Air Force Football Hosts UNLV in Home Finale
Nov. 14, 2011
Saturday Nov. 19 4 p.m. MT
Falcon Stadium (46,692) USAF Academy, CO
GAME FACTS: This week is the final home game for 28 senior players ... The seniors have posted a 30-19 overall record and a 16-13 mark in conference play ... The class has led Air Force to back-to-back Commander-in-Chief's Trophy titles and has a 6-2 mark against Army and Navy ... The class has gone to three straight bowl games, winning two straight ... Air Force leads the UNLV series 11-4 overall and 11-3 in conference games ... The Falcons are 6-1 at home vs. UNLV and have won four straight home games in the series dating back to 2001 ... Air Force is 22-8 at home overall under head coach Troy Calhoun.
Year by Year
LAST YEAR vs. UNLV: Air Force defeated UNLV, 35-20, to close out the regular season with an 8-4 overall record and a 5-3 MWC mark. Tim Jefferson opened the Air Force scoring with a five-yard touchdown pass to Zack Kauth to give the Falcons a 7-0 lead following an interception by Andre Morris. 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 touchdown 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 yards, 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. Asher Clark rushed for 82 yards to top the 1,000-yard mark for the season (1,001). Warzeka and Jefferson added 64 each while Nathan Walker chipped in with 60. Jefferson hit seven of nine passes for 111 yards and a TD. The defense was led by Austin Niklas, who had a career-high 14 tackles. Jordan Waiwaiole added 11 tackles and Morris chipped in with 10.
LAST TIME AT FALCON STADIUM: Air Force defeated UNLV, 45-17, in Falcon Stadium to win its third consecutive game. Asher Clark led the team's best offensive effort in a conference game with career highs of 160 yards rushing and three touchdowns. Clark opened the scoring with a 24-yard run to help Air Force take a 24-3 halftime lead. He added a pair of fourth-quarter touchdown runs, including a season-long run of 40 yards. The Falcons had 557 yards of total offense, including 431 yards rushing. Quarterback Tim Jefferson added 63 yards rushing and hit eight of 13 passes for 126 yards. Kevin Fogler caught three of the passes for a game-high 73 yards. The defense was led by John Falgout, who had eight tackles. Myles Morales added seven and Chris Thomas had six, a tackle for loss and an interception.
AIR FORCE/UNLV TIES: Air Force doesn't have any players from Nevada on its varsity roster. UNLV freshman offensive lineman Alex Novosel is from Littleton, Colo., and attended Chatfield High School. UNLV junior defensive back Corbin Brown attended the Air Force Academy and played football in 2009. He played in five games, collecting three tackles and a blocked kick.
PLAYING BEST WHEN IT MATTERS MOST: Air Force is 20-10 under head coach Troy Calhoun in games during the second half of the season (last six games), including a 2-2 mark this season. The Falcons were 3-3 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.
FALCONS TOUGH IN NOVEMBER: Air Force is 11-4 under head coach Troy Calhoun in the month of November, including a 1-1 mark this season. The Falcons had a four-game November win streak snapped last week with a 25-17 loss at home against Wyoming. Three of the four losses have come at the hands of nationally-ranked teams, including two on the road.
HOME SWEET HOME: Air Force is 22-8 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.
LOOKING AT UNLV: UNLV coach Bobby Hauck was head coach at Montana for seven seasons prior to taking over the Rebels ... He led Montana to 10 or more wins five times, including his last four seasons ... Montana played in two straight national championship games under Hauck and won the conference champion all seven seasons ... UNLV doesn't have a senior starting on its offensive line and is one of just seven teams nationally without one ... The Rebels have nearly 30 percent (29 of 100 on opening day roster) of its roster from Nevada which is the most in the program's history ... UNLV has four teams on its 2011 schedule that finished in the top 11 of the final AP poll last year (No. 2 TCU, No. 7 Wisconsin, No. 9 Boise State and No. 11 Nevada), plus three more that received votes.
