Falcon Football Opens MW Play At UNLV

    Senior quarterback Connor Dietz.
    Senior quarterback Connor Dietz.

    Sept. 17, 2012

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    Air Force (1-1) at UNLV (0-3)
    Saturday. • Sept. 22 • 8 p.m. MT
    Sam Boyd Stadium (36,800) • Las Vegas, NV

    The Last Meeting
    UNLV17
    Air Force45
    November 19, 2011
    USAFA
    Air Force Defeats UNLV 45-17
    Asher Clark rushed for a career-high 169 yards, Wesley Cobb scored twice as Air Force beat UNLV, 45-17, Saturday night.

    TELEVISION
    • Altitude Sports in the Mountain area

    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 returns to action this Saturday following an open week ... In six years under Troy Calhoun, the Falcons have had just three open weeks, posting a 1-1 mark the week after ... Air Force is 13-4 all-time vs. UNLV and has won five straight and nine of the last 10 ... Air Force is 5-3 at UNLV in the series ... The Falcons are playing for the first time on Altitude Sports ... This week is the Mountain West Conference opener for Air Force ... The Falcons are 11-2 all-time in MW openers and had a conference-record 11-game winning streak snapped last season vs. TCU ... Air Force is 6-0 on the road in MW openers ... The team is opening on the road in MW play for the first time since 2009, a 37-13 win at New Mexico ... Air Force defeated UNLV, 35-20, in the last meeting between the two schools in Las Vegas.

    COACHES
    • Air Force: Troy Calhoun (Air Force, 1989) is in his sixth season. He has led the Falcons to a 42-25 career record. Calhoun is 24-15 in MWC games, 18-10 in non-conference games, 24-8 in Falcon Stadium, 14-13 in road games (11-7 in MW road games) and 2-3 in bowl games.
    • UNLV: Bobby Hauck (Montana, 1988) is in his third season. He has led the Rebels to a 4-24 record. Hauck has an 84-40 career record in his 10th season.

    THE SERIES
    • Air Force and UNLV meet for the 18th time overall and 17th time as conference foes.
    • Air Force leads the overall series, 13-4, and has a 13-3 mark in conference games.
    • The Falcons are 7-1 at home and 5-3 at UNLV in the series.
    • Air Force has won five straight and nine of the last 10 games.
    • UNLV won back-to-back games in 2000-01 prior to the recent Air Force run.
    • Air Force defeated UNLV, 35-20, in 2010 the last time the two played in Las Vegas.
    • The Falcons defeated UNLV, 45-17, last season in Falcon Stadium.

    Year by Year
    1981 - UNLV 24-21 (A)
    1996 - AFA 65-17 (A)
    1997 - AFA 25-24 (H)
    1998 - AFA 52-10 (A)
    1999 - AFA 35-16 (H)
    2000 - UNLV 34-13 (A)
    2001 - UNLV 34-10 (H)
    2002 - AFA 49-32 (A)
    2003 - AFA 24-7 (H)
    2004 - AFA 27-10 (A)
    2005 - AFA 42-7 (H)
    2006 - UNLV 42-39 (A)
    2007 - AFA 31-14 (H)
    2008 - AFA 29-28 (A)
    2009 - AFA 45-17 (H)
    2010 - AFA 35-20 (A)
    2011 - AFA 45-17 (H)
    (H/A) is for AFA

    CONFERENCE OPENERS
    • Air Force is 11-2 in Mountain West openers dating back to 1999.
    • The Falcons set a MW record by winning 11 straight from 2000-10.
    • TCU snapped Air Force's 11-game winning streak with a 35-19 victory last season in Falcon Stadium.
    • Air Force is 5-2 at home and 6-0 on the road.
    • Air Force has opened with UNLV one other time, a 27-10 victory in Las Vegas in 2004.
    • The Falcons are 23-9 all-time in conference openers dating back to 1980.
    • Air Force has won 15 of the last 17 conference openers overall.

