Falcons Ground Rams, 49-27

The U.S. Air Force Academy issued the following news
release:

Seven touchdowns on offense and special teams led the Air Force
Academy to a decisive 49-27 win over Colorado State
University Oct. 9.

The Falcons came into the game ranked No. 25 in the nation by
the Associated Press,, powered in part by the top-ranked rushing
offense in the NCAA, while CSU limped in with a 1-4 record after
averaging only 11 points per game.

The Falcons offense drew blood quickly. Taking the ball at their
23-yard line on the first possession of the game, two typical
rushes via the Falcons’ triple-option running attack moved the ball
to their 43-yard-line.

Having made the Rams defense expect another run, the Falcons
took to the air. Backup tight end Joshua Freeman provided a chip
block and rolled out into the open space on the right, where
Falcons quarterback Tim Jefferson hit him for a completion that
became a 51-yard gain. Freeman’s catch moved the ball to the Rams’
6-yard line, and a Rams penalty halved the distance to the goal
line. Jefferson handed off to fullback Jared Tew, who carried it up
the middle for the touchdown, putting the Falcons on the scoreboard
on the fourth play of the game.

After a successful defensive stand, the Falcons took their next
possession at their 20-yard line, and repeated their formula of
success. Falcon running back Asher Clark gained 30 yards on two
carries, and then Jefferson went to the air to find junior wide
receiver Zach Kauth along the left sideline for a 39-yard
completion.

“Anytime you have those sizeable gains, that helps,” Falcons
head coach Troy Calhoun said.

Clark carried twice more, ending the drive with a 3-yard
touchdown. The extra point kick by junior Erik Soderberg was good,
putting the CSU Rams down 0-14 with nine minutes left in the
quarter.

Down by 14 points, the Rams continued going to their ground
game, which came into the game ranked 120th in the nation and
averaging 56.2 yards per game. But against the Falcons, the Rams’
rushing attack was averaging 5.5 yards per carry in the first
quarter.

The Rams drove 72 yards on 11 plays to the Falcons 3-yard line.
A false start moved them back 5 yards, which they regained two
plays later, but faced a fourth down and 2 at the 3. Falcon
defensive lineman Bradley Connor swatted the pass to the ground and
forced the Rams turn it over on downs.

The Rams defense finally tightened down, forcing the Falcons to
punt a few minutes later, but that only gave the Rams the ball at
their own 12-yard-line. That drive ended abruptly when Falcon
defensive back Reggie Rembert intercepted Thomas at the Rams 33
yard line and returned it 30 yards to give the Falcons first and
goal at CSU’s 3-yard line.

Two plays later, the Rams defense forced a fumble to escape
another Falcon scoring drive when Rams linebacker Michael Kuwalok
wrapped up Falcons fullback Tew and allowed fellow Rams linebacker
Mychal Sisson to pry the ball loose.

“I thought we really missed a golden opportunity with the fumble
down there. That’s something we’ve got to look at,” Calhoun
said.

But the Falcons defense came calling for the turnover once again
when defensive back Jon Davis forced Rams running back Leonard
Mason to fumble. Rembert recovered the fumble, giving the Falcons
another possession at the Rams’ 33. Two plays later, Jefferson sent
Kauth deep right and hit him with an easy tossup for the touchdown.
Soderberg’s kick was good, putting the Falcons ahead 21-0.

The Rams’ Derek Good returned the ensuing kickoff 69 yards to
set up a drive that would finally put the Rams on the board.
Several plays later, Rams wide receiver Lou Greenwood went wide
left to outpace the Falcons defense for a 13-yard touchdown. Rams
kicker Ben DeLine added the extra point, to lower the Air Force
lead to 21-7.

The Falcons scored one more time before the half. Taking the
ball 74 yards on 13 plays and eating up five minutes of game time,
the Falcons sealed the drive with a Jefferson pitch to wide
receiver Kyle Halderman on an end-around. Halderman went wide left
across the goal line for the score. With Soderberg’s point-after
attempt, the Falcons went into the half leading 28-7.

