Three Keys: Air Force at Army

(Chris Humphreys-US PRESSWIRE)

Even though the Falcons must be loving Mountain West play at this point (4-1 in conference after three straight wins) it is time to take a break for this military showdown. After the loss to Navy earlier in the season, Air Force must win on Saturday against Army to stay alive for the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy.

Even though the Falcons must be loving Mountain West play at this point (4-1 in conference after three straight wins) it is time to take a break for this military showdown. After the loss to Navy earlier in the season, Air Force must win on Saturday against Army to stay alive for the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy. Add in the fact that a win will make the Falcons bowl eligible and there is a lot to play for. Here are three keys to victory.

1) Out rush the Black Knights

When the two top rushing offenses in the nation meet is should be fairly obvious that one of the keys to winning is going to be who runs the ball better. The Falcons have been tearing it up on the ground as of late (461 yards last week against Nevada) and the team now averages 366 a contest on the ground, best for second in the country. Army is the only team that rushes better, about 17 yards better, to the tune of 383 each time out. Both teams want to control the clock and to do that the running game must work.

Ironically in a game of running it may be the Falcons' defense that is the difference. Both teams will get some yardage on the ground, they are both too good not to, but defensively Air Force is much better than Army. That should be enough to keep their yardage down and bring home a win.

2) Keep tabs on Trent Steelman

There are plenty of quarterbacks who are important in the option, but there are few in the country who use the run to score as much as Army's Trent Steelman. Steelman has 810 yards which is good for second on the team, but he is the primary option for the Black Knights when it is time to score. Of the teams 22 rushing touchdowns he has just under half of them (10) and he is known for making great decisions around the goal line. If he is able to dictate the play in the red zone then it could be difficult for Air Force to stop the short yardage run game.

3) Score on the opening drive

Sometimes simple stats tell the story. Army has conceded a touchdown on the opening drive in six of their eight games so far this season. The Black Knights are 0-6 in those games. Thus it stands to reason that if Air Force can score on its opening drive then it could be a long day for the home team.

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