Sept. 22, 2008
Complete Release in PDF Format
Air Force open this week; returns to action Oct. 4 vs. Navy
Air Force (3-1, 1-1 MWC) is open this week. The Falcons return to action next week by hosting service academy rival Navy on Saturday, Oct. 4, at 2 p.m. in Falcon Stadium. The Navy game starts a string of eight straight games for the Falcons to close the regular season.
Air Force following an open week
Air Force is 21-17-1 all-time following an open week. The Falcons are 5-8 at home and 16-9-1 on the road. The Navy game will mark the first in head coach Troy Calhoun's career as Air Force head coach that his team has played following an open week. The Falcons played 12 consecutive weeks during the regular season last year.
Air Force has won two straight and four of the last five following an open week. The Falcons have lost three straight home games following an open date, losing to BYU (24-41) in 2005, Utah (43-45 3 OT) in 2003 and Navy (17-20) in 1996. Air Force's last home win following an open week came in 1995 against Army, 38-20. Air Force is 6-3 following an open week since the MWC started play in 1999.
Air Force's results following an open week since joining the MWC
Year Game Result
2006 at Wyoming W 31-24
2005 at New Mexico W 42-24
2004 BYU L 24-41
2003 Utah L 43-45 3OT
2002 at #23 California W 23-21
2001 at San Diego State W 45-21
2000 at Utah W 23-14
1999 at BYU L 20-27
at Washington W 31-21
Utah defeated Air Force, 30-23, in another classic battle in a historically close series. Darrell Mack scored on a nine-yard run with 58 second left to give the Utes the lead for good and Joe Dale added an interception on Air Force's next offensive play to seal the victory.
Utah opened the game with a Brian Johnson 47-yard touchdown pass to David Reed to take a 7-0 first-quarter lead. The Utes added a safety when punter Ryan Harrison miss-handled a snap in the end zone to take a 9-0 advantage.
Harrison got the Falcons on the board with a 44-yard field goal early in the second quarter and the team took the lead, 10-9, with a Shea Smith to Kyle Lumpkin eight-yard TD pass. On Utah's next drive, Jake Paulson picked up a fumble after a Rick Ricketts sack and returned it 25 yards for a touchdown to give the Falcons a 16-9 halftime lead. The Falcons forced three first-half turnovers and turned two of them into touchdowns.
The Utes took control in the second half. Mack scored the first of three touchdowns on the opening drive of the third quarter on an eight-yard run to tie the game at 16-16. He added a one-yard run early in the fourth quarter to give Utah a 23-16 lead. The Falcons answered with a Savier Stephens one-yard run to tie the game at 23 before Mack's game-winner in the final minute.
Utah finished the game with 440 total yards, including 197 rushing. Their defense held Air Force to just 191, the lowest in the Troy Calhoun-era at Air Force. Utah also held Air Force's rushing attack 53 yards, the second fewest since the Falcons went to the option offense in 1980. Mack led the way with 101 yards on 18 carries while Matt Asiata added 116 yards on 19 carries. Johnson hit 16 of 23 passes for 243 yards and a score.
Air Force was led by Smith, who hit seven of 13 passes for 138 yards. Lumpkin added 36 yards rushing while Stephens added 33. Kevin Fogler chipped in with four catches for 93 yards. The defense was led by linebacker Ken Lamendola, who matched a career high with 12 tackles. Hunter Altman added a career-best 12 stops.
Last week's game notes
- Utah's safety in the first quarter was the first against Air Force since Oct. 30, 2004 when Wyoming tackled Air Force running back Anthony Butler in the end zone.
- Utah scored a touchdown on its opening drive of the second half which is the first points Air Force has allowed on an opening drive of either half this season. The Falcons have forced three punts and a turnover on downs on the opponent's opening drive of the game. Air Force forced two punts and a fumble on the opponent's opening drive of the second half prior to the Utah TD.
- Utah's fourth-quarter touchdown gave the Utes a 23-16 lead and marked the first time this season that Air Force has trailed in the second half of a game.
- Air Force finished the game with 191 total yards which is a season low and the lowest under head coach Troy Calhoun. The 191 total yards are the fewest since gaining 142 at TCU in 2006. The Falcons also rushed for a season-low 53 yards. The 53 rushing yards is the fewest by Air Force since rushing for just 48 vs. Colorado State in 1980.
- Air Force's seven-game home winning streak was snapped. The loss is the first at home for Air Force under second-year head coach Troy Calhoun.
- Junior SS Chris Thomas recorded his second quarterback sack of the season. The sack came on fourth down and forced a change of possession for Air Force. Thomas later added his third sack of the season. Thomas also added a fumble recovery, his second of the season.
- Sophomore CB Reggie Rembert recorded the first interception of his career. The pick came off a deflection by junior SS Chris Thomas in the Utah end zone. The interception is the third by Air Force this season. Rembert later added the first quarterback sack of his career.