Coming out of the locker room at halftime, CSU took the first
possession, but managed three plays before sending their punter in
to do work. But the Falcons sent a strong rush up the middle on the
punt, getting a partial block by freshman defensive back Anthony
Wooding to give the Falcons the
football at the CSU 38-yard
line.

Four plays later, backup quarterback Ben Cochran found tight end
Chaz Demerath wide open on a fake field goal. Cochran completed the
easy pass for a 25-yard touchdown, to put the Air Force Academy a
four touchdown lead.

The Rams showed that they still had fight in them, when the CSU
defense snatched an interception deep in Air Force territory.
Jefferson completed a pass to Cochran, who was instantly hit by by
a CSU defender. The hit popped the ball up in the air, and Rams
defensive back Ivory Herd grabbed the jump ball for an 8-yard
return to the Air Force 30. The Rams stayed with their revived
ground game to move the ball, and scored on a four yard run by
running back Leonard Mason. Freshman linebacker Jamil Cooks blocked
the extra point to make the score 35-13, Air Force. So far this
season, Cooks has blocked one punt, one field goal and one extra
point attempt.

Air Force’s special teams took it up another notch on the
kickoff. Wide receiver Jonathan Warzeka took the ball at his own
goal line and found enough blocking on the right side to break free
and race up the right sideline for a touchdown. This was Warzeka’s
second 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown of his career, and
lifted the Falcons to a 42-13 lead.

“They outplayed us on special teams,” said CSU head coach Steve
Fairchild. “They got through to a punt and a kickoff return. You
can’t do that. There were too many big plays and they are too good
of a team. You have to play a much more perfect game that we did,
obviously.”

The Falcons added to that lead with another touchdown pass by
Jefferson, this time to Kauth again for 19 yards. Another Soderberg
extra point lifted the Air Force lead to 49-13.

With the game well in hand, the Falcons started rotating the
reserves in, getting more game time under the belts of their
second- and third-string players.

CSU became the first team this season to score against Air Force
in the fourth quarter by putting two touchdowns on the board. The
first was a 5-yard pass from Thomas to tight end Eric Peitz. CSU
closed out the game with a 2-yard touchdown run by backup fullback
Chris Nwoke in the game’s final minute, to end the game at
49-27.

Despite the lopsided score, the Rams piled up a healthy amount
of yards on offense, gaining 285 on the ground against the Falcons’
porous run defense.

“We have a ton of work to do,” Calhoun said. “We have a lot of
work to do in a short period of time. That’s why when we go out to
practice on Monday, it’s going to be imperative that we’re
productive.”

With the win, the Falcons closed out the first half of their
2010
football season with a 5-1
record.

“The second half of the season, you just look. It’s going to be
a different world,” said Coach Calhoun. “They’re going to have to
be ready to play,” he added, referring to his team.

Next up on the Falcons’ schedule is a trio of tough back-to-back
Mountain West Conference matchups, against San Diego State, TCU and
Utah. San Diego State went into Saturday with a 3-1 record, while
TCU was ranked No. 5 in the nation with a 5-0 record, and Utah was
ranked 10th in the nation with a 4-0 record.

“I think when you look on the horizon, for what we’re going to
have to do — really the next three games, we play three teams that
deserve to be among the top 20 in the country. Three of the next
four are on the road,” said Coach Calhoun.

After those three conference battles, the Falcons will turn
their attention to winning back the Commander in Chief’s trophy
when they face Army Nov. 6. And while the Falcons’ fanatical fans
can scope out the rest of the regular season, the actual
football team remains focused on
only the next game ahead, Calhoun said.

That next gridiron battle game is a road game at San Diego State
on Oct. 16. Kickoff will be 5 p.m. PST. The game will be televised
by CBS
College Sports Network. The game
will also be broadcast by KVOR 740 AM over the airwaves and online
at www.kvor.com. Play-by-play action is available online via
Gametracker at www.goairforcefalcons.com/gameday.

by John Van Winkle

Air Force Academy Public Affairs

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