Wyoming vs. Air Force: Game Preview, Kick Time, TV & Radio Schedule, Odds, Prediction
Can the Falcons Extend their Win Streak to Seven?
WEEK 14: Wyoming Cowboys (7-4, 4-3 Mountain West) vs. Air Force Falcons (9-2, 6-1 Mountain West)
WHEN: Saturday, November 30 —12:00 PM MT/1:00 PM PT
WHERE: Falcon Stadium; Colorado Springs, Colorado (46,692)
STREAMING: Facebook Live
SERIES RECORD: Air Force leads the all-time series 28-26 (and 3 ties)
ODDS (via OddsShark): Air Force -14
SP+ PROJECTION: Air Force -11.4
FEI PROJECTION: Air Force -15.5
Week 14 is here, and where does the time go? Air Force and Wyoming meet on Saturday to close out their regular season. If you like physical throwback football this should be the game for you. That is, if Donald Hammond doesn’t go off completing 90% of his passes for over 300 yards again.
Hammond and the rest of the Falcon offense will find the Cowboys defense to be a much stiffer test than what they faced last week. In fact, it wouldn’t be too far a stretch to say that Air Force will go from facing the conferences worst defense, to its most formidable.
The Falcons don’t pack such a bad defense themselves, with much improved performance this year surrendering 21 points per game.
In fact, I don’t think the defense has really been as appreciated because of the offenses flash. But in many games this season, it’s actually been the defense that has set the tone until the offense got going. Frankly, it was the defense who was most responsible for their win against Army.
As stout as that performance has been, the Pokes are giving up just over 17 per game. So even with the improved defense of Air Force, this is truly a strength on strength matchup of the Falcons offense, averaging 35 points per game against, up against the very formidable Wyoming D.
Three Keys to an Air Force Victory
1. Balance on Offense
Real estate won’t come easy against Wyoming, so it will be imperative for the Falcons to keep them guessing. Regardless of the opponent, the ground game is Air Force’s bread and butter. And for them to find success on the ground, a threat through the air should also be present.
As previously stated, the Wyoming pass defense will pose a completely different challenge than the Lobos did. So getting the Pokes defense out of position and guessing will be paramount to success. Not an easy thing to do against the Logan Wilson led, Cowboys crew. But predictability is not an option this week.
2. Don’t Let Halliburton Drill
A key cog in the Falcons offensive wheel is to stay ahead of the chains and on schedule. This means avoiding tackles for loss and especially those third and long scenarios. For Air Force to mitigate those less favorable down-and-distance scenarios, they must account for Alijah Halliburton.
Not only is the Wyoming safety third in the conference with over 100 tackles, but he is seventh in tackles for loss, averaging nearly one per game. Halliburton isn’t the only player that the Falcons need to worry about on their side of the line of scrimmage, as Wyoming is second in the conference with sacks.
3. No Turnovers
In spite of what has been a very successful season thus far for the Falcons, turnovers have been problematic. Fumbles in particular, these two teams are at complete opposite ends of the spectrum. Wyoming has only lost three fumbles all season, while Air Force has surrendered the ball via fumble 11 times. This should be a point of focus considering Wyoming’s offense is extremely run heavy.
It would serve the Falcon offense well to be particularly careful with the ball in the air also, as Wyoming’s All-Everything linebacker, Logan Wilson is near the top of the conference with four interceptions.
I expect an excellent game between two of the conferences top teams on Saturday. Air Force may be favored by most publications, and come in with more momentum, but I’ve seen a very good 10-win Air Force team lose to a Colby Kirkegaard led Pokes team that won just three FBS games that season.
Whether it’s freshman Levi Williams or Tyler Vander Waal under center, the Pokes will show up ready. Currently Vander Waal sits atop the depth chart after exiting last weeks game.
Even if Wyoming has not had spectacular production from their pass game, Tyler Vander Waal stepped in for an injured Shawn Chambers last year and led the Pokes to a win against Air Force. This is just that kind of series, you don’t necessarily get the expected result.
Air Force should be dialed in for this game, after all, they have lost the last three in the series. So I don’t believe they will be surprised by what Wyoming throws at them. Then again, most teams aren’t, yet they have stacked up wins. Not every team has the multitude of weapons that the Falcon offense is blessed with this year though.
Points could be at a premium for both teams; As good as the Wyoming defense is, I think Air Force has a much better offense comparably. That combined with a defense that seems to keep getting better, should give the Cadets a slight edge.