Air Force Football Hosts San Diego State for Thursday Night Game
Oct. 10, 2011
Thursday Oct. 13 6 p.m. MT
Falcon Stadium (46,692) USAF Academy, CO
GAME FACTS: Air Force returns home for the first time in two weeks and back into Mountain West Conference play for the first time since Sept. 10 ... Air Force has had an open week and three straight non-conference games since its last MW game ... This week marks the MW road opener for SDSU ... Air Force and San Diego State each stand at 3-2 overall and 0-1 in conference play ... San Diego State has lost two straight after a 3-0 start ... Air Force has never opened Mountain West play 0-2 ... The Falcons' last 0-2 conference start was in 1994 with losses at home to Colorado State and No. 21 BYU while in the Western Athletic Conference ... Air Force ranks third in the MW in scoring at 37.4 points per game while San Diego State is second in scoring defense with a 24.0 norm ... SDSU is second in the MW and eighth nationally in turnover margin with a 1.40 mark while Air Force is eighth in the league with a -.80 mark ... Air Force leads the MW in rushing and is second nationally with a 364.2 average while the Aztecs are seventh in the league in rushing defense with a 229.0 mark ... This week's game features the conference top two individual rushers ... SDSU sophomore Ronnie Hillman leads the league and ranks fifth nationally with a 132.2 per-game average ... Air Force senior Asher Clark is second in the MW and 32nd nationally with a 96.8 average ...Air Force was picked fourth in the MW preseason poll while San Diego State was selected to finish fourth ... The two teams tied for third last season with 5-3 marks ... Air Force leads the overall series 19-10, including victories in four of the last six ... The Falcons are 2-1 in Thursday night games under head coach Troy Calhoun.
Year by Year
Site () is for AFA
LAST YEAR VS. SAN DIEGO STATE: San Diego State defeated Air Force, 27-25, at Qualcomm Stadium. Freshman Ronnie Hillman rushed for 191 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-clincher. Quarterback Ryan Lindley hit 14 of 26 passes for 247 yards and a score as the Aztecs had 452 total yards and averaged 7.8 yards per play. Air Force was led by Asher Clark, who rushed for 116 yards and a touchdown. Tim Jefferson added 88 yards on 15 carries and hit 13 of 30 passes for 175 yards and a touchdown. Air Force finished the game with 487 total yards, including 312 rushing. The Aztecs led throughout the game and took a 20-12 lead early in the fourth quarter on a field goal by Abel Perez. The Falcons answered with a Nathan Walker touchdown run. The team's two point conversion, a Jefferson to Clark pass, was overturned by replay to keep it 20-18. Both teams added touchdowns in the final two minutes to make up the final margin. Hillman ran for a 44-yard touchdown following an onside kick. Jefferson hit Demerath with a seven-yard pass for Air Force's score. SDSU recovered an onside kick to end the game.
LAST TIME IN FALCON STADIUM (2009):
SAN DIEGO STATE CONNECTIONS
THURSDAY NIGH GAMES: Air Force is 2-1 under head coach Troy Calhoun in Thursday night games. This week's game will be Air Force's first on Thursday night since a 23-10 victory over New Mexico in Falcon Stadium in 2008.
OCTOBER CONFERENCE GAMES: Despite a 1-3 record last season, Air Force has a 9-6 mark in conference games in the month of October since 2007. Prior to the last five seasons, Air Force had not posted a winning record in the month of October since going 4-0 in 1998. In fact, the Falcons had not won more than two games in the month since then. Air Force's three wins in 2007 matched the total from the previous three years combined. Air Force was 12-19 in October from 1999-2006.
HOME SWEET HOME: Air Force is 21-6 at home under head coach Troy Calhoun since 2007. The Falcons tied a school record for wins over a four-year period with 19 from 2007-10. Air Force also won 19 games from 1982-85 (19-4, .826) and from 1997-00 (19-4, .826). The school record for wins over a five-year period is 23, set from 1997-2001.
LOOKING AT SAN DIEGO STATE: San Diego State is coach by Rocky Long, who posted a 5-6 mark against Air Force as New Mexico's head coach from 1998-2008 ... The Aztecs have lost just three times in its last eight games dating back to last season with the losses coming at Michigan and twice to TCU ... San Diego State's 2011 schedule ranks as the fifth toughest in the nation, according to the NCAA ... Sophomore running back Ronnie Hillman had the nation's longest streak of 100-yard games snapped at six last week at TCU ... The streak ranks as the third best in school history ... Senior quarterback Ryan Lindley has thrown a touchdown pass in 15 straight games ... Hillman leads the MW and is fifth nationally in rushing with a 132.2 per-game average ... Hillman also leads the MW in scoring with a 9.6 average ... Senior Larry Parker leads the MW and is second nationally in interceptions with four ... Parker also leads the conference and is ninth nationally in passes defended with a 1.60 mark.
