Air Force grounds Houston
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FORT WORTH, Texas — With Air Force grinding out yards and controlling the ball for more than 41 minutes, there were few chances for Case Keenum and Houston's potent offense.
Then when Keenum got on the field in the Armed Forces Bowl, he was often under pressure or getting picked off — or both.
Air Force's top-ranked pass defense had six interceptions and Asher Clark and Jared Tew each ran for more than 100 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Falcons to a 47-20 victory yesterday.
"The front three kind of got in (Keenum's) head, kind of got into him," said safety Chris Thomas, who had two interceptions. "When he was on the run like that, we feel like we had the advantage."
After the Falcons (8-5) went ahead on Clark's 36-yard TD to cap the opening drive of the game, Keenum's first pass attempt deflected off a receiver and was grabbed by Anthony Wright, who had three interceptions. That set up Tew's 6-yard TD run for a 14-0 lead.
When it was over, Keenum had thrown a career-high six picks and was 24 of 41 for a season-low 222 yards for the Cougars (10-4).
Houston's Tyron Carrier returned the opening kickoff of the second half 79 yards to make it 24-14. Air Force responded when Jonathan Warzeka returned the ensuing kickoff 100 yards for the Falcons first kickoff return for a touchdown since 1985.