Air Force opens season vs. Nicholls State
Aug. 25, 2014
Peter Young (play-by-play), Pat Hill (analyst)
RADIO: KVOR AM 740 in Colorado Springs, CO; The Fan 104.3 in Denver; goairforcefalcons.com
Jim Arthur (play-by-play), Jesse Kurtz (analyst)
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Air Force is celebrating Parent's Weekend at the Academy this week. The Falcons are opening against an FCS team for the eighth straight season. Air Force is opening the season at home for the eighth straight year dating back to 2006. Air Force was picked to finish sixth in the Mountain Division of the Mountain West. The Falcons have won 16 consecutive home openers vs. un-ranked opponents. Air Force defeated Nicholls State, 72-0, to open the 2009 season in Falcon Stadium. Air Force is 18-0 all-time against teams from the FCS. An Air Force victory this week would be the 50th at the Academy for head coach Troy Calhoun. Air Force is 30-14 at home in the Troy Calhoun era (2007-present) Air Force is 37-19-2 overall in season openers, including a 32-8 mark in openers at home. The Falcons are 20-16 vs. non-conference opponents in the Calhoun era.
This week marks the second-ever meeting between the schools. Air Force won the initial meeting, 72-0, in the 2009 season opener in Falcon Stadium.
THE LAST MEETING (9/5/09)
Air Force dominated Nicholls State of the Football Championship Subdivision, 72-0, in its home opener. The Falcons tied a school record with 45 points in the first half while jumping to a huge halftime lead. The second half was more of the same as the 72-point victory margin set a new Academy record. The 72 points is the third most in school history. Backup quarterback Connor Deitz led the offense with 83 yards on seven carries. Backup fullback Nathan Walker added 73 yards and a touchdown for the offense that rolled up 576 total yards, including 474 rushing. Starting fullback Jared Tew scored a career-best three touchdowns and rushed for 57 yards while quarterback Tim Jefferson chipped in with 22 yards and a pair of rushing touchdowns. He also hit five of seven passes for 102 yards and a touchdown. The defense dominated, holding Nicholls State to just 151 total yards and seven first downs, while producing the first shutout since beating Wofford, 49-0, in 2003. John Falgout led the defense with seven tackles.
NICHOLLS STATE CONNECTIONS
Air Force has one player on the varsity roster from the state of Louisiana. Sophomore safety Weston Steelhammer is a native of Shreveport, La., and attended Calvary Baptist Academy before coming to the Academy.
NICHOLLS STATE NOTES
The Colonels are located in Thibodaux, La., with an enrollment of 6,540 ... Nicholls State is a member of the Southland Conference ... NSU finished 4-8 overall last season and 1-6 in the Southland Conference ... The squad returns 44 lettermen and 12 starters (five on offense and defense and two specialists) ... Nicholls State is led on offense by Tuskani Figaro, who recorded a 1,000-1,000 last season ... He rushed 1,103 yards and seven touchdowns while hitting 83-of-157 passes for 1,135 yards and eight touchdowns ... The defense is led by Davin Bovie, who had 85 tackles and three sacks.
Air Force is 37-19-2 overall in season openers, including a 32-8 mark in season openers at home. Air Force has won seven straight and eight of the 10 season openers with the only losses coming at No. 11 Tennessee in 2006 and vs. No. 13 California in 2004. The Falcons have won nine of the last 10 season openers at home with the only loss coming vs. No. 13 California in 2004. Air Force has won 16 straight season openers vs. unranked teams dating back to 34-21 setback vs. Colorado State in 1994. Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun is 7-0 in season openers, all seven coming at home.
AIR FORCE AT HOME
Air Force is 30-14 in Falcon Stadium under head coach Troy Calhoun. The Falcons were 2-5 last season. Air Force finished 5-1 at home in 2012 which ties as the fourth best mark in school history and the third time under Calhoun the team has accomplished it. The Falcons posted just the third undefeated home mark (6-0) in school history in 2007. Air Force combined for 10 wins at home in 2009 and 2010 which is the third most in two seasons in school history.
AIR FORCE VS. NON-CONFERENCE FOES UNDER CALHOUN
Air Force is 20-16 against non-conference foes under head coach Troy Calhoun. The Falcons are 13-3 at home, 4-9 on the road and 3-4 in neutral site games. Air Force was 2-2 last season.
