Air Force (1-1) at Boise State (1-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, September 13, 8 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Bronco Stadium (30,000) -- Boise, Idaho.
Television: ESPN. Home Record: AF 1-1, BSU 1-0. Away Record: AF 0-0, BSU 0-1.
Neutral Record: AF 0-0, BSU 0-0. Conference Record: AF 0-1, BSU 0-0. Series
Record: Boise State leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: Playing under the Friday night lights, the Boise State Broncos
welcome the Air Force Falcons to Idaho for a Mountain West Conference
Boise State opened the campaign ranked 19th in the Associated Press poll, but
immediately the squad was knocked out of the Top-25 by Washington in an ugly
performance, 38-6. The Broncos did bounce back however, with a 63-14 romp over
Tennessee-Martin in the home opener last Saturday, but take that lopsided
score with a grain of salt.
At the same time that Boise State was whipping up on the Skyhawks, Air Force
was being pummeled in its MWC opener by Utah State, 52-20. The setback came on
the heels of the Academy's 38-13 victory over Colgate in the opener back on
Boise State won the first and only meeting between the squads back in 2011 by
a 37-26 final.
The Falcons fell behind by two touchdowns less than four minutes in and were
never able to recover as they suffered the 32-point loss at home to Utah
State. The Falcons were paced by Jaleel Awini who, in his first career start
at quarterback, threw for 61 yards and ran for a team-best 48 and a score
before heading to the sidelines in the lopsided outing.
Karson Roberts made an appearance under center, completing 2-of-4 for 47 yards
and a score. Air Force generated just 162 yards on the ground, a far cry from
their usual routine, finishing with only 270 yards of total offense while
giving up a hefty 577 yards to the Aggies, one of the newest additions to the
While Awini is still finding his way around at quarterback for the Falcons, it
is important for the running attack to get back on track and hopefully control
the tempo versus Boise State this week. Air Force thrives on the ground,
having scored at least one rushing touchdown in 49 consecutive games, which is
the longest active streak in the country at the moment.
However, just to keep the BSU defense honest, someone will have to challenge
the Broncos vertically or else the hosts will simply stack the box and dare
Air Force to make an attempt at going over the top. After two outings, Air
Force has only one player with more than two receptions, so the threat is
still not there.
Conversely, the Falcons had better be ready for an aerial assault from Boise
State and Joe Southwick, particularly since the signal caller threw for 234
yards and five touchdowns in the romp over UT-Martin. Running back Jay Ajayi
added a team-best 80 rushing yards and two more scores on the ground for Boise
State as the team generated 220 net rushing yards and 472 yards overall during
The BSU defense did permit a hefty 362 yards to the Skyhawks, but the visitors
balanced that out by burning themselves with 10 penalties which cost them 102
yards of field position. Shane Williams-Rhodes accounted for 186 all-purpose
yards, including 89 yards, leading to two touchdowns on seven receptions for
The Boise State offensive line had some serious problems against a lesser
opponent, despite the final score, as UTM's Tony Bell recorded five tackles
for loss, two sacks, two forced fumbles and one recovery. For his efforts,
Bell was named the FCS National Defensive Player of the Week by The Sports
Network, not a good sign for the Broncos whatsoever. Boise State as a whole
had just six TFLs in the outing.
Last season BSU averaged 5.7 TFL per contest, a step back for the group for
sure, but the Broncos were still 11th in the nation in sacks with almost three
per contest. So far this year the team has three sacks total.
Given that Southwick is still far from a dominant quarterback in one of the
most exciting offenses of the last decade, keeping him upright is crucial if
the Broncos expect to be playing in a significant bowl game. Sure, Southwick
has tossed five touchdowns and been picked off only once, but considering his
performance against Washington, there is still much work to be done and you
can read it on the face of head coach Chris Petersen whenever his quarterback
makes a mistake.
Getting Ajayi in gear coming out of the backfield will help the offense, but
even with a team-high 173 yards and two of their three rushing touchdowns to
this point, he still needs to be more of a contributor who can be counted on
for big gains when Southwick needs assistance.
If the Falcons can control the pace and maintain possession for a significant
amount of time then this meeting shouldn't become a blowout. But expecting the
visitors to stay close with the way Petersen runs his offense is a lot to ask.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Boise State 41, Air Force 17
09/11 10:31:57 ET
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