Colorado State vs. Air Force: Falcons Game Preview, How to Watch, Odds, Prediction
Can The Falcons Win Their Sixth Straight Against the Rams?
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The Ram-Falcon Trophy is on the Line in Colorado Springs!
WEEK 12: Air Force Falcons 7-3 (3-3) vs. Colorado State Rams 2-8 (2-4)
WHEN: Saturday, November 19th — 7:00 P.M. MT/ 6:00 P.M. PT
WHERE: Falcon Stadium (Colorado Springs, CO)
WEATHER: Clear skies. High of 39F, Low 19F. Winds NW at 5 to 10 mph.
TV: FS2 Guy Haberman (play-by-play), Will Blackmon (analyst)
STREAM: FuboTV — Get a free trial
RADIO: KVOR AM 740 in Colorado Springs, 104.3 the Fan in Denver; SIRIUS 388, SXM App 978
Jim Arthur (play-by-play), Jesse Kurtz (analyst)
SERIES RECORD: Air Force leads the series vs. Colorado State, 37-21-1. The Falcons won year’s matchup 35-21.
LAST WEEK: Air Force defeated New Mexico 35-3. Colorado State lost to Wyoming 13-14.
WEBSITES: CSURams.com, the official Colorado State athletics website | GoAirForceFalcons.com, the official Air Force athletics website
GAME NOTES (PDF): Colorado State | Air Force
SP+ PROJECTION: Air Force by 29.7
FEI PROJECTION: Air Force by 24.1
Ready to go to 𝔀𝓸𝓻𝓴 pic.twitter.com/PgkwIIq6k8
— Air Force Football (@AF_Football) November 19, 2022
As we inch closer to the end of the season, we have another rivalry trophy on the line in week 12. For the 42nd time, these two Colorado based institutions will battle it out for the Ram-Falcon trophy. Air Force has dominated the series versus Colorado State of late, winning the last five matchups.
In his first year at Fort Collins, Jay Norvell has faced a lot of challenges. None more evident though, than the offensive side of the ball. A far cry from the success he and offensive coordinator, Matt Mumme enjoyed in Nevada the year prior. Playing the Rams means for the second straight week, the Falcons face one of the nations most anemic offenses. Well, technically, they are the nations worst offense on a points per game basis.
There were a number of players from that very same Wolf Pack team that Norvell previously coached, who followed him to Colorado State. But that has not always translated well on the field. Not yet anyways. It’s only year one, and while a lot players have transferred into Fort Collins, an alarming number have also departed throughout the year.
As for the Falcons, they are just looking to keep stacking wins as they march towards the finish line. Even though a Conference Championship is out of the question, 10 wins in consecutive seasons is not. If they want to record double digit win totals in back to back years, they have to take care of business at Falcon Stadium against their in-state rivals on Saturday.
Keys to an Air Force Victory
NO BODES OF CONFIDENCE
When Jay Norvell recruited Clay Millen to play for him back in Reno, he was a prized four star commit. While things haven’t necessarily gone as hoped for the coach and quarterback tandem just yet, the potential is there. In his first year as a starting quarterback, the redshirt freshman has started eight games this season, all while seeing the roster around him change pretty significantly.
Like we see quite often, teams that appear to be in a building phase use the opportunity to get critical experience and development for their quarterback. Especially those who are fortunate enough to have what they believe to be a program leader, like many feel Millen could be. This season is now very much about building his confidence.
A few of the bright spots on the offense during these growing pains for the Rams, have been the play of fellow Nevada transfers Tory Horton and Avery Morrow. Horton has been as good as any receiver in the Conference this season, racking up 965 receiving yards, with six touchdowns. The Falcons must account for Horton throughout the game.
Morrow has quietly come on, despite running behind a patchwork offensive line. With over 700 rush yards on the season, he’s provided a nice compliment on the ground.
The Rams are going to have to find a way to score points against a very stingy Air Force defense. This trio of inbound transfers are going to be the most likely of culprits if they are to succeed. If the Falcons can mitigate the impact that Morrow and Horton have, it’s really hard to see CSU’s offense find their way.
beware their playmakers
It feels odd to say it about a Jay Norvell team, but aside from Tory Horton, the playmakers of the Rams really reside on the defensive side of the ball. You may not know it by looking at their win-loss record, or the defenses statistical standing, but they have some dudes.
Similar to the Falcons opponent last week, Colorado State’s defense has been victimized largely in part due to an offense that has very rarely showed up. There are guys at every level of the defense who can impact the game though.
C.J. Onyechi and Mohamed Kamara bookend the defensive line as a formidable duo. Kamara is having an All-Conference type season, registering 7.5 sacks and 14 TFL’s. The two are responsible for 45 career tackles behind the line of scrimmage. While at linebacker, Cam’Ron Carter and Dequan Jackson are starting their combined 99th game. This tandem of tacklers have a ton of game experience that will be vital to helping try and stop the Air Force ground attack.
Similar to the Falcons, CSU features a solid tandem of safeties in Henry Blackburn and Jack Howell. A tackling machine, Howell will probably eclipse his 100th tackle on the season in the Falcons first offensive possession. Also like Taylor and Goff for Falcons, these two will return next season, assuming they do not transfer. Ayden Hector is another guy to watch in the secondary, as he’s picked off three passes from the nickel spot.
A 𝓫𝓪𝓽𝓽𝓵𝓮 for the Ram-Falcon Trophy pic.twitter.com/8eFSBErDBY
— Air Force Football (@AF_Football) November 18, 2022
When you look at just how bad the Colorado State offense has been, it’s easy to start thinking about a much more imposing San Diego State game in waiting on the Falcons schedule. However, with the exception of their game against Boise State, the Rams have really showed up in Conference play. They’ve won two of those games, and were highly competitive against some very credible competition in Wyoming and San Jose State.
It’s not the rivalry they have with Wyoming, but playing Air Force is an important game for a variety of reasons. Unfortunately for the Rams, I think that close loss to Wyoming is going to have a lingering effect and carry over to their contest in Colorado Springs. Winning the that game against the Pokes could have been a turning point for this young team, but such was not the case.
The Falcons just seem to really have CSU’s number, winning 13 of their last 15 against their neighboring rivals. It’s also worth mentioning, if the Rams were to succeed in pulling off the upset, it would be their first victory in Colorado Springs since 2002. I just don’t see there being enough offense on the Colorado State sideline to get it done. Air Force ranks 1st in rushing offense and pass defense, 6th in scoring defense and 5th in total defense. I’ll save you time looking it up, the Rams are last nationally in multiple categories that have significant bearing on the outcome of a football game.
Make it six in a row for the Bolt Brotherhood against CSU, that Ram-Falcon Trophy isn’t going anywhere.
Air Force 30, Colorado Springs 13
And if you want a little more content on this Mountain West matchup between the Falcons and Lobos, give a listen to ‘First and 505 with Ryan Tomari’ HERE! The Podcast host was gracious enough to have me on to talk about this weeks game, and he is constantly putting out great content, so give him a listen!