Air Force headed to Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl
Nov. 26, 2007
AIR FORCE ACADEMY ACCEPTS BELL HELICOPTER ARMED FORCES BOWL BID
Fort Worth, Tex., November 26, 2007 - With a military theme as a background, the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl will be "flying high" on New Year's Eve as the Falcons of the United States Air Force Academy have accepted a bid to play here in the fifth annual post-season intercollegiate football game.
"We are thrilled to have the Air Force Academy as the Mountain West Conference's representative in the 2007 game," said Tom Starr, the Executive Director of the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl. "With our military theme, what better way is there to honor the armed forces by having an Academy play in our game. With nine wins and a strong finish to their season, the Falcons will bring an exciting brand of football to Amon G. Carter Stadium on New Year's Eve."
The Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl, an ESPN Regional Television (ERT) owned-and-operated event, will be aired at 11:30 a.m. (CST) on ESPN, live from Amon G. Carter Stadium. The previous four Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl games have been played on December 23 with the University of Utah defeating the University of Tulsa 25-13 last year.
With three-straight wins and six victories in their last seven games to end the 2007 season, the Falcons are the first school since the inaugural Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl game in 2003 to enter the Amon G. Carter Stadium game with more than seven regular-season wins as Air Force is currently 9-3 this fall after posting a 55-23 win at home November 18 over San Diego State.
The 9-3 record is Air Force's first winning season since posting a 7-5 mark in 2003. The Falcons' six wins in Mountain West Conference play is their most-ever and best league record since finishing the 1998 season with a 7-1 record in the Western Athletic Conference. With Jim Ollis (163 yards), Chad Hall (151) and Ty Paffett (105) rushing for more than 100 yards in the San Diego State victory, Air Force is now 9-0 when it has a player rush for over 100 yards in a game this season.
Air Force is the second-best rushing attack in the country (298.5) to rank among the top 10 in the nation for the 21st-straight season. The Falcons won the national rushing title in 2002 (307.8) when Air Force played in their last post-season game by losing 20-13 to Virginia Tech at the 2002 Emerald Bowl in San Francisco.
Troy Calhoun also becomes the third first-season coach at the Air Force to lead the Falcons to a post-season bowl game following in the footsteps of Ben Martin (1958) and Fisher DeBerry (1984). A 1989 graduate of the Academy, Calhoun replaced DeBerry last December as only the sixth coach in the 52-season history of Air Force football.
The first Academy graduate to coach the Falcons, Calhoun was an active duty officer in the Air Force (1989-1995) and was the school's recruiting coordinator and the junior varsity offensive coordinator in 1993-94. An assistant for one season for the NFL's Houston Texans before taking the Air Force job, Calhoun started at quarterback for the Academy in 1986 and was one of only two freshmen to letter for the 1985 team that finished fifth in the final polls with a 12-1 record that included wins over national powers Notre Dame and Texas.
Appearing in its first post-season game since 2002, the Air Force will be competing in their 18th bowl since the start of their intercollegiate football program in 1956. The Falcons first-ever bowl appearance was following the 1958 season when Air Force and TCU played to a 0-0 tie in the 1959 Cotton Bowl.
AIR FORCE ACADEMY ACCEPTS BELL HELICOPTER ARMED FORCES BOWL BID Page 2, November 26, 2007
Since the Dallas appearance on New Year's Day in 1959, the Falcons have split their next 17 bowl games to enter the 2007 Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl with an 8-8-1 post-season record. Two of the Air Force's previous 17 bowl games have been played in the state of Texas as the Falcons posted a 24-16 win over Texas in the 1985 New Year's Eve Bluebonnet Bowl in Houston.
While Z-wide receiver Hall is the only player in the country to lead his team in rushing (1,415 yards and 14 touchdowns to rank ninth nationally) and receiving (488 for 46 receptions and one touchdown), Air Force quarterback Shaun Carney has become the Academy's all-time passing leader as a four-year starter by breaking records this season for passing yardage (5,323), passing touchdowns (38) and total yardage (7,776).
For ticket information, please go to GoAirForceFalcons.com and click on the "Let's Go Bowling" button on the front page.
QUOTES from head coach Troy Calhoun
"It's tremendous for our football program but it's also great for our school.
"The folks at the Armed Forces Bowl are going to get a bunch of people in blue and silver that won't sit still. They will be up out of their seats and (the Armed Forces bowl people) will be extraordinarily proud to have this institution represented."
"I made a vow, that if we went 6-0 at home, the first 200 tickets for the Cadet Wing were on me."
"If you love teamwork and you love phenomenal energy and you love a group that is just passionate about competing, you're certainly going to get that from the Air Force Falcons."
"We will be extraordinarily well prepared. We're going to play a darn good team. Who ultimately that is, we'll find out in seven days. But we're going to play a high-caliber football team. We'll have to play well, but we should."
"We're going to play somebody talented, and yet, we need to. We really need to find out what this team really has. I've been extraordinarily pleased with the character and the leadership of this group. And here's one last opportunity, as a unit, to find out what we can accomplish."
Senior Wide Receiver Z Chad Hall
"I found out earlier today that were committing to the Armed Forces Bowl and I was excited. It's our first bowl game as seniors and it really didn't matter where we went. We just wanted to represent our school somewhere."
"Coming into the season, the seniors got together and we talked about how we wanted to put this program back to where it was when we were recruited. I think we were successful in accomplishing. We're still not done. We still want to get this 10th win."
"It's a good location. It's a grass field and we're excited to play there."
Senior Linebacker Drew Fowler
"It's great any time you've got a 13th game to play. It mean's your season's gone well."
"It's good to finally know where we're going. Now we just want to know who we're going to play."
"That was the main talk over Thanksgiving dinner, just trying to figure out where we were going to go. I already spread the word to my family, so they're probably on the phone trying to round up the crew."
Senior Quarterback Shaun Carney
"It's special, it really is, and it's something we are really looking forward to. We're just looking forward to getting to a game and playing a big-time opponent."
"Making it there (to a bowl game) is the first step. And it's something that will do down in the record books, but we definitely want to come out of there with a `W'."