Falcon Football wraps up regular season at Colorado State
Nov. 21, 2011
Air Force (6-5, 2-4) at Colorado State (3-7, 1-4)
GAME FACTS: Air Force concludes the regular season this week ... A victory this week would be Air Force's seventh of the season and mark the first time in school history the program has had five straight seasons with seven or more wins ... Air Force leads the Colorado State series, 29-19-1, including a 12-8 mark in Fort Collins ... The Falcons have won five straight and six of the last seven in the series ... Air Force is 12-4 in November under head coach Troy Calhoun and three of losses have come against ranked teams ... The Falcons and Rams play annually for the Ram-Falcon Trophy ... This week marks the latest regular season game Air Force has played since Dec. 2, 2006 at TCU ... Air Force has won three of its last four games overall dating back to a 42-0 win at New Mexico.
Year by Year
THE RAM/FALCON TROPHY: Air Force and Colorado State compete each year for the Ram-Falcon Trophy. This season marks the 32nd year of the competition for the trophy. Air Force has won the trophy 18 times, while Colorado State has won it 13 times. The trophy's origin is traced back to Shelly Godkin, a former ROTC commander at Colorado State. He watched the teams play in 1978 and sought to translate his impressions into a trophy symbolic of an annual game. The first Ram-Falcon Trophy battle was in 1980.
LAST YEAR VS. COLORADO STATE: Air Force defeated Colorado State, 49-27, to win its fifth straight game over the Rams. Asher Clark rushed for 125 yards and a touchdown and Tim Jefferson hit five of nine passes for 160 yards and two touchdowns to lead Air Force. The defense was led by Jon Davis, who had a career-high 12 tackles. Reggie Rembert added a season-high seven tackles, an interception, a fumble recovery and three pass breakups.
LAST TIME AT COLORADO STATE: Air Force defeated Colorado State, 34-16, to win back-to-back games in Fort Collins for the first time since 1989-91. Quarterback Tim Jefferson returned to the lineup after missing the previous game due to injury to lead the Falcon offense to its best effort since early in the season. Jefferson hit seven of 12 passes for 111 yards and two touchdowns. Fullback Jared Tew rushed for 87 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries while Asher Clark added 75 yards on 10 carries. Air Force finished with 382 total yards, including 271 rushing. The Falcons scored touchdowns on their first two drives and kicker Erik Soderberg added a career-long 50-yard field goal to give the Falcons a 17-10 halftime lead. The Falcons added a touchdown on the opening drive of the second half and pulled away 34-10 before a late CSU touchdown made up the final margin. John Falgout led the defense with nine tackles while Chris Thomas added eight. Myles Morales added six tackles, including two for losses.
AIR FORCE/CSU TIES: Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun and Colorado State head coach Steve Fairchild have similar backgrounds. Both are coaching at their alma maters, Calhoun is a 1989 Air Force graduate, Fairchild a 1981 Colorado State graduate, and both previously coached at the school as an assistant. Calhoun coached at Air Force from 1989-90 and 1993-94 while Fairchild coached at Colorado State from 1993-2000. Finally, both coached in the NFL prior to returning to their respective schools. Calhoun coached with the Denver Broncos from 2003-05 and with Houston in 2006. Fairchild coached with Buffalo (2001-02, 2006-07) and St. Louis (2003-05).
PLAYING BEST WHEN IT MATTERS MOST: Air Force is 21-10 under head coach Troy Calhoun in games during the second half of the season (last six games), including a 3-2 mark this season. The Falcons were 4-3 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 12-4 under head coach Troy Calhoun in the month of November, including a 2-1 mark this season. The Falcons had a four-game November win streak snapped 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.
