Two polar opposite offenses make off this Saturday when the Air Force Falcons (2-1) travel 213 miles north to face the Wyoming Cowboys (1-2) in Laramie. The Falcons feature the nations #1 rushing attack and came just short of upsetting the Oklahoma Soonerslast weekend in Norman. Wyoming comes off two weeks of disappointing performances after facing Texas and Boise State.
For the Cowboys this is a chance to right the ship and try and get the season and offense back on track. The Pokes are dead last in the FBS for run offense at just 24.3 yards per game. With a spread offense Wyoming is in desperate need of better blocking from the offensive line to open up running lanes and give QB Austyn Carta-Samuels some more time to find his receivers.
The Falcons have already defeated BYU and bost a 1-0 start to their Mountain West schedule. Losing to the Sooners last week isn't sitting well with Coach Calhoun and he is making sure the Falcons concentrate on Wyoming this week and not Navy who visits the Springs next Saturday.
Comparing the running game between Air Force and Wyoming is incredible but it also showed some struggles for the Mountain West as a whole. Air Force leads the nation in rushing yards per game with 399 TCU ranks ninth with a solid 279. Wyoming sits last with just 24 yards and Colorado State one spot ahead at 42 yards. New Mexico is fourth from the bottom with 63 yards which gives the MWC three of the four worst rushing teams in country.
Tim Jefferson has grown as a quarterback during the past year and his decision making ability has been impressive all three games. Though the focus is on the run Jefferson is not afraid to throw down field and is averaging 118 yards per game and has three touchdowns through the air. On the ground he is averaging 68 yards and has found the endzone four times.
The two other major threats on the ground are RB Asher Clarkand FB Jared Tew. Clark is the leading the team in yards with 273 or 91 per game. Tew has the most carries on the team and totaled 235 yards on the season, each back has scored once. The Falcons have actually had 18 different ball carriers with at least one carry this season.
The defense for Air Force is always very solid and last year they pitched a shutout in the 10-0 victory over the Cowboys. The games are always fairly close between these two teams but the zoomies have taken the last four in the series.
Wyoming last defeated Air Force on September 17, 2005 in 29-28 victory that was played at the Academy. Jovon Bouknight had six catches for 132 yards, Corey Bramlet went 19 for 29 and 267 yards through the air.
KEYS FOR WYOMING
- Obviously the run game is a huge issue right now for the Cowboys and establishing some balance on offense will also help the pass game. Everyone knows that Air Force will eat up a ton of time on the clock with their triple option. If the offense ends up with a bunch of quick three and outs then the defense will get burned out by the second quarter and we'll see a repeat of last Saturday against Boise State.
- No more stupid mistakes. The first quarter against Boise State was filled with dropped interceptions pointless turnovers that turned into free touchdowns and penalties that set the offense in a huge hole. Hopefully with spotlight dimmed slightly the team can focus on fundamentals.
- Missed tackles have the small pox, black plague, SARS of the defense. With the structured and disciplined team from the Academy it is imperative to stop the option in the backfield and prevent the ballcarrier from out into the open.
Who would win in real life?
Falcons are tougher than Thunderbirds but still no match for a Cowboys. Falcons can fly very fast (Peregrine falcons can dive up to 200mph) and a male falcon is called a tiercel. Interesting facts but not enough to win the battle.
Verdict:Cowboy could easily take out a Falcon. Wouldn't be close in a one on one matchup.
I'll even offer a prediction for this week's game: Wyoming 34, Air Force 27. After two tough weeks Wyoming will come out playing loose and finally have some fun out there. Air Force is still dwelling on the game that got away last week. The inexperienced Carta-Samuels struggled last year with the hostile crowd in Colorado Springs. With the home crowd behind him we'll finally see the true weapon that ACS can be this year.