The road to a bowl game just got a little tougher for the CSU Rams.
The Rams (4-6, 2-4 MWC) lost to the Air Force Falcons (8-2, 5-1 MWC) in front of a crowd of 32,000 filling the AFA stadium in Colorado Springs.
CSU kept the game close through two quarters of play, trailing only 21-17 going into halftime, but that’s as close as the conference showdown would get. The Rams gave up 17 points in the final two quarters while scoring none en route to a 38-17 defeat.
CSU head coach Steve Fairchild was disappointed with the loss and explained that the Rams were on track until the second half.
“The game went about what I thought it would be in the first half,” the first year head coach said. “I was hoping we would take that kick off in the third quarter, go down and build on what we were doing. It fell apart there and the quarterback made some bad decisions and turned the ball over a couple of times. That’s all it took to let the game get out of hand.”
After a promising 56 yard start to the first drive of the second half, CSU quarterback Billy Farris was intercepted by Falcon linebacker Ken Lamendola at the Air Force 20 yard line. The Falcons would take advantage of the opportunity, marching down the field and scoring a touchdown on a 46-yard run by running back Asher Clark, his second score of the game.
The Rams made the same mistake on the ensuing drive as Farris was picked off again, this time by Falcon cornerback Reggie Rembert. The sophomore returned the ball all the way back to the CSU 10 yard line. AFA reached pay dirt three plays later as Jefferson found a wide open Travis Dekker for a four-yard touchdown, giving the Falcons a 35-17 lead.
Air Force kicker Ryan Harrison added a field goal with just over 12 minutes left in the game to secure the victory.
Farris said that it was tough to get the offense back on track after throwing two interceptions.
“When you’re on the road and you turn the ball over twice, it’s going to be hard to win, especially when the other team doesn’t turn the ball over at all,” the senior said. “That was huge.”
CSU blew a golden opportunity to tie the score at 21-21 going into half time. The Rams drove all the way down to the Falcons one yard line where they faced a fourth and goal. CSU elected to go for the touchdown, but was called for a five yard delay of game penalty. The Ram’s then decided to kick a field goal instead.
Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun was impressed with the way his defense stepped up in the third and fourth quarter, holding the Rams scoreless.
“They played much better in the second half,” he said. “They got more pressure and then had the big play by Reggie (Rembert).”
Farris led the Rams offensively, posting 251 yards passing with a touchdown and two interceptions. Ricky Brewer was impressive for the defense, racking up 14 tackles, including 1.5 for a loss.
Clark had big game for the Falcons on the ground, running for 147 yards and two touchdowns.
Even though CSU is on a two game losing streak, Fairchild said he still likes the way the way the team is playing and hopes to prove just what they are capable of the final two weeks.
“I like how the team has progressed, and I really think we have had a good three weeks,” he said. “We’ll keep building on that and we can end the season with a good taste in our mouths.”
Football beat reporter Adam Bohlmeyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.