Air Force triple-option awaits San Diego St.
The San Diego State Aztecs know exactly what’s coming at them
Saturday night when they host the No. 23 Air Force Falcons.
The Falcons (5-1, 3-0 Mountain West) will run their
triple-option at the Aztecs all night, perhaps mixing in some
passes to try to further confuse the Aztecs (3-2, 0-1). Air Force
leads the nation in rushing at 352.7 yards per game.
”They’re awfully committed to what they do,” SDSU coach Brady
Hoke said. ”That’s going to be a task.”
The Aztecs know all too well what happens when they give up a
lot of yards. They lost 24-21 at BYU last Saturday after letting
the Cougars run for 271 yards. The Aztecs also were victimized by a
botched replay of an apparent BYU fumble in the second half.
”We didn’t tackle well, and got a little bit knocked out of
there at times,” said Hoke, who doubles as the Aztecs’ defensive
line coach. ”Some of that, with the threat of the throw game that
they have, is still always there. But we just didn’t do a good job
at the line of scrimmage and tackle.”
The Aztecs always know they’ll be up against the triple-option
when they play Air Force.
The key, Hoke said, is to ”stop the fullback. You’ve got to be
disciplined. But that fullback, you’ve got to take him out of the
game. That’s where it starts. If you can pound and take him away,
then you help yourself. They’ve got good fullbacks. Both those kids
are good football players, strong, tough guys, which you have to be
in that offense. But you’ve got to start there, and try to make
them a little more two-dimensional with speed options and those
kind of things.”
Fullback Jared Tew has 524 yards and three touchdowns. Tailback
Asher Clark has 548 yards and two touchdowns. Quarterback Tim
Jefferson has run for seven touchdowns and 376 yards.
Jefferson also gives the Falcons a deep passing threat.
Jefferson threw for 160 yards and hooked up with Zach Kauth for two
scores in a 49-27 rout of Colorado State last Saturday. The Rams
said they were thrown off guard when the Falcons came out throwing,
and Jefferson set up two touchdowns with completions of 51 and 39
The Aztecs didn’t allow Air Force an offensive touchdown last
year. But the Aztecs gave up touchdowns on a fumble return and an
interception return, and had six turnovers altogether in the 26-14
San Diego State also has a pretty good running back. Freshman
Ronnie Hillman is 12th in the nation and second among freshmen in
rushing yards per game at 118.8. He’s eighth nationally with eight
touchdowns. His 228 yards at Missouri were the seventh-highest
total in the country this season. He also has two 100-yard
”We get to play a heck of an opponent this week,” Air Force
coach Troy Calhoun said. ”It’s an extremely capable team, a group
that across the board has tremendous skill and size and is
literally two plays away from being undefeated and ranked in the
Top 20. One was a reviewed fumble and the other one was a block in
the back. They are a darn good football team.”
SDSU led Missouri in the fourth quarter before losing 27-24.
Calhoun said he’s impressed with SDSU’s talent, including
Hillman, quarterback Ryan Lindley and receiver Vincent Brown.
”I’ve always thought that San Diego State was a place where in
football you can win eight games easily every year … just because
of the talent base that you have within two hours,” Calhoun
”I would compare their offense to Oklahoma,” Calhoun said,
referring to the only team to beat the Falcons this year, ”just
because they are on the same level in terms of talent. Oklahoma had
(DeMarco) Murray and San Diego State has Hillman. This quarterback
is more polished, more of a true NFL-style quarterback and then
they have two receivers. Oklahoma had one good receiver. They have
two at San Diego State.”
Brown has 26 catches for 433 yards and three touchdowns, while
DeMarco Sampson has 23 catches for 420 yards and two TDs. Lindley’s
thrown for 1,394 yards and nine scores.