Football: Falcons ride record-breaker Hall over Army

  • Published
  • By Wayne Amann
  • U. S. Air Force Academy Public Affairs
The way Air Force's Chad Hall gains ground would normally make an infantry soldier proud.

Instead, the Falcon z-back broke the spirit of some future ground troops when he ran wild for 275 yards, leading the bluesuiters to a convincing 30-10 win over inter-service rival Army, before a season-high, near-capacity crowd of 46,144, Nov. 3 at Falcon Stadium in Colorado.

It was the first home win against a service academy opponent for the senior class. The victory also improved Air Force to 28-13-1 all-time against Army, including 17-3 at home. The Falcons have won 17 of the last 19 meetings in the series.

Hall set a new Academy single-game rushing record in the process, breaking his own school mark of 256 yards he logged Oct. 13 at Colorado State. Hall's new standard is the second highest in the history of the Mountain West Conference.

"Fantastic effort, I wish we had him for a couple more years," said Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun of the senior's performance. "It's not that hard to get him involved (in the offense). He is our one guy who can make more than what's there, because he makes somebody miss. If he doesn't get run down, he might get more chances."

Hall carried the ball a career-high 34 times, caught a team-high three passes for 19 yards and returned three punts for 39 yards. He accounted for 333 of the Falcons' 581 all- purpose yards, a new Air Force individual record.

"I just ran behind the big guys" Hall said. "At the beginning of the year everyone was doubting our offensive line because they're young. But, they've stepped up big time. They made holes, I read them and ran behind them. They've been playing great and it shows."

With the game tied, 3-3, after one quarter, the Air Force passing game showed up when quarterback Shaun Carney, who completed 9-of-13 passes for 105 yards, lofted a 48-yard touchdown strike to wide receiver Spencer Armstrong. It was his first TD catch of the season after missing the first five games of the campaign with a torn hamstring.

"I beat my guy off the line and the ball was thrown a little short," Armstrong said. "So I held up, got a little extension on him, was able to get the ball without him looking and walked in the end zone."

Army (3-6) knotted matters at 10 later in the second quarter on a 2-yard touchdown reception by tight end Ernie Bernal.

On the Falcons next possession, Carney capped a 15-play, 80-yard drive with a 5-yard touchdown run :52 before halftime.

The Air Force defense pitched a shutout in the second half, keyed by five sacks for 42 yards in losses. It limited the Black Knights to 181 total yards including a scant 17 rushing.

A 1-yard Hall touchdown run in the third quarter and two field goals by Ryan Harrison in the fourth, one a 56-yarder, iced the game and significantly improved Air Force's bowl chances at 7-3 on the year. NCAA Division I teams are bowl-eligible with six wins.

For their performances, Hall and Harrison were named the Mountain West Conference Offensive and co-Special Teams Players of the Week respectively.

Harrison's three field goals were a career high. He averaged 42-yards on two punts and his seven kick offs resulted in four touchbacks and an average starting field position for Army at its own 19 yard line.

An early season loss to Navy prevented Air Force from regaining the Commander-In-Chiefs Trophy this year, which made this win especially satisfying for the Falcons.

"Beating Army or Navy means a lot to a lot of people besides us," Carney said. "We compete for people overseas watching the game and it makes us feel good we made them proud. We're happy to represent the Air Force and everyone serving in it."

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