LAST WEEK: Wyoming defeated Air Force, 25-17, to snap a series-long five-game losing streak. Quarterback Brett Smith rushed for 75 yards and two touchdowns and hit 17-of-30 passes for 139 yards and another score to lead the Cowboys. Smith opened the scoring with a one-yard run on Wyoming's opening drive for a 6-0 lead. Air Force answered with the first of two Mike DeWitt touchdowns run to take a 7-6 lead. The Cowboys took a 12-7 halftime lead when Smith hit Chris McNeill with a six-yard toss. Parker Herrington opened the scoring in the second half with a 35 yard field goal to cut the lead to 12-10. DeWitt added a one-yard TD run to give Air Force the lead, 17-12, late in the third. Smith added a two-yard TD run to make it 18-17. The Falcons were driving late in the fourth quarter when a fumble ended a drive deep in Wyoming territory. Marqueston Huff returned another fumble on a desperation lateral play in the final seconds to make up the final margin. Air Force was out-gained by Wyoming, 351-311. Air Force rushed for 312 yards behind a game-high 85 from Connor Dietz and 84 from Asher Clark. Brady Amack led the defense with a game-high 13 tackles and a forced fumble.
LAST WEEK'S NOTES
AIR FORCE BY THE NUMBERS
DEFENSE CATCHING ITS STRIDE: Air Force has allowed just 13.6 points per game the last three weeks. The Falcons shutout New Mexico, 42-0, defeated Army, 24-14, and lost to Wyoming, 25-17. The Falcons have held their opponents scoreless in the second half in two of the last three games and allowed just six offensive points in the second half last week vs. Wyoming.
TEAM DEFENSIVE NOTES
TEAM OFFENSIVE NOTES
SPECIAL TEAMS NOTES
TIME OF POSSESSION MOVING IN AIR FORCE'S FAVOR: After losing the time of possession battle in the first four games of the season, the Falcons have won it in five of the last six games. Air Force had a 4:52 advantage at Notre Dame, a 6:40 edge vs. San Diego State, a season-best 12:36 advantage at Boise State and a :46 edge at New Mexico. Army held a slight edge of 3:30. Air Force held a 2:14 edge last week against Wyoming. The team's TOP for the season is up to 29:09 which is a season high.
AIR FORCE FOURTH NATIONALLY WITH 230-GAME SCORING STREAK
FALCONS IN THE RED ZONE: Air Force leads the Mountain West and ranks eighth nationally in red zone offense, scoring 90.9 percent (40-44) of the time. The Falcons have 29 touchdowns and 11 field goals. Air Force had a streak of 25 straight trips inside the red zone with points snapped last week vs. Wyoming. The Falcons had scored 18 TDs and kicked seven field goals during the 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
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.
COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF'S TROPHY: Air Force won its second straight and record 18th Commander-in-Chief's Trophy this season. 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.
START CHART: Several Falcons have significant streaks going in terms of consecutive games started. Senior DB Anthony Wright leads the way with 46 straight dating back to 2009. Senior DB Jon Davis has the second-longest streak with 36. Senior RB Asher Clark is third at 29 followed by senior QB Tim Jefferson with 28. Wright leads the way in overall games started as well with 46. Jefferson is second with 41, Clark is third with 37 and Davis is fourth with 36. A look at both lists follows.
WARZEKA CAREER RECORD HOLDER FOR KICKOFF RETURNS: Senior Jonathan Warzeka set the Air Force career record for kickoff return yards in Air Force's victory over Army. Warzeka recorded 44 kickoff return yards to move past Reggie Rembert (2007-10), who had 1,388 yards on 65 returns. Warzeka has 57 career returns for 1,449 yards and ranks fourth in school history with a 25.4 career return average.
AMACK AMONG MW/NATION'S BEST: Senior LB Brady Amack is second in the Mountain West and 11th nationally in tackles with an average of 10.7 per game. Amack has led the team in tackles in five straight games and seven of the last eight this season. He has hit double figures in tackles in five of the last seven, including two straight. He had a game-high 13 tackles vs. Wyoming last week.
