Friday, September 13, 2019

A clash of old and new school offenses occurs between Air Force and Colorado

Photo Credit- Ron Cheney-USA TODAY Sports

By: Adam Chalifoux
Twitter: @KungFouxHustle

On Sept. 5, 1905, Saint Louis University’s Bradbury Robinson did something that changed the game of football forever, throwing the ball across the line of scrimmage.

If you’re reading this article, you likely know that the game has evolved across all levels of play to become pass heavy, spread out and high flying. Ironically, a program that specializes in flight is about 115 years late to the party.

Two weeks ago, Air Force Falcons’ quarterback, Isaiah Sanders went a perfect 1-for-1 on 41 yards passing. The Falcons ran the ball 65 times for 423 rushing yards against Colgate. Despite having only played one game, the Falcons visit Folsom Field on Saturday with the second most rushing yards per game in the FBS behind Navy, who ran for 428 yards against Holy Cross.

The colorful mountain town of Boulder, CO is buzzing optimism after a thrilling 34-31 win over last week’s win over then-No. 25 Nebraska Cornhuskers after overcoming a 17-0 halftime deficit in the third quarter.

Mel Tucker and his men in black were able to make the right adjustments and proved to have the clutch chromosome in their collective football DNA. The Buffaloes outscored the Cornhuskers 34-14 to complete a 34-31 overtime thriller. A win over “Big Red” has given fans a lot to chew on.

CU has finished with one winning season over the last 14, but going back to last campaign, it looked as if that could change after their 5-0 start, but reality came crashing in swiftly when they lost their final seven on the year. But even after last year’s dream season turned into a nightmare, the potential has been proven with a signature win and 2-0 start under their new head coach. On to Saturday…

How do the Buffaloes matchup against the Falcons? The obvious place to examine their run defense. In their opener against Colorado State on Aug. 30, CU allowed 131 rushing yards. Last week Nebraska racked up 179 more yards. Colorado comes into the game with an 84th ranked run defense which may not bode well against an Air Force attack that is known for controlling the ground.

16 different players carried the ball for the Falcons last week; leading the way was fullback, Taven Birdow who totaled 80 yards on just nine rushing attempts. Despite their option-heavy offense, Air Forces’ backfield depth could create a challenge by committee as they look to ware down their opponent.

Colorado will look to force Air Force to play from behind and to get them away from its signature run game. Through six of their first eight quarters of football this season, CU has proven that it can score in a hurry. Their 303.5 passing yards per game is currently ranked 28th in the country and senior quarterback Steven Montez has already passed for 607 yards this season.

Look for Montez and the offense to spread the field with their trio of dangerous receivers- KD Dixon, Tony Brown, and Laviska Shenault Jr.

While the safeties may need to help CU’s downfield threats, the Falcons defense cannot afford to lose track of the Buffaloes sophomore standout running back Alex Fontenot, who thrashed Colorado State for 125 yards at Mile High Stadium. Fontenot was pretty bottled up last weekend against the Huskers but may prove to be a crucial element this weekend in order to keep the defense honest.

CU comes in as a 3.5-point favorite and if Air Force is able to run the ball as well as they did against Colgate, you can expect to see a lot of sad faces in the student section. If the Buffaloes are able to slow the run however and then put up some early points, Air Force will be out of its element and things could escalate quickly in the favor of the home team.