 yards and another of 37, to drop to 5-9 on the year. In a game where the margin of victory was just three, a pair of costly misses was enough to cost Air Force its first C.I.C. trophy since 2016.

Of course, the loss isn’t entirely on Schuettpelz Rohl. Offensive and special teams miscues doomed the Falcons, but turn-backs shouldn’t be an issue next year, and Air Force should be able to build on its 2020 campaign in a big way.