In the second of two college football games on Thursday night, the Air Force Falcons head on the road to Utah for a meeting with the Utah State Aggies. Air Force has been hanging in there without who was supposed to be their starting quarterback this season. Donald Hammond was deemed ineligible to play because of his status as a cadet no longer in good standing.
That removed the pilot from the Air Force offense. In a triple-option offense, everything goes through the quarterback, whether it’s through the air or ground. Thus, losing an experienced quarterback like Hammond hurt the Falcons right out of the gate.
Air Force has been able to keep their heads up, though, and have been in fine form with a record of 2-2. I will say fine, but no better than that for the Falcons. It isn’t easy for a triple-option offense to implement in a new quarterback in just one year. Improvements are quite evident in the second year, typically, but the first year can be a struggle getting everyone on the same page and timing right.
All in all, though, it’s been a decent season for the offense without Hammond. Their two losses this season were against two quality Mountain West teams. They were 40-7 winners to open the season, and then suffered a 17-6 loss against San Jose State two weeks later. That might have looked like a bad loss at the time, but San Jose State has been one of the best teams in the conference.
In their second loss, the offense couldn’t keep up in a 49-30 loss versus the Boise State Broncos on Halloween. The defense came back nicely with a lockdown performance over New Mexico two weeks ago. Air Force prevented a point from being scored in a dominant 28-0 performance. They catch Utah State in a bit of disarray.
Quarterback Jason Shelley has been dismissed from the program, while leading rusher, Jaylen Warren, quit and entered the transfer portal. This after head coach Gary Andersen was fired a few weeks ago because of an abysmal start to the season. Utah State are 1-4 going into Thursday night and just want this season to be over with. Oh, joy, now they have a triple-option to prepare for. Head below for our free Air Force vs. Utah State pick for December 3, 2020.
Air Force Falcons vs. Utah State Aggies NCAAF Betting Odds:
Air Force vs. Utah State Prediction:
Air Force has found a replacement for Hammond, and I think they landed on a pretty nice player. Haaziq Daniels continues to get better for Air Force as the quarterback. It’s imperative for a young quarterback to not make any mistakes and that’s what Daniels has managed to do. He’s started three games for the Falcons, having rushed for 189 yards on 5 yards per carry. He’s also thrown for a touchdown and has tossed no interceptions.
Running back Brad Roberts has been unstoppable on the ground. He’s averaged 7.4 yards per carry on 38 attempts. Roberts is coming off a monster performance versus New Mexico. He rumbled for 177 yards and 3 touchdowns to lead Air Force in rushing. The Falcons have countless running backs that they can throw at Utah State. There were ten different players that ran the ball for Air Force in the 28-0 win. Matt Muria had the most yards per carry in that game with 9.1 yards a pop.
Air Force leads the FBS in rushing yards per game with a total of 336.5 yards racked up a game. Utah State has to find some motivation to stop the Falcons’ relentless attack on Thursday evening. With their coach getting fired a few weeks ago, a quarterback being dismissed from the program, and their best running back recently calling it quits at Utah State, it might be tough to get up for this game. Not to mention the only team that the Aggies have beaten is New Mexico, 41-27.
Utah State has not been effective at stopping the run either. They’ve conceded just over 200 rushing yards per game to rank in the back half of the FBS. Expect the Air Force offense to methodically move the ball down their throats. This could be death by a thousand papercuts for the Aggies on Thursday night. Aggies’ quarterback, Andrew Peasley, has passed for 3 touchdowns and 1 interception on 54.1% completions. Peasley likely won’t see the ball much with the Falcons hogging the time of possession. I’m anticipating a 15-20 point win for Air Force in this matchup. A 35-17 win for the Falcons looks attainable.