(CBS4)- For the Air Force Falcons and coach Troy Calhoun, the 2020 season has been a roller coaster. After the Mountain West initially said it wouldn’t play this season, the academy scrambled to make sure that it would at least play its traditional rivalry games with Army and Navy. Then, the MWC decided to hold a shortened, sprint to the finish season that started up last weekend.
In their first outing, the Falcons rolled the rival Midshipmen 40-7. But, last week against San Jose State, despite moving the football well on the ground, they couldn’t find the end zone in a 17-6 loss to San Jose State. Now, a date with the conference’s presume winner, Boise State, looms on Saturday on CBS Sports Network.
The recent history of this rivalry would suggest a Boise State win. The Broncos have won the last three straight with every win coming by eight points or more. But, the Falcons do have one thing in their favor. Their style of play, notoriously hard to prepare for in a normal season, may be even tougher in a year in which teams haven’t had as much time to drill against the triple option as normal.
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“Air Force the key is going to be, just keep the ball. Keep Boise State and that offense off the field. They’re playing well defensively themselves only giving up 12 points per game. This is going to be a tricky football game,” said CBS Sports Network analyst Aaron Murray. “As long as Boise State doesn’t get frustrated by the lack of time on offense, you anticipate they take care of business here, but you just never know how the team handles a triple option, it’s always really tricky.”
The Broncos came out of the gates hot last week with a 42-13 rout of Utah State. Murray was impressed by the play of sophomore quarterback Hank Bachmeier who completed 20 of 28 passes for 268 yards and three touchdowns with zero interceptions. For a Falcons defense coming off a game in which Nick Starkel picked them apart for 229 yards and two scores, that’s not a welcome sight.
But, there is room for Air Force to limit his effectiveness by keeping him off the field. It’s a well worn cliche at this point to say use the running game to keep the opposing offense off the field but, for the Falcons, those long drives can be the key to keeping them in this game.
Of course, that is easier said than done against a Broncos defense that allowed just 203 yards of total offense last week to Utah State. The Broncos enter Saturday’s contest as 14-point favorites. Kickoff is slated for 4:00 p.m. Mountain Time on CBS Sports Network.