Attack The Opponent: Air Force Falcons
Like pretty much everything else right now, Air Force doesn’t make any sense. They’re a three loss team – all to conference foes. Probable American conference champ, Navy? AFA whooped em 28-14. Hawaii? Choke job by AFA to lose at the last minute 34-27. It’s inexplicable. They’ve barely escaped losing since then, and only have one challenger left – Boise.
This is not a series with a bunch of history. Boise and the Zoomies are currently tied at 2 wins a piece. AFA has won the last two, just in case we all somehow forgot. Guessing the Broncos themselves, have not. It’s damn rare for Boise State to lose to a team twice in a row, let alone three times these days. Air Force might be the only team that can do it. Washington State already tried. The Falcons returned 32 seniors, and 11 of them are on defense. Safeties Weston Steelhammer and Brody Hicks and CB Jesse Washington are difference makers in the skill spots – between them they have 87 solo tackles, 6 interceptions, and a fumble recovery. They’re part of a defensive unit that is holding opponents to 27.3 points per game, 3.42 yards per rushing attempt, and somehow allowed freaking Hawaii to outscore them. On offense, while the team is senior heavy, most of their firepower is coming from underclassmen. RB Timothy McVey (dude, your parents need to get out more) is leading the team in points (outside of K – Luke Strebel) and total touchdowns, and is a junior. In fact, most of their scorers and 3 linemen will all return next season. They’re young, and not super deep, but are effective – averaging 35 points per game offensively. Stupid option offense.
So, we know that Air Force does football things, and are occasionally good at them – including the last two times Boise has played them. But what’s going to happen next week? What is it going to take for our beloved Broncos to beat Air Force? AFA seems to be on a hot streak, but it was also against Colorado State and San Jose. They are gonna put up a bunch of rushing yards, most likely, unless BSU figures out how to replace Tanner Vallejo and Joe Martarano real quick like. Next man up, gents. There are going to be nausea-inducing long run plays, and probably a lot of points. Boise’s offense really should obliterate AFA, but that’s assuming that they’re clicking on all cylinders. If not, this thing is going to be way more interesting than anybody on the Bronco side wants to see.
So with Wyoming controlling their destiny heading into the MWC championship, what does this game mean, in the long run? It’s getting that damn option monkey off the Bronco’s collective backs. They did fine with New Mexico, and Air Force isn’t offensively that strong. Beating both the option teams would be a relief heading in to 2017, and a good setup for another championship run. It’s also quite important to win, just in case New Mexico manages to take out Wyoming. All of these games at the end of the MWC regular season at the top of the Mountain Division are tossups. Wasn’t too long ago we couldn’t say that.
A lot of dominos have to fall in order for Boise State to have the kind of success we may have envisioned for them earlier in the season. Their eyes have always been on the prize, and with a little help from other teams, they could get that Mountain West Championship. However, Wyoming holds the keys to the Mtn. div, and the Broncos have to get through Air Force, who have been able to fend off Boise twice. So maybe we should take a page from the teams book this week and stop trying to track down all the different scenarios and focus on the opponent in front of us – Air Force. This game is likely going to be extremely close, yet another one pushing Bronco Nation hearts everywhere to their limit. But really, could we ask for anything more than meaningful football on Thanksgiving weekend?