Air Force has performed an autopsy on Saturday's loss to Utah State and determined its demise came as the result of its own actions.
That knowledge provided a bit of comfort as the Falcons began preparations for a Friday game at Boise State.
"It would be one thing if we didn't know happened last Saturday," safety Christian Spears said. "But we do know what happened, and we know a lot of things were self-inflicted. So we're going to move forward with that in mind."
Some of the issues in the 52-20 loss were obvious, like the multiple first-half dropped passes in the end zone that had the Falcons settling for field goals rather than touchdowns. But that difference probably accounted for no more than eight points and some momentum. The bigger difference came in the inability to stop an Aggies offense directed by the fleet-footed Chuckie Keeton, who threw five touchdowns.
Air Force defensive backs talked before the game about a need to stick to their man in coverage when Keeton broke out of the pocket, but in watching film the players saw themselves doing that opposite and allowing Keeton's targets to break open.
Perhaps it took an embarrassment like that to learn the lesson.
"It was a very tough way to learn it," Spears said.
The rest of the mistakes, as the Falcons see it, were physical and fixable. Three times defenders had a chance to bring down Keeton for a loss on third down and didn't do it. Other missed tackles turned short gains into big gains.
"We made contributions to what happened, without a doubt," coach Troy Calhoun said.
Receivers reviewed the film together and saw again the opportunities they missed. The mood in the room wasn't one of blame, however, but of preparing for the next chance.
"After the film's over you've got to forget about it and know that next time you're looking the ball all the way in and securing the pass," receiver Sam Gagliano said. "It's not light-hearted, but we've got to have a short memory about it and move forward."
Air Force's home game against Wyoming on Sept. 21 will begin at 8:15 p.m. and be televised on ESPNU.