AIR FORCE ACADEMY – Coming into Saturday evening’s game against CSU, Air Force freshman quarterback Tim Jefferson had only 285 yards passing on the season with three touchdowns, making many believe that the Falcons were a one dimensional team. But against the Rams, Jefferson proved that he can pass the ball and will make Air Force’s remaining opponents think twice before committing to the run.
After the Rams forced Air Force to go three and out on their first drive, the Falcons responded their next go-round through the air as Jefferson connected with Ty Paffett for 53 yards on the drive’s second play. Air Force went on to run the ball the next seven plays on into the end zone, tying the game at seven.
After the game, Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun gave praise to Jefferson and his offense as they found different ways to win than usual.
“You look over the last five weeks and you find different ways to win, and what we’ve been able to do is keep a glue,” Calhoun said. “It’s not easy to do in this day and age.
“We made a few big plays and that helps. I think tonight we had some gains that were larger than 10. We haven’t had a whole lot of that lately.”
Jefferson ended the night with a career high in the passing department with 171 yards and two touchdowns. Jefferson also had a season-long 74 yard touchdown pass to Kyle Halderman in the second quarter.
CSU defensive coordinator Larry Kerr said that once Air Force starts to pass on your team, they become much harder to defend. He also added the fact that losing free safety Klint Kubiak on the first play of the game didn’t help either.
“They make it tough. They did a great job out there and made it tough on us,” Kerr said. “We lose Kubiak on the first play and he got the majority of the reps back there and that’s a hard thing to deal with. That’s not an excuse, it’s just hard for the next guy to go in and we had to shuffle guys around.”
Sophomore linebacker Ricky Brewer said originally that the defense’s job was to stop the Falcons’ option and dive attacks, but once Air Force started passing, things got tougher. Brewer added that despite the loss, he feels this team is getting better every week.
“This is a totally different team from last year,” said Brewer, who had 14 tackles on Saturday. “Our record doesn’t quite show it yet the way we want to express it, but I got a feeling that there’s something different in our blood and you’ll see some great things from us in the future.”
CSU will try to regroup this week at practice as bowl eligibility is not out of the question for the Rams yet. With two games remaining against New Mexico and Wyoming, CSU must win out in order to have a chance to go bowling.
Football beat writer Matt Stephens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.