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Army looks for redemption against Air Force

The Black Knights don't do well in Colorado Springs. Can they pull off the upset and make the Army-Navy game a winner-takes-all CIC tilt? It all starts at 3:30.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

If you like service academy football then today is your kind of day.

Navy plays Memphis in a high stakes American Athletic Conference prime time affair, but regardless of who wins that contest the Midshipmen will know by the start of the game what the implications of the Army-Navy game will be.

That's because at 3:30 on ESPNU, the Army Black Knights will face the Air Force Falcons in the second Commander-in-Chief's Trophy round robin tilt.

The implications are simple. If Army wins for only the fourth time in program history in Colorado Springs, the Black Knights will go to Philadelphia in December with a chance to capture the CIC Trophy. If Air Force wins, only the Midshipmen can outright win the round robin.

With all of that said, it'll be a daunting task for Army to beat Air Force. The Black Knights have been dominated by the Falcons. In their last 18 meetings, Air Force has outscored Army by an average tally of 31.8 to 15.7 with the Black Knights only winning twice in that time.

Army is 3-20 in Colorado Springs and those victories spanned three different eras of the football program.

And it seems that may not change today either.

It's been a struggle all year for Army, the Black Knights have only beaten Eastern Michigan and FCS-opponent Bucknell. Army has kept a number of games close against teams like Penn State, Rice, UCONN, and Wake Forest but they haven't shown the finish needed to pull off any of those upsets.

Meanwhile, after a dreadful outing against Navy, Air Force has caught fire with a 3-1 record since the Oct. 3 contest in Annapolis. In particular, the Falcons have outscored their last two opponents (Fresno State and Hawaii) by a combined tally of 100-21. Having been moved to fullback due to injuries, Jacobi Owens ran for twin 137 yard outings in both contests.

The key to this service academy match-up will be whose quarterback will make the most plays and not lose the football.

According to the Mountain West Connection's Duane Grasmick, Falcons quarterback Karson Roberts is improving but has struggled passing the ball and making left handed pitches. He turned in a putrid performance in his last CIC game against Navy as the senior quarterback turned the ball over multiple times in the 33-11 defeat.

Army will need a similar performance out of Roberts while their starting quarterback, sophomore Ahmad Bradshaw, needs to avoid turning the ball over while getting the Black Knights' triple option attack moving. Bradshaw will start today for Army as he and A.J. Schurr, who is questionable for the game, have rotated in and out due to injury.

If the Army defense can force Roberts into some turnovers and keep him struggling in the passing game, they have a shot.

Ultimately, Army is not quite there yet. They haven't proven they can get both the offense and the defense on the same wavelength. When that day comes, they'll pull off the upset. But in Colorado Springs for only the fourth time in program history? That seems doubtful.

Air Force 28, Army 17