SAN DIEGO - Air Force’s Troy Calhoun and San Diego State’s Rocky Long talked about each other’s programs in the lead-up to Friday’s game, offering what at best were slimmed-down perspectives.
“I think the biggest disadvantage is they don’t have as much time with their players as we do,” Long said when asked about disadvantages faced by service academies. “Their players are on a much stricter schedule than ours are. … I would guess that they have fewer hours to work with their players because of their schedule than we have to work with our players. I think that’s the only real disadvantage that they have.”
Most service academy coaches would say there are a few more disadvantages than that.
As for the advantages?
“They get a very mature, driven young man,” Long said. “So I think that’s a real advantage they have. And the reason they all three run the triple option is because it gives you huge strategic advantages. So that’s why they do it, and they don’t care about making their fan bases happy.”
Calhoun said San Diego State’s continued success – it is 48-16 in Mountain West games since 2010 and 7-0 against Air Force in that span – came from the geographical advantages of being in populous Southern California. Long’s roster of 108 players includes 69 from California. Calhoun said recruits choose the Aztecs over the Pac-12 and Big 12 in some instances “just because the proximity to home.”
If you went within a 200-mile radius – Trinidad to Fort Collins – and you had 20 million people, would you be recruiting nationally?” Calhoun said. “I guess we probably still would.”
Through its first five games and 104 pass attempts, San Diego State hadn’t had a completion go for more than 30 yards. On their first attempts against Air Force the Aztecs had a pass from Ryan Agnew to Fred Trevillion go for 55 yards.
But then it was Air Force’s turn.
San Diego State hadn’t allowed a run of more than 16 yards in 158 attempts entering the game, before Falcons fullback Cole Fagan burst up the middle for 42 yards and tailback Kade Remsberg raced around the right side for 27 yards.
Firsts for Air Force
Outside linebacker R.J. Jackson notched his first-career start, senior safety Jeremy Fejedelem had his first-career interception and Ronald Cleveland had his first rushing touchdown of the season for Air Force.