air force now lives up to its name
Air Force has a long tradition of preferring to run over opponents rather than pass over them, but their previous two quarterbacks - both four-year starters - gave the Falcons an extra edge.
The Falcons still were a run-heavy football team, but with Shaun Carney and Tim Jefferson, they also could beat opponents through the air.
Both rank in the top three in school history in passing yardage.
Senior Connor Dietz has the daunting task of following them, but he has shown an ability to give Air Force (1-1) a passing threat. It's something for UNLV (0-3) to think about when the teams meet at 7 p.m. Saturday at Sam Boyd Stadium.
Dietz has completed 18 of 30 passes for 269 yards. He threw for 142 yards in the season opener against Idaho State, and on Sept. 8 at Michigan completed 10 of 19 passes for 127 yards.
Not Boise State-type numbers, but for an offense that averages 387 yards rushing, just the threat of an air attack can be devastating to a defense preoccupied with preparing for the triple option.
"It helps, no question," Air Force coach Troy Calhoun said Tuesday. "We want to have really, really good balance here.
"When you say balance, I think sometimes does that mean you have to run it 30 times and throw it 30 times? There may be weeks where that's the case. We just like to do it effectively."
TALK OF THE LEAGUE
This week's marquee matchup is between one team on its way out of the Mountain West Conference and a school that left last year.
And Thursday's game between No. 24 Boise State and Brigham Young is the beginning of a 12-year series that leaves both coaches confused as to why their schools agreed to such a lengthy deal.
Broncos coach Chris Petersen said he didn't know whether the deal could be shortened, saying the administration handles putting together schedules.
"Probably the fans like it, but that is a long time to play somebody straight that's not in the conference that you play in," Petersen said. "Who knows with the way all the realignment and scheduling and all that goes?"
This is Boise State's final season in the Mountain West before it leaves for the Big East Conference in football and the Big West in all other sports.
BYU, apparently irked (jealous?) that northern enemy Utah was admitted to the Pac-10 (now 12) Conference, left for the murky waters of independent football. The Cougars' other sports went to the West Coast Conference.
Now Boise State and BYU have the chance to develop a somewhat lasting rivalry.
"The main thing is BYU is such a good opponent, and it's hard to schedule nonleague games," Petersen said. "Our administration liked it because they know it will draw a lot of attention, and when we play at home, we'll have a full house."
AROUND THE MWC
Colorado State hosts a Utah State team Saturday that allows 2.7 yards per rush and 102.7 per game. "I told our guys if we run the ball one down, we're stupid," Rams coach Jim McElwain said. ... Wyoming has lost back-to-back games by a total of five points to fall to 0-3. "I've never experienced this before," coach Dave Christensen said. Quarterback Brett Smith, who didn't play in Saturday's 24-22 loss to Cal Poly because of a head injury, is doubtful for this Saturday's game at Idaho. ... UNLV is 12th nationally in third-down defense, allowing opponents to convert only 11 of 42 chances, or 26.2 percent. The Rebels were ninth-worst last season, giving up 49.7 percent.
UNLV INJURY REPORT
POS, PLAYER INJURY STATUS
DL Alvin Amilcar Undisclosed Out
OL Patrick Carroll Back Out
DL David Green Undisclosed Out
TE Nick Gstrein Foot Out
DL Sonny Sanitoa Leg Out
DB John Therrell Arm Out
OL Brett Boyko Leg Questionable
LB Perry Cooper Leg Probable
FB/TE Max Johnson Leg Probable
WR Trey Mays Leg Probable
FB William Vea Arm Probable