Air Force 7, Army 3
WEST POINT, N.Y. (AP) _ Jarvis Baker scored on a 3-yard run on the second play of the fourth quarter Saturday, giving Air Force a 7-3 victory over Army for its fourth straight Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy and a berth in the Liberty Bowl.
The Falcons (7-3), who defeated Navy 18-16 a month ago, have won four in a row over Army. The Cadets (3-5), who were shut out 25-0 last season at Air Force, have scored only nine points against the Falcons since a 28-15 victory in 1988.
Air Force, which overcame 100 yards in penalties, turned the mistake-filled game with a key kick.
Chris MacInnis’s punt pinned the Cadets at their 8 with time running out in the third quarter. Army was unable to gain a first down and had to punt. Brian Watkins returned Patmon Malcom’s kick 6 yards to the Army 49 and the Falcons capitalized quickly.
Facing fourth and 1 at the Army 40 four plays later, the Cadets jumped offside, giving the Falcons a crucial first down. Fullback Joe Parisi, who carried 21 times for 118 yards, then broke through a hole in the middle of the Army line and gained 32 yards to the 3. Baker scored on the next play.
Army, which entered the game ranked second in the nation in rushing with a 290-yard average, managed just 123 yards against the Falcons, who lead the series 15-11-1.
The Cadets finally threatened to score through midway through the fourth quarter on the longest play of the game. Army quarterback Rick Roper hit tight end Bill Currence with a 47-yard pass to the Air Force 21. But linebacker Vergil Simpson sacked Roper for a 7-yard loss on a third-and-8 play from the 19 and the Cadets had to settle for Malcom’s 43-yard field goal with six minutes left.
Air Force took the ensuing kick and held the ball until only 16 seconds remained.
Penalties hurt the Falcons all afternoon. Carlton McDonald made his nation- leading eighth interception of the season at the Army 29 on the Cadets’ first possession of the second half, but a penalty for illegal use of the hands put the ball back at the Army 45 and the Cadets held.
The game was scoreless at halftime, but not for lack of opportunities.
Air Force turned the ball over on its first play from scrimmage. Baker fumbled at the Falcons 24 and linebacker Aaron Foglesong recovered for Army at the 21.
After two running plays netted only 5 yards, Roper completed a 7-yard pass to Gaylord Greene in the right flat, but he fumbled and safety Eldrick Hill recovered for the Falcons at the 7.
Baker led the Falcons into Army territory in the closing seconds of the first quarter, hitting Parisi with a 19-yard pass to the Army 37. But the drive stalled at the 22 and MacInnis’s 42-yard field goal attempt was wide left.
The Falcons threatened again in the second quarter and again failed when MacInnis’s 29-yard field goal attempt sailed wide left again with 2:00 left.