Just when it seemed it couldn’t get worse for senior quarterback Caleb Hanie, it did Saturday in the Rams’ 45-21 loss to Air Force.
Tipped passes, injured receivers, miscommunication and poor weather for the passing game.
“I felt like the most unlucky quarterback in the country today,” Hanie said.
Hanie came into Saturday’s game struggling, with nine interceptions in five games.
The sixth game didn’t go much better, as Hanie threw four picks, including one returned by Air Force linebacker Drew Fowler for a touchdown early in the first quarter.
“A 14-point deficit isn’t that much, especially in a college game,” said Hanie. “But to keep turning it over . you can’t have that many turnovers in one game.”
Hanie completed 11 of 18 passes for 111 yards. His only touchdown on the day came in the second quarter on a seven-yard pass to Damon Morton.
But the four interceptions helped put the Rams in a hole they couldn’t dig out of, though not all of them were simply bad throws.
Hanie’s second interception appeared to be due to a miscommunication with wide receiver Johnny Walker. His third pick was tipped near the line of scrimmage.
“A turnover is a turnover,” said running back Gartrell Johnson III. “If Caleb did it, the receiver didn’t break on the ball, or it was a miscommunication. Turnovers hurt anyone and they capitalized on every one of them.”
All but one of the Hanie’s interceptions were converted into Air Force touchdowns.
Junior backup quarterback Billy Farris was brought in on the final series of the game and completed five of 11 passes for 45 yards.
Coach Sonny Lubick said he never considered going to Farris earlier in the game, despite Hanie’s obvious struggles.
“Caleb is the guy we started with,” Lubick said. “I can see Billy getting a little bit more. It’d probably be good to see him get some more tries.”
Hanie said his disappointment won’t keep him and the team from continuing to work hard.
“Win the next game – that’s our goal,” he said.
Sports writer Jeff Dillon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.