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Air Force-New Mexico Preview: Battle of the Running Games

The Air Force Falcons will host the New Mexico Lobos in a Mountain Division contest this Saturday afternoon. The Falcons are looking to secure their fifth victory of the season as they hunt bowl eligibility and look to keep the Lobos without a win in Mountain West action.

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Game Time/TV - 1:30 p.m. MDT - ROOT Sports

Series Record - Air Force leads 20-11

Last Meeting - New Mexico 45 Air Force 37

Last Week - Utah State 34 Air Force 16; San Diego State 24 New Mexico 14

Injuries are a part of football and good teams overcome those problems. It is a possibility that the Air Force Falcons will face such a test Saturday afternoon when they host the New Mexico Lobos. The Falcons need a week of rest in the worst possible way, but the schedule doesn't allow them a bye for another week. They are a battered and bruised team. Monday's practice saw some key players like quarterback Kale Pearson, receiver Garrett Brown and linebacker Jordan Pierce among the handful of players who were limited or missing practice due to a physically demanding game against Utah State late Saturday night. But the games go on, and the Falcons need to bring their best game as they face another physical running team in the Lobos. The Lobos boast the best running attack in the Mountain West this season, and the Falcons will need to meet the challenge to protect their perfect home record in 2014.

Air Force Rush Defense

After a disastrous 2013 season for the Falcons where the defense just could not stop the opponent, you can't blame true Falcons fans as they keep wondering if the stellar defensive effort the team has played this year is a fluke or not. After half a season, the Falcons have proven that running the ball against them might not be the best course of action. The Falcons have simply taken away the running game in 2014, and the results have shown that has been the key formula for their success. Enter the Lobos, the number one rushing team in the conference. New Mexico is averaging 294 yards a game on the ground while Air Force is only allowing 109.5 yards per game rushing. Air Force has held Navy well below their average this year, they have stopped Jay Ajayi who has put up big numbers this year and twice been named Conference Offensive Player of the week and they are more than capable of forcing the Lobos to beat them by passing the ball. Last season, the Lobos gashed the Falcons for 484 yards on the ground. Don't expect anything close to that this weekend.

New Mexico Pass Attack

The way to beat the Falcons is through the air. Wyoming and Utah State have proved that in the two Air Force losses this season. Georgia State and Boise State nearly completed come from behind victories over the Zoomies by passing their way back into the game. And if New Mexico cannot improve their pass offense, they will not be able to beat the Falcons. The Lobos are only averaging 93.2 yards through the air this season, and are only completing a little over 50 percent of their passes. That is not a good recipe for success when you face the Falcons in 2014. The Falcons, for all the improvements they have made defensively this season, are still surrendering 286.5 yards a game in the air. The Falcons are going to dare the Lobos to beat them by passing the ball and whether New Mexico can pass it consistently or not will prove to be the deciding factor in the game.

Can't Get Off The Field

The Lobos defense is allowing 498.5 yards per game total on defense and teams are converting 51% of their third down conversions against them in 2014. Those are disastrous stats for a team that is facing the ball control option attack of Air Force. Air Force can move the ball, keep the chains moving and take possessions away from your offense when they are in high gear. Air Force's offense averages 425.3 yards on offense a game having faced three of the top defenses in the Mountain West already in Wyoming, Boise State and Utah State. They convert 46% of their third downs and they control the ball on offense winning the time of possession game. New Mexico's defense will be stretched and it will be attacked relentlessly by the Falcons Saturday afternoon.


  • Saturday is Breast Cancer Awareness day in Colorado Springs. The Falcons will sport pink bolts on their helmets this week.
  • The Lobos last win in Colorado Springs was in 2000. The Falcons have won six straight at home since that defeat.
  • The Air Force defense has created a turnover in three straight games.
  • Air Force blocked a punt versus Utah State last week. It was their first blocked kick since 2010.