FORT WORTH - If Air Force loses to Rice in Saturday’s Armed Forces Bowl, the Falcons would fall to six wins and seven losses for the season. This would be the first losing record in Troy Calhoun’s six seasons as Air Force coach.
Calhoun said the possibility of a losing campaign is not on his mind.
“Nope,” he said. “We got to get ready for a ballgame.”
Avoiding a losing record is on the minds of linebacker Alex Means and quarterback Connor Dietz. Both are seniors, and they’ve never endured a losing season during their time with the Falcons.
“It’s added pressure, which is good,” Means said. “We like playing under some pressure.”
Means said he is “absolutely” motivated by the idea of avoiding a seven-loss season.
“Oh, yes, absolutely,” he said. “I don’t like losing. We don’t like losing. It’s like this for a lot of us. I hate losing.”
Dietz has been known to remain awake all night after a defeat.
“We’re going out just to be us and take care of business, but absolutely that’s always on your mind,” Dietz said. “You never ever want to go out on a negative note. We came down here for one reason and that’s to play a football game. We’re not here to have fun at all the bowl events and stuff.”
Injury report – Calhoun said center Austin Hayes has made a strong recovery from an MCL injury and might be able to play against Rice.
“We’ll see how he responds,” Calhoun said. “He’s been able to practice some.”
Hayes suffered the injury Oct. 20 vs. New Mexico.
Anthony LaCoste has struggled with injuries but could be back to return kickoffs vs. Rice, Calhoun said. LaCoste averaged 28.8 yards per return this season. He’s not a typical kick returner. He relies more on his eyes than his speed.
“He has good power,” Calhoun said. “He moves forward extremely well. He’s got a knack for being able to find a slight crease.”