Air Force 22

(2-0, 1-0 away)

Northwestern 21

(1-1, 0-1 home)

1:00 PM ET, September 6, 2003

Ryan Field, Evanston, IL

1 2 3 4 T
AFA 7 0 0 1522
NW 0 14 7 021

Air Force 22, Northwestern 21

EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) -- Nate Allen returned an interception 79 yards for a touchdown to help Air Force beat Northwestern 22-21 Saturday.

Air Force (2-0) trailed 21-13 when Allen intercepted quarterback Brett Basanez's errant throw and ran it back for the score to make it 21-19. Air Force went for two, but backup quarterback Adam Fitch was stopped short of the goal line.

Air Force picked off Basanez again on the next possession. This time it was Dennis Poland who stepped in front of the pass, returning it 14 yards to the Northwestern 15. That set up Joey Ashcroft's game-winning 25-yard field goal.

Northwestern (1-1) had one more chance to win it, but Basanez was intercepted for the third straight possession as Air Force beat Northwestern for the second year in a row.

Anthony Butler ran for 107 yards and two touchdowns for Air Force, which won despite the ejection of quarterback Chance Harridge.

After running for a first down in the third quarter, Harridge had the ball stripped from his hands at the Northwestern 37 by Marvin Ward. Harridge got up off the ground and threw a punch at one of the Northwestern players, prompting his ejection.

Fitch replaced Harridge at quarterback and immediately led the Falcons on a scoring drive. Fitch drove Air Force 80 yards in 11 plays that ended with a 4-yard TD run by Butler.

Air Force took a 7-0 lead when Harridge hit Darne Stephens for a 37-yard gain, and two plays later Butler broke a pair of tackles at the line of scrimmage for a 56-yard touchdown. The scoring drive covered 93 yards in three plays.

Northwestern made it 7-7 in the second quarter on a 2-yard touchdown run by Jason Wright that was set up by a catch from seldom-used tight end Gilles Lezi. Facing third-and-21, Basanez hit Lezi for 23 yards across the middle for a first down at the Air Force 2. Lezi had two career receptions entering the game.

Basanez gave Northwestern a 14-7 halftime lead with a 20-yard TD pass to Noah Herron, then led the Wildcats on another scoring drive to open the second half.

Basanez had a 28-yard completion to Roger Jordan, and rushed for gains of 2 and 10 yards before Herron plunged through the middle for a 1-yard TD that gave Northwestern a 21-7 lead.

Basanez was 15-of-34 for 234 yards and one touchdown. Wright rushed for 108 yards and a score.