Air Force vs. Wyoming: Three Keys to a Falcons Win
Can the Falcons take their last crucial step toward bowl eligibility? Here’s our preview of how they can beat Wyoming.
The Falcons hit the road one last time.
WEEK 12: Air Force Falcons (4-6, 2-4 Mountain West) vs. Wyoming Cowboys (4-6, 2-4 MW)
WHEN: Saturday, November 17 — 2:00 PM MT/1:00 PM PT
WHERE: War Memorial Stadium; Laramie, Wyoming (29,181)
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 at XM channel 388.
SERIES RECORD: Air Force leads the series 28-25-3. In the last meeting on November 11, 2017, Wyoming defeated the Falcons, 28-14, in Colorado Springs.
STAT PROFILES: link
There’s quite a bit on the line when the Air Force Falcons take the field on Saturday afternoon against the Wyoming Cowboys. Both teams are fighting for survival in the race for a bowl bid and, while the Falcons may have an edge with their high APR, it’s a certainty that both teams will bring their A-game to stay alive.
Wyoming has been battle-tested, however, and made some crucial adjustments to keep their season afloat. The defense isn’t quite what it was last year, but they’ve held Mountain West opponents to just 22 points per game, third in the conference, and the offense has taken a step forward with a new quarterback at the helm.
Here’s what Air Force can do to beat Wyoming.
Three Keys to an Air Force Victory
1. Slow the revitalized running game.
Wyoming hasn’t switched to an option-based offense or anything but, by the numbers, they may as well have. In the last two games against Colorado State and San Jose State, the Cowboys have thrown the ball just 20.28% of the time, surpassing only a trio of actual option-based offenses (Navy, Army and Georgia Tech). Yes, Wyoming has thrown less frequently with Sean Chambers than even the Falcons themselves.
That ground game has been much more successful, too, with Rushing Success Rates of 46% and 44% that far surpass the team’s season average of 36.6%. The trio of Jordan Jackson, Brody Bagnall and Kyle Johnson, who have combined for 32 run stuffs, will need to win their battles up front.
2. Don’t let the running game get bottled up on offense.
Wyoming has very quietly been proficient at stopping the run in conference play, holding Mountain West opponents to just 3.38 yards per carry. That ranks second in the conference and is fairly reminiscent of how the Cowboys shut down the Air Force attack last year, when the Falcons mustered just 3.33 YPC.
The fullback position, as usual, will be an important one for Air Force, but it might be even more important that whoever is under center, whether it’s Isaiah Sanders or Donald Hammond III, makes enough correct decisions to gain the lion’s share of yards themselves. Last year, Arion Worthman managed just 28 yards on 17 attempts; the year before, Nate Romine had just nine yards on 12 attempts.
3. Keep an eye on the tight ends.
Tyree Mayfield and Austin Fort aren’t quite in the same tier of excellence as Josh Oliver or Jared Rice, but they’ve both appeared to be key components of the new-look Wyoming passing game. Mayfield had just one target against Colorado State, but it was a 44-yard completion, and the two combined for six of the team’s eight targets in the win over San Jose State. They could be dangerous on play action if the Cowboys choose to open up that part of the playbook.