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Air Force Wins Sloppy Battle Over Lobos, 28-0

Factors We Watched

A dominating performance by a regrouped offensive line and the inability of New Mexico to take advantage of Falcon fumbles led to a shutout victory at Falcon Stadium on Friday night, 28-0.

Backup fullback Brad Davis rolled up 177 yards and four touchdowns running through holes in the line big enough to drive a DIESEL through. Along with Matt Murla and Bo Gross, the Falcon fullbacks gained 250 yards, averaged 6.7 yards per carry, and enabled the Falcons to hold onto the ball for 36 12 minutes. The performance was marred by three fumbles on consecutive possessions in the third quarter. The Lobos were unable to take advantage of those miscues, missing three straight field goal attempts after shooting themselves in the foot with penalties and key tackles for loss.

These were the factors we watched as pointed out in my preview:

Who played?

Just prior to gametime it was announced that starting fullback Timothy Jackson would not play for unannounced reasons. Fortunately, Brad Roberts was available after missing a couple games for Covid contract tracing. The only other loss of availability on offense was at wide receiver, and the Falcons started a second tight end at that position, as Dalton King made the first start of his career.

On the defensive side of the ball, the turbulence that has been the standard this year continued. Starters LB Will Trawick, LB Alec Mock, LB Grant Donaldson, NG Joe Woodring, and FS Camby Goff were all sidelined, presumably from contract tracing. In their places NG Kalawa’i Pescaia, LB Jonathan Youngblood, LB Caleb Humphrey, and FS Jayden Goodwin made the first starts of their careers, and LB Noah Bush returned from injury. Pescaia, Youngblood, and Humphrey all contributed key plays that enabled the shutout. LB/DE Brandon Gooding also made his first appearance and contributed a 13 yard sack.

My concern before the game was for the availability of Jackson. Obviously, my concern was misplaced. In two games, Roberts has averaged 140 yards, 7.4 yards per carry, and has 4 touchdowns. Given Jackson’s tendency toward injury, I’m sure we will see a lot more of Brad Roberts.

Watch the touchdowns and tell me why Roberts is able to score.

And for more confirmation, Haaziq Daniel’s touchdown:

Intangibles

Before the game, I thought New Mexico was on the verge of breaking out of the rut of playing pretty well but not getting over the hump to a victory, but the repeated mistakes at inopportune times proved again to be a problem. It started on the first drive of the game after the Lobos easily moved the ball into Falcon territory and then picked up 10 yards on a run by Bobby Cole. The play was called back for holding, and the Lobos drive stalled. On each of the three Falcon fumbles, the Lobos either took bad penalties or let Falcon defenders get into the backfield for losses. Of course, there was also the missed field goals. The young Falcon defenders get some credit for forcing these situations, but a winning team finds way not to make these errors.

The Falcon Offensive Line

See tweets above.

My prediction for the game was for a 28-24 Falcon victory, so I got the Falcon scoring right and probably would have been pretty close for New Mexico if they would have converted on the fumble opportunities.

Next up Colorado State on Thanksgiving day at noon MST. Standby for my preview later this week.