Calhoun hosts presser as Air Force prepares to travel to San Diego State
TELEVISION NBC Sports Network Ari Wolfe (play-by-play), Blane Fowler (color)
RADIO KVOR AM 740 in Colorado Springs; The Fan 104.3 in Denver; Goairforcefalcons.com Jim Arthur (play-by-play); Jesse Kurtz (analyst); Jay Ritchie/Bob Ihle (pre- and post-game)
GAME FACTS: Air Force returns to Mountain West play this week by traveling to San Diego, Calif., to take on San Diego State ... The Falcons are going coast-to-coast after playing at Army in West Point, N.Y., last week ... The lone non-conference common opponent between San Diego State and Air Force is Army ... The Aztecs defeated the Black Knights, 42-7, in San Diego Sept. 8 while Air Force lost, 41-21, at Army last week ... Air Force is in a stretch of playing three of four games on the road ... Following the Hawai'i game in Falcon Stadium next week, the Falcons close out the regular season at Fresno State Nov. 24 ... Air Force had a three-game winning streak snapped last week ... The Aztecs are on a five-game winning streak after last week's win at Boise State ... Air Force leads the series 19-11 ... The Falcons are 7-6 in San Diego ... SDSU has won the last two in the series, including a 27-25 win the last time the two played in San Diego ... Air Force and San Diego State have split the last eight games in the series ... Air Force and SDSU are two of the four one-loss teams in the Mountain West.
COACHES Air Force: Troy Calhoun (Air Force, 1989) is in his sixth season. He has led the Falcons to a 46-28 career record. Calhoun is 28-16 in MWC games, 18-12 in non-conference games, 27-9 in Falcon Stadium, 16-16 in road games (12-9 in MW road games) and 2-3 in bowl games. Rocky Long: Rocky Long (New Mexico, 1974) is in his second season at San Diego State. He has guided the Aztecs to a 15-8 record. Long has an 80-77 career record in his 13th season. No stranger to Mountain West football, Long was head coach at New Mexico from 1998-2008.
THE SERIES Air Force leads the series, 19-11, with all games coming as conference foes. The Falcons are 7-6 in San Diego, 11-5 at home and 1-0 in neutral site games. San Diego State has won two straight and six of the last 10 in the series. Prior to San Diego State's two-game streak, Air Force has won three straight from 2007-09. The Aztecs defeated Air Force, 27-25, the last time the two played in San Diego in 2010. San Diego State defeated Air Force, 41-27, last season in Falcon Stadium. The teams first played in 1980 in Falcon Stadium, resulting in a 13-10 Aztec win.
THE LAST MEETING: San Diego State defeated Air Force, 41-27, in a Thursday night game in Falcon Stadium. Ronnie Hillman scored a pair of fourth quarter touchdowns to break open a close game and propel the Aztecs. Parker Herrington broke a 17-all halftime tie with a field goal in the third quarter to give Air Force a 20-17 lead. The Aztecs tied the score with a field goal, then took the lead for good, 27-20, on a 28-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Lindley to Colin Lockett. The two scores came off Air Force turnovers. Hillman, who finished the game with 172 yards rushing on 27 carries, extended the lead to 41-20 with his two scores. The Falcons closed with a Tim Jefferson to Jonathan Warzeka touchdown pass to make up the final margin. San Diego State gained 410 yards in the game, including 209 yards on 15-of-21 passing from Lindley. Air Force gained 419 total yards. Jefferson recorded career highs in attempts, completions and yards going 22-of-36 for 224 yards and two touchdowns. Jonathan Warzeka had a career-best seven catches for 96 yards and two touchdowns. The defense was led by Brady Amack and Jon Davis, who had 11 and 10 tackles, respectively.
THE LAST TIME AT SAN DIEGO STATE: San Diego State defeated Air Force, 27-25. Ronnie Hillman rushed for 191 yards and two touchdowns, inlcuding the game-clincher. Quarterback Ryan Lindley hit 14-of-26 passes for 247 yards and a score as the Aztecs rolled up 452 total yards and averaged 7.6 yards per play. Asher Clark rushed for 116 yards and a touchdown and Tim Jefferson added 88 yards on 15 carries and hit 13-of-30 passes for 175 yards and a score. Air Force finished with 487 total yards, including 312 rushing.
PLAYING BEST WHEN IT MATTERS MOST: Air Force is 22-11 under head coach Troy Calhoun in games during the second half of the season (last six games). The Falcons, 2-1 this season, were 4-2 last season. Air Force was 5-1 in 2007 which is the best mark since the 1998 team was 6-0. Prior to Calhoun's arrival in 2007, the Falcons were 12-24 over the last six games of the season from 2001-06.
Season Last Six Games 2012 2-1 2011 4-2 2010 3-3 2009 4-2 2008 4-2 2007 5-1 Total 22-11 (12-24 from 2001-06)
AIR FORCE TOUGH IN NOVEMBER CONFERENCE GAMES: Air Force is 7-4 under head coach Troy Calhoun in November conference games, including a mark of 7-1 against unranked teams. The Falcons are 5-2 at home and 2-2 on the road. The Falcon are 4-1 the last two years in November conference games with the only loss coming to Wyoming in 2011 in Falcon Stadium. Three of the four losses have been to ranked teams: at No. 18 BYU (38-21) in 2009, at No. 15 TCU (44-10) in 2008 and vs. No. 16 BYU (38-24) in 2008. Air Force was 4-9 in November home games from 2001-06 prior to Calhoun's arrival.
Year Record 2011 2-1 2010 2-0 2009 1-1 2008 1-2 2007 1-0 Total 7-4 (three of four losses to ranked teams)
CALIFORNIA CONNECTIONS: Air Force has eight players from California on its roster: Dano Graves - Folsom, CA (Folsom); Justin DeCoud - Fontana, CA (Martin Luther King, Jr.); Zach Hoffman - Frazier Park, CA (Thousand Oaks); Ty MacArhtur - Newhall, CA (Hart); Scott Day - San Jose, CA (Lynbrook); Austin Niklas - Fullerton, CA (Servite); Kevin Carrington - Valencia, CA (Valencia); Marcus Hendricks - Folsom, CA (Folsom).
LAST WEEK: Army defeated Air Force, 41-21, in West Point. The victory is Army's first over Air Force at home since 1996 and first overall since 2005. Trent Steelman led the Black Knights, scoring on a four-yard run on Army's opening drive to take a 7-0 lead. Following a Wes Cobb touchdown run to tie the score, Army took the lead for good with a field goal. Army extended the lead to 20-7 at halftime with another Steelman touchdown run and field goal. Larry Dixon and Raymond Maples each added touchdown runs in the third quarter to give Army a 35-7 lead late in the quarter. Air Force scored twice in the fourth quarter to cut the lead to 35-21, but Nate Combs recovered a fumble in the Air Force end zone for a touchdown to make up the final margin. The Black Knight rolled up 414 total yards, including 314 rushing. Steelman led the way with 101 yards on 29 carries. He also hit four-of-six passes for 100 yards. Air Force had 338 total yards, including just 103 rushing. Jon Lee led the team with 42 yards and a touchdown on eight carries. Connor Dietz added 37 yards rushing and a touchdown and hit 10-of-17 passes for a career-high 185 yards. Austin Niklas led the defense with a career-high 17 tackles. Christian Spears added 12 and Cody Miller a career-best 11.