Air Force (5-2) at Army (2-5) (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Michie Stadium (38,000) -- West Point, New York. Television: CBS. Home Record: Air Force 4-0, Army 2-1. Away Record: Air Force 1-2, Army 0-4. Neutral Record: Air Force 0-0, Army 0-0. Conference Record: Air Force 2-2, Army 0-0. Series Record: Air Force leads, 33-14-1.
GAME NOTES: The Air Force Falcons will try to secure their 19th Commander in Chief's Trophy at Michie Stadium on Saturday afternoon when they take on the Army Black Knights.
The Falcons, who have the most Commander in Chief's Trophy in the series' history, already beat Navy on Oct. 4, 30-21. Army still has a chance at the title with this matchup and its Navy matchup on Dec. 13.
Air Force has been rolling along in recent weeks with wins in four of its last five games to improve to 5-2 overall and 2-2 in the Mountain West Conference. The Falcons most recently bested New Mexico at home last Saturday, 35-31, but while they are undefeated in four games at USAFA, they have lost two of three matchups on the road.
Meanwhile, Army has endured the opposite fate as an FBS Independent this season, going just 2-5, which includes back-to-back losses to Rice (41-21) and Kent State (39-17). The silver lining for the Black Knights in this contest is their 2-1 mark at home this season.
Air Force holds a 33-14-1 lead in the all-time series with Army, which includes wins in 15 of the last 17 meetings.
The Falcons are one of the nation's most rush-heavy teams, ranking 11th in the FBS in picking up 273.4 ypg. The offense tallies 425.7 total ypg and scores 30.6 ppg.
The ground game is spearheaded by Jacobi Owens, who is a workhorse with 143 carries for 735 yards and four touchdowns. D.J. Johnson (26 carries, 85 yards) broke out in last week's win with three scores.
Quarterback Kale Pearson is a strong rushing threat with 370 yards and four touchdowns, but he's displayed solid passing ability as well with 957 yards, seven touchdowns and just one interception.
A large majority of Pearson's completions have gone for big plays. Jalen Robinette (475 yards), Garrett Brown (342 yards) and Garrett Griffin (149 yards) all average at least 14.9 yards per catch, with Brown emerging as an excellent red-zone threat with five touchdowns.
Defensively, Air Force has performed admirably this season. Although the unit has allowed just shy of 400 ypg, it has only yielded 24.4 ppg thanks in part to its impressive turnover numbers (seven interceptions, six fumble recoveries).
Jordan Pierce is one of the best defensive playmakers in the Mountain West with 60 tackles, 9.5 TFL, 2.0 sacks, two interceptions and a blocked kick. Connor Healy has also been stellar with 53 stops, 2.0 sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Weston Steelhammer has three sacks and three picks.
The Black Knights are one of the few teams in the nation that have a better rushing attack than the Falcons. 319.4 of their 396.1 ypg come via the ground game (fourth in the FBS) and they score 26.0 ppg, but the squad disappointed last week in putting up only 17 points.
Orchestrating the triple-option attack is Angel Santiago, who has amassed 543 yards and six touchdowns on 107 carries. Santiago attempts far few passes than his counterpart, going 26-of-44 on the season for 342 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
Garnering the most tailback work is Larry Dixon, who has carried the ball 119 times for 683 yards and five scores. Terry Baggett (276 yards, TD), A.J. Schurr (226 yards, three TDs) and Tony Giovannelli (191 yards, two TDs) are also actively involved in the rushing rotation.
Edgar Poe (168 yards, TD) and Tony Giovannelli (104 yards) lead the largely- inactive receiving corps with seven receptions apiece, while Xavier Moss (six receptions, 52 yards) has scored a pair of touchdowns.
While the offense is able to control the clock with the running game, the defense has not lived it to its end of the bargain in allowed 35.9 ppg and 445.7 ypg.
Not only does Jeremy Timpf lead the team in tackles with 58 but he's also registered 9.0 TFL, three interceptions, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Josh Jenkins (43 tackles) also has three picks and Stephen Ricciardi has been solid up front with 7.0 TFL.
Army, a decent home team, matched up against an Air Force squad that struggles on the road could mean good things for the slumping Black Knights, but in the end the Falcons are simply the more talented squad. Expect a strong game by Pearson against a suspect defense as Air Force gains bowl eligibility.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Air Force 34, Army 27Game Date and Time
Saturday, November 1, 11:30 p.m. (ET)