Facts and figures
Where: Colorado Springs, Colo.
Colors: Blue and silver
Record: 7-3 overall, 5-1 Mountain West (10-3 last season; 1-2 all-time vs. Boise State)
Last game: Defeated Utah State 35-28 at home Saturday
Troy Calhoun, 49, is 66-47 in his ninth season as the Falcons’ head coach. Air Force has only failed to reach a bowl game once in his tenure. Calhoun was a quarterback for the Falcons from 1985-88 and spent four seasons after graduation as an assistant. He coached in the NFL with Denver and Houston from 2003-06.
Once again, the Falcons are among the best rushing teams in the nation. Mixing option with power and zone reads, Air Force averages 332.8 rushing yards per game, No. 3 in the country. Eleven players have rushed for more than 100 yards, led by junior RB Jacobi Owens’ 669 yards and six TDs. Famous Idaho Potato Bowl MVP Shayne Davern has 323 yards in six games, averaging 7.0 yards per carry at fullback, but has missed the past four.
Senior QB Karson Roberts is second on the team with 463 rushing yards and tops with eight rushing TDs. He’s completed 50-of-91 passes for 965 yards with four touchdowns to four interceptions. He’s flanked by two solid targets in senior Garrett Brown (508 yards) and junior Jalen Robinette (483). The Falcons’ 34.1 points per game are 35th nationally, and their 71.4 TD percentage on red zone tries is 10th. Though they’ve only thrown 112 times, the Falcons have yet to allow a sack.
An aggressive base defense with three down linemen that uses a 3-4 scheme similar to Boise State’s has been effective this season, racking up 30 sacks, 11th most in the nation. Senior DE Alex Hansen leads with 5.5 sacks, one of 17 Falcons with at least 0.5 sacks. The Falcons are allowing 19.8 points per game (26th nationally) and 305.6 yards per game (12th).
Leading the group is a man worthy of his mighty name, junior safety Weston Steelhammer. The Louisiana native leads the team with 61 tackles and four interceptions, and is third with eight tackles for loss. He has 10 career INTs, tied for sixth in school history, including three last season against Boise State. Junior CB Roland Ladipo is second on the team with 58 tackles and three INTs (one TD return), and leads with 12 pass breakups.
Brown averages 10.8 yards per punt return (20th nationally) and has a 75-yard touchdown. The Falcons allowed a 98-yard kickoff return touchdown Oct. 31 against Hawaii. Kickers Luke Strebel and Drew Oehrle have combined to make 9-of-12 field goals this season and send 44-of-56 kickoffs for touchbacks. Three punters have averaged 39.0 yards per attempt.
DID YOU KNOW?
The Falcons’ home stadium, Falcon Stadium, sits 6,621 feet above sea level. Only Wyoming (7,215 feet) and Northern Arizona (6,880) play at higher elevations in Division I football.