It was Military Appreciation Day at Aloha Stadium, and the crowd was treated to a great performance by the Air Force Falcons as they defeated the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors 58-7 to capture their first road victory of the season. The first half was especially brutal for the host team as the visiting Falcons accumulated 34 points, 349 yards of total offense, captured four turnovers and held the ball for over 21 minutes to dominate the play in the opening 30 minutes. The Warriors would never recover from that awful first half.
Air Force has really had to make some changes with its offense personal in their last two games. With both fullbacks D.J. Johnson and Shayne Davern (possible season ending injury) out of action, the Falcons and head coach Troy Calhoun have inserted starting tailback Jacobi Owens into the fullback role with great success. Owens, who finished the game with 137 yards rushing on 30 carries with two touchdowns, has been powerful in his running and has found the end zone more often. On top of that, tailbacks Benton Washington and Bryan Driskell have been handling the edge rushing very well for Air Force. The Falcons rushing attack was in full effect Saturday as they churned out 496 yards for the game. The Falcons were the third best rushing team in college football entering the game.
On the other side of the ball, the Falcons are getting healthier as they welcomed back the Healy brothers this week. Both Patrick Healy and Connor Healy returned after missing time and helped the Falcons shore up their rush defense. With no running game to speak of, the Warriors needed the passing game to step up but it had issues as well. Quarterback Max Wittek was intercepted by both Weston Steelhammer and Roland Ladipo. When the receivers did catch the ball, they would struggle with securing the ball. Quinton Pedroza caught a pass early in the game, but he was blindsided by Falcons defensive back Jesse Washington and fumbled the ball that was recovered by Steelhammer. Drops were also a big problem for Hawaii in the game.
With the victory, the Falcons improve to 5-3 overall and 4-1 in Mountain West play. They take a week off from Mountain West play and take on military rival Army in Colorado Springs. The game is scheduled to start at 1:30 p.m. and will be televised on ESPNU.
Hawaii drops to 2-7 overall and 0-5 in conference play. They will travel to Las Vegas Saturday to battle an improved UNLV team. Hawaii has officially been eliminated from a bowl berth with their home loss.