FACTS & STATS: Site: Falcon Stadium (46,692) — United States Air Force
Academy, Colorado. Television: CBSSN. Home Record: BSU 2-0, AF 1-0. Away
Record: BSU 1-0, AF 0-1. Neutral Record: BSU 0-1, AF 1-0. Conference Record:
BSU 1-0, AF 0-1. Series Record: Boise State leads, 2-0.
GAME NOTES: Tied with Wyoming for the best overall record among Mountain West
Conference teams, the Boise State Broncos shoot for a second league victory
this weekend as they clash with the Air Force Falcons in Colorado.
Blown away by nationally-ranked Ole Miss in the first week of the season, the
Broncos have responded with three straight triumphs, the latest coming against
Louisiana at home last Saturday night, 34-9, which wasn’t nearly as close as
the final score indicates. Boise State is already off to a strong start in
conference play as well, having topped Colorado State in the second game of
the season, 37-24, at home.
As for the Falcons, they have two wins to their credit thus far, but lost
their conference opener to aforementioned Wyoming back on Sept. 6 by a score
of 17-13 in Laramie. A week after that defeat, the Academy responded with a
48-38 victory versus Georgia State in Atlanta.
Last season the Broncos, one of the more recent additions to the MWC after the
Western Athletic Conference ceased to house football, won for the second time
in as many meetings with Air Force, a 42-20 triumph on the blue turf in Idaho.
Running back Jay Ajayi registered a pair of two-yards rushing touchdowns in
the first quarter against visiting Louisiana last weekend at Albertsons
Stadium and finished with three TDs overall in the lopsided victory. Ajayi
compiled 150 rushing yards on 27 attempts, better than doubling the effort
made by the Ragin’ Cajun runners who finished with 67 net yards.
Ajayi also tied for the team high with five receptions, leading to another 37
yards, as he earned MWC Offensive Player of the Week honors.
Quarterback Grant Hedrick missed on just seven of his 31 pass attempts,
leading to another 237 yards, although he was kept out of the end zone and was
sacked three times. Kicker Dan Goodale, who made good on a pair of field goals
from 40 and 33 yards out in the third and fourth quarters, respectively, also
missed a pair of chances during the rout.
The BSU defense limited the visitors to only 241 yards of offense, resulting
in less than four yards per snap.
After three games the Broncos rank 51st in the nation in total defense, giving
up 362.8 ypg, but on the ground the team is one of the best in all of college
football with a mere 53.5 ypg allowed. Only Penn State stands ahead of the
Broncos in that department among FBS programs, as the Nittany Lions permit a
mere 49.5 ypg.
By way of comparison, Ajayi has been a one-man wrecking crew for the Broncos
with 494 yards and five TDs, his average of 123.5 ypg easily putting him on
pace to blow away his 1,425 yards from last season when he tallied 18
touchdowns on the ground.
Hedrick, who is second on the team in rushing with 124 yards and a score, may
have as many interceptions (five) as touchdowns (five) through the air at this
point, but most of his trouble came against Ole Miss when he tossed four
picks. In fact, in the last two games he has been error-free as far as INTs
are concerned. The signal caller, who completed 69.0 percent of his throws
last season, is hitting 73.7 percent at the moment.
After holding Georgia State scoreless in the first quarter in their most
recent outing, the Falcons had to hold on to get back into the win column. The
team leaned on running back Jacobi Owens who posted a game-high 122 yards and
two scores, while Kale Pearson not only scored two rushing touchdowns of his
own, he also converted 12-of-15 passes for another 224 yards and the first two
aerial TDs of his career.
Garrett Brown turned his six receptions into 96 yards and those two aerial
scores, while Jalen Robinette produced a game-high 118 yards on four catches.
Robinette is the first Air Force receiver to go over 100 yards in nearly two
While the Falcons were coming alive with a surprising passing attack, the
defense was having trouble slowing down the Panthers who managed to post 414
yards and two TDs through the air. However, putting forth a strong effort for
the Air Force defense was Jordan Pierce who not only led the way with 10
tackles and logged one of three sacks, he also recorded an interception in the
While Ajayi may lead the MWC in rushing, Owens is not that far behind with his
431 yards, leading to three TDs, on 66 attempts. The Falcons as a whole are
putting up a staggering 335.0 ypg on the ground, good enough for fifth in the
nation this week and second in the MWC behind only New Mexico (349.7 ypg).
The passing attack is still lagging behind for the Falcons, averaging just
156.3 ypg, but that’s nothing new and in fact is a considerable improvement on
year’s gone by when the program operated almost exclusively as a running team.
As long as Air Force can keep the ball on the ground and be productive,
keeping it out of the hands of the Broncos, the hosts will have a narrow shot
at a victory this weekend, although taking down Ajayi will take more than just
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Boise State 38, Air Force 24