Air Force vs. Northern Iowa 09.JPG

Falcons place kicker Matthew Dapore attempts a field goal Sept. 3 against Northern Iowa at Falcon Stadium in Colorado Springs. COLLEGE FOOTBALL EXTRA: Online-only in The Gazette e-edition at

Air Force (5-3) and Army (3-4) collide at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.


Air Force’s offensive diversity

There’s no holding back now (not that there was in recent weeks, either). Air Force may have its full complement of skill players, depending on the availability of Dane Kinamon, and this is the one game remaining on the schedule that would be considered a must-win. Does that impact the approach? We’ll see. Army’s rushing defense has been suspect this season, giving up 212.4 yards per game. Air Force will obviously try to establish fullback Brad Roberts, but if that doesn’t work (or if it does), will it open the playbook and hunt for the big plays? Those haven’t been there with consistency this season, but for a team that has scored 14 or fewer points in three of seven games vs. FBS opposition, what would it hurt to try?

The field goal kickers

Matthew Dapore ranks third all-time in Air Force history with an .857 field goal percentage (18-of-21) and he is 10-of-11 this season. That accuracy could come in handy in this series, which has seen games separated by 3, 4, 3 and 0 points at the end of regulation over the past four years. It was Dapore’s 30-yard field goal with 23 seconds remaining last year in Texas that sent the game vs. Army to overtime — where the Black Knights won 21-14. Army hasn’t leaned as much on its kicker this season, attempting just five field goals (making four) on 26 trips in the red zone. If Air Force can come up with a fourth-down stop (Army is 11-for-20 on fourth down) or put Army off schedule and put the pressure on a field goal unit that hasn’t faced many tests, that could well be where the game turns.

The atmosphere

Everyone seemed to enjoy this game last year. Coach Troy Calhoun, after the loss, praised the professional nature of the venue and event. Army obviously thought it worked out, as it won. There were more than 32,000 on hand, and at least two of those, overheard in the airport on Friday, talked about how they were deciding where they wanted to stay in the Metroplex in 2022 before the 2022 game was even finished. But can the sequel produce the same success? Will enough fans make a return trip, or will that that even matter if enough fans who didn’t come last year now want to see this for themselves – a service academy game played in a new MLB stadium?


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Air Force’s national rank in rushing offense (336.8 ypg), passing yards per completion (23.54), penalty yardage (28.88 per game) and time of possession (35.44).


Victories this season for Army (vs. FCS opponents Colgate and Villanova) in which it completed no passes. Air Force has won three times this season in games in which it completed one pass (Colorado, Nevada and UNLV).


Wins for Army against Air Force in the past five years. That’s the same number of wins the Black Knights had against the Falcons from 1986-2017, as Air Force went 26-4 in the series in that span before this current run.


A victory would make Air Force eligible to attend its 13th bowl in the past 16 seasons. Army must win its final five games to qualify for a bowl game.


Receiving yards for Army’s Tyrell Robinson on two catches against Air Force last season, including a 79-yard touchdown that put the Black Knights ahead 14-3 in the third quarter.


Rushing yards for Air Force fullback Brad Roberts, who is on the cusp of becoming the fifth Falcons player to record multiple 1,000-yard seasons. Roberts currently ranks fifth all-time in team history with 2,756. Next on the list in No. 4 Jacobi Owens with 3,005.