Sep 282005
 
Authors: Nick Piburn

Since Air Force head coach Fisher DeBerry took over the Falcons' football team 22 seasons ago, he has run the wing-t offense, which features the option, the fullback dive and very little passing.

Not much has changed over the years, but this year's offense has discovered a more balanced style than ever before, with sophomore quarterback Shaun Carney and senior quarterback Adam Fitch leading the way.

"The difference this year is the coaches have more confidence in the passing game," said Air Force senior wide receiver Jason Brown. "We're still a running team, and that's what we are going to do."

The run is what everyone expects out of the Falcons but the passing game has been impressive in '05. Brown is second in the Mountain West Conference, (No. 20 in the nation) in receiving yardage per game with 97.75. Brown is the top receiving threat for the Falcons, and at nearly 6'5' and 225 pounds he poses a major problem for most defenses.

As always, the Falcon rushing game is the strongest part of their offense. The Falcons are first in the MWC on the ground, No. 11 in the nation, with 256.75 yards per game. Most of which can be devoted to the team's fullbacks.

"We have a bunch of scrappy guys at fullback, we proved it with the first drive against Utah when we dominated their defense," Brown said. "Plus we have some guys in the backfield along with Carney and Fitch that are doing a great job."

While the balanced offense for the Falcons poses a serious match-up problem, the Falcons are just 2-2 (1-2 in the Mountain West), but their two loses have been by a total of four points.

One advantage that may be on CSU's side is coming off an explosive 42-21 win over Nevada.

The Rams' offense looked strong as ever with 257 rush yards and three touchdowns to go along with 223 yards passing and two touchdowns.

"We got things going in the right direction (against Nevada)," said sophomore running back Kyle Bell. "We still have a long ways to go as far as getting to the consistency we need to have, but as far as a confidence standpoint we really found out some things we know we can do well."

For the first time all year, the Rams didn't have to rely on senior quarterback Justin Holland to make every play, and he showed he will shine in that type of situation.

"Justin is a good leader, you could tell he was full of confidence in the huddle (against Nevada)," Bell said. "He knows we won't have to throw the ball 30-40 times a game."

The key to the game may not lie with either team's offense, but rather which team's defense will step up and make the game deciding plays.

Both teams will look to control the game in their own way, mostly by dominating the ground game.

"I'm very pleased with the defense, but are we going to shut these guys down to no yards or 100 yards? Probably not," said head coach Sonny Lubick. "We've got to get off the field, that is the key. If we can slow them down, our chance of winning increases significantly."

 

 

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