Unfortunately there will be no game played in Albuquerque this week between the University of New Mexico Lobos and Air Force Falcons. Even more unfortunately when they do have their game that has been rescheduled to November, 23rd defensive lineman Nahje Flowers will not be able to take the field. The untimely death has saddened many across the college football world and thoughts and prayers go out to all who have been affected by this tragic story. The Air Force Falcons have shown nothing but class in agreeing to the change in schedule to allow proper time for New Mexico to heal and process what happened, it just goes to show that there may be foes on the field but under the pads and away from the lights of the stadium we are all human and are all hurting from what happened.
As tough as it may be to move past this Air Force should take advantage of the unforeseen bye week as they still are in a tight race for the Mountain division lead and a spot in the Mountain West championship. The next time the Falcons will be in action it will be in the final round of the Colorado college championship series as they will travel to Fort Collins to take on a Rams team trying to become bowl eligible once again after not meeting the 6 win requirement in 2018. Coach Calhoun now gets an extra seven days to find where his team was weak in their last outing against Army and strengthen it before going up against an in state rival whom the team embarrassed in the 2018 season finale.
In regards to the weaknesses exposed in last week’s victory over the Black Knights the most glaring example is the defensive secondary. Once vaunted earlier in the season after strong showings against Colorado and San Jose, including two pick-sixes from Milton Bugg, they have given up an absurd amount of yards in the past three weeks highlighted by 402 yards to Hawaii and 214 to Army. The passing yards against Hawaii are somewhat expected, the Warriors have long been an air raid offense and throw for mammoth yards often even when the team itself isn’t great. However, 214 yards passing to Army should be seen as unacceptable for the same reason no one should expect Air Force to throw the ball around the yard, the triple option offense favors a quarterback who can’t throw! To illustrate this even farther Jabari Laws, the second string quarterback who played against Air Force, had 214 yards passing last Saturday...he now has 263 which means he entered the game with only 49 yards. He was no Joe Montana by any stretch but his yardage totals and 64% completion percentage show he was much closer than he should have been. This must be fixed before November, 16th when CSU hosts Air Force, especially when the Rams enter the game averaging 300 yards and 2 touchdowns through the air per game, Coach Chip Vaughn has his hands full fixing this secondary this week.
The strong points that will help the Falcons are both the rushing offense and defense as the front seven for Air Force held Army to 129 yards which seems high but against a triple option offense to the caliber of Army’s that is a major win and forced them to go out of their comfort zone in order to score and move the ball, unfortunately they were able to be successful that way too. Offensively they are coming off of a 300 plus yard performance, which will be CSU’s nightmare as they average giving up 200 yards on the ground and have yet to meet an offense of Air Force’s caliber.