    LAST SEASON VS. UNLV: Air Force defeated UNLV, 45-17, in the final home game for 28 senior players. Wes Cobb opened the scoring with a two-yard run to give Air Force a 7-0 lead. UNLV answered with a field goal, then Cobb scored his second touchdown of the game with a seven-yard run to extend the lead to 14-3. Following a UNLV touchdown run by Caleb Herring, Asher Clark scored on a career-long 67 yard run to push the lead to 21-10. Parker Herrington added a field goal to give Air Force a 24-10 halftime lead. Tim Jefferson opened the second half with a touchdown run and later hit Dontae Strickland with a 25 yard touchdown pass to extend the lead to 38-10. Mike DeWitt added a touchdown in the fourth quarter and UNLV scored in the final minutes to make up the final margin. Air Force finished the game with 552 total yards, including 394 rushing. Clark led the way with a career-best 169 rushing yards. Jefferson added 81 yards rushing and hit seven of 12 passes for 128 yards. The defense was led by Brady Amack, who had 10 tackles and two tackles for loss.

    THE LAST TIME IN LAS VEGAS: Air Force defeated UNLV, 35-20, to close out the regular season. Tim Jefferson opened the Air Force scoring with a five-yard touchdown pass to Zack Kauth to give the Falcons a 7-0 lead. UNLV recorded 17 unanswered points to take a 17-7 lead in the second quarter before the Falcons closed the half with the first of three Jefferson TD runs to make it 17-14 at halftime. The Falcons out-scored UNLV, 21-3, in the second half while holding the Rebels to just 96 total ayrds, including 18 yards rushing. Jonathan Warzeka scored on a 54 yard run and Jefferson added two more TD runs. Air Force finished with 454 total yards, including 343 rushing. Austin Niklas led the defensive effort with a career-best 14 tackles.

    FOLLOWING AN OPEN WEEK: Air Force is playing a game following an open week for just the third time in six seasons under head coach Troy Calhoun. The Falcons are 1-1 in the previous two games, a 33-27 loss vs. Navy in 2008 and a 63-24 victory over Tennessee State last season. Both games were played in Falcon Stadium.

    A LOOK AT UNLV: UNLV is opening the season with four consecutive home games for the first time since 1973 ... In addition to Air Force, the Rebels hosted Minnesota, Northern Arizona and Washington State ... UNLV is wearing new uniforms this season ... UNLV coach Bobby Hauck won seven straight Big Sky Conference titles while coaching at Montana ... UNLV had 29 of its 100 players on opening day from the state of Nevada ... The Rebels were picked eighth in the conference during the preseason media day in Las Vegas ... UNLV has four players on active NFL rosters ... UNLV goes by Rebels in all sports but men's basketball.

    AIR FORCE'S LAST GAME: Air Force lost at No. 19 Michigan, 31-25, in a non-conference game in front of a record crowd of 112,522. The Wolverines opened the scoring with a Denard Robinson 79 yard run to take a 7-0 lead. Air Force answered with a 22-yard Parker Herrington field goal. Robinson threw the first of two touchdown passes to extend the lead to 14-3 in the second quarter. Cody Getz cut the lead to 14-10 at halftime with the first of three touchdown runs late in the quarter. The teams exchanged scores in the second half with Robinson getting Michigan on the board again with a 58 yard TD run. Getz added his second TD on a fourth-down play to make it 21-17 midway through the third quarter. Devin Gardner caught a seven-yard TD pass from Robinson to extend the lead to 28-17. Getz answered early the fourth with an eight-yard run and a two-point conversion cut the lead to 28-25. Michigan added a 31 yard field goal midway through the fourth to make up the final margin. The Falcons had two more changes following the field goal, but were unable to move into scoring position. Getz finished with 130 yards and three touchdowns on 26 carries while Connor Dietz added 61 yards on 14 carries. He also hit 10-of-19 passes for 127 yards. The defense was led by Brian Lindsay's eight tackles and one tackle for loss. Alex Means chipped in with seven tackles, a tackle for loss and three pass breakups. Michigan was led by Robinson, who rushed for 218 yards and threw for 208 yards.