OCTOBER MARKS BRUTAL STRETCH FOR FALCONS: Air Force plays four of five games in October away from home. The Falcons played at Navy Oct. 1, defeating the Midshipmen, 35-34, in overtime and at Notre Dame last week (ND 59-33). Following this week's Thursday night home game vs. San Diego State (Oct. 13), the Falcons play at nationally-ranked Boise State (Oct. 22) and at New Mexico (Oct. 29). The stretch is widely considered one of the toughest in school history. Following the October stretch, the Falcons close out the year with three of its final four games at home.
LAST WEEK: Notre Dame defeated Air Force, 59-33, in South Bend. The Irish scored on all six first-half possessions to race to a 42-16 halftime lead. Notre Dame extended the lead to 59-19 in the fourth quarter before the Falcons closed with a pair of TDs to make up the final margin. Notre Dame had 560 total yards, including 266 rushing. Andrew Hendrix led the way with 111 yards while Tommy Rees hit 23 of 32 passes for 261 yards and four touchdowns. Air Force out-gained the Irish, compiling 565 total yards. The Falcons rushed for 363 yards and hit 16 of 28 passes for 202 yards. Asher Clark led the way with 102 yards on 11 carries. Tim Jefferson hit 12 of 24 passes for 137 yards and a score. Jon Davis matched his career high with 12 tackles to lead the defense.
LAST WEEK'S NOTES
AIR FORCE ONE WIN AWAY FROM COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF'S TROPHY: Air Force defeated Navy, 35-34, in overtime in Annapolis Oct. 1 in the first Commander-in-Chief's Trophy game of the season. The Falcons can win a record 18th CIC trophy with a victory over Army Nov. 5 in Falcon Stadium.
Air Force outright CIC title years:
AIR FORCE BY THE NUMBERS
AIR FORCE OFFENSE POSTING BIG NUMBERS: Air Force ranks among the nation's best in several offensive categories this season. The Falcons lead the Mountain West in rushing, total offense and passing efficiency. The team is averaging 364.2 yards rushing per game which is second nationally, 523.8 yards of total offense which is eighth nationally and has a 170.4 mark in passing efficiency which is ninth in the nation.
TEAM SEASON OFFENSIVE NOTES
TEAM SEASON DEFENSIVE NOTES
SEASON SPECIAL TEAMS NOTES
FALCONS AMONG NATIONAL LEADERS IN APR: The Air Force Academy football team's APR score of 978 for the 2009-10 academic year ranks 10th nationally, according to data released by the NCAA. The Air Force football program, along with women's cross country, wrestling and women's track were recognized by the NCAA with Division I Academic Performance Public Recognition Awards. The APR provides a real-time look at a team's academic success each semester by tracking the academic progress of each student-athlete on scholarship. The APR accounts for eligibility, retention and graduation and provides a measure of each team's academic performance.
AIR FORCE FOURTH NATIONALLY WITH 225-GAME SCORING STREAK
AIR FORCE LEADS THE WAY WITH ALUMNI COACHES: Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun is one of 18 FBS head coaches that is leading his alma mater. Calhoun, 1989 Academy graduate, is in his fifth year. The Falcons have eight Academy graduates as coaches on the staff which is more than any other school in the nation.
Academy graduates on coaching staff
FBS Head Coaches at Alma Mater
AIR FORCE TAKEAWAYS
SECONDARY RANKED NINTH NATIONALLY: The Air Force defensive secondary is ranked as the ninth best unit in the nation, according to a ranking by Rivals.com. The unit returns three starters, including preseason first-team all-conference selections Anthony Wright and Jon Davis. Alabama is ranked first, followed by Penn State, LSU, Florida State, Stanford, Oregon, Nebraska, Virginia Tech, Air Force and Oklahoma.
START CHART: Several Falcons have significant streaks going in terms of consecutive games started. Senior DB Anthony Wright leads the way with 41 straight dating back to 2009. Senior DB Jon Davis has the second-longest streak with 31. Senior RB Asher Clark is third at 24 followed by senior QB Tim Jefferson with 23. Wright leads the way in overall games started as well with 41. Jefferson is second with 36, Clark is third with 32 and Davis is fourth with 31.
AMACK ON BRONKO NAGURSKI WATCH LIST: Senior LB Brady Amack leads the Mountain West and ranks 28th nationally in tackles with an average of 9.4 per game. Amack is tied for fifth in the conference and 22nd in the nation with .40 fumbles forced per outing.
BASKA BANGING IT: Sophomore SPC David Baska has a 45.5 punting average with three punts downed inside the opponent's 20. He has three punts of 50 yards or more, including a career long of 65 yards at Navy while punting deep in Air Force territory. Baska's 45.5 average is the fourth best in school history for a single season and best since Chris MacInnis averaged 47.0 in 1993. Baska's mark would lead the MW and rank 13th nationally, but he lacks enough attempts to qualify.
