Duval Jackson’s quarterback doesn’t want to overstate his wheels.
“He’s not that fast,” Donald Hammond III joked of the fullback.
Jackson’s coach wanted to make sure credit for his recent success is spread around.
“It’s more than one person,” Troy Calhoun noted.
The numbers, however, unashamedly sing the praises of the Air Force sophomore.
It is not yet known how Air Force might be affected as the NCAA approves plan to advance the discussion of allowing student-athletes to profit from their name, image and likeness.
Jackson has gone over 100 rushing yards in three consecutive games, the first Falcon to do that since Cody Getz did it in five straight in 2012 and the first fullback to pull off the trifecta for the academy since Larry Thomson in 1956.
“It feels great,” said Jackson, who is often listed as “Timothy” but has gone by his middle name since childhood. “I just want to keep it going. It’s a testament to our offensive line, our coaches, trusting in me to give the rock. Everything’s been going perfect right now.”
Jackson’s impact may go beyond his impressive totals.
In 2015, Air Force injected speed into the offense by sliding tailback Jacobi Owens into the fullback spot. The team was 1-3 and averaging 262.8 rushing yards over the four games before the shift. In the four after, it went 4-0 and averaged 364.8 rushing yards.
In 2016, the Falcons added speed to the offense by putting Arion Worthman in at quarterback. The team was 1-3 and averaging 240.5 rushing yards over the four games before the move. In the four after, it went 4-0 and averaged 379.8 rushing yards.
This year, Air Force (6-2) was 2-2 over four games before giving more time to Jackson, who is leaner and quicker than any Falcon in that position since Owens. In those four it averaged 254 rushing yards. In three games since, the Falcons have averaged 380.3 and have won three blowouts.
“We get the holes, but he can make two or three guys miss and turn a 5-yard run into a 30-yard run,” right guard Connor Vikupitz said. “That’s great.
“We’re happy to make holes for him.”
Jackson had carried 26 times for 128 yards in the first four games of the year, then missed the trip to Navy with a concussion. Since returning he went for 117 yards against Fresno State, 113 yards at Hawaii and carried 25 times for 148 yards Saturday against Utah State after making his first career start.
His rise hasn’t come at the expense of teammate Taven Birdow, who averaged 15 carries over the first five games and 14 since Jackson’s emergence.
“I thought Taven Birdow played maybe the best game since he’s been here on Saturday night,” Calhoun said after the senior ran 18 times for 88 yards and a touchdown as the Falcons out-physicaled Utah State in a 31-7 victory that saw them possess the ball for more than 45 minutes.
Air Force has received 563 yards from its fullbacks in the past three games.
“It feels great to have an arsenal of really good fullbacks,” said tailback Kade Remsberg, who has rushed for 272 yards, four touchdowns and averaged 7.2 yards per carry over the past three games while defenses contend with a heavy dose of fullback dives. “We trust multiple dudes in that spot. That’s really big for our offense.”
Army coach Jeff Monken told President Trump that Air Force is "not that tough," at a White House meeting in May. Air Force's response: "I guess we'll see next week."