    AIR FORCE'S LAST GAME NOTES
    • The attendance of 112,522 is the largest crowd Air Force has ever played in front of.
    • Air Force players making their first career start were: C Austin Hayes, WR Drew Coleman, WR Christian Gann
    • Air Force's game captains were Alex Means, Jason Kons and Connor Dietz
    • TE Marcus Hendricks' catch in the first quarter was the first of his career. He had career bests of two receptions for 26 yards and also caught a two-point conversion.
    • WR Chris Jordan's reception in the second quarter was the first of his career.
    David Baska's 71-yard punt in the second quarter is the longest of his career. His previous long was 65 yards vs. Navy last season. His punt is tied as the 16th longest in school history and is the longest since Ryan Harrison had an 81-yarder vs. Wyoming in 2007.
    • LB Josh Kusan's interception in the second quarter is the first of his career.
    Cody Getz posted 100 or more rushing yards in consecutive games for the first time in his career. It marks the first time a Falcon has rushed for 100 or more yards in back-to-back games since Asher Clark vs. UNLV (169) and Colorado State (111) in 2011.
    • Getz's 348 combined rushing yards the last two weeks (130 vs. Michigan and 218 vs. Idaho State) are the most since Chad Hall rushed for 417 yards in consecutive games against Army (275) and Notre Dame (142) in 2007.
    • Getz's six combined touchdowns in the last two games are the most since Chad Hall had six in back-to-back games vs. UNLV (2) and CSU (4) in 2007.
    • Getz's 26 carries are a career high. His previous best of 17 came vs. Idaho State.
    Connor Dietz's 10 completions and 19 attempts are both career highs. His previous high for completions was eight vs. Idaho State. His previous high for attempts was 17 vs. TCU in 2009.
    • Alex Means' three pass breakups are a career high.

    CALHOUN TO SHARE WEEKLY TOP 25 VOTE ON-LINE: Head Coach Troy Calhoun is a voter in the USA TODAY Sports Coaches Poll. Although ballots in the poll generally are not revealed until the final vote of the regular season in December, Calhoun has been providing his weekly ballot to The Gazette of Colorado Springs the last couple of years. He agreed this year to also reveal his vote each week for USA TODAY Sports. He weekly top 25 is available on the USA Today website.

    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

    AIR FORCE HAS FOURTH LONGEST ACTIVE SCORING STREAK IN NCAA HISTORY
    • Air Force has a school-record 235-game consecutive scoring streak which ranks fourth nationally.
    • The Falcons were last shutout by Mississippi, 13-0, in the 1992 Liberty Bowl.
    • Air Force's streak is the 11th longest in Division I-A history.

    AIR FORCE BY THE NUMBERS
    0 - Number of Air Force turnovers this season.
    5 - Air Force has played in a bowl game for a school-record five straight years.
    7 - Air Force has won seven straight non-conference home openers.
    13 - consecutive years Air Force has won the Mountain West rushing title.
    13 - players that made the first start of their career in Air Force's season opener vs. Idaho State.
    15 - consecutive quarters that Air Force has scored points in dating back to last season.
    15 - AFA has won 15 straight home openers against unranked teams dating back to 1994.
    24 - wins in 32 games in Falcon Stadium for Air Force under head coach Troy Calhoun.
    32 - games under head coach Troy Calhoun with a 100-yard rusher (25-7 record).
    36 - straight games Air Force has rushed for a touchdown dating back to Navy Oct. 3, 2009.

    TEAM DEFENSIVE NOTES
    • Air Force shutout Idaho State in the first half.
    • Air Force had two players with 11 tackles each vs. Idaho State (Austin Niklas, Steffon Batts)
    • The opponent (Idaho State) scored on the opening drive of the first half for the first time in 14 games.
    • Air Force held Idaho State to just three-of-five in the red zone.
    • Air Force leads the MW and ranks 36th nationally in red zone defense with a 71.4 mark.

