HONOLULU (AP) The road had not been particularly kind to Air Force prior to Saturday.
Despite having yet to hold a lead at any point of their three games away from home this year and making their longest road trip of the season, the Falcons made easy work of host Hawaii 52-7 on a balmy night at Aloha Stadium.
Jacobi Owens rushed for 137 yards and two touchdowns on a career-high 30 carries to help Air Force (5-3, 4-1 Mountain West) amass 576 yards of total offense, including a season-high 496 rushing, en route to its first road win of the year.
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”It’s never an easy trip to Hawaii,” Falcons coach Troy Calhoun said.
”You never know how teams are going to respond, but it showed some maturity on our part. I’ve seen teams that have just shot themselves in the foot and other teams that have handled it well and we handled it well.”
It was the second straight week that Air Force had two ball carriers go over 100 yards in a game. Timothy McVey ran for 113 yards and two late touchdowns. Benton Washington, Karson Roberts and Aubrey Duty-Tyson each recorded a rushing score and Luke Strebel made field goals of 40, 36 and 44 yards.
The Falcons ran 92 total offensive plays, which bested its season-high mark of 90 in last week’s win over Fresno State.
All three of Air Force’s losses this year have come on the road at Michigan State, Navy and Colorado State.
”We played some pretty good squads on the road,” Calhoun said.
The lone score for the Rainbow Warriors (2-7, 0-5) came on Keelan Ewaliko’s 98-yard kickoff return late in the game.
Owens’ first rushing score capped a 15-play, 90-yard drive that included three third-down conversions.
Air Force entered the game averaging 333 rushing yards, which ranked third-best in the country, while Hawaii was 115th in rush defense, surrendering 229 yards per contest.
The Falcons were 8 for 8 on red zone scoring opportunities and dominated possession, hanging on to the ball for 45:06.
The Rainbow Warriors were 1 of 10 on third downs with 178 yards of total offense.
Hawaii’s Jerrol Garcia-Williams led all players with 17 tackles, including 10 solo stops.
Roland Ladipo led Air Force with a forced fumble that led to Roberts’ 1-yard touchdown run and an interception that set up Strebel’s second field goal.
Weston Steelhammer’s interception led to another Strebel field goal. He also recovered a fumble in the first half.
It was the worst home loss in school history and the sixth straight defeat for the Rainbow Warriors, who are assured a fifth consecutive losing season. They are now 10-36 under fourth-year coach Norm Chow, including a 4-25 mark in conference.
The Falcons, who led at halftime 34-0, improved to 47-11 when leading at the half and 58-8 when leading after three quarters under ninth-year coach Troy Calhoun.
With the win, Air Force held on to the General Laurence S. Kuter Trophy, which dates back to 1980 and is named after the first head of the Pacific Air Forces Command, based out of Honolulu. Air Force leads the all-time series against Hawaii, 13-6-1. It was the first time the teams met since 2012, when the Falcons beat the Rainbow Warriors 21-7 in Fort Collins, Colo.
It was the largest margin of victory for either team in the series since the first meeting in 1966, which Air Force won 54-0.