Air Force Football Opens 2012 Season Hosting Idaho State

    Senior RB Wes Cobb.
    Senior RB Wes Cobb.

    Aug. 27, 2012

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    Game 1: Air Force vs. Idaho State
    Saturday • Sept. 1 • 12 p.m. MT
    Falcon Stadium (46,692) • USAF Academy, CO

    INTERNET
    • The game will be video streamed by Falcon Vision on goairforcefalcons.com.

    RADIO
    • KVOR AM 740 in Colorado Springs; The Fan 104.3 in Denver; Goairforcefalcons.com
    • Jim Arthur (play-by-play); Jesse Kurtz (analyst); Jay Ricci/Bob Ihle (pre- and post-game)

    GAME FACTS: Air Force opens the 2012 season at home against Idaho State ... This is the second meeting between the two schools and first since 1956 ... Air Force was picked sixth in the Mountain West during the conference's annual media event in July ... The Falcons are opening against an FCS team for the sixth straight year ... Air Force is 8-1 all-time against teams from the Big Sky ... The Falcons have won 14 straight home openers against unranked teams dating back to 1994.

    COACHES
    • Air Force: Troy Calhoun (Air Force, 1989) is in his sixth season. He has led the Falcons to a 41-24 career record. Calhoun is 24-15 in MWC games, 17-9 in non-conference games, 23-8 in Falcon Stadium, 14-12 in road games (11-7 in MW road games) and 2-3 in bowl games.
    • Idaho State: Mike Kramer (Idaho, 1977) is in his second season. He has led the program to a 2-9 mark. Kramer has a 79-84 career mark in his 13th season.

    THE SERIES: Air Force and Idaho State are playing for the second time. The schools first played on Nov. 17, 1956, in Pueblo Stadium in Pueblo, Colo., in Air Force's first season as a varsity program. Idaho State won the game, 13-7.

    AIR FORCE VS. THE BIG SKY: Air Force is 8-1 all-time against teams that are in or were in the Big Sky Conference when Air Force played them. The lone loss came at the hands of Idaho State, 13-7, in 1956. The Falcons have won eight straight games vs. the Big Sky since that loss. Air Force is 1-0 vs. Cal State Northridge, Eastern Washington and Weber State and 5-0 vs. former member Idaho.

    Air Force is 35-19-2 overall in season openers, including a 30-8 mark in season openers at home.
    • Air Force has won five straight and six of the last eight season openers with the only losses coming at No. 11 Tennessee in 2006 and vs. No. 13 California in 2004. • The Falcons have won seven of the last eight season openers at home with the only loss coming vs. No. 13 California in 2004.
    • Air Force has won 14 straight season openers vs. unranked teams dating back to 34-21 setback vs. Colorado State in 1994.
    • Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun is 5-0 in season openers, all five coming at home.

    AIR FORCE VS. NON-CONFERENCE FOES UNDER CALHOUN
    • Air Force is 17-9 against non-conference foes under head coach Troy Calhoun.
    • The Falcons are 10-1 at home, 4-5 on the road and 3-3 in neutral site games.
    • Air Force posted a 4-2 mark last season in non-conference games.

    HOME SWEET HOME: Air Force is 23-8 at home under head coach Troy Calhoun since 2007. The Falcons posted just the third undefeated home mark (6-0) 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. FCS TEAMS: Air Force is 16-0 all-time against teams from the Football Championship Subdivision. Head Coach Troy Calhoun is 5-0, including last season's 37-20 victory over South Dakota to open the season.

    A LOOK AT IDAHO STATE: Idaho State finished last season with a 2-9 overall mark, including a 1-7 record in the Big Sky Conference ... The team averaged 18.5 points per game last year ... Idaho State won the 1981 Division I-AA national championship ... Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis is an Idaho State graduate ... The program has had eight individuals play or coach in the NFL, including current Minnesota Vikings all-pro Jared Allen ... Allen lettered from 2000-03 at Idaho State and was an All-American in 2002 and 2003.

    2011 SEASON RECAP: The 2011 season was a record-setting one for Air Force, as the school made a bowl appearance for a fifth straight year for the first time in school history. The Falcons played Toledo in the Military Bowl. Air Force closed the season with a 7-6 overall record and a 3-4 mark in the Mountain West Conference.
    The Falcons won the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy for a second straight year and for a record 18th time overall with victories over Army and Navy. The Falcons defeated Navy, 35-34, in overtime in Annapolis on Oct. 1, and beat Army, 24-14, in Falcon Stadium on Nov. 5 to secure the coveted award.
    The Falcons closed the season with convincing wins over UNLV, 45-17, at home and at Colorado State, 45-21. Air Force entered the two games in playoff mode, needing both wins to become bowl-eligible. The victories also secured a fifth consecutive season with seven or more wins which marks an Academy first.

