Boise State vs. Air Force: Three Keys to a Falcons Win
The Falcons can take a big step toward bowl eligibility by beating resurgent Boise State. Here’s our preview of what to watch for.
Can Air Force pull off another stunner?
WEEK 9: Boise State Broncos (5-2, 3-1 Mountain West) vs. Air Force Falcons (3-4, 1-3 MW)
WHEN: Saturday, October 27 — 5:00 PM MT/4:00 PM PT
WHERE: Falcon Stadium; Colorado Springs, Colorado (46,692)
TV: CBS Sports Network
STREAM: Get a one-week trial of FuboTV.
RADIO: The Air Force broadcast can be found in and around Colorado Springs on KVOR 740 AM. It can also be found in Denver on 104.3 FM and on satellite radio: Sirius channel 111 and XM channel 380.
SERIES RECORD: The series is tied 3-3. In the last meeting on November 18, 2017, the Broncos defeated Air Force, 44-19, in Boise.
STAT PROFILES: link
The Air Force Falcons survived a challenge from UNLV last Saturday to secure their first Mountain West win of 2018, but now things get more difficult as they head home to host the Boise State Broncos.
After a shocking letdown at home against San Diego State three week ago, Bryan Harsin’s boys in blue have found plenty in the tank to remain in the Mountain division race. They bested Nevada on the road and pummeled poor Colorado State at home in the two weeks since, but now they’ll have to try and do something the Broncos have never done: Win in Colorado Springs.
Here’s how Air Force can keep UNLV down and come away with a victory.
Three Keys to an Air Force Win
Bottle up the running game.
If you look back at the last four games between the Broncos and Falcons, one thing you’ll notice is that Boise State has never been particularly successful at running the ball against Air Force. They topped out at 141 yards in 2015, and have averaged just 3.58 YPC since 2014.
Alexander Mattison might have had his best overall game of the season last week against the Rams, complementing his 85 rushing yards with a 55% Success Rate, but he and Andrew Van Buren could just as easily go back to scuffling against a stout Air Force front seven that ranks 12th in defensive Stuff Rate (percentage of plays stopped at or behind the line of scrimmage) and 5th in defensive Opportunity Rate (how often opposing runners get past five yards).
Avoid the backbreaking turnover.
Most of last year’s blowout loss can be attributed to the fact that Air Force coughed up three fumbles inside their own 30-yard line before halftime, which Boise State turned into 17 points. Simply avoiding that level of misfortune could help the Falcons stay competitive because the Broncos have remained proficient at cashing in on scoring opportunities, ranking 19th nationally with 5.31 points per trip inside the 40.
Keep Brett Rypien from dropping too many bombs.
The Broncos offense goes as its senior quarterback goes, so it’s not a surprise that his career stats against the Falcons don’t exactly pop off the stat sheet: 50% completion rate, 8.8 yards per attempt, five touchdowns and zero interceptions. If he continues to create big plays like he did last Friday night against Colorado State, though, Air Force could have a hard time keeping up.
For as good as the Falcons have been against the run, they’ve continued to struggle against explosive plays through the air: Their defensive backs own a Havoc Rate (percentage of plays with a TFL, pass defended or forced fumble) of only 5.9%, 90th nationally, and will definitely have their hands full with A.J. Richardson and company.