For each Air Force game, we identify three areas to track during the game. Here's how they played out at Navy.
Air Force’s passing game
The Falcons have had success throwing the ball in the past against Navy and continued that Saturday. The team’s 246 passing yards were its most in a game since throwing for 281 against the Midshipmen in the same stadium two years earlier. The difference was that these weren’t touchdown passes. Navy limited the damage on big plays through the air to gains of 47, 41, 29, 25 and 22 yards. The Falcons converted two of those chances into touchdowns, but the others were part of field-goal drives. Those points mattered in the end.
Stout rushing defenses
Both of these teams have proven to be good against the run, but Navy was a bit better Saturday. Air Force ran for just 2.4 yards per carry as it went for 108 yards on 45 attempts. Navy ran 50 times for 214 yards, a 4.3 average. The Midshipmen also scored four rushing touchdowns, including Malcolm Perry’s 3-yard run with 23 seconds remaining that put Navy ahead 28-25.
Can Jordan Jackson make the difference?
Air Force’s 6-foot-5, 285-pound defensive end was certainly a force. He made eight tackles, including four solo stops that included a 5-yard tackle for loss. He also drew a holding penalty on the final drive that pushed Navy into a first-and-20 situation that could well have been a game-changer had it not passed its way out. Ultimately, however, Jackson and the Air Force defense didn’t get the stop they needed.