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Falcons and Owls Fight It Out in Falcon Stadium

Defense tries to regroup against a team that has similarities to Utah State

Last week the Falcons faced a team who ran a balanced attack out of a spread offense, coached by a head coach in his second year with the program, and who had transfer players at quarterback and key wide receiver and running back spots.

This week they will play a team that runs a balanced attack out of a spread offense, coached by a head coach in his second year with the program, and has transfer players at quarterback and key wide receiver and running back spots.

The bad news is we’ve seen this before. The good news is we’ve seen this before.

Kickoff time will be 6 PM Mountain time on FS2.

Analysis

The consensus on Air Force to the Utah State game social media has been “what the hell happened?” The defense suddenly became questionable (to say the least), and the offense suddenly became unstoppable.

Personally, I think mostly it can be chalked up to reversion to the mean. The Falcon offense is normally hard to stop. The defense is normally pretty solid, but is sometimes subject to giving up big plays and it’s disruption capability is sometimes suspect. Both of these tendencies were magnified in last Saturday’s game.

Whatever did happen needs to be fixed soon, the Falcons seem to be at an inflection point for the season. The Falcons will need to do something to keep receivers from getting wide open behind the defensive backs and going for long touchdowns, or opponents will be cranking up the long pass all season. The solution probably includes getting more pressure on the quarterback. The Falcons lately have had particular difficulties in bottling up mobile quarterbacks like Andrew Peasley and Jack Sears, and this week face a dual threat quarterback who was a four star recruit for Miami, N’Kosi Perry. They might as well send the pressure anyway, given what happened last week. The personnel to be employed for this strategy are somewhat uncertain. It appears Lakota Wills is out for the season, but Vince Sanford did a good job from the outside linebacker position against Utah State. TD Blackmon injured his knee early in the second half last game and is questionable against the Owls. Demonte Meeks most likely will get a full game in after sitting the first half last Saturday on a coach’s decision. The defensive line rotation of Jordan Jackson, Chris Herrera, Kalawai’a Pescaia, and Elijah Brockman have produced 3 sacks and 6 QB hurries, which emphasizes the point that the defense can’t quite get the big sacks, but are putting the pressure on.

Moving on to the good news, the offense appears to be poised to create headaches for opposing defenses for some time to come. All six skill positions are staffed by juniors and sophomores who are just settling into their positions. The offensive line is starting to make some nice holes. What still needs to happen is more consistency, particularly at the quarterback position. Stop the critical turnovers.

Prediction

Vegas currently has the Falcons as favorites by 4 12 points and the over/under is 54 1/2. Both of these teams have pretty efficient offenses. They each convert on third downs above a fifty percent rate, and score in the red zone above an 80 percent rate. Those rates seem to predict that the over would be a good bet, and I think the Falcons can pull it out at home but not cover the spread, 38-35.