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Air Force's football season, game by game

December 23, 2012
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Air Force 49, Idaho State 21
When: Sept. 1
Where: Falcon Stadium
This was Air Force’s annual “beat-up-on-a-bowl-subdivision-opponent” game. The Falcons jumped to a 28-0 halftime lead while rolling to 403 yards and breezed to the victory. Cody Getz burst to touchdowns from 63 and 41 yards in the second quarter. But the victory included a few uncomfortable, revealing moments. Parker Herrington missed a field goal, and Idaho State rallied in the second half, forcing coach Troy Calhoun to leave his starters on the field until the fourth quarter.

Michigan 31, Air Force 25
When: Sept. 8
Where: Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor
The Falcons placed a severe scare into the Wolverines and departed Michigan knowing they could have escaped with an upset. Air Force either scored or drove within the Michigan 5-yard line on five of their eight possessions. A missed Herrington field goal and a muffed fake field goal helped doom the Falcons. Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson danced to 218 yards rushing to go with 208 yards passing. Robinson burst through Air Force’s defense for rushing touchdowns of 79 and 58 yards.

UNLV 38, Air Force 35
When: Sept. 15
Where: Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas
UNLV trudged into this game with 50 losses in 62 Mountain West games, and Air Force enjoyed a five-game winning streak over the Rebels. Didn’t matter. UNLV’s Nate Sherry completed 72 percent of his passes and led a second-half comeback to drop the Falcons. Air Force scored 28 points in the first half, powered to an 11-point advantage and seemed ready for an easy win. But the defense could not hold on to the lead. “There were points of the game where we really got pushed around and manhandled out there,” Calhoun said. The Rebels won only one other MW game.

Air Force 42, CSU 21
When: Sept. 29
Where: Falcon Stadium
CSU’s woes continued as Getz demolished the Rams with 222 yards rushing on 25 carries, an 8.9 per carry average. The Falcons rushed for 459 yards while rolling to leads of 21-0, 28-7 and 35-14. CSU never had a chance. The Falcons rushed for 459 yards and only punted twice. Air Force has beaten CSU seven straight times.

Navy 28, Air Force 21, overtime
When: Oct. 6
Where: Falcon Stadium
Air Force powered to 507 yards rushing, including 204 yards from Getz. The Falcons had grabbed a fourth-quarter lead at home. The Falcons found a way to lose. Navy lost starting quarterback Trey Miller, whom Calhoun had compared favorably to all-time Navy great Roger Staubach, but Miller’s injury turned out to be a plus for the Midshipmen. Freshman quarterback Kennan Reynolds led Navy’s rally, claimed the starting job and pushed the once-faltering Midshipmen to an 8-4 record. Navy arrived at Falcon Stadium with a 1-3 record.

Air Force 28, Wyoming 27
When: Oct. 13
Where: War Memorial Stadium, Laramie
It was a wild, cold, wet night in Wyoming. Air Force rallied from a 27-21 fourth-quarter deficit, inspiring a jubilant celebration from the Falcons and an obscene tirade from Wyoming coach Dave Christensen. (The tirade earned Christensen a one-game suspension and a $50,000 fine.) Sophomore quarterback Kale Pearson scored on a 5-yard bootleg run to give Air Force the lead, and the Falcons defense shut down Wyoming in the fourth quarter. Air Force had trailed 24-14 at halftime. When the game ended, Christensen refused to shake hands with Calhoun and instead spent several seconds shouting. What was said? “It’s not a conversation that I have with my mom,” Calhoun said. “Not that kind of dialogue.”

Air Force 28, New Mexico 23
When: Oct. 20
Where: Falcon Stadium
The Lobos rushed for 409 yards, including 338 by Kasey Carrier, but Air Force still managed to escape with a victory. “It’s ugly,” said linebacker Alex Means, “but we’ll take it.” With four minutes left, New Mexico had the ball at Air Force’s 12-yard line, where the Lobos faced a fourth-and-4. Coach Bob Davie gambled, going for the first down. This was a calculated  gamble. The Lobos had averaged 6.9 yards per carry for the night. But Means busted into the backfield and tackled Lamaar Thomas for a loss.

Air Force 48, Nevada 31
When: Oct. 26
Where: Falcon Stadium
This was the Falcons' finest moment. Well, let’s be more specific. It was the finest moment for the Falcons' offense. Air Force rampaged to 36 first downs, 600 yards of total offense, 461 rushing yards and probably would have busted through the 60-point mark if not for two lost fumbles. The win pushed Air Force to a 4-1 record in the Mountain West and a 5-3 record overall. The defense held Nevada’s Stefphon Jefferson, the nation’s leading rusher, to 93 yards, including only 22 in the first half. This was 59 yards under his season average.

Army 41, Air Force 21
When: Nov. 3
Where: Michie Stadium, West Point, N.Y.
Army struggled this season, winning only twice in 12 games, but the Black Knights were superb against the Falcons, holding Air Force to a mere 103 yards rushing. The final score is deceptive. Army led, 35-7, and completely dominated the afternoon. “One side played really, really well and one side didn’t,” Calhoun said. Air Force had reason to complain. On the third play of the second quarter, Air Force quarterback Connor Dietz scored on a fourth-down sneak, but officials ruled he had fallen a half-yard short. There were intermittent power outages at the stadium (an aftermath of Hurricane Sandy) and officials were unable to review the incorrect call on the field.

San Diego State 28, Air Force 9
When: Nov. 10
Where: Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego
Mistakes doomed the Falcons to a second straight defeat. Air Force bumbled to four turnovers and for the second straight week were out of contention during the entire second half. A fumble by Dietz resulted in a 52-yard touchdown return by San Diego’s Everett Bead. The score gave the Aztecs a 21-3 lead and sealed the loss for the Falcons.

Air Force 21, Hawaii 7
When: Nov. 16
Where: Falcon Stadium
After being outscored 69-30 in consecutive losses, the Falcons rallied with a win over one of the Mountain West’s weaklings. Hawaii had lost conference games by an average of 28.7 points, but the Warriors managed to keep within 14 points of the Falcons. Hawaii startled the Falcons' home crowd by grabbing a 7-0 lead, but a spectacular 5-yard TD run by Getz transformed Air Force. Hawaii’s offense sputtered, collecting only 162 yards, including 41 in the second half.

Fresno State 48, Air Force 15
When: Nov. 24
Where: Bulldog Stadium, Fresno, Calif.
And it could have been even worse. Fresno State, led by Air Force alum Tim DeRuyter, burst to a 31-7 lead and cruised to the convincing win. Fresno led 14-0 after only four offensive plays, and the Falcons never mounted any kind of threat. Fresno’s Derek Carr throttled the Falcons for 452 yards and four touchdowns before being pulled in the fourth quarter. He completed 28 of 32 passes.

- David Ramsey, The Gazette


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