It was the 11th straight victory at Michie Stadium for Army (7-2), which stayed in the running to keep the Commander in Chief's Trophy, emblematic of supremacy among the three service academies. Army won the trophy last season for the first time since 1996 and can retain it with a victory over Navy next month. Air Force (3-6), which beat Navy 35-7 a month ago, is 33-14 in Commander in Chief's Trophy games against Army since the trophy was first awarded in 1972.
Air Force had won 18 of the previous 21 in the series against the Black Knights, but one of those Army victories was 21-0 last year at Air Force. That loss snapped a school-record, 306-game scoring streak by the Falcons dating to 1992.
The Falcons were unable to score in the first half with Isaiah Sanders at quarterback, fell behind by two scores, and couldn't recover despite a late rally. The Black Knights secured the victory when Donald Hammond III was stopped for no gain on a fourth-and-3 play at the Army 40 with under 2 minutes to play.
Hammond had replaced Sanders to start the third quarter and quickly hit Marcus Bennett for 31 yards into Army territory, but the drive ended when the Falcons were called for an illegal block on a fourth-and-3 play and had to punt.
Hammond had completions of 17 yards to Geraud Sanders and 13 yards to Marcus Bennett late in the third quarter, but the Falcons turned the ball over on downs when a fourth-down pass by Hammond attempt fell incomplete.
The Falcons finally caught a break when safety Jeremy Fejedelem got a hand on a punt by Army's Nick Schrage and it traveled just 4 yards to give Air Force a first down at the Army 34 and they capitalized. Hammond scored from the 1 two plays after converting a fourth-and-1 play to cut the lead to 14-6 with under a minute to play in the third. Jake Koehnke's point-after try hit the left goalpost and stayed out.
Senior John Abercrombie kicked a 30-yard field goal with 8:35 left to complete a 13-play drive that took 7:19 off the clock on a gusty day and gave Army a 17-6 lead midway through the fourth.
Undaunted, Hammond drove the Falcons 75 yards in 10 plays to pull within a field goal. The drive was kept alive by a pass interference call against Army on a third-and-10 play. Cole Fagan's 30-yard catch-and-run set up Joseph Saucier's 6-yard touchdown run off a pitch. Saucier also converted on the 2-point try to make it 17-14.
Air Force: The Falcons are faltering in the Mountain West Conference at 1-4 and have to win their final three games to qualify for the postseason. At least two of the games are at Falcon Stadium.
Army: The Black Knights have now beaten service academy rivals Air Force and Navy two straight times. Another victory over Navy in December will give Army the upper hand again in the annual three-way series.
Trailing 7-0 early in the second quarter, Air Force coach Troy Calhoun elected to punt on fourth-and-2 just inside Army territory. The Black Knights converted three times on fourth down to up their season total to 29 conversions in 32 attempts.
Air Force hosts New Mexico next Saturday.
Army hosts FCS foe Lafayette next Saturday.