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Air Force needs to get up for New Mexico

By: FRANK SCHWAB
November 7, 2010
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photo - Air Force coach Troy Calhoun will attempt to keep his team motivated. Photo by KEVIN KRECK, THE GAZETTE
Air Force coach Troy Calhoun will attempt to keep his team motivated. Photo by KEVIN KRECK, THE GAZETTE 

In many ways, Saturday was the peak of Air Force’s season. The Falcons won the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy, which will arrive on Tuesday or Wednesday. The team will have a private and small celebration when it arrives.

It’s almost enough to make everyone forget there are two regular-season games remaining. And those two games are unlikely to produce much natural motivation.

Air Force’s final games are against New Mexico and UNLV, two of the worst teams in college football. There are eight FBS teams with only one win (Akron is the only winless team). The Lobos and Rebels are both 1-8.

Yet, Falcons coach Troy Calhoun doesn’t think he’ll have a tough time getting his players up for the games.

“The only thing I have to do is ask them who was offered grant-in-aid by New Mexico,” said Calhoun, whose players rarely get scholarship offers from other FBS teams.

Calhoun said he was concerned about New Mexico’s size and speed. That talent has produced two wins in two seasons for Lobos coach Mike Locksley, but Calhoun is not overlooking them.

“We still can’t assimilate their pure skill in practice, their speed and their bodies,” Calhoun said.

Air Force is already bowl eligible, and seems likely to go to the Independence Bowl. Wins over the next two weeks won’t change much for the Falcons, but they seem to be focusing on peaking as the regular season concludes. Saturday’s win over Army was a good first step toward that goal.

“It’s an eye opener in terms of possibilities,” Calhoun said.

The Falcons didn’t play a perfect game against the Black Knights, but started getting turnovers, ran the ball well, hit some huge plays on offense and played good defense inside their own 20-yard line.

“The best football is still ahead of us,” linebacker Jordan Waiwaiole said.

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