Left tackle Jason Kons called Saturday’s win “an average Air Force game,” and was apologetic about the way the team played. While it surely was a typical Falcons game, that’s hardly a negative.
Air Force wasn’t perfect in its 49-21 season-opening win against Idaho State, but it once again showed that no matter how many starters have to be replaced, the program has a winning formula.
The Falcons unsurprisingly ran the ball extremely well, getting 484 yards on 58 carries. They rushed for seven touchdowns. Cody Getz had 218 yards and three touchdowns, the first 200-yard game for Air Force since Chad Hall against Army in 2007, but even Getz had to admit that it came rather easy, thanks to the blockers clearing the way in front of him.
“It’s kind of easy to be a good running back and get a lot of yards when you’re hitting the hole and not even getting touched until you’re 15 yards downfield,” Getz said.
When the Falcons did pass, they were extremely efficient. Connor Dietz completed 8-of-11 passes for 142 yards. The defense played well, at least in the first half, with well-designed and perfectly timed blitzes. Air Force finished with two sacks and six tackles for loss.
Kons explained, correctly, that Air Force will have to execute better as the season progresses, and how Saturday’s performance won’t cut it for the rest of the season. But he also realized that the foundation for success this season is in place, even with a team that had 13 players make their first career start against Idaho State.
“This is what we do,” Kons said. “There’s no surprise.”
Air Force had some opening-day mistakes. The start was rough, with Parker Herrington, who missed three field goals all of last season, missing his first attempt of 2012. Idaho State countered with a long drive, but a sack by Falcons linebacker Jared Jones on third down was followed by a missed field goal and the game remained scoreless.
Getz took over after that. Getz, a senior who won the starting tailback job with a great training camp, scored on runs of 9, 63 and 41 yards. On his first eight carries he had 138 yards and three scores. Before Saturday, the longest run of Getz’s career was 19 yards. His career best for yards in a game was 36.
“He had some really, really good perimeter blocking, which helps, and made a couple good cuts,” coach Troy Calhoun said. “But I think what he did best was when he made a cut he made sure he was going forward rather than thinking you have to make a cut and run lateral.”
The defense, in its first game under new coordinator Charlton Warren, had a shutout at halftime as Air Force led 28-0. The defense was sloppy at times in the second half against Idaho State, a pass-happy team that had 355 passing yards on 52 attempts, and allowed three 75-yard touchdown drives.
“I thought we played the first half of the game we want to play: attacking, aggressive and making plays in space,” Warren said. “I thought the second half, the immaturity of our team may have shown, with guys maybe not coming out with the same force, and making mental mistakes.”
Air Force got the win, and can look ahead to a much tougher challenge next week at Michigan. There’s little question the Falcons will need to execute much better there to earn a win.
“It’s a learning experience,” Calhoun said about his team, which had only four players who started last season’s Military Bowl in Saturday’s starting lineup. “We had a significant number that this was their first great deal of action. You have to progress, and you have to learn big time.”
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