JEFFERSON RED-HOT RECENTLY: Senior QB Tim Jefferson has hit 32 of 47 passes (.681) for 451 yards with five touchdowns and just one interception over the last three games. Jefferson had a record-setting performances over a two week stretch heading into last week. Jefferson hit 20 of 23 passes (.870) for 314 yards and four touchdowns without any interceptions combined against Tennessee State and Navy. His .870 completion percentage is the best two-game mark in school history.
JEFFERSON WINNINGEST QUARTERBACK IN SCHOOL HISTORY: QB Tim Jefferson set a new school record for most wins by a starting quarterback in Air Force's win over Tennessee State. He passed the record of 22 set by Dee Dowis (1985-89), who was 22-13-1. Jefferson has a 24-12 career record as a starter. His 24 wins ranks fourth all-time in the Mountain West. Jefferson is 5-1 in his career against service academies, posting a 3-0 mark vs. Army and a 2-1 mark against Navy.
JEFFERSON HAS FOURTH MOST WINS NATIONALLY: Air Force quarterback Tim Jefferson has the fourth most wins nationally as a starter. Jefferson's .667 winning percentage is the seventh-best nationally. Boise State's Kellen Moore is the leader in each category with a 43-2 (.956) career record.
FULLBACK FORCE: Air Force fullbacks Wes Cobb and Mike DeWitt have big shoes to fill. The Falcons lost their top three fullbacks last season to graduation -- Jared Tew, Nathan Walker, Ryan Southworth. Gone with the trio went 1,117 yards and an 85.9 per-game average. Cobb and DeWitt proved they are up to the challenge providing the kind of tough running that the Air Force fullback position is known for.
WALLERSTEIN SEMIFINALIST FOR CAMPBELL TROPHY: Air Force senior offensive lineman A.J. Wallerstein is among the 127 semifinalists for the 2011 William V. Campbell Trophy, endowed by HealthSouth, and announced by the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF). Each of the 127 individuals is also a candidate for the 2011 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Award, presented by Fidelity Investments.
WALLERSTEIN ON AFCA GOOD WORKS LIST: Air Force senior offensive lineman A.J. Wallerstein is one of a record 132 nominees for the AFCA Good Works Team, announced by the AllState Insurance Company and the American Football Coaches Association.
Wallerstein has been active in his Academy cadet squadron in leadership positions of element leader and academic officer and was on the cadet leadership team during Basic Cadet Training this summer where he was responsible for leading basic cadets in various areas of military training. He was also active in a community service project that donated over 50 man-hours to the Black Forest Animal Sanctuary in Colorado Springs.
CLARK ON DOAK WALKER LIST: Air Force senior running back Asher Clark is one of 51 candidates for the 2011 Doak Walker Award, according to an announcement by the PwC SMC Athletic Forum. Ten semifinalists will be announced on Nov. 11 and the recipient will be named live on ESPN on Dec. 8. Clark was a second-team all-Mountain West selection last season after rushing for 1,031 yards, becoming just the 13th player overall and fourth tailback in Air Force history to hit the 1,000-yard mark in a season. Clark was third in the conference in rushing with a 79.3 per-game average. A native of Lawrenceville, Ga., Clark became the ninth player in Air Force history to hit the 2,000-yard mark for his career.
CLARK ROLLING ALONG: Senior RB Asher Clark has rushed for 341 yards and three touchdowns on just 32 carries the last three games. Clark has averaged 113.7 yards per game and an impressive 10.7 yards per carry. He rushed for 148 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries vs. Tennessee State and 91 yards and two scores on eight carries at Navy. He recorded his ninth-career 100-yard game with 102 yards on 11 carries at Notre Dame.
CLARK CAREER RUSHING NUMBERS: Senior tailback Asher Clark ranks third in career rushing yards in Air Force history with 2,968. He is the all-time leader for a non-quarterback in school history. Clark passed Chad Hall (2005-07), who had 2,606 career rushing yards, against TCU to become the school's career leader for a tailback. Clark recorded his eighth-career 100-yard game with 148 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries vs. Tennessee State to move past fullback John Kershner (1980-83), who had 2,726 career yards, to become the all-time leader for a non-quarterback. Clark added his ninth-career 100-yard game with 102 yards on 11 carries at Notre Dame. He is just 32 yards short of the 3,000-yard mark for his career.
CALHOUN EARNS HERBIE AWARD: ESPN/ABC Analyst Kirk Herbstreit ranked Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun second in his top five underrated coaches in college football. Herbstreit listed Utah's Kyle Whittingham first, Les Miles of LSU third, Northwestern's Pat Fitzgerald fourth and Bret Bielema or Wisconsin fifth.
HONORS: Honors won by Air Force players in 2011 follow.
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