- Junior NG Ben Garland recorded his first solo sack this season and now has 1.5 on the year. Garland forced a fumble on the sack, his second forced fumble this season, which was recovered by junior SS Chris Thomas.
- Sophomore TB Kyle Lumpkin scored the first touchdown of his career. The TD came on an eight-yard catch to give Air Force a 10-9 second-quarter lead.
- Senior DE Jake Paulson scored the first touchdown of his career. The TD came on a 25-yard fumble recovery as a result of the first-career quarterback sack and forced fumble by sophomore DE Rick Ricketts. The defensive touchdown is the first this season for Air Force and first since John Rabold vs. Notre Dame last season.
Paulson's touchdown is the first by an Air Force defensive lineman since Bryce Fisher scored on a 45-yard fumble return against Oregon in the 1997 Las Vegas Bowl.
- Paulson recorded a sack in the fourth quarter which was his seventh this season.
- Sophomore ILB Ken Lamendola finished with a career-best 12 tackles to mark the third straight game he's reached double figures in tackles. Lamendola had 11 vs. Wyoming and a career-best-tying 12 vs. Houston.
- Senior PK Ryan Harrison matched his season long with a 44-yard field goal in the first half. Harrison has hit eight of nine field goals this season.
- Senior OLB Hunter Altman recorded a career-high 12 tackles. His previous career best was 10 vs. TCU last season.
- Sophomore WR Kevin Fogler recorded career bests in every receiving category. Fogler caught four passes for 93 yards with a long of 42. His previous bests came with three catches for 38 yards with a long of 19 vs. Southern Utah. Fogler's 93 yards receiving are the most by a Falcon this season.
- Junior WR Josh Cousins recorded his first-career catches in the game. Cousins finished with two catches for 37 yards with a long of 29.
Air Force sixth nationally
- Air Force has scored in 185 consecutive games dating back to 1992.
- The Falcons were last shutout by Mississippi, 13-0, in the 1992 Liberty Bowl.
- Air Force's streak is the second-longest active streak of teams in the Mountain West Conference and the sixth longest in the country.
# School Streak Last Shutout
1. Michigan 291 Oct. 20, 1984 at Iowa (0-26)
2. Washington State 277 Sept. 15, 1984 at Ohio State (0-44)
3. Florida 246 Oct. 29, 1988 vs. Auburn (0-16)
4. Colorado 238 Nov. 12, 1988 at Nebraska (0-7)
5. TCU (MWC) 194 Nov. 16, 1991 at Texas (0-32)
6. Air Force (MWC) 185 #--Dec. 31, 1992 vs. Mississippi (0-13), #--Liberty Bowl)
- Air Force's 185-game scoring streak is the 17th longest in Division I-A college history
- of the top 16 all-time, nine were started in the 1980s while the other five began in the 1970s.
- Here's that list: (*--329 games including I-AA games prior to joining I-A in 1992):
# School Streak Dates Ended By
1. Brigham Young 361 9/27/1975 - 11/15/2003 Utah
2. Michigan 291 10/27/1984 - present ..................
3. Texas 281 11/29/1980 - 10/02/2004 Oklahoma
4. Washington State 277 10/22/1984 - present ..................
5. Washington 272 11/14/1981 - 10/16/2004 USC
6. Oregon 267 10/05/1985 - 11/15/2007 UCLA
7. Florida 246 11/05/1988 - present ..................
8. UCLA 245 10/02/1971 - 10/17/1992 Arizona State
9. Colorado 238 11/19/1988 - present ..................
10. Nebraska 233 1/01/1974 - 11/29/1991 Miami, Fla.
11. Florida State 232 9/10/1988 - 11/11/2006 Wake Forest
12. Hawaii 219 12/04/1976 - 11/04/1995 Colorado State
13. Arizona 214 9/09/1972 - 12/15/1990 Syracuse
14. Virginia 195 9/15/1984 - 10/28/2000 Georgia Tech
15. TCU 194 11/23/1991 - present ..................
16. *Nevada 187 9/05/1992 - 12/01/2007 New Mexico
17. Air Force 185 8/04/1993 - present .......................
Air Force conference/national rushing numbers
- Air Force leads the conference and ranks fifth nationally in rushing with a 281.8 average.
- Air Force has won 24 conference rushing titles since joining conference play in 1980.
- In 2002, the Falcons won the school's first national rushing title with a 307.8 per-game average.
- The Falcons won their 10th straight conference title in 2007 with a 299.5 average.
