The Falcons will make a final try at actually playing a conference game on Thursday night, Dec 3 at 7:30 pm MT. The game will be televised on CBS Sports Network.
The Falcons have won four out of the last five matchups with the Aggies in a series that usually features plenty of offense. Over that period, the Falcons have averaged 340 yards per game rushing and a 15 minute per game time of possession advantage. On the flip side, the Aggies have averaged 298 yards per game passing.
The Aggies are coming off their first victory of the season over New Mexico, 41-27. They were led by QB Andrew Peasley in his first career start, who contributed 357 yards of total offense with his arm and his legs. The Falcons are coming off an open week caused by the cancellation of the Colorado State game due to Covid issues on the Rams team.
For followers of Falcon football, my key factors to watch will sound pretty familiar.
As long as the Air Force offensive line is intact this week, I see no reason why the Falcons can’t again roll to over 300 yards rushing and maintain a time of possession advantage. The only thing that can derail the rushing game is to give up the ball too often. The Falcons have fumbled the ball 8 times in 4 games, losing 5 of those fumbles. I think a win is in the cards even if they give up the ball once or maybe twice, but a turnover free game should insure a victory. Brad Roberts has taken over the starting fullback role on the strength of his running and his protection of the ball. The rest of the Falcons should take notes and learn. The Falcons don’t pass often, and have not been intercepted this year, so that is generally not a problem. On the defensive side, one or two forced turnovers could give a nice margin of error for the offense.
Contain the Quarterback
There’s no doubt that quarterback Andrew Peasley provided the first big positive boost to the Aggies this year. He started out a little tentatively against the Lobos but built confidence as the game went on, particularly in the passing game. That confidence then spread to the rest of the team as the Aggies came back from a 13-6 halftime deficit to score 28 points in the second half.
The young Falcon defenders were also able to build some confidence in their last game. Johnathan Youngblood, Caleb Humphrey, and Brandon Gooding all had key pressuring rushes on the New Mexico quarterback in their last game. It looks as though Will Trawick and Grant Donaldson will be back in the lineup this game. Along with veterans George Silvanic and Michael Purcell, they hopefully should be able to disrupt some plays to break Peasley’s rhythm to some extent. Everyone needs to be aware of the scrambles and designed runs.
Passing Game Efficiency
Haziiq Daniels has been sparingly utilized as a passer, which is understandable from an experience standpoint and due to the effectiveness of the run game. In the last game against New Mexico, Daniels completed 4 out of 5 passes, and every completion resulted in a first down for the Falcons, and another pass resulted in a 59 yard gain for Brandon Lewis that was called back due to a penalty. That is about all you can ask from a Falcon passing game. If Air Force can get that kind of production from the passing game again, it will go a long way in producing a victory. The Aggies defense has been porous against the pass, giving up 287 yards per game. Brandon Lewis and Kyle Patterson have proven themselves as reliable receivers in limited opportunities.
Currently, Air Force is favored by 10.5 point and the over/under is 51 points. I think the Falcons can cover the spread, and that there will be a lot of scoring in this game. I predict a score of 35-21 Falcons.