    TEAM OFFENSIVE NOTES
    • Air Force averaged 9.1 yards per play and 8.3 yards per rush vs. Idaho State.
    • Air Force's 626 total yards vs. Idaho State is the ninth most in school history.
    • Air Force's 8.3 yards per rush average vs. Idaho State ties as the seventh most in school history.
    • Air Force had 11 different players carry the ball and five different score touchdowns vs. Idaho State.
    • Air Force didn't have a turnover for the first time since the 2010 Independence Bowl vs. Georgia Tech.
    • Air Force didn't have a turnover at Michigan, marking the first back-to-back games without turnovers since 2009 vs. TCU and Wyoming.
    • Air Force'S 90 plays at Michigan is the second-most in the Troy Calhoun era and most since running 92 vs. SDSU in 2010.

    SPECIAL TEAMS NOTES
    • Air Force is second in the MW and tied for 11th nationally in kickoff returns with a 29.0 average.
    • Kicker Briceton Cannada had six touchbacks in eight kickoffs vs. Idaho State.
    Anthony LaCoste ranks fourth in MW and 13th nationall in KOR with a 33.3 average.
    • Kicker Parker Herrington has hit 26 straight extra points dating back to 2011.
    • Punter David Baska would lead the conference in punting with a 48.0 average, but lacks the attempts.

    BLOCKED KICKS
    • Air Force has blocked 114 kicks since 1990 when the program 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.
    • 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 TAKEAWAYS
    • Air Force is second in the MW and tied for 24th nationally in turnover margin with a +1.00 mark.
    • Air Force is +2 in turnover margin this season (two interceptions).
    • Air Force is a combined +52 in turnover margin the last six 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 last season with a 0.00 mark.

    TAKING CARE OF THE FOOTBALL: Air Force has not had a turnover in 2012 after two games. The opening two games of the season mark the first time since 2009 vs. TCU and Wyoming that Air Force has gone back-to-back games without a turnover. The Falcons have run 159 plays in two games.

    HOME SWEET HOME: Air Force is 24-8 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. NON-CONFERENCE FOES UNDER CALHOUN
    • Air Force is 1-1 this season vs. non-conference opponents.
    • Air Force is 18-10 against non-conference foes under head coach Troy Calhoun.
    • The Falcons are 11-1 at home, 4-6 on the road and 3-3 in neutral site games.

    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.

    Air Force outright CIC title years:
    `82, `83, `85, `87, `89, `90, `91, `92, `94, `95, `97, `98, `99, `00, `01, `02, `10, `11.

    INSIDE AIR FORCE FOOTBALL
    • Air Force has an all-time record of 345-285-13 in its 56th season of varsity football. The Falcons are 187-117-3 at home and 157-169-10 on the road and in neutral site games. AFA has played in 22 bowl games and has a 10-11-1 all-time record.
    • Air Force is playing in 33rd year in a conference. This season marks the school's 13th 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 50-47 as a member of the Mountain West Conference. The team is 29-20 at home and 21-27 on the road. The Falcons are 91-70 overall since joining the MWC in 1999, including marks of 52-28 at home, 33-37 on the road, 6-4 in neutral site games and 4-3 in bowls.
    • Air Force is 6-4 overall and 4-2 in conference overtime games (results below).

    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.

    HERRINGTON AMONG THE BEST: Senior kicker Parker Herrington has hit 16-of-21 (.762) in his career in field goals and 54-of-57 (.947) on extra points. Herrington ranks fifth in school history in career field goal percentage and 10th in extra point percentage. He needs one more made field goal to break into the top 10 in school history for career fields made.

    SENIOR Connor Dietz TAKES OVER AT QB: Senior Connor Dietz follows a pair of four-year starters in Tim Jefferson (2008-11) and Shaun Carney (2004-07), but is making his own history.
    Dietz is the active career leader in rushing with 813 yards and five touchdowns for the Falcons. He's rushed for 135 yards and a touchdown this season while averaging 6.4 yards per rush. Dietz has hit 18-of-30 passes for 269 yards and has a 135.32 efficiency rating. For his career, he's hit 50-of-90 for 661 yards with three touchdowns and just one interception.
    Dietz is on pace to become the Air Force career leader in pass interception avoidance with a .011 mark with just one career INT in 90 attempts, but needs 100 attempts to qualify. Dietz has a career pass efficiency rating of 126.03 which would rank as the fifth-best mark in school history, but he needs 10 more attempts to be eligible.

