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Air Force takes to the air (at times) to defeat South Alabama in Arizona Bowl

Arizona Bowl
Air Force quarterback Arion Worthman looks for a receiver as he rolls out against South Alabama on Friday.
(Rick Scuteri / Associated Press)

Arion Worthman threw for 207 yards to balance out Air Force’s run-heavy offense, Jacobi Owens scored two touchdowns and the Falcons overcame a sluggish start to beat South Alabama, 45-21, in the Arizona Bowl on Friday. 

Air Force (10-3) struggled to get its triple-option going, falling into an 18-point first-half hole. Once the Falcons got rolling, they couldn’t be stopped, scoring 42 straight points to turn it into a rout. 

Worthman was the trigger, jump-starting Air Force’s option while completing seven of 10 passes, including a 75-yard touchdown to Jalen Robinette to open the second half. He also had 71 yards in 21 carries. 

South Alabama (6-7) appeared to be headed toward its first bowl win after jumping on the Falcons early, starting with Dallas Davis’ 75-yard touchdown pass to Josh Magee on the game’s first play. 

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The Jaguars couldn’t sustain their early offensive success or stop the Falcons, losing a bowl game for the second time in three seasons. 

Davis threw for 245 yards and a touchdown, but also had an interception and lost a fumble. Magee had five catches for 154 yards. 

Davis hit Chris Lewis on a 51-yard pass to set up Dami Ayoola’s two-yard TD run. Davis next found Magee on a 37-yard pass, then scored himself on a four-yard run that put the Jaguars up 21-3. 

South Alabama also seemed to have the combination for stopping Air Force’s tricky triple-option, the Falcons to a pair of field goals into the second quarter. 

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Air Force finally unlocked its option late in the half. Ronald Cleveland scored on 14-yard run , then Owens on a two-yard run after Santo Coppola returned Davis’ fumble to 1-yard line. 

Once down 21-3, Air Force found itself at halftime after converting the 2-point conversion . 

The Falcons took their first lead by doing exactly what South Alabama did to open the game: a 75-yard TD pass on the first play of the second half, from Worthman to Robinette. 

Tyler Williams later took a pitch left to the pylon for a 6-yard TD and Owens scored on a 22-yard run to put Air Force up 45-21. 

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