AIR FORCE VS. FCS TEAMS
Air Force is 18-0 all-time against teams from the Football Championship Subdivision. Head Coach Troy Calhoun is 8-0, including last season's 38-13 victory over Colgate to open the season.
AIR FORCE UNDEFEATED IN THE MONTH OF AUGUST
Air Force is 9-0 all-time in the month of August. All nine games have been at home, including a pair of conference games in 1985 and 1986. Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun is 2-0 in August, defeating Southern Utah, 41-7, to open the 2008 season and last season's 38-13 victory over Colgate. A complete look at August results follows.
AIR FORCE BY THE NUMBERS
16 - AFA has won 16 straight home openers against unranked teams dating back to 1994. 30 - wins in 44 games in Falcon Stadium for Air Force under head coach Troy Calhoun. 43 - games under head coach Troy Calhoun with a 100-yard rusher (30-13 record). 59 - straight games Air Force has rushed for a touchdown dating back to Navy Oct. 3, 2009 which is the longest active streak in the nation.
THIS IS AIR FORCE FOOTBALL
Air Force is 43-28 in non-conference games as a member of the Mountain West. The 43 wins are the most in the conference. Air Force has an all-time record of 352-301-13 in its 57th season of varsity football. The Falcons are 194-123-3 at home, 139-159-6 on the road and 19-19-4 in neutral site games. AFA has played in 23 bowl games and has a 10-12-1 all-time record. Air Force is 165-106 all-time in Falcon Stadium. Air Force is playing in its 35th year in a conference. The 2014 season marks the school's 16th year in the Mountain West Conference. Prior to 1999, Air Force was a member of the Western Athletic Conference from 1980-98. The school was an independent prior to 1980. Air Force is 55-58 as a member of the Mountain West Conference. The team is 33-24 at home and 22-34 on the road. The Falcons are 98-86 overall since joining the MWC in 1999, including marks of 58-34 at home, 34-46 on the road, 6-6 in neutral site games and 4-4 in bowls.
AFA RUSHING ATTACK ONE OF THE BEST
Air Force has consistently been one of the top rushing teams in the country since the 1980s. Air Force has had 41 players top the 1,000-yard mark for their careers. Air Force's 41 career 1,000-yard rushers ranks tied for 14th all-time in FBS history. Oklahoma leads the way with 70, followed by USC with 62 and Nebraska with 60. Army is the only other service academy in the top 20, ranking sixth with 49. The Falcons are the only Mountain West team in the top 20.
AIR FORCE HAS FOURTH LONGEST ACTTIVE SCORING STREAK
Air Force has scored in a school record 258 consecutive games. The streak is the fourth longest active streak in the nation. Air Force's streak is the ninth longest in Division I-A history. The Falcons were last shutout by Mississippi, 13-0, in the 1992 Liberty Bowl.
Air Force has blocked 23 kicks since 2007 under head coach Troy Calhoun. The breakdown: 10 FGs, 11 PATs, 2 Punts Air Force's six blocks this season are the most in a season in the Calhoun era. Air Force's four blocked PATs is the second most in a season in school history (2006). Air Force has blocked 121 kicks since 1990 when the program began tracking them. The breakdown: 53 punts, 37 field goals and 31 PATs. Air Force set a school record with 11 blocks in 1997 (7 punts, 3 FGs, 1 punt). Single season records for each category: Punts (7, 1997), FGs (3, 6 times, 2009), PATs (5, 2006). 2013 blocks: Troy Timmerman (PAT vs. SDSU; PAT vs. UNM); Robert Green (FG vs. Notre Dame); Nick Fitzgerald (FG vs. Army); Alex Hansen (2 PATs vs. UNLV)
AIR FORCE NO. 1 IN FOOTBALL GSR
The Air Force Academy is the top ranked public institution in graduation success rate (GSR) at 93 percent, according to figures released by the NCAA recently. Boise State at 91 percent ranks second while Army at 89 percent rounds out the top three public institutions. The Falcons rank fifth overall behind four private schools. Northwestern is first overall at 97 percent, followed by Rice (95 percent) and Boston College and Notre Dame at 94 percent. The overall graduation rate for college football was 71 percent.