    Team Notes

    FALCONS AMONG NATIONAL LEADERS IN APR: The Air Force football program was among 12 nationally recognized Football Bowl Series programs recognized with the NCAA Division I Academic Performance Public Recognition Award, announced by the NCAA.
    Air Force is one of just two in the Mountain West Conference (Boise State) and was the only service academy recognized. This year marks the sixth straight the football program and the team's score of 980 ranks 10th nationally. Northwestern has the highest ranking of 995, followed by Boise State and Duke at 989.
    Each year the NCAA honors selects Division I sports teams by publicly recognizing their latest multiyear APR. This announcement is part of the overall Division I academic reform effort and is intended to highlight teams who demonstrate a commitment to academic progress and retention of student-athletes by achieving the top APRs within their respective sports. Specifically, these teams posted multiyear APRs in the top 10 percent of all squads in each sport.
    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.

    AIR FORCE LEADS THE WAY WITH ALUMNI COACHES: Air Force has 10 Academy graduates as coaches on the staff which is more than any other school in the nation.

    Academy graduates on coaching staff
    Troy Calhoun (Air Force, 1989), head coach
    Jake Campbell (Air Force, 1996), assistant offensive backfield
    Maj. Eldrick Hill (Air Force, 1993), varsity/JV assistant
    Ben Miller (Air Force, 2002), RBs/special teams coordinator
    Blane Morgan (Air Force, 1999), offensive coordinator/QBs
    Maj. Steve Pipes (Air Force, 1998), JV head coach/varsity assistant
    Capt. John Rudzinski (Air Force, 2005), OLBs/recruiting coordinator
    Steve Russ (Air Force, 1995), asst. head coach/co-def. coord./secondary
    Mike Thiessen (Air Force, 2001), asst. head coach/offensive coord./WRs
    Charlton Warren (Air Force, 1999), assoc. head coach/defensive coordinator

    BOWL ATTENDANCE/TICKET NOTES: Air Force has averaged 9,816 tickets sold in its five bowl games dating back to 2007. Air Force sold a then-record 11,945 for the 2007 Armed Forces Bowl and broke that mark in the 2010 Independence Bowl with 12,098 sold.
    The average attendance in Air Force's five bowl games is 37,570. The school played in three straight Armed Forces Bowl games and set a record attendance mark each year. Air Force set the first record in 2007 with 40,905, then broke it in 2008 with 41,127 and in 2009 with 41,414. Prior to Air Force's arrival, the bowl game had hit 40,000 in attendance just once.

    AIR FORCE BY THE NUMBERS
    5 - Air Force has played in a bowl game for a school-record five straight years.
    6 - Air Force has won six straight non-conference home openers.
    7 - Air Force has forced at least two turnovers in seven straight games.
    13 - consecutive years Air Force has won the Mountain West rushing title.
    14 - Air Force has not allowed a score on the oppoent's opening drive of the second half in 14 straight games.
    23 - wins in 31 games in Falcon Stadium for Air Force under head coach Troy Calhoun.
    30 - games under head coach Troy Calhoun with a 100-yard rusher (24-6 record).
    34 - straight games Air Force has rushed for a touchdown dating back to Navy Oct. 3, 2009.

    2011 TEAM DEFENSIVE NOTES
    • Air Force led the MW and ranked sixth nationally in pass defense with a 166.8 average.
    • Air Force forced 17 turnovers the last six games, AFA had nine total in the first seven games.
    • Air Force did not allow its opponents to score on its opening drive of the second half all season, forcing 10 punts, two interceptions and a fumble.
    • Air Force posted its first shutout since 2009 in a 42-0 victory at New Mexico.
    • The shutout is the first in a conference road game since beating Colorado State, 24-0, in 1997.
    • AF held New Mexico to just 223 total yards, the best in a conference road game since 2008 (Wyo., 216).

    2011 TEAM OFFENSIVE NOTES
    • Air Force was second in the MW and 22nd nationally in total offense with a 454.8 average.
    • The team was third in the MW and 17th nationally in third-down conversions with a 47.0 mark.
    • Air Force was second in the MW and 25th nationally in red zone offense with an 86.9 mark (53-61).
    • Air Force was second in the MW and fourth nationally in fourth downs with an 81.2 mark (26-32).
    • Air Force's 314.8 rushing average is its best since averaging 332.7 in 1997.
    • Air Force set a school record with 792 total yards vs. Tennessee State.
    • The team rushed for 595 yards vs. Tennessee State which is the third most in school history and most since 1988.

    2011 OFFENSE RANKED AMONG BEST IN SCHOOL HISTORY: The Air Force offense ranked among the top 10 all-time in several categories for a single season. A complete look at where the offense ranked and the school record for each category follows. Air Force's season averages of 314.8 rushing yards, 140.1 passing yards, 454.8 total yards and 34.9 points per game are all the best in the Troy Calhoun era (2007-present).

    AIR FORCE TAKEAWAYS
    • Air Force is a combined +50 in turnover margin the last five seasons.
    • Air Force forced 19 TOs, at least two each game, with a +6 TO margin the last seven games of 2011.
    • The Falcons forced just seven turnovers and were -6 in TO margin in the first six games of last season.
    • Air Force finished sixth in the Mountain West in turnover margin with a season-best 0.00 mark.
    • Air Force won the turnover battle just four times in 2011 (+2 UNM; +3 Army; +1 UNLV; +2 CSU).

