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Air Force running back Brad Roberts waltzes into the end zone for a touchdown in the third quarter of the Colorado State-Air Force football game at Canvas Stadium in Ft. Collins, CO. on Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021. Air Force won the game 35-21. (Photo by Jerilee Bennett, The Gazette)

AIR FORCE PLAYER OF THE GAME

Brad Roberts, junior fullback

A native of the Denver area, Roberts was lightly recruited by Colorado State but never offered a scholarship.

That’s not something you forget.

“I’m still very happy with where I’m at now, and I think I still would have chose Air Force, but there’s still a little chip on my shoulder,” said Roberts, who lowered his shoulder multiple times in grinding out 151 yards on 32 carries in Air Force’s 35-21 win at Colorado State on Saturday.

He also scored two touchdowns.

“I tried just giving it my all, just leaving nothing left in the tank,” said Roberts, who passed 1,000 rushing yards in the victory. “That’s what I really tried working on. I knew all the guys up front are doing the same for me. If we do things like that, you’ll see the production we had tonight.”


 

SUBPLOTS WE WATCHED

Following up on items of intrigue we identified prior to the game.

Air Force’s quarterback situation

Haaziq Daniels started, played the whole game, and orchestrated the most balanced offensive performance the Falcons had seen in more than a month. The tailbacks and slot receivers combined for 212 yards, the fullbacks picked up 165 yards, Daniels ran for 17 yards and threw for 121 yards and two scores.

“We wanted to get back on track, get back to the running game, solidify that,” said Daniels, whose offense was shut out in the first half in losses to San Diego State and Army in the past two games. “I think that opens up the passing game. It was just good to have a lot of guys play well.”

Colorado State’s linebacker injuries

The Rams continued to be thin at linebacker. Dequan Jackson started but played only a handful of snaps. Tavian Brown and Chase Wilson, listed on the two-deep at inside linebacker, didn’t play. So of the top four linebackers, only Anthony Koclanakis appeared in the game (he made nine tackles, including three solo stops). The inexperience and players moving to new spots undoubtedly contributed to Air Force’s success, particularly between the tackles, where the fullback rumbled for 165 yards for the Falcons.

Air Force’s banged up defensive line

Nose guard Elijah Brockman didn’t play for Air Force, which had lost its other nose guard, Kalawai’a Pescaia, the week before. To account for the loss, the Falcons started senior Jordan Jackson at nose guard instead of his regular spot at defensive tackle. Sophomore Jayden Thiergood drew his first start and made three tackles (he had two career tackles prior to Saturday). Kenny Ngaima rotated with Jackson at nose guard and made the first four tackles of his career. The Falcons defense limited the Rams to their second-lowest offensive output of the season (only Iowa was more effective) despite the shuffling up front.


 

BY THE NUMBERS

5

Consecutive wins for Air Force over Colorado State, including three straight on the road.

5

Career interceptions for Air Force cornerback Tre’ Bugg, who grabbed his second pick of the season.

7

Times this season in 10 games that Air Force has scored a touchdown on its opening drive.

8

Punts the Falcons have forced on their opponents’ opening drive.

16

Yards on a first-quarter touchdown for Air Force sophomore running back John Lee Eldridge III. It was the first carry of Eldridge’s career.

92

Yards on a completion from Haaziq Daniels to Brandon Lewis for a touchdown. It was the longest passing play in Air Force history.

1,064

Rushing yards for Brad Roberts this season, 14th most in a season for Air Force.

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