The Air Force Falcons have righted the ship with a 42-0 thumping of the New Mexico Lobos on Saturday afternoon in Albuquerque. But early in the second quarter senior quarterback Tim Jefferson Jr was forced out of the game with an apparent broken nose and did not return to the field. In post game interviews Falcons head coach Troy Calhoun anticipated that Jefferson would be able to play in this Saturday's Commander-in-Chief's Trophy battle with Army.
This game gave Air Force fans a chance to see what the Falcon's offense will look like next season. Dietz, although he is a senior, is likely to be the starting quarterback in 2012. Over the summer, Dietz was granted a "medical turnback" for suffering an injury during his freshman year in 2008 that hampered both his academic progress and military training. All cadets are required to complete their academic work and military training within a four year period. Dietz has been granted an extra semester to complete his course work and will be slated to graduate in December of 2012. Because he did not play in 2008, essentially the NCAA will rule it as a medical red-shirt.
Dietz actually is a better quarterback in a traditional triple option attack. He is swifter on his feet than Jefferson as his 14.5 yard average in this game showed. Dietz however, lacks the passing ability Jefferson has, and if this game had been any closer in the second half than it was, Jefferson would have made every attempt to return to action. But with DeWitt scoring on the play immediately following Jefferson's injury, the game wasn't headed down to the wire.
Defensively the Falcons put together their best performance on the season. Obviously they shut the Lobos out, but through three quarters of action the Lobos had only gained 150 yards of offense, 61 on the ground and 89 through the air. The Lobos did not cross the midfield strip until there were 15 seconds left in the first half and didn't reach the Air Force 20 until 11 minutes remained in the game. The Lobos were limited to 223 yards of total offense for the game, 109 passing and 114 rushing, both season bests for the Air Force defense. The final 73 yards in the fourth quarter for New Mexico came against the Falcon second and third team defenders. James Aho missed two field goals in the final quarter from 40 and 30 yards out respectively sealing the Lobos scoreless day.
With their first conference win finally secured, now Air Force can prepare for their final CIC-trophy matchup of the season against the Army Black Knights. Going into this game there was a possibility that the Falcons might have been looking past the Lobos towards the Army game, but that was not the case. The Falcons showed they had the maturity to not only focus on the task at hand, but also to not worry about coming off a three game losing streak. Now they can move on to the next step, secure a trophy, and send the seniors out in style with a trip to the White House.