    BLOCKED KICKS
    • Air Force has blocked 114 kicks since 1990 when the team began tracking them.
    • The breakdown: 53 punts, 35 field goals and 26 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).
    • Air Force blocked five kicks last season, the most in a season since 2006 and most in the Calhoun era.
    • The blocks: (PAT vs. So. Dakota; FG vs. Tenn. St.; PAT at Navy; FG vs. San Diego St.; PAT at Boise State).
    • Air Force has blocked 16 kicks since 2007 under head coach Troy Calhoun
    • The breakdown: (8 FGs, 6 PATs, 2 Punts)
    • LB Alex Means had three blocks in 2011 (FG vs. Tenn. State, PAT at Navy, PAT at Boise State)
    • Means is the first player since Ryan Carter in 2003 to block a kick in back-to-back games (Tenn St., Navy).

    AIR FORCE FOURTH NATIONALLY WITH 233-GAME SCORING STREAK
    • The Falcons were last shutout by Mississippi, 13-0, in the 1992 Liberty Bowl.
    • Air Force's streak is the longest in the MW and fourth longest active in the country.
    • Air Force's streak is tied as 11th longest in Division I-A college history.

    COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF'S TROPHY: Air Force won its second straight and record 18th Commander-in-Chief's Trophy in 2011. The Falcons defeated Navy, 35-34, in overtime in Annapolis Oct. 1 and Army, 24-14, in Falcon Stadium Nov. 5. Air Force's back-to-back CIC Trophy titles are its first since 2001-02.
    The 2012 season marks the 41st year of trophy competition. The trophy goes annually to the winning academy with the best record in round-robin competition. The President of the United States presents the trophy to the seniors from the winning team each year at a ceremony at the White House. Air Force has a 53-27-0 all-time CIC record.

    Individual Notes

    HERRINGTON ON GROZA WATCH LIST: Air Force senior Parker Herrington is one of 30 players named to the Watch List for the 2012 Lou Groza College Place-Kicker Award, presented by the Palm Beach County Sports Commission.
    Kickers on the Lou Groza Award Watch List were chosen based on statistics from the 2011 season and 2012 expectations. Accomplishments are tabulated throughout the season and the Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award announces its 20 semifinalists on Monday, November 5th. From this list, a panel of more than 300 experts selects the top three finalists for the award by Monday, November 19th. That same group then selects the national winner, who will be announced on Thursday, December 6th during the Home Depot ESPNU College Football Award Show, broadcast live from Orlando, Fla.
    A first team member of the All-Mountain West Conference squad, Herrington topped all MWC kickers in field goal percentage and field goals per game. A model of consistency, Herrington tallied his 90 points by scoring between 5 and 10 points in each game of the season. Season-high three field goals in Air Force's win over Army, while his extra point in overtime gave the Falcons a 35-34 win over Navy.

    HERRINGTON AMONG THE MOUNTAIN WEST'S BEST: Senior kicker Parker Herrington led the Mountain West in field goals with a 1.15 average and in field goal percentage with an 83.3 mark last season. He was 13-of-14 inside 40 yards and had a streak of 10 straight made field goals snapped vs. UNLV. Herrington ranked fifth in the conference and second amongst kickers in scoring with a 6.9 average. He was 15-of-18 on the season and kicked two or more field goals in a game five times.

    DIETZ TAKES OVER AT QB
    Senior Connor Dietz is the team's starting quarterback. He will be making his fourth-career start when Air Force opens the 2012 season vs. Idaho State. The start will be his first since 2009 at Utah. Dietz, who received a ninth semester from the Academy due to an injury suffered in that game, started three two other times that season vs. San Diego State and TCU. He follows a pair of four-year starters in Tim Jefferson (2008-11) and Shaun Carney (2004-07).
    Dietz rushed for 252 yards and two touchdowns last season while hitting nine-of-15 passes for 128 yards and a score. He has rushed for 678 yards and four touchdowns and thrown for 392 yards and three scores on 32-of-60 passing in his career

    FULLBACK FORCE NOW A 1-2 PUNCH: Air Force running backs Wes Cobb and Mike DeWitt combined to give Air Force a solid fullback game last year. DeWitt finished second on the team in rushing with 567 yards and a team-best 12 touchdowns while Cobb was fourth with 425 yards and four touchdowns. The pair combined for 992 yards and 16 touchdowns. The fullbacks had 100 or more yards in a game six times overall and in four of the last six games. The fullbacks had a season-best 132 yards vs. New Mexico. They have also hit the 100-yard mark vs. South Dakota (109), Tennessee State (107), Boise State (125), Wyoming (115) and Colorado State (106). This season, they form a 1-2 punch as Cobb has moved to a new position of tailback.

    HONORS: Honors won by Air Force returning players in 2012 follow.
    • SPC Parker Herrington: Preseason first-team all-MW ... one of 30 players named to the Watch List for the 2012 Lou Groza College Place-Kicker Award, presented by the Palm Beach County Sports Commission.
    • LB Alex Means: Preseason first-team all-MW.

     

     

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