On the day a new, pass-happy offense was to be revealed, Air Force instead pulled off a rare feat in the running game.
Jon Lee ran for 130 yards and Broam Hart added 101, marking the first time the Falcons had teammates eclipse the century mark in the same game since 2009 when Asher Clark and Jared Tew did it in the Armed Forces Bowl.
Neither Hart nor Lee had rushed for 100 yards in a game.
Hart had just 13 yards in the first quarter and Lee didn't touch the ball at all in the first 15 minutes. They had combined for 160 by halftime.
"I think it was just that we had to settle in," Lee said. "About the third or fourth drive we finally settled in. The first couple drives it was jitters. We feel like when it came to the third, fourth drive we finally settled in and went from there."
Kick-starting the season
Will Conant served notice that Air Force's kicking game, a longtime team strength, may again be a weapon after a disappointing season a year ago.
Conant's first attempt came from 52 yards away, and his low line drive snuck through the uprights.
"That was probably one of the biggest things I've ever had to do, because it got the monkey off my back completely," Conant said. "I've been waiting for this moment for a long time."
The conditions couldn't have been much better for the attempt. A wind was at his back and the Falcons led 28-7 at the time, providing a stress-free backdrop in terms of game ramifications.
"He's done a quality job in March and he's been even better in August," coach Troy Calhoun said. "He really didn't hit it great. You could tell by sound that wasn't one that was a powerful thump. But he did hit it accurately. He's capable of making some big kicks down the road."
Play of the game
It's difficult to say one play made a large difference in a game that was decided by 25 points, but the outcome could have been different if not for quarterback Kale Pearson's 20-yard completion to Myles Barnes on a third-and-8 early in the second quarter.
Up to that point, Air Force had experience two stalled drives and had been dominated in every statistical category, including first downs, where Colgate led 8-2.
Had that play gone the other way, the Raiders might have had a chance to tack onto their 7-0 lead.
"That was a big play," Calhoun said. "To be able to throw a dart, and a good play by Myles to, to not only make the play but do something with it after he caught it."
Air Force then turned to the ground game to tie the game.
"When we start passing the ball it opens the running game, so that one reception did help back up the defense a little bit," fullback Broam Hart said.
Air Force has won all seven openers under Calhoun, each against Football Championship Subdivision opponents. . The Falcons extended their school-record streak to 247 games without being shut out. . Air Force is 9-0 all-time in games played in August.
BRENT BRIGGEMAN, THE GAZETTE
In review: Three things to watch
Following up on three items The Gazette had identified before the game.
1. Defending the QB
Gavin McCarney was largely bottled up - particularly after the first quarter - and finished with 143 passing yards on 14-of-27 attempts and ran for 35 yards on 10 carries. "They were able to take our quarterback out of the rushing game and we expect a lot of our quarterback," Colgate coach Dick Biddle said.
2. First look at a new kicker
Will Conant hit all five PATs and added a 52-yard field goal, the longest for the Falcons since 2007. The Falcons had hit just 4-of-10 field goals last season.
3. Falcons newcomers
Six freshmen made their debuts, including nose guard Ryan Harris (three assists) and defensive end Ryan Watson (two solo tackles). Receiver Jalen Robinette was not targeted on a pass play.