Davern, defense help Air Force beat Wyoming 31-17
AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. (AP) Safety Brodie Hicks was a little modest about his big turnover night.
The two interceptions? Fortunate to be in the right place on both. The fumble recovery? Happened to be crawling on the ground and there it was.
But he was downright boastful about his defense, proclaiming it the ”best in the country.”
On this night, against this team, it was hard to argue. The Air Force defense caused four turnovers and had four sacks in a 31-17 win over winless Wyoming on Saturday.
”That defense came up huge,” quarterback Karson Roberts said. ”They played fantastic. It’s really good to get the ball back with that good of field position.”
The Falcons (3-2, 2-0 Mountain West) were constantly applying pressure to Wyoming QB Cameron Coffman, who finished 15 of 29 for 192 yards and two scores. He entered the game averaging 274.8 yards, tops in the conference.
Hicks had a hand in three of Air Force’s turnovers on defense, none bigger than when he recovered tailback Brian Hill’s fumble on the goal line late in the third quarter that ended any sort of comeback bid from Wyoming (0-6, 0-2).
”This was a big boost for morale,” said linebacker Claude Alexander III, who had three sacks. ”We needed this.”
Shayne Davern finished with 130 yards rushing and two scores, while Roberts added 78 and a score. The Falcons have yet to trail at home this season.
Receiver Jalen Robinette tossed a 56-yard TD pass to Garrett Brown on a trick play early in the fourth quarter to seal the win as Air Force ended a two-game slide against Wyoming. The Cowboys now have dropped nine straight dating back to last year.
”I just hate losing in general,” Wyoming senior Eddie Yarbrough said. ”It’s always a tough pill for me to swallow.”
Air Force didn’t pull away from pesky Wyoming until midway through the third quarter. Up 7-3, Roberts orchestrated a nine-play drive that culminated with his 9-yard run. Air Force called all run plays on the drive, with Roberts accounting for 54 of the 69 yards.
The Cowboys were threatening to make it a game by driving down to the 5 yard line. Hill was about to hit the hole when the ball slipped from his hands. It was the second fumble of the night for Hill, who finished with 128 yards.
On a gadget play, Robinette hit a wide open Brown and he outran the Cowboys to the end zone. With the catch, Brown became the 11th Falcons player to eclipse 1,000 yards receiving in a career.
The pair also hooked up on a long TD against Navy last season. Keep this up and coach Troy Calhoun may be asking him to throw more often.
”If they want to do more of that, I’m all for it,” Robinette said.
Coffman threw both of his TD passes to Jake Maulhardt, with the game already well in hand.
”We had a hard time,” Wyoming coach Craig Bohl said. ”We really had a difficult time in the running game. We had a hard time protecting the passer.”
The first half was filled with miscues as each team turned the ball over twice. Air Force capitalized on Hill’s fumble with a 6-yard TD run by Davern early in the second quarter.
Just before halftime, Wyoming turned Robinette’s fumble in Falcon territory into a 41-yard field goal by Tristan Bailey.
Wyoming and Air Force combined for 160 total yards, 11 first downs and eight punts in the opening 30 minutes.
A different story in the second half.
”We had a little more drive and desire to put the ball in the end zone,” Roberts explained.
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