Colorado State vs. Air Force: Three Keys to a Falcons Win
The Ram-Falcon Trophy is on the line as Air Force hosts CSU on Thanksgiving Day. Here’s our preview of how the Falcons can beat the Rams.
Another rivalry renewed.
WEEK 13: Colorado State Rams (3-8, 2-5 Mountain West) vs. Air Force Falcons (4-7, 2-5 MW)
WHEN: Thursday, November 22 — 1:30 PM MT/12:30 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, as well, at Sirius channel 81 and XM channel 81.
SERIES RECORD: Air Force leads the series 34-21-1. In the last meeting on October 28, 2017, the Falcons defeated the Rams, 45-28, in Fort Collins.
STAT PROFILES: link
An unpredictable Air Force football season comes to a close on Thursday afternoon, when the Falcons host the Colorado State Rams. Air Force let a crucial win slip away on the road last week against Wyoming, but there’s still plenty on the line in the team’s finale.
For starters, there’s the Ram-Falcon Trophy, which the home team will look to defend for the second straight year. The Falcons can also put themselves in a position to claim a bowl bid based on their top-notch APR and, perhaps most importantly of all, can keep CSU from claiming its first win at Falcon Stadium since 2002, their only such win in the past two decade.
Here’s what Air Force can do to beat Colorado State.
Three Keys to an Air Force Victory
1. Force the Rams offense into mistakes.
Colorado State has struggled to hang onto the ball all season and it really hasn’t gotten any better with Collin Hill under center. In the last four games, Hill has an interception rate of 3.4%, which is a slight tick upwards from that of K.J. Carta-Samuels (2.78%), and that betrayed him in a close loss last Saturday to Utah State.
Figuring out how to create the same opportunities will certainly set the Falcons offense up for success. Keying on Preston Williams, whose 152 targets are nearly five times as many as any Air Force receiver, will be easier said than done, but it helps to know which way the ball will go most of the time.
2. Get a typical performance from the ground game.
It’s safe to say that Colorado State has historically struggled to defend against Air Force’s run-heavy attack. In the past ten years, the Rams have held the Falcons under four yards per carry just twice.
This game comes at a good time, too, since the Rams have also shown that they really can’t stop the run at all recently. Against Boise State, Wyoming, Nevada and Utah State, CSU has given up 5.15 YPC (before adjusting for sacks). They also rank 123rd in defensive Opportunity Rate (how often opponents get at least five yards) and 108th in Stuff Rate, so the Falcons should be ready and willing to pound the rock between the tackles.
3. Make stops on your own side of the field.
If this game becomes a shootout of sorts, it may just come down to whichever defense can make one key stop. That really hasn’t been a specialty on either side this year, though, which makes what both Air Force and Colorado State can do with scoring opportunities something to watch.
The Falcons and Rams have allowed 5.04 and 5.15 points per trip inside the 40, respectively, figures which rank 107th and 116th nationally. The team that can force the opposition to settle for field goals should have a significant upper hand.