BOISE — For one half Friday night, the Boise State defense had few answers for the Air Force offense and sophomore quarterback Jaleel Awini.
Awini led the Falcons to 17 points on three first-half possessions. Air Force held the ball for more than 17 minutes, limited Boise State to just three offensive possessions and converted two fourth-down tries. Air Force had 192 yards of total offense in the first half.
Its very frustrating. I cant even count the number of third-and-1s and fourth-and-1s, Boise State linebacker Ben Weaver said.
In the second half, however, the Broncos found a way to stymie the Air Force ground attack. In five second-half possessions, Air Force had a field goal, three punts and an interception.
The Broncos biggest adjustment: getting off the ball quicker.
At first, we were trying to read it a little more, but they come off the ball so quick, Boise State defensive tackle Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe said.
So we started trying to get knock off and it worked.
Air Force held the ball for just over 12 minutes in the second half and had 95 yards. Awini finished with 107 yards rushing and 99 yards passing on four completions and nine attempts.
Boise State coach Chris Petersen credited the teams defensive line with doing a better job after halftime of standing up the Air Force offensive linemen and holding the point of attack.
Weaver and Tjong-A-Tjoe each had nine tackles for Boise State. Tjong-A-Tjoe added a pass breakup.
Defensive end Demarcus Lawrence, who was suspended for the Broncos victory against UT Martin last weekend, had a big performance. He tied for the team lead with nine tackles, including two for loss.
He is a great player. I thought there were two key plays that he made. When it was 28-17, we had third and goal from about the 2-yard line and he had a big play on the stop right behind the line of scrimmage, Air Force coach Troy Calhoun said. Air Force had to kick a field goal. And then on one of the throws, he beat us on an up-and-under on a pass rush.
Brian Murphy: 377-6444,Twitter: @MurphsTurph