It’s safe to say that Air Force’s loss to Utah State is firmly in the rearview mirror. The Falcons have rattled off a pair of big-time wins to jump out to a 4-1 record on the year. This time, Air Force went on the road to Dreamstyle Stadium with big dreams of leveling out their conference record against the Lobos of New Mexico.
Level out their record the Falcons did, and they did it in style. This contest finished with a 38-10 scoreline that was never close and felt even more dominant in real-time.
Haaziq Daniels and the Falcons got out to a fast start when the quarterback punched in a 1-yard touchdown to cap off a 78-yard drive. Anthony Rodriguez stretched the lead to 10-0 with a 30-yard field goal within the first minute of the second quarter, and Air Force never looked back.
Brad Roberts and Dane Kinamon blew the scoring wide open with two more touchdowns before halftime. Roberts proved to be the Falcons’ motor for the day, churning out 142 yards on his 29 attempts. Kinamon’s touchdown, on the other hand, was his crucial play of the day, in addition to 21 yards on the ground.
DeAndre Hughes added another rushing touchdown in the third quarter to stretch the margin all the way to 31-0 before Terry Wilson finally connected with Trae Hall on a 21-yard touchdown pass. Brad Roberts answered right away in the fourth quarter, and the Lobos punched a 49-yard field goal through the uprights for the final 38-10 margin.
Riding the hot hand
The beauty of a triple-option offense is that Air Force can roll with whatever is working. This week, Brad Roberts was working like no other Falcon on the field. Haaziq Daniels turned to his tailback a total of 29 times for 142 yards on the ground. Roberts added a pair of touchdowns to bring his season total to four. His rushing total puts him high atop the team total again for the year, cementing him as the most important cog in this well-oiled machine outside of Haaziq Daniels himself.
That said, DeAndre Hughes had himself a day too. He put together 89 yards on just 10 attempts with a massive 53-yard touchdown scamper. Haaziq Daniels turned in a quieter day with 30 yards and a score, but it didn’t matter as the Falcons rolled to a big win.
Bowling on the horizon
How many wins do you need for a bowl game? Six. How many wins does Air Force have already? Four. The Falcons have eclipsed their total from last season with seven games left on the slate. All Air Force needs to do is pull out another pair of victories with bottom-feeding teams like UNLV and Colorado State (1-8 combined record) still to come.
We can’t forget that Air Force still has a neutral-site game against Army that could decide the Commander-in-Chief’s trophy for the second year in a row. This is a Black Knights squad that just suffered its first defeat to a Ball State squad that has struggled throughout the year. The next three weeks could be very telling in how the C.I.C. race will shake out.
Special teams specialty
The best special teams performance is one that you don’t need. Air Force did its job again, keeping punter Charles Bein on the sideline for all but one kick. When called upon, Bein booted a 42-yard punt inside the New Mexico 20. He matched the Lobos’ total of punts inside the 20 despite having one-quarter the number of attempts.
As for the kicking game, Anthony Rodriguez hit one of his two field-goal tries from 30 yards. He nailed all of his extra-point tries, too, en route to Air Force’s final margin of victory.
The Falcons are headed home for a Blue-out game against the unbeaten Wyoming Cowboys. However, those wins have come against Montana State, NIU, Ball State, and UConn — not exactly a strong resume. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m. ET and the game will be televised on the CBS Sports Network.