    GETZ, BASKA EARN HONORS FOR EFFORTS AT MICHIGAN: Senior running back Cody Getz and junior punter David Baska were honored for their performances at Michigan. Getz and Baska each earned collegefootballperformanceawards.com honors as running back and punter of the week, respectively. Getz also picked up collegesportsmadness.com Mountain West Conference player of the week honors.
    Getz rushed for 130 yards and matched his career high with three touchdowns to lead the Falcons offense that gained 417 total yards. Getz leads the conference and ranks third nationally in rushing with a 174.0 per-game average through two weeks. He is also tied for the national lead in scoring with six touchdowns and an 18.0 per-game scoring average.
    Baska punted twice at Michigan for a 53.5-yard average and nailed a career-long 71 yard punt while deep in his own territory. Baska leads the MW in punting with a 48.0 average, but lacks enough attempts to qualify for the national statistics.

    GETZ RUNNING WILD IN 2012: Senior Cody Getz has waited patiently for his chance and he's making the most of it now as a senior. Getz is second in the conference and fourth nationally in rushing with a 174.0 per-game average. He leads the nation in scoring with an 18.0 average. Getz has rushed for 348 yards and six touchdowns and is averaging 8.1 yards per carry. He opened the season with a career-best 218 yards and three scores vs. Idaho State, then rushed for 130 yards and three more scores at Michigan.
    His 348 yards in back-to-back games is the most since Chad Hall had 417 yards vs. Army (275) and Notre Dame (142) in 2007. His six touchdowns in two games is the best since Hall had six in back-to-back games vs. UNLV (two) and Colorado State (four) in 2007.
    Getz is the first Falcon to open the season with back-to-back 100-yard rushing games since quarterback Rob Perez in 1991 when he had 148 vs. Weber State and 112 at Colorado State. He's the first non-quarterback to do it since fullback Pat Evans in 1984 vs. San Diego State (121) and Northern Colorado (110).

    AIR FORCE PLAYER HONORS IN 2012
    • 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.
    • RB Cody Getz: Collegefootballperformance.com honorable mention running back of the week vs. Idaho State ... National Football Foundation, Colorado Chapter player of the week vs. Idaho State ... collegefootballperformance.com runningback of the week vs. Michigan ... collegesportsmadness.com Mountain West Conference player of the week vs. Michigan.
    • SPC David Baska: Collegefootballperformance.com punter of the week vs. Michigan

    DID YOU KNOW?
    • Air Force student-athletes carry an average of 19 semester hours of academics each semester.
    • Air Force doesn't redshirt student-athletes. Cadets attend for a total of eight semesters, so student-athletes only have those eight semesters to complete their athletic eligibility.
    • Air Force is a non-scholarship school. Student-athletes, like other cadets, must earn a nomination to attend the Academy. Air Force student-athletes do not sign a National Letter of Intent on signing days.
    • Air Force student-athletes may leave the Academy without penalty during their freshman or sophomore years. Once their junior year begins, they are committed to the Air Force.
    • The post-graduate commitment for Air Force graduates is five years following graduation. For graduates that enter pilot training, it's eight years after pilot training for roughly a 10-year commitment.
    • The Air Force Academy Prep School is located on the grounds of the Air Force Academy. The Prep School is simply that, a prep school for entrance to the Air Force Academy. Student-athletes that attend are still able to be recruited by other schools and must qualify to attend the Academy following that year. A student-athletes NCAA clock doesn't start while attending the Prep School.
    • Air Force student-athletes have busy summers, which are broke into three three-week periods. Typically upperclassmen receive a period of leave, while the other two are filled with military training, academics or various other opportunities related to the Academy.
    • U.S. News & World Report released its 2013 Best Colleges rankings, listing the Air Force Academy among the best in the nation in several categories.

     

     

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