HOME SCHEDULE LOOKS GOOD
The Falcons play six homes this season with five daytime kickoffs. The team plays Nicholls State (Aug. 30) and Nevada (Nov. 15) at noon MT while the Navy (Oct. 4), New Mexico (Oct. 18) and Colorado State (Friday, Nov. 28) games all start at 1:30 p.m. The Colorado State game is the lone non-Saturday home game. Air Force hosts Boise State for the Broncos' first trip to Falcon Stadium Sept. 27 at 5 p.m. in the only night game.
CALHOUN ONE OF 13 AT ALMA MATER
Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun is one of 13 FBS coaches leading his alma mater. A 1989 Academy graduate, Calhoun enters his eighth year leading the Falcons in 2014. The complete list follows:
Troy Calhoun (Air Force)
Bryan Harsin (Boise State)
Ruffin McNeill (East Carolina)
Paul Haynes (Kent State)
Don Treadwell (Miami, Ohio)
Pat Fitzgerald (Northwestern)
Mike Gundy (Oklahoma State)
David Shaw (Stanford)
Kliff Kingsbury (Texas Tech)
Bill Blankenship (Tulsa)
Matt Wells (Utah State)
Sean Kugler (UTEP)
Frank Beamer (Virginia Tech)
CALHOUN AMONG THE BEST IN COACHES APR
Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun has a 996 coaches APR which is the best in the Mountain West Conference. Matt Wells of Utah State is second with a 993 followed by Bob Davie at New Mexico with a 982. Air Force's team APR in the last four-year period was 976 which ranked 17th nationally.
FALCONS THIRD NATIONALLY IN RUSHING
Air Force has averaged 292.14 yards rushing per game since 2008 which ranks third nationally. Georgia Tech's 303.16 norm leads the nation over that time. A look at the top five follows:
AIR FORCE POSTS SINGLE YEAR APR OF 997
The Air Force football team continues to be among the leaders in the Mountain West Conference and nation in Academic Performance Rate numbers. This season the Falcons posted a single-year APR of 997. Air Force posted a 976 over the last four years which ranks among the nation's top 20 for the seventh consecutive season. The Air Force football APRs for the seven most recent years have been 976 in 2008, 983 in 2009, an astounding 988 in 2010, 978 in 2011, 980 in 2012, 974 in 2013 and 976 in 2014. In addition to being the nation's best in regards to the NCAA's APR, over 98 percent of Air Force football team members who participated in a game in either their junior or senior seasons under Head Coach Troy Calhoun's guidance graduated from the Academy. The APR provides a real-time look at a team's academic success each semester by tracking the academic progress of each student-athlete. The APR accounts for eligibility, retention and graduation and provides a measure of each team's academic performance.
FALCONS EXCELLING IN THE CLASSROOM
The Air Force football team had 29 team members earn academic honors and 53 earn military performance honors for the spring 2014 semester. Cadets must earn a 3.0 military performance average (MPA) and 3.0 grade point average (GPA) to earn the honors.
HART A NOMINEE FOR GOOD WORKS TEAM
Air Force senior fullback Broam Hart is one of a record 182 nominees from across the country nominated for the Allstate American Football Coaches Association Good Works Team. The nominees represent the sport's finest in the areas of volunteerism and leadership among their peers. For 23 years the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team® has served as one of the most coveted and prestigious off-the-field honors in college football. The award recognizes players whose charitable involvement and community service contributions stand out among all other student-athletes participating in the sport. Hart has been active in his local and hometown communities, serving as a preacher at West Mansfield Church in his hometown of Alvarado, Texas. He's also served locally as a Sunday school teacher in Colorado Springs at Pikes Peak Church. Hart has been a volunteer locally at the Marion House in Colorado Springs serving meals to the homeless and helped with cleanups efforts this summer at the Waldo Canyon burn site. He has also been active at local schools reading to classes and serving as a speaker at career day. In addition to his community efforts, Hart has been active at the Academy helping to film the Cadet-Athletes Against Sexual Violence (CAASV) video. He is a member of the Air Force football leadership council and was instrumental in leading the football team as it participated in an accelerated training program against sexual violence. Hart was second on the team in rushing last season with 469 yards and tied for the team lead in rushing touchdowns with six. He recorded his first-career 100-yard rushing game in the season opener with 101 yards on 18 carries and scored two touchdowns to lead Air Force past Colgate, 38-13.
