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Surprise Passing Game by Air Force Stuns Cards

Air Force cornerback Tre Bugg III (3) and defensive tackle Jordan Jackson (94) dump a cooler of...
Air Force cornerback Tre Bugg III (3) and defensive tackle Jordan Jackson (94) dump a cooler of ice water on head coach Troy Calhoun after their 31-28 victory over Louisville in the First Responder Bowl NCAA college football game Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jeffrey McWhorter)(Jeffrey McWhorter | AP)
Published: Dec. 28, 2021 at 11:54 PM CST
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DALLAS, Tx. (WAVE) - Air Force quarterback, Haaziq Daniels threw for 245 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Falcons past Louisville in the First Responder Bowl 31-28.

Coming into the game, Air Force led the nation in rushing yards averaging over 341 yards-per-game, and had run the ball on over 90 straight plays before torching the Cardinal secondary for 199 yards passing and two long touchdowns. Daniels connected with Brandon Lewis for a 61-yard touchdown to give Air Force a 14-0 lead in the second quarter. After a Trevion Cooley touchdown cut the lead to 14-7, Daniels and Lewis connected again, this time for a 64-yard touchdown pass.

The Cards would answer immediately when Jawhar Jordan returned the ensuing kickoff 100 yards to cut the deficit to 21-14, but the Falcons scored again before half in their more traditional way, a touchdown run by Daniels to give them a 28-14 halftime lead.

After the Louisville defense forced a three and out, the offense orchestrated a 14 play, 78-yard drive that stalled on fourth and goal when Cooley was stopped on fourth and goal at the Air Force two-yard line. After another stop by the Cardinal defense, Louisville finds the end zone. Quarterback, Malik Cunningham hit Tyler Harrell for a 34-yard touchdown to cut the lead to 28-21 just before the end of the third quarter.

Air Force would answer with a 17 play, 9:36 drive, culminating with a field goal to give the Falcons a 31-21 lead. Louisville would answer with a 22 yard Cunningham touchdown, but the Cardinal defense wasn’t able to get off the field to give the offense a chance to force overtime or win in regulation. Louisville finishes the season with a 6-7 record.

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