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Battle for the top of the Mountain

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Air Force and Utah State battle each other to get one step closer to Boise at the top of the Conference

sltrib.com

Theres nothing like an unexpected surprise, you put in a dollar at the vending machine and get two candy bars, or you are playing in a place five hours away from home and the top team in the conference gets upset losing their perfect record. I cant’t speak to the vending machines on campus but in the case of Air Force they received the latter surprise as Boise was upset last weekend by the scrappy cougars of BYU. That loss makes the Mountain side of the conference very interesting especially for the game coming up against the Aggies of Utah State this Saturday at Falcon Stadium.

Currently Boise still sits at the pole position on the mountain side undefeated in conference play and 22nd in the country according to the AP poll. Right behind them sits the aforementioned Aggies also undefeated in conference play, and quickly nipping at their heels are the Air Force Falcons at 3-1 in Mountain West games so far falling to the Broncos earlier in the season on the road. Air Force has to control its own destiny by winning this weekend and hoping for another lapse of concentration from Boise and we could see a 3-way tie for top in the Mountain side, then from their what happens is anyones guess.

Coming off a 56 point performance in paradise despite losing Hammond early in the game the Falcons offense was definitely not shaken by the major time difference on the island and made their comfort known early in the first quarter with a short touchdown run by Kadin Remsberg. Mike Schmidt added another rushing score early in the second quarter in relief of Donal Hammond III. Hawaii kept it close with a long touchdown pass to make the score 14-10 the following drive and that is where the Falcons took firm control and never let up. Geraud Sanders, who has had a monster year as a receiver in a triple option offense took the 75 yard strike thrown from Schmidt, effectively putting the dagger into the Warriors as that was as close as they would get the rest of the night with the score 21-10. Four more touchdowns were scored by the Falcons offense and one incredible 92 yard pick six from Milton Bugg late in the fourth pushed the final score 56-26 in favor of the boys in blue.

After defeating a tough Hawaii team on the road Air Force picks up some much needed momentum coming into a very tough matchup against Utah State, who for my money is the most athletic and talented team in all of the Mountain West. I watched the game two years ago to end the season at Falcon Stadium and in the first half Air Force had a tough time matching up with the explosive attack the Aggies came at them with. That game was also Donald Hammond III’s coming out party as he played that game and led a great comeback in the second half. This time around Mike Schmidt will be orchestrating the veer who had a great game off the bench for Air Force but I am hesitant to say he can do it again because Hawaii had no film on this quarterback and Utah State will be preparing solely for him this week. We have seen in the past once some film is out on you defenses and defensive coordinators can scheme you up like no one’s business. In all honesty I thought the two teams in the Mountain West Air Force wasn’t as good as was Boise and Utah State, Fresno not as much because they had a great year last year but lost a lot of those pieces. With as great as this team has played all year I do think the Aggies are a,little too much to overcome and now having to play a backup quarterback that just reinforces it.

Final Score Prediction: USAFA-13 Utah State-31