Amack has 107 tackles this season and is the first Falcon since John Falgout in 2009 to reach the 100-tackle mark. His 107 stops are the most in a season since Ken Lamendola had 118 in 2008.
DAVIS AMONG MW'S BEST: Senior safety Jon Davis ranks ninth in the Mountain West in tackles with a 7.3 average. Davis has 73 total tackles, including 37 unassisted. He is third in the conference in tackles by defensive backs. Davis is third in the conference in interceptions with a team-best three and ranks ninth in the league with .60 pass breakups per game.
WARZEKA ON HORNUNG WATCH LIST: Air Force senior WR/KR Jonathan Warzeka is one of 50 players on the 2011 Watch List for the Paul Hurnung Award presented by Texas Roadhouse, announced by the Louisville Sports Commission and football legend Paul Hornung.
COOKS MOVING UP CAREER BLOCKED KICKS CHART: Sophomore LB Jamil Cooks is tied for fourth in Air Force history with four blocked kicks. Cooks recorded his fourth career kick this season with a blocked field goal vs. San Diego State. Last year, Cooks blocked three kicks, a punt and a field goal vs. Navy and a PAT vs. Colorado State. His four blocks are the most by a Falcon since Robert Kraay, who had four from 2004-06.
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 26-15 career record as a starter. His 26 wins ranks fourth all-time in the Mountain West. Jefferson is 6-1 in his career against service academies, posting a 4-0 mark vs. Army and a 2-1 mark against Navy. He is the only quarterback in Air Force history to have six service academy wins.
JEFFERSON PASSING: Senior QB Tim Jefferson has hit 82-of-137 passes for 1,129 yards on the season with eight touchdowns and six interceptions. His 59.9 completion percentage is fifth best for a single season at Air Force and best since Shaun Carney had a .642 mark in 2007. Jefferson's 141.37 career QB rating is the second best in school history.
HERRINGTON LEADS THE MOUNTAIN WEST: Junior kicker Parker Herrington leads the Mountain West in field goals with a 1.30 average and in field goal percentage with a 92.9 mark. He is a perfect 11-of-11 inside 40 yards and has hit 10 straight field goals since his only miss from 49 yards vs. Tennessee State. Herrington is fifth in the conference and second among kickers in scoring with a 6.8 average. He kicked a career-high three field goals against Army and hit his only attempt against Wyoming to improve to 13-of-14 on the season. He has kicked two or more field goals in a game five times this season. Herrington's 92.9 field goal percentage is the second-best in school history, trailing only Jackson Whiting's perfect 1999 season (12-12).
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 EARNS ACADEMIC ALL-DISTRICT HONORS: Air Force senior offensive lineman A.J. Wallerstein has been named to the District VII College Sports Information Directors of American academic all-district team. Wallerstein will appear on the nation ballot for Academic All-American honors which will be announced next month. A native of Canyon Country, Calif., Wallerstein has a 3.47 grade point average and is a double major in Physics and Mathematical Sciences.
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 last 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.
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.
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 CAREER RUSHING NUMBERS: Senior tailback Asher Clark ranks third in career rushing yards in Air Force history with 3,300. 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 to become just the third Falcon player to surpass 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.
WALLERSTEIN, AMACK EARN MID-SEASON HONORS: Senior OL A.J. Wallerstein and senior LB Brady Amack were each named Midseason All-American honorable mention by Phil Steele's Magazine.
HONORS: Honors won by Air Force players in 2011 follow.
AIR FORCE VS. NON-CONFERENCE FOES UNDER CALHOUN
AIR FORCE'S BRUTAL OCTOBER STRETCH: Air Force defeated New Mexico, 42-0, Oct. 29 to conclude a brutal stretch of games. The Falcons played 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 Oct. 8 (ND 59-33). The one home game was a Thursday night tilt with San Diego State Oct. 13, a 41-27 Aztec win. Air Force played at No. 5/7 Boise State Oct. 22 (L 37-26). The stretch is widely considered one of the toughest in school history.
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