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Air Force Uses Rare Passing Game To Win First Responder Bowl

DALLAS: Haaziq Daniels threw for two touchdowns and ran for two others as Air Force beat Louisville 31-28 in the First Responder Bowl on Tuesday.

Daniels completed 9 of 10 passes for a season-high 252 yards, leading a triple-option offense that came into the game averaging an FBS-best 340.8 rushing yards and the second-fewest passing yards at 82.5 per game.

Brandon Lewis had touchdown catches of 64 and 61 yards for the Falcons (10-3), finishing with five receptions for a career-high 172 yards. That’s the most receiving yardage for an Air Force player this season and the most ever in the Falcons 28 bowl games.

Matthew Dapore kicked a 26-yard field goal with 5:28 left to give the Falcons a two-score lead.

Malik Cunningham threw a 34-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Harrell and ran for a 22-yard touchdown with 2:57 to play for Louisville (6-7). Jawhar Jordan returned a kickoff 100 yards and Trevion Cooley had a 1-yard run for the Cardinals other touchdowns.

Daniels ran for a 5-yard touchdown in the first quarter to give Air Force a 7-0 lead and a 1-yard score in the final minute of the second quarter to put the Falcons ahead 28-14.

One of three Louisville players listed as out because of illness was redshirt freshman running back Jalen Mitchell, who led the team in rushing during the season with 722 yards.

THE TAKEAWAY

Air Force: An overtime loss to Army prevented the Falcons from winning the Commander-in-Chiefs Trophy for the first time since 2016 instead of settling for a three-way tie. Otherwise, it was a hugely successful season.

Louisville: Cunningham put together a terrific dual-threat season and has announced hell return for a fifth year of competition in 2022.

UP NEXT

Air Force: The Falcons will begin the 2022 season on Sept. 3 against Northern Iowa at home and then welcome Colorado to Colorado Springs the following week.

Louisville: The Cardinals will open at UCF on Sept. 10 and face South Florida before jumping into ACC play.

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Written by Anupam Singh

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