The Air Force Falcons will face off with the Utah State Aggies in college football action on Saturday at Falcon Stadium in MWC action. These teams know each other well as conference rivals, and the Air Force has a slight advantage in the series history, having won five of their eight meetings in the modern era of the rivalry rekindled in 2013.
The Falcons crushed the Aggies in their last two meetings by a combined score of 66-14.The teams have played poor opponents so far this year and handled them with Air Force crushing a Naval Academy team in a down year last week 23-3 and previously beating up on a weak FCS Lafayette squad 35-14.
The Aggies beat FCS Portland State 44-24 and beat Washington State in a closer game 26-23.
New Coach and New Quarterback Combination Working for the Aggies
Utah State has a new head coach, Blake Anderson, who has brought quarterback Logan Bonner with him from Arkansas State. Bonner beat out young Andrew Peasley, who struggled last year at the helm of the offense. Bonner went off last week against North Dakota, throwing for 390 yards, four touchdowns, and a pick. The team also totaled more than 200 yards on the ground in that contest.
These totals are impressive, but in the game against Washington State the week before, Bonner went for less than 200 yards with only one touchdown in the air, and the team again racked up more than 200 yards on the ground. Utah State has a crowded backfield that stays fresh, with a total of six running backs having carries in both games.
The Utah State defense ranks 44th in total rush defense, allowing 4.28 yards per rush, and is ranked 38th in total pass defense allowing 274 yards per game.
Stability and Experience is the Strength of the Falcons Football Program
In contrast to the Aggies, who are breaking in a new head coach and coordinators on both sides of the ball this year, Air Force is highly stable in the coaching department. Troy Calhoun, who graduated from the Air Force Academy and went on to several coaching positions of various kinds, including a head coach position at Ohio, and coaching spots in the NFL, Calhoun has been the head coach at Air Force since 2003.
The Falcons return several key pieces on defense to lead an experienced unit. On the offensive side of the ball, there is experience at the quarterback and skills positions, but the offensive line will have five new starters since last year. The offensive line's performance was a key question coming into the season: a Falcons offense that relies heavily on the complex running game while mixing in the pass.
Air Force ranks 8th in time of possession, holding the ball for an average of 35 minutes per game, and rarely hurts themselves, averaging only five penalties per game. The Falcons defense is one of the best in the nation, allowing an average of only 1.36 yards per rushing attempt and ranks 18th in total passing yards allowed.
Air Force is:
- 7-3 ATS last 10 conference games.
- 18-8 ATS last 26 after allowing less than 20 points in their previous game.
Utah State is:
- 1-5 ATS last 6 conference games.
- 2-6 ATS last 8 as an underdog.
- 1-5 ATS last 6 vs. Air Force.