Oct. 2, 2010
AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. (AP) - Quarterback Tim Jefferson took a knee to run out the last few seconds on the clock and then bolted for the sideline, ball in hand, to signal the end of Air Force's seven-game losing streak to Navy.
Jefferson ran for two touchdowns, the second set up when freshman Jamil Cooks hurdled a blocker to smother a punt, and Air Force beat Navy 14-6 on Saturday for its first win over the Midshipmen since 2002.
"We finally got it done," said an emotional Jefferson, who presented Air Force coach Troy Calhoun the game ball the moment he reached the sideline.
"It was a monkey off his back and a monkey off my back. I wanted to beat Navy just as bad as anyone else out here. This one was for him," Jefferson said of Calhoun, who got his first win over Navy in his fourth season as Air Force's coach.
The Falcons snapped Navy's record service academy winning streak at 15 games, dating to that last Air Force win in 2002. The Midshipmen have won eight straight against Army.
Falcons running back Jared Tew, who rushed for 111 yards on 17 carries, said the victory was especially gratifying for the upperclassmen.
"All of us seniors had lost to Navy every year we'd been here, and everyone comes up to us asking if we're going to beat Navy this year," he said. "There was a lot riding on this game, and it means a lot to the team. Going out and winning for the first time is huge."
Tew's sixth career 100-yard game was part of 292 yards on the ground by the nation's top rushing team.
The Falcons (4-1) were clinging to a one-point lead when Cooks flew over Jared Marks in the backfield and kept right on going to block Kyle Delahooke's punt. Coaches had noted Cooks' athletic ability, and in the week leading up to the game had him practice jumping over the backfield blocker to get to the punter or kicker.
Cooks said the move caught Navy flat-footed.
"I don't think they expected it. He wasn't expecting me to go over," said Cooks, who also said he "got a finger" on a missed field goal attempt earlier in the game by Navy's Joe Buckley
After the punt block, the ball rolled backward to the Navy 15-yard line.
Air Force ran the ball three times before Jefferson, who also had a 50-yard touchdown run, pushed his way into the end zone from a yard out with 12:38 remaining.
Navy drove to the Air Force 33-yard line before Jordan Waiwaiole intercepted Ricky Dobbs' third-down pass with 25 seconds left to seal the victory.
"They were the better team today," said Dobbs, who was held without a rushing touchdown for the first time in his 17 starts for Navy. "We had opportunities to score, but we didn't execute around the goal line. Those were points we missed out on early that came back to haunt us."
"Everyone is really down right now," Dobbs added. "We've never had this feeling before, losing to a service academy, and we don't know how to take it."
Navy (2-2) pulled within 7-6 on Buckley's second field goal, a 32-yarder with 10:58 remaining in the third quarter. The drive began after Jefferson's errant pitch bounced off Asher Clark's shoulder pads and was recovered by Aaron McCauley.
Air Force led 7-3 at halftime behind Jefferson's first touchdown run. The Falcons covered 80 yards in three plays, all on the ground, capped by Jefferson's career-long 50-yard gain. He broke past the line of scrimmage on the option, powered through a couple of tackles and raced into the clear, outrunning Navy defenders en route to the end zone.
Buckley, who had missed a chip shot try earlier, got Navy on the board with a 25-yard field goal midway through the second quarter after Dobbs' third-down run was stopped short.