As Air Force looks to the 2013 season, quarterback Kale Pearson and halfback Jon Lee are prime candidates to lead the Falcons' offense.
Quarterback Connor Dietz and halfback Cody Getz are finished with their Air Force football careers, leaving opportunity for Pearson and Lee.
Saturday’s loss to Rice in the Armed Forces Bowl offered a glimpse into the 2013 season. This look into the future was not entirely positive.
Pearson, a 5-foot-9 sophomore, replaced Dietz in the second quarter and led the Falcons to their only touchdowns in the 33-14 loss. He scored on a 9-yard option run, showing encouraging speed, quickness and toughness and he ran to the end zone.
But he completed only 2-of-8 passes and threw a fourth-quarter interception that ended Air Force’s chances at victory.
Lee, a 5-10 sophomore, fumbled in the first quarter after a 6-yard gain. Fumbles are the quickest way to earn coach Troy Calhoun’s wrath. Lee did not touch the ball again.
“He’s got to learn how to run lower,” Calhoun said of Lee’s running style. “Any time you have your hands on the ball, you have a responsibility to the rest of your squad.”
Both Pearson and Lee enjoyed better times this season. On Oct. 13 at Wyoming, Pearson led the Falcons' dramatic second-half comeback. He scored on a 5-yard bootleg in the fourth quarter, lifting Air Force to a 28-27 win.
Lee gained 543 yards and had a 6.2 per-carry average while serving as Getz’s backup.