Year Stats Conf. National
1980 170.7 5th 79th
1981 185.1 4th 53rd
1982 301.7 1st 4th
1983 246.5 1st 2nd
1984 326.5 1st 2nd
1985 293.2 1st 6th
1986 232.6 1st 15th
1987 386.3 1st 2nd
1988 377.5 1st 2nd
1989 356.0 1st 3rd
1990 267.5 1st 7th
1991 338.1 1st 2nd
1992 242.4 2nd 7th
1993 284.9 1st 4th
1994 304.8 1st 2nd
1995 332.4 1st 2nd
1996 328.9 1st 2nd
1997 332.7 2nd 9th
1998 266.8 1st 3rd
1999 285.5 1st 2nd
2000 294.9 1st 2nd
2001 273.2 1st 3rd
2002 307.8 1st 1st
2003 280.6 1st 4th
2004 277.4 1st 4th
2005 246.5 1st 8th
2006 229.4 1st 3rd
2007 299.5 1st 2nd
2008 281.8 1st 5th
2008 National Rushing Leaders
# Team Games Average
1. Navy 4 345.75
2. Oklahoma State 3 334.33
3. Georgia Tech 4 306.75
4. Oregon 4 299.25
5. Air Force 4 281.75
Young team in 2008
Air Force features one of its youngest teams in history in 2008. The Falcons lost 15 starters from the 2007 squad that finished 9-4 overall and placed second in the Mountain West Conference with a 6-2 mark. The team lost eight starters on offense, including four-year starting quarterback Shaun Carney and all-purpose back Chad Hall, the conference offensive player of the year. Only offensive linemen Nick Charles and Keith Williams, along with tight end Travis Dekker return on offense.
Defensively, the Falcons lost six starters, including first-team all-conference linebackers John Rabold (2007) and Drew Fowler (2006) as well as first-team all-MWC cornerback Carson Bird, the conference's leader in interceptions last year. Five of the top six defensive linemen return, along with outside linebacker Hunter Altman and safety Chris Thomas.
The Falcons lost deep snapper Tony Norman, and return specialist Hall. Kicker Ryan Harrison, who handles all the kicking and punting duties returns.
In terms of games played and started, the Falcons lost 14 players with 30 career games played, plus four more with 25 career games played. In addition, seven players with 20 or more career starts does not return in 2008. In fact, Air Force only has 17 seniors on its roster this season which ranks as the 19th fewest in the nation.
Percentage of offense / defense lost to graduation
Category Lost Pct Lost Notes
Passing yards 1,491 95.7 Top passer lost
Rushing yards 3,482 89.4 Top six rushers lost
Receiving 952 61.1 Top two receivers lost
Punt returns 176 100.0 Top punt returner lost
Scoring 210 54.0 Three of top four scoreres lost
All-purpose yards 5,254 79.8 Top four lost
Total offense 4,974 91.2 Top six lost
Interceptions 14 ints 93.3 Top three and seven of top eight lost
Tackles 534 53.2 Team leader, four of top five lost
One of America's top coaches
Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun is quickly becoming one of America's top coaches. He is 12-5 in his second year at the helm at the Academy.
In his first year at Air Force, the 1989 Academy graduate led the Falcons to the most wins ever by a first-year head coach, along with the nine wins by Ben Martin in 1958. Calhoun led the team to six conference wins which is the most ever by a first-year head coach, breaking the mark of four set by Fisher DeBerry in 1984.
Calhoun began his coaching career at the Academy, then after serving his military committment, was an assistant at Ohio University, later becoming the offensive coordinator. He was the offensive coordinator at Wake Forest before joining the National Football League with the Denver Broncos from 2003-05. He was the offensive coorinator for the Houston Texans in 2006 before returning to his alma mater last season as the sixth head coach in school history.
Calhoun was named the AFCA Region 5 Coach of the Year for 2007. Calhoun, who was also named the Mountain West Conference coach of the year, joined five other coaches to win the honor.
Calhoun is fourth in Mountain West Conference history in career winning percentage in conference games with a .700 mark (7-3).
Winningest MWC Coaches
# Name, School Tenure Record Pct.
1. Urban Meyer, Utah 2003-05 13-1 .929
2. Bronco Mendenhall, BYU 2005- 22-3 .880
3. Gary Patterson, TCU 2005- 19-6 .760
4. Troy Calhoun, Air Force 2007- 7-3 .700
Air Force, Army and Navy compete each year for the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy, which is emblematic of service academy football supremecy. 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.
The 2008 season marks the 37th year of trophy competition. Air Force has a 46-25-0 all-time CIC record and has won 16 trophy titles. Air Force's overall record and number of trophy titles are best among the three academies. Air Force finished second in the 2007 CIC Trophy chase after its 31-20 loss at Navy Sept. 29 and 30-10 win vs. Army 30-10 Nov. 3. Navy won the trophy by beating both Air Force and Army.
Team Record Pct.
Air Force 47-25-0 .644
Navy 35-36-1 .493
Army 25-46-1 .354
Air Force outright CIC title years:
`82, `83, `85, `87, `89, `90, `91, `92, `94, `95, `97, `98, `99, `00, `01, `02