The Air Force Falcons (1-0) will look to get a big early season win against the BYU Cougars (1-0). The Falcons are coming off a lackluster 1st half against Northwestern State but still managed a 65-21 win. BYU is coming off a big game against Washington with a much closer 23-17 win. This is the first conference game for both teams. Many are looking at this year to be the one that Air Force cracks the top three in the Mountain West Conference, beating BYU will accomplish that. In the preseason prediction the voters choose Air Force over BYU 28-18 votes.
The quarterback platoon worked well for the Cougars with Jake Heaps and Riley Nelson throwing for 131 yards. Nelson was a bit more efficient with two touchdowns and a better completion percentage. Nelson also scrambled for 45 yards. The running game for BYU did struggle a little without Harvey Unga. Lead running back JJ Di Luigi only had 69 yards and back up Bryan Kariya had just 20 yards.
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The Cougar defense did a good job of containing Heisman hopeful Jake Locker to just 29 yards on the ground. Locker did throw for 266 yards but Washington was held to just 5-15 on third down attempts and shut out in three tries on fourth down. The BYU defense gave up 4.1 yards a carry and will have to step up if they hope to shut down the Air Force attack.
Air Force despite their first half struggles against Northwestern State did manage 437 rushing yards which was tops in FBS. The dangerous attack that BYU will have to watch out for might be the passing attack by Tim Jefferson. Jefferson was 7-12 with 179 yards and two touchdowns. Asher Clark and Jared Tew got the most carries on the team and took advantage with average carries of seven and five yards respectively. Last year in Provo the Falcons managed just 3.79 yards a carry. This year at home with the help of 1500 more feet of elevation and a home crowd the Falcons will look get wear down the Cougars with the triple option.
Corner back Reggie Rembert (neck) has been cleared by doctors but is still questionable to play. The Falcon defense needs all the experience they can get in the secondary going up against the Cougars quarterback platoon. Rembert playing could be a big factor. Last week after Rembert went out the Falcons struggled a bit with the pass giving up 249 yards and two touchdowns.
Even with the upper hand in the past for the Cougars many feel this game will be a tight one throughout. This game will come down to whoever makes that extra effort and makes a big play to change the game. Expect low turnovers and a hard fought football game. This is the kind of game that makes MWC football exciting, no other conference can you get Mormons and the chAir Force together on the gridiron to smash helmets!