This week, Connor Dietz will be able to sleep.
Air Force dominated Colorado State on Saturday at Falcon Stadium, rolling to a 42-21 victory over the Rams. The Falcons led 21-0, 28-7 and 35-14. This one never was in question.
The breezy victory will ease the minds of Dietz, a senior quarterback, and his teammates, who were devastated by last week’s collapse at UNLV. The Falcons failed to hold a 28-17 third-quarter lead and lost, 38-35, to the Rebels. It was UNLV’s 13th win in its past 63 Mountain West conference games.
“None of us could sleep,” Dietz said. He said he “literally” did not sleep Saturday, Sunday or Monday nights.
The Falcons, 2-2 for the season, quickly buried painful memories from the UNLV game. On Air Force’s third play, tailback Cody Getz burst down the sideline for a 52-yard gain and nearly scored before being dragged down at the 7-yard line. Jon Lee scored on the next play, and the rout was on.
By the end of the first quarter, Air Force led 21-0 and had powered to 167 yards rushing. Meanwhile, CSU had lost starting quarterback Garrett Grayson with a fractured left collarbone.
The Rams have lost seven straight times to the Falcons and 13 of their past 15 games.
Coach Jim McElwain was hired last winter to repair CSU’s program. He was clearly frustrated when he spoke after the game.
“We’re a defensive team that just couldn’t execute,” he said.
He has a point. Getz punished the Rams with 222 yards on 25 carries, an 8.9 average. Air Force rushed for 459 yards and punted only twice. Five players – Ty MacArthur, Marc Hendricks, Dontae Strickland, Drew Coleman and Lee – scored touchdowns for the Falcons.
The dominating rushing attack allowed Dietz to throw only five times. He completed two passes, both for touchdowns.
The Falcons also enjoyed something of a defensive revival, recording their first quarterback sack since the opening win over Idaho State and holding the Rams to 129 yards rushing. Air Force had surrendered 69 points in losses to Michigan and UNLV.
Navy awaits. The Midshipmen will arrive at Falcon Stadium on Saturday fresh off a frustrating 12-0 loss to San Jose State. Navy’s option offense sputtered, gaining only 70 yards rushing in 30 attempts.
Navy is struggling with three losses in four games, but Dietz knows all about the Air Force-Navy rivalry. In the past four seasons, Air Force-Navy games have been decided by a total of 18 points with the Falcons winning twice and Navy winning twice.
Dietz said the convincing win over CSU will help him sleep this week, even if he is worried about Navy.
“You don’t really even need to talk about it,” Dietz said. “It’s Navy. It’s Navy week.”