Air Force Defeats UNLV 45-17
Nov. 19, 2011
Quarterback Tim Jefferson looked sharp in his return from a concussion as the Falcons (6-5, 2-4 Mountain West) beat the Rebels (2-8, 1-4) for a fifth straight time.
Jefferson did most of his damage with his legs, rushing for 81 yards and a score. He also threw for 128 yards and another TD.
Tim Cornett finished with 104 yards rushing and Bradley Randle added a short touchdown late in the final quarter for the Rebels, who dropped their 15th straight road contest.
Even though the Falcons won their sixth game of the season, they aren't quite bowl eligible since two of their wins came against FCS teams. They still have to beat rival Colorado State on the road in the season finale next weekend.
The Falcons have made four straight postseason appearances under coach Troy Calhoun.
Clark had a sensational farewell performance at Falcon Stadium. He ripped off a career-long 67-yard TD run in the second quarter, a scamper that vaulted him into second place on the school's all-time rushing list. Clark now has 3,469 yards, putting him 144 away from breaking the mark held by Dee Dowis (1986-89).
With Jefferson under center, the Falcons were clicking on offense as they scored on six of eight drives before he was taken out to start the fourth quarter. The production could've been even greater, but kicker Parker Herrington, who's been so steady all season, missed field goals of 34 and 42 yards in the first half. Herrington had connected on 10 straight coming into the game.
Jefferson showed no ill effects from the first-quarter blow he took last Saturday against Wyoming, a hit that forced him to watch from the sideline as the Falcons fell, 25-17, and left their bowl aspirations in jeopardy.
Questionable all week, Jefferson, a senior from Atlanta, was cleared for a return after passing a concussion test. His favorite target against the Rebels was receiver Zack Kauth, who had 90 yards on a career-high five catches. Kauth made the snare of the night, hauling in a 39-yard reception down the sideline as he dragged his toe just before crashing out of bounds.
Jefferson also found a wide open Dontae Strickland for a 20-yard score late in the third that gave the Falcons a four-touchdown lead.
This was the 27th win of Jefferson's career. He's now alone in third place in the Mountain West, trailing only former conference standouts Andy Dalton (42) and Max Hall (32).
Cobb made the most of his eight carries, scoring on runs up the middle of 2 and 7 yards.
Dionza Bradford, UNLV's leading rusher, was held in check all evening. He finished with 20 yards. Quarterback Caleb Herring helped keep the Rebels close early with a 1-yard score in the second quarter to make it 14-10. But Air Force scored 31 straight points to turn the game into a rout.
The Rebels have not won away from home since beating New Mexico 34-17 on Oct. 24, 2009.
Air Force had 28 seniors playing their final home game, many of them part of Calhoun's first recruiting class. This was quite an accomplished class at the Academy, going 31-19 and winning back-to-back Commander-in-Chief's Trophies.
Among the seniors who ended their careers at home in fine fashion were defensive back Anthony Wright Jr., who had the 12th interception of his career, and linebacker Brady Amack, the leading tackler against the Rebels.