CONANT ON GROZA WATCH LIST
Air Force senior Will Conant is one of 30 players nationwide to be named to the 2014 Lou Groza Collegiate Placekicker Award Watch List, as announced by the Palm Beach County Sports Commission. Conant hit 32-of-33 PATs and 11-of-13 field goal attempts last season. He ranked third in the conference in field goal percentage with an 84.6 mark which is the fourth-best in school history and best since Joey Ashcroft hit 88.8 percent (16-18) in 2002. Conant is one of two kickers in Air Force history to hit three times from 50-plus yards in a season. He hit three 52-yard kicks last season (Colgate, San Diego State, New Mexico), matching Ryan Harrison's three 50-plus field goals in 2007. Conant's three 50-plus field goals already rank him third in school history in career 50-yard field goals. Conant had a very successful debut game vs. Colgate, hitting all four PATs and nailed his first-career field goal attempt, a 52-yard boot. Conant is just the 11th kicker in school history to hit a field goal of 50-plus yards. The 52-yard effort was the longest by a Falcon since Ryan Harrison vs. Army in 2007. His last five field goals came from 45, 48, 52, 47 and 52 yards.
HUSAR ON RIMINGTON WATCH LIST
Air Force senior Michael Husar, Jr. is one of 66 players nationwide named to the Fall Rimington Trophy Watch List. The Rimington Trophy is presented annually to the Most Outstanding Center in NCAA Division I-A College Football. Since its inception, the Rimington Trophy has raised over $2.5 million for the cystic fibrosis community. The 14-year old award is overseen by the Boomer Esiason Foundation, which is committed to finding a cure for cystic fibrosis and has raised over $100 million for CF Research. Dave Rimington, the award's namesake, was a consensus first-team All-America center at the University of Nebraska in 1981 and 1982, during which time he became the John Outland Trophy's only double winner as the nation's finest college interior lineman. For more on the Rimington Trophy and a list of past recipients, visit www.rimingtontrophy.com. Husar, Jr. returned from season-ending knee injury to lead the Air Force offensive line last season. He played and started in all 12 games in 2013 and led the team in knockdown blocks with 70, the first center in the Calhoun era to do so. He worked with four different starting quarterbacks and anchored an offensive line that allowed just nine quarterback sacks which ranked second in the conference and seventh nationally. The offensive line helped Air Force rank second in the conference and 11th nationally in rushing with a 272.5 per-game. Husar, Jr. is a biology major and member of cadet squadron 4. A member of the dean's and commandant's lists, Husar, Jr. will be entering space operations at Vandenberg Air Force Base following graduation.
AIR FORCE LEADERSHIP COUNCIL
The Air Force football team has a leadership council which is responsible for giving the players a voice with the coaching staff and athletic administration. The group has talked with the director of athletics multiple times. In addition, the group has talked with Superintendent/President Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson. The group, voted on by the team, is also responsible for helping to set the standard of conduct for the team on and off the field. The members by class include Seniors: Will Conant, Justin DeCoud, Harrison Elliott, Nick Fitzgerald, Broam Hart, Colton Huntsman, Michael Husar, Jr., Jon Lee, Joey Nichol, Kale Pearson, Christian Spears, Troy Timmerman Juniors: Garrett Griffin, Alex Hansen, Connor Healy, Andrew Ruechel, Dexter Walker Sophomores: David Harris, Jalen Robinette, Nate Romine, Weston Steelhammer
AIR FORCE INDIVIDUAL HONORS IN 2014
30 Will Conant -- One of 30 players nationwide to be named to the 2014 Lou Groza Collegiate Placekicker
Award Watch List.
32 Broam Hart -- One of a record 182 nominees from across the country nominated for the Allstate American Football Coaches Association Good Works Team for volunteerism and leadership among their peers.
65 Michael Husar, Jr. -- One of 66 nationwide players named to the Fall Rimington Trophy Watch List presented annually to the nation's most outstanding center.