- Associated Press - Saturday, November 7, 2015

AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. (AP) - Army quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw certainly put his banged-up shoulder to the test. It passed.

His team? Not so much.

Bradshaw couldn’t ignite the Black Knights offense in a 20-3 loss to Air Force on Saturday. The sophomore finished 2 of 8 for 45 yards and ran for another 42.

“I thought he played as hard as he could,” Army coach Jeff Monken said. “I don’t know if he played as well as he’s capable when he’s completely healthy, but I thought he played really hard.”

The Black Knights (2-7) fell out of the running for the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy, which is presented annually to the winning academy in the round-robin competition. But they can still play the role of spoiler given Air Force’s loss to Navy earlier this season. Should the Black Knights beat the Midshipmen next month, Air Force will retain the trophy.

“We’re going to have to root for Army in that game,” Falcons defensive end Alex Hansen said. “Definitely weird.”

Air Force and Army know each other so well that yards were hard to gain. The Falcons’ smothering defense limited the Black Knights to 169 total yards and just nine first downs. The Falcons have now gone 11 quarters without surrendering an offensive touchdown.

That shutout was oh so close, though, spoiled only by Daniel Grochowski’s 47-yard field goal late in the third quarter. Army never got inside Air Force’s 20-yard line.

“We just had a really good game plan going into it,” Hansen said. “I think a lot of the calls we made, they really put us in the right position to make plays.”

Air Force tight end Garrett Griffin caught two TDs despite having a migraine. Sometime in the third quarter, Griffin ducked back into the locker room. He didn’t fall asleep or anything - the crowd was too energized - but once he took his medication, the pain began to dissipate.

When he returned, Karson Roberts found him for a 23-yard TD to wrap up the win in the fourth quarter.

“Standing on the sidelines is the worst feeling in the world,” Griffin said. “It’s nice to come back and help out any way you can.”

While Army’s offense struggled, the defense actually kept the team in the game against an Air Force squad that’s scored 100 points the last two weeks. The Falcons finished with 196 yards rushing, well below their average of 353.4, the second-best total in the nation.

“We let up some big plays,” Army linebacker Jeremy Timpf said. “But I thought we played well.”

Army’s Ahmad Bradshaw, who was returning from injury, was held to 42 yard rushing. He also completed 2 of 8 for 45 yards, including one to Edgar Poe that went for 33.

On three occasions, the Black Knights had the ball inside the Air Force 50 and facing fourth down, but elected to punt.

“It’s a field position game,” Monken explained.

Air Force jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the first half courtesy of a 22-yard field goal from Luke Strebel and Griffin’s first TD catch of the season.

Strebel added a 42-yarder in the fourth quarter.

This was the 50th all-time meeting between the schools. Air Force leads the series 35-14-1.

___

AP college football website: www.collegefootball.ap.org

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