The Falcons managed to hold off Boise State on the blue turf by following a familiar script - quickly converting it’s first three possessions into touchdowns and then tightening up it’s defense to hold the opponent at arms length the rest of the way.
The Falcon rushing attack racked up 307 yards, led by Brad Davis pounding the center of the line for 138 yards on 28 carries and producing 2 touchdowns. Haaziq Daniels only completed 1 of 5 passes, but the one completion was a big one, hitting Brandon Lewis in stride down the middle for a 56 yard gain, which led to the third Falcon touchdown.
The defense did what it had to do, allowing only one deep pass to Stefan Cobbs that led to Boise’s first touchdown. The pass rush was effective enough to keep Bachmeier’s pass percentage at 64%, much better than the >70% that Boise had come to expect against the Falcons. That, paired with some Boise mistakes and penalties and an ineffective running game, factored in keeping the Broncos to two touchdowns. The victory wasn’t sealed until Tre Bugg made his first interception of the year after the Bronco’s successful onside kick with 47 seconds left in the game.
The Falcons are still missing some key players to injury. I had heard that David Cormier might return for this game along with TD Blackmon, but neither participated in the game. The Falcons are well represented at those positions with their replacements, Brandon Lewis and Alec Mock.
On the offensive line, I didn’t see Ryan Booth, Ben Mercer, or Isaac Cochran participating this week. The players filling in are almost all sophomores, and they are getting a lot of playing time. Sophomore Wesley Ndago started in Cochran’s position and I believe played the entire game. Sophomore Luke Halstrom started at center, and sophomore Thor Paglialong saw playing time. Sophomore Kaleb Holcomb started in Booth’s position. Sophomore Ayden McCollough has been on the field in most if not all games this year. Sophomore Tackle Adam Karras has been playing at tight end in jumbo packages due to Kyle Patterson’s injury. Needless to say, the running game has a bright future, and the Falcons won’t have “college football’s least experienced offensive line” for the next two years. This year’s offensive line has been a tribute to the Air Force system and coach Steed Lobotzke.
At the linebacker positions, sophomore Johnathan Younglood joined sophomore Mock as starters at inside linebacker. After the first series, Demonte Meeks was back in the lineup. This is the second time Youngblood has started due to a coaches decision. The other time was against Utah State, I’m guessing the starts were due to strong receiving corps on those two teams, but I’m not sure on that. Sophomore Camby Goff has moved into the spur linebacker spot, and had a great game with 8 tackles and the big sack/forced fumble of Bachmeier in the fourth quarter. Junior Vince Sanford continued to exhibit his skill at outside linebacker by forcing three QB hurries.
HUGE STOP ‼️— Air Force Football (@AF_Football) October 17, 2021
Defense is bringing the tonight! pic.twitter.com/utQTL2JqQk
In the defensive backfield, sophomore Michael Mack took over one cornerback spot in the second half of the Wyoming game. He joins another sophomore, S Trey Taylor, who returned from an illness after the Utah State game. Together, they have bolstered the Falcon pass defense, joining the two seniors, Tre Bugg and Corvan Taylor.
The defense last night pic.twitter.com/Nb9pX2I80y— Air Force Football (@AF_Football) October 17, 2021
Overall, fans should be pretty happy about the state and the future of Falcon football. The upcoming game against San Diego State will provide another big test of just how good the team is. Come back Thursday for my preview of the game.