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Air Force Football: Too much Utah State Offense in 42-32 loss

Air Force defense unable to match key defensive stops with Utah State in offensive shootout

NCAA Football: Utah State at Air Force Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

1st 9:18 USU Darwin Thompson 6 yd. TD run (USU 7-0)

2nd 13:48 AFA Isaiah Sanders 1 yd. TD run (Tied 7-7)

2nd 7:13 AFA Cole Fagan 8 yd. TD run (AFA 14-7)

2nd 6:28 USU Gerold Bright 4 yd. TD run (Tied 14-14)

2nd 1:02 USU Aaren Vaughns 43 yd. TD rec. (USU 21-14)

3rd 9:04 USU Darwin Thompson 2 yd. TD run (USU 28-14)

3rd 8:15 USU Dax Raymond 30 yd. TD rec. (USU 35-14)

3rd 3:06 AFA Jake Koehnke 31 yd. Field Goal (USU 35-17)

4th 13:13 AFA Kadin Remsberg 9 yd. Run (2 pt. Conversion good - USU 35-25)

4th 13:00 AFA Christopher Musselman 21 yd. Fumble return (USU 35-32)

4th 6:52 USU Gerold Bright 70 yd. TD run (USU 42-32)

Air Force had been perfect on their first five fourth-down conversions. The sixth attempt would prove to be the end of the Air Force comeback attempt as the Utah State Aggies were able to hold on and defeat the Air Force Falcons 42-32 in the Mountain West Conference opener for both teams.

Air Force scored 15 points in 13 seconds early in the fourth quarter to really put the outcome of the game in doubt. After a Kadin Remsberg nine-yard touchdown run, the Falcons would go for two with third-string quarterback Donald Hammond III throwing for two points on a trick play. On the ensuing kickoff, the special teams would score as Christopher Musselman would strip Savon Scarver in the pile and scamper 21 yards to tighten the game to 35-32 Utah State.

Utah State running back Gerold Bright would five the Aggies a big boost after the 15 point explosion by Air Force when he would take a handoff and explode for 70 yards up the right sideline to extend the lead to 42-32.

A big turning point in the game for Air Force was a fumbled exchange by backup quarterback Arion Worthman. Head Coach Troy Calhoun inserted Worthman into the game to try and spark the Falcons who started losing momentum late in the second quarter. Instead of a spark, Worthman put the ball on the ground and Utah State would recover. On the very next play, the Aggies would throw a short middle screen to tight end Dax Raymond, who would turn it into a 30 yard untouched sprint into the end zone to increase the lead to 35-14.

The Aggies would put everyone up close to the line of scrimmage and force the Falcons to either run against a nine-man box or pass the ball. Air Force couldn’t muster enough offense to put a serious threat into the Aggies lead. A touchdown by Kadin Remsberg would cut the lead to 35-23 with Air Force using a trick play on a two-point conversion to cut the lead to 35-25.

Utah State quarterback Jordan Love dissected the Air Force defense, continuing a bad trend for the Falcons. Love would show super accuracy, often times hitting wide open receivers as Air Force blew many coverages in the game. Love has a bevy of targets, but the big man of the night literally was 6’3 215 lb. wide receiver Ron’quavion Tarver, who finished with 9 receptions for 128 yards.

Air Force had a golden opportunity to take control of the game late in the second quarter. Outside linebacker Lakota Wills would come up with a strip sack of Love that would be recovered by Garrett Kappuila, giving the Falcons great field position and plenty of time to use the clock and take the lead going into the half. It wouldn’t materialize however, as they would come up with no points because of blocked field goal. Utah State would march right down the field, aided by a facemask penalty, and Aaren Vaughns would be wide open in the middle of the field and score a 43 yard touchdown to give the Aggies a 21-14 halftime lead.

Air Force (1-2, 0-1) will look to rebound at home Saturday when they host Nevada in a conference matchup. The game will begin at 2 p.m. and will air on ESPNews.