There is a lot of buzz about Saturdays Air Force Football game in Boulder against the CU Buffs. And for good reason. The Falcons have played plenty of Power 5 schools in recent history (see Michigan, Michigan State, Oklahoma) but Saturdays game against Colorado feels different. It’s more than just facing a Pac 12 school. Like it or not the Buffs are probably the face of College Football in Colorado. So it’s a great opportunity to see how Air Force measures up. With 1 or 2 exceptions, during the Troy Calhoun years, his Falcons have been better than the fellas in Boulder. But you could only argue the point because they never played. Thankfully those that were against this game because of what happened in the 1970’s, (which was cruel and bad in so many ways) have moved on. I understand their reservations about not resuming the series. But time does march on, and this game is hopefully a chance to write a new chapter about the series.
So, with that said, can Air Force win? Yes. Won’t be easy. I was really impressed with QB Steve Montez and the Buffs Wide Receivers. They have wideout Laviska Shenault, a Heisman Trophy Candidate, but their other receivers were the ones who turned things around against Nebraska. The Falcons have a very good secondary, but will have to tackle well to limit yardage after the catch. And Air Force must get a pass rush on Montez. That’s something the Falcons worked on a lot in the off season. They only had 20 sacks last year. They have to get to Montez, who is excellent turning broken plays into big plays outside the pocket. DE Jordan Jackson and LB Lakota Wills need to make life uncomfortable for Montez. On offense the Falcons need to strike quickly and play with the lead. By striking quickly I mean the Falcons need to score early as the Buffs are settling in defending the option. And if you see Air Force adopt Army’s strategy when they played Michigan last week, don’t be surprised. Cu’s offense can’t hurt you from the sidelines. But the Falcons also must throw it. Donald Hammond is too good a passer for Offensive Coordinator Mike Thiessen to not take advantage of.
Air Force is bigger, quicker, and better than they have been in quite a few years. But the only way to prove it is to win Saturday.
Saturday coverage against the Buffs begins at 9am on 740 KVOR. We kick things off at 11 with Jim Arthur and Jesse Kurtz.