LOOKING AT COLORADO STATE: Colorado State has lost six straight games after opening the season 3-1 ... The Rams have lost 10 starters to injury during the season ... Colorado State has three linebackers that rank among the conference's top tackles, James Skelton (T3rd, 8.0), Mike Orakpo (T6th, 7.5) and Sahquil Barrett (T3rd, 8.0) ... Garrett Grayson, a true freshman, started last week vs. TCU, making Colorado State one of just four schools nationally to start a true freshman at quarterback the last two years ... Colorado State has used 19 freshman this season, which is the second most in the conference behind TCU's 22 ... Colorado State averages 21.7 points per game, while allowing 30.8 ... The Rams are second in the MW and 10th nationally in passing defense with a 174.3 per-game average ... Colorado State leads the MW in sacks with 25.
LAST WEEK: 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.
LAST WEEK'S NOTES
AIR FORCE BY THE NUMBERS
DEFENSE TOUGH: Air Force has allowed just 14.5 points per game the last four weeks. The Falcons shutout New Mexico, 42-0, defeated Army, 24-14, lost to Wyoming, 25-17, and defeated UNLV, 45-17. The Falcons have held their opponents scoreless in the second half in two of the last four games and have allowed just 5.0 points overall, including just 3.3 scored by the offense in the second stanza. Air Force held both New Mexico and Army scoreless and allowed just six offensive points vs. Wyoming and seven vs. UNLV. The opponents have averaged just 121 yards of offense and seven first downs in the second half in the last four games.
TEAM DEFENSIVE NOTES
OFFENSE RANKS AMONG BEST IN SCHOOL HISTORY: The Air Force offense ranks among the top 10 all-time in several categories for a single season. A complete look at where this season's offense ranks and the school record for each category follows.
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 seven 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 against Wyoming while UNLV held a 4:38 advantage. The team's TOP for the season is up to 29:01, which is just off its season best (29:09).
AIR FORCE FOURTH NATIONALLY WITH 231-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
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.
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.
START CHART: Several Falcons have significant streaks going in terms of consecutive games started. Senior DB Anthony Wright leads the way with 47 straight dating back to 2009. Senior DB Jon Davis has the second-longest streak with 37. Senior RB Asher Clark is third at 30 followed by senior QB Tim Jefferson with 29. Wright leads the way in overall games started as well with 47. Jefferson is second with 42, Clark is third with 38 and Davis is fourth with 37. A look at both lists follows.
AMACK AMONG MW/NATION'S BEST: Senior LB Brady Amack is second in the Mountain West and 12th nationally in tackles with an average of 10.6 per game. Amack has led the team in tackles in six straight games and eight of the last nine this season. He has hit double figures in tackles in six of the last eight, including three straight. He had a team-high 10 tackles, including two for a loss, last week vs. UNLV. Amack is also tied for fourth in the MW and 14th nationally with four forced fumbles.
DAVIS AMONG MW'S BEST: Senior safety Jon Davis ranks ninth in the Mountain West in tackles with a 7.2 average. Davis has 79 total tackles, including 39 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.
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 PASSING: Senior QB Tim Jefferson has hit 89-of-149 passes for 1,257 yards on the season with nine touchdowns and six interceptions. His 59.7 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 142.22 career QB rating is the second best 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 27-15 career record as a starter. His 27 wins ranks third 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.
HERRINGTON LEADS THE MOUNTAIN WEST: Junior kicker Parker Herrington leads the Mountain West in field goals with a 1.27 average and in field goal percentage with an 82.4 mark. He is 11-of-13 inside 40 yards and had a streak of 10 straight made field goals snapped last week vs. UNLV. Herrington is fifth in the conference and second among kickers in scoring with a 6.9 average. He is 14-of-17 on the season and has kicked two or more field goals in a game five times this season.
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 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.
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 CLOSING IN ON SECOND STRAIGHT 1,000-YARD SEASON: Senior tailback Asher Clark rushed for a caeer-best 169 yards and scored on a career-best 67-yard run last week against UNLV. The 100-yard effort is his third this season and 10th in his career. Clark moved past Beau Morgan (1994-96), who had 3,379 career yards, into second on the Air Force career rushing list with 3,469 yards. He needs just 144 yards to surpass Dee Dowis (1986-89), who had 3,612 yards.
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.
HOME SWEET HOME: Air Force is 23-8 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'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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