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Takeaways: Air Force takes down Wyoming with a balanced offensive gameplan

A 110-yard passing performance from Haaziq Daniels made the difference as the Falcons won 24-14

NCAA Football: Wyoming at Air Force Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Most weeks, you’d be worried if we told you that Air Force only had 100 more rushing yards than passing yards. Luckily, this wasn’t one of those weeks.

The Falcons faced their first unbeaten opponent in a few weeks as the Cowboys of Wyoming came to town. It wasn’t the cleanest performance of the season, yet it’s the most balanced that Air Force has looked in quite a while.

Brad Roberts opened the scoring for the Falcons with a 1-yard touchdown run in the first quarter before Dane Kinamon doubled the advantage with just under 11-minutes left in the first half. Air Fore looked poised to carry a 14-0 lead into halftime until Wyoming secured a pair of touchdowns with 2:39 and 0:15 left in the second quarter to roll into the locker room all tied up.

After the break, Haaziq Daniels found Micah Davis on a 13-yard passing touchdown, yes a passing touchdown, as the highlight of his 110-yard performance. Anthony Rodriguez capped the scoring with a 26-yard field goal to set the Falcons’ final 24-14 margin.

Roberts led all Falcons with 140 yards on 33 attempts with the touchdown mentioned above. Daniels racked up the second-most rushing yards with a distant 23 on his nine attempts. Of course, the signal-caller did connect on 7/10 passing attempts for 110 yards with a single touchdown. Five of those passes found Brandon Lewis while Micah Davis grabbed the remaining pair.

On the defensive side of the ball, both Corvan Taylor and Vince Sanford recovered fumbles for the Falcons. Both players also picked up six tackles for the squad (3 solo stops apiece). Sanford had a sack and defended one pass as well to fill his stat sheet.

As for the Cowboys, Sean Chambers connected on just 11/28 passing attempts for 143 yards. He connected with Isaiah Neyor for one touchdown reception and rushed the second score in himself. Xazavian Valladay was held to under 100 yards, with a 74-yard scamper making up the majority of his total.

Takeaways:

The fumble bug bites

NCAA Football: Wyoming at Air Force Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Air Force has had great success avoiding turnovers through the first half of the season, but the bug finally bit on Saturday evening. The Falcons put the ball on the turf five times, with two errors attributed to quarterback Haaziq Daniels. Brad Roberts and Emmanuel Michel each contributed one of their own with the final fumble chalked up to “Team.”

Luckily for Air Force, the bug bit both teams equally. Cowboys quarterback Sean Chambers lost two fumbles of his own and two more were credited to “Team.” Vince Sanford and Corvan Taylor had the recoveries for Air Force, while only Jordan Bertanogle managed to steal a recovery away from the Falcons.

Rising to the occasion

NCAA Football: Wyoming at Air Force Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Brad Roberts did Brad Roberts things on Saturday, rampaging to 140 yards on a herculean 33 carries. At this point, it’s just what we’ve come to expect from the tailback at this point, but it wasn’t enough on its own this week. Haaziq Daniels had no problem rising to the occasion for his most impressive passing outing of the year.

While the goal for the Falcons isn’t usually a 100-yard passing performance, it helps to be able to beat opponents on a variety of plays. Daniels completed 70% of his passes without any interceptions and connected with two receivers throughout the day. Air Force probably won’t beat too many foes through the air over the course of the season, but it’s encouraging to see that they can switch things up as needed.

An October test

NCAA Football: New Mexico at San Diego State Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

It’s great to see Air Force record a 5-1 record through the first half of the season following an underwhelming 3-3 performance in 2020, but the toughest tests are yet to come. They get Boise State and San Diego State back to back the next two weeks before a short rest ahead of Army.

Although Boise State only holds a 3-3 record on the year, the Broncos knocked off #13 BYU on the weekend. San Diego State is unbeaten, with a pair of Pac-12 victories to highlight its resume. Army was idle this past weekend, though it rolled to a 4-0 start before falling to Ball State.

Up Next

Air Force will head to Boise, Idaho on October 16 for a showdown with the Broncos. It’s slated to be one for the night owls, and will not kick off until 9 p.m. ET on one of the Fox networks (Likely FS1 or FS2). ESPN gives the Broncos a whopping 78% chance at victory but we do not have a betting line at this time.