Sports

Pearson leads Air Force past Navy 30-21 to take big step toward Commander-in-Chief's Trophy

  • Air Force defensive back Kalon Baker, left, celebrates with wide receiver Jalen Robinette after he fielded a lateral from quarterback Kale Pearson and threw the ball for a touchdown against Navy in the first quarter of an NCAA college football game at Air Force Academy, Colo., on Saturday, Oct. 4, 2014. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

    Air Force defensive back Kalon Baker, left, celebrates with wide receiver Jalen Robinette after he fielded a lateral from quarterback Kale Pearson and threw the ball for a touchdown against Navy in the first quarter of an NCAA college football game at Air Force Academy, Colo., on Saturday, Oct. 4, 2014. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)  (The Associated Press)

  • Navy fullback Noah Copeland, center, carries the ball for a long gain as Air Force defensive back Jamal Byrd, left, and linebacker Connor Healy pursue late in the first quarter of an NCAA college football game at Air Force Academy, Colo., on Saturday, Oct. 4, 2014. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

    Navy fullback Noah Copeland, center, carries the ball for a long gain as Air Force defensive back Jamal Byrd, left, and linebacker Connor Healy pursue late in the first quarter of an NCAA college football game at Air Force Academy, Colo., on Saturday, Oct. 4, 2014. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)  (The Associated Press)

  • Air Force defensive back Christian Spears, right, intercepts pass in end zone intended for Navy slotback Calvin Cass Jr. in the second quarter of an NCAA college football game at Air Force Academy, Colo., on Saturday, Oct. 4, 2014. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

    Air Force defensive back Christian Spears, right, intercepts pass in end zone intended for Navy slotback Calvin Cass Jr. in the second quarter of an NCAA college football game at Air Force Academy, Colo., on Saturday, Oct. 4, 2014. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)  (The Associated Press)

Kale Pearson threw three touchdown passes, including a short strike to seal the game with 35 seconds remaining, as Air Force held off Navy 30-21 on Saturday, a significant step in the Falcons' bid to claim the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy for the first time since 2011.

Pearson put Air Force (4-1) ahead for good on a 3-yard TD pass to Garrett Griffin in the third quarter. But Navy (2-4) rallied late and pulled to within a field goal. Air Force recovered the onside kick, and Pearson found Garrett Brown on fourth-and-2 from the 13 to clinch the win.

Navy's Keenan Reynolds had a late TD pass, along with a 10-yard TD run in the second quarter. His run gave him 49 career scores, tying him with Ricky Dobbs for most in school history.