Boise State Broncos vs. Air Force Falcons: Game Preview

Boise State runs the ball against the Air Force Falcons at Bronco Stadium, Boise, Idaho, on October 22, 2011. - Otto Kitsinger III

Boise State and Air Force will face off in Bronco Stadium in Mountain West Conference play action this Friday. The matchup will be the conference opener for the Broncos.

WEEK 3: Boise State Broncos vs. Air Force Falcons

WHEN: Friday, September 13, 6:00 PM MT

WHERE: Bronco Stadium, Boise, ID (37,000)

CONFERENCES: Mountain West Conference (Mountain Division)

2013 SEASON: Boise State, 1-1, 0-0 MWC; Air Force, 1-1, 0-1 MWC

COACHES: Boise State head coach Chris Petersen (85-9); Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun (48-32)

TV: ESPN

WEB STREAMING: WatchESPN

STATS: GameTracker

RADIO: KBOI (670 AM) and KKGL (96.9 FM) in the Boise area. KVOR AM 740 in Colorado Springs; The Fan 104.3 in Denver.

SERIES RECORD: 1-0 Boise State

LAST MEETING: 2011, in Bronco Stadium, Boise State 37, Air Force 26.

WEB SITES: Boise State official | Air Force official

Troy Calhoun is in his seventh season as head football coach at Air Force, and had his first losing season last year when the Falcons went 6-7. He is determined to avoid a repeat in 2013, but he has already had some troubles. It started with the first game of the season when his Falcons steamrolled Colgate 38-13. They racked up 409 yards rushing, but Calhoun lost his starting quarterback to a knee injury. That led to a fall at home last week and a beat down by Utah State, 52-20.

This week Calhoun will be taking his show on the road and travel to fellow Mountain Division member Boise State. It will mark the second time the two football teams have met on the gridiron and both will have been in Boise. While the Falcons are coming in off a defeat, the Broncos are riding high after last week’s dismantling of the Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks, 63-14.

What to expect when Air Force has the ball: The game underscores Calhoun’s rebuilding job with only 8 returning starters and a team that is critical at quarterback. Kale Pearson, 5-9, 175 lbs, was the quarterback who was sidelined with a knee injury in the Colgate game, missed the Utah State game, and it is doubtful that he will play Friday. Backup QB Jaleel Awini, 6-2, 210 lbs, took his starting spot but has struggled. Last week he was 4 of 12 attempts for 61 yards, and rushed 11 times for 48 yards before sophomore QB Karson Roberts, 6-1, 185 lbs, replaced him. A lot of those passes went to senior WR Ty MacArthur, 5-9, 175 lbs.

But no matter who is under center this week the Falcons will rely on the option attack that has been their meat and potatoes on offense. And why not with a rushing offense that ranks 18th in the nation? Junior RB Jon Lee, 5-10, 195 lbs, senior RB Anthony LaCoste, 5-10, 205 lbs, and Broam Hart, 6-1, 220 lbs, are just three of a talented group of cadets who can grind it out on the field.

That should give pause for concern to a Boise State rushing defense that is ranked 98th in the nation and giving up an average of 210 yards per game on the ground.

What to expect when Boise State has the ball: The Falcons are ranked 83rd in both passing and rushing defense so look for the Broncos to mix it up with both an air and ground attack. The Falcons gave up 577 total yards to Utah State last week and 360 of those were passes thrown by prolific Aggie QB Chuckie Keeton. While Broncos QB Joe Southwick, 6-1, 202 lbs, is not Keeton, he is growing in confidence in airing out the ball. He was 17 of 25 for 234 yards and 5 TD’s against the Skyhawks and the coaches will want to see how he can measure up against the MW talent. Many of those passes will be to WR’s Matt Miller, 6-3, 218 lbs, Geraldo Boldewijn, 6-4, 215 lbs, and last weekend’s star receiver, Shane Williams-Rhodes, 5-6, 158 lbs. The majority of Southwick's handoffs will go to Jay Ajayi, 6-0, 215 lbs, who carried 15 times last week for 80 yards and 2 TD’s.

With only eight returning starters the Falcons already had more holes to fill than just about any other MW team and now have the added struggle at quarterback. So the trip out to Boise could be rough for the flyboys, and could very well be the toughest road trip they have this season. And while the Broncos might have the edge in this one and are a 23 1/2-point favorite, anything can happen in this volatile season. Including an upset by Air Force on The Blue.

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