Tag:Tim Jefferson
Posted on: December 28, 2011 8:20 pm
Edited on: December 28, 2011 8:20 pm
 

QUICK HITS: Toledo 42 Air Force 41



Posted by Tom Fornelli


TOLEDO WON. In what was one of the more entertaining bowl games of the season so far, the Toledo Rockets just edged out Air Force 42-41 at the Military Bowl in Washington D.C. As the score in this one indicates, there wasn't a whole lot of defense being played in this contest. In fact, there wasn't a score after the first 9 minutes of the first quarter, but then both teams combined for 35 points in the final 6 minutes of the opening frame. 

Air Force actually outgained Toledo on offense, but the Rockets were able to score a touchdown in all three phases of the game: offense, defense and special teams. Toledo quarterback Terrance Owens had a great game, completing 20 of his 25 passes for 201 yards and 3 touchdowns. All three of those touchdowns were to Bernard Reedy, who had 4 receptions for 125 yards in the game. Adonis Thomas also rushed for 127 yards and a touchdown for the Rockets. Tim Jefferson led the way for the Air Force attack, with 225 total yards and 3 total touchdowns.

WHY TOLEDO WON. Honestly, there isn't really one specific area of the game that you can say Toledo outperformed Air Force. Yes, they had an interception return for a touchdown and a kick return for another score, but I'd say the deciding factor in this one was the fact that Toledo scored the first two touchdowns in this contest. After falling behind 14-0 in the first quarter Air Force was playing from behind all game and never did manage to take a lead.

WHEN TOLEDO WON. It wasn't until the final moments. On a 4th and 2 at the Toledo 33-yard line, down 42-35, Air Force's Tim Jefferson found Zack Kauth wide open for a 33-yard touchdown pass to cut the lead to 42-41. Air Force then sent its kicking team out, but instead of kicking the extra point, the Falcons ran a fake. One that was beautiful in design, but hideous in execution. The Falcons didn't convert, and then after Toledo recovered the onside kick it was just a matter of running out the clock.

WHAT TOLEDO WON. This was a nice finish to the season for Toledo, as it finishes 2011 with a 9-4 record and a win over a pretty good football team in Air Force. More importantly for the program, the Rockets didn't seem to lose a step after losing head coach Tim Beckman to Illinois earlier this winter. Matt Campbell also gets his first win as the program's head coach in his very first try.

WHAT AIR FORCE LOST. The Falcons lost a bowl game. That's it. They didn't get embarrassed either on the scoreboard or by a bad opponent. They were in this game until the closing seconds, and while it would no doubt have been nice to end the season with a victory, there's absolutely nothing to be ashamed of here.

THAT WAS CRAZY. This is going back to Air Force's two-point conversion attempt at the end of the game. I have no problem with the decision to go for two, as it's a bowl game, and you might as well play to win it. My problem was the fact that Air Force ran a fake kick. It's one of my biggest pet peeves in football. If you're going to go for two, then send your offense out there.  Put the players that are used to running these types of plays in a position to win the game, not your kicker or holder. Kickers kick. They don't run the option.

FINAL GRADE: This game was excellent. It was a back and forth affair that didn't feature a lot of defense, but did have plenty of big plays and was a bit of a roller coaster ride. In other words, it kept you entertained for the entire three and a half hours it was played, and what more can you ask for from a bowl game in late December? GRADE: A 
Posted on: November 5, 2011 6:49 pm
Edited on: November 5, 2011 7:40 pm
 

QUICK HITS: Air Force 24, Army 14

Posted by Chip Patterson

AIR FORCE WON. The Falcons overcame a 14-0 halftime deficit to storm back in the second half and capture the Commander-in-Chief Trophy for the second consecutive year. Air Force took advantage of five Army turnovers, and was able to milk the clock with their ball control down once they claimed the lead in the fourth quarter.

HOW AIR FORCE WON: After starting the game as the physically dominant team, Army shot themselves in the foot continuously by turning the ball over. Air Force struggled to find consistency with their rushing attack, but being set up with a short field made scoring easier in the second half. Asher Clark led the way on the ground for the Falcons, with 16 carries for 78 yards.

WHEN AIR FORCE WON: After being forced to punt on a three-and-out down 24-14, the Army defense nearly returned the favor by forcing a 3rd and 7 for Air Force. Needing a stop to keep the Falcons from burning time off the clock with their ground game, Army gave up a 23 yard run to Asher Clark. Air Force continued to burn almost five minutes off the clock on that drive.

WHAT AIR FORCE WON: Winning the Commander-in-Chief Trophy outright for the second straight season, the 18th time in the history of the series.  The rest of the schedule sets up well for the Falcons, who could possibly run the table to finish the season 8-4. 

WHAT ARMY LOST: A much-needed win win to keep bowl hopes alive. Bowl eligibility now seems like a far reach for a six-loss Black Knights team with Rutgers, Temple, and Navy left on the schedule. A win also would have given Army the opportunity to possibly win the Commander-in-Chief Trophy for the first time since 1996.

THAT WAS CRAZY: The five turnovers. Army dominated the line of scrimmage in the first half, and seemed to be ready to knock off the Falcons until they kept turning the ball over. It took away all the momentum from the Black Knights, and wore down the defense.



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Posted on: November 4, 2011 3:04 pm
 

The Saturday Meal Plan: Week 10

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The Saturday Meal Plan is a helpful guide put together for you to maximize the results of your college football diet.  Just enough to leave you feeling full, but not so much you spend your entire Sunday in the bathroom.

Listen, we know what you're planning on having for dinner on Saturday night. The only college football fans who won't be tuning into Alabama and LSU on Saturday night are the ones who have their favorite teams playing at the same time. And even most of those people will be flipping back and forth.

Still, that doesn't mean there aren't plenty of other strong options out there on Saturday. I mean, every main course needs an appetizer or 8, right?

BREAKFAST

Iowa vs. #13 Michigan - ESPN, 12pm ET

Let's face it: it's not very fun to watch games with dynamic performers if those guys get shut down by a defense. Fortunately for Michigan, that's probably not a fate awaiting Denard Robinson against Iowa. The Hawkeye defense has been jarringly bad all season long, and "Shoelace" is likely to get in the end zone several times. What more can you ask for from an early game? - Adam Jacobi

Texas vs. Texas Tech - FX, 12pm ET

The word is that beginning next season these two teams will begin playing on Thanksgiving Day, so this may be the last time you watch this game without a turkey leg in your mouth. Both are looking to make a statement on Saturday, as the Longhorns would like the world to know that they're a good team that has lost to great teams. Texas Tech, meanwhile, would like to prove that the win over Oklahoma wasn't just a fluke and it wants to wash the stench of Iowa State off. - Tom Fornelli

Florida vs. Vanderbilt - SEC Network, 12:21pm ET

Is this the week the Commodores finish the deal? After playing Georgia tough and Arkansas tougher, it would seem the reeling Gators, losers of four straight, would be ripe for the picking. But with John Brantley another week removed from his ankle injury and Will Muschamp's team now in desperation mode, the upset won't come easy. Vandy's struggled on the road, too, having lost their two SEC games away from Nashville (to South Carolina and Alabama) by combined 55-3. Can the Gators rebound? - Jerry Hinnen

LUNCH

Oregon State vs. #4 Stanford - ABC, 3:30pm ET

Let down game? We'll see if Stanford struggles on the road after their big, overtime win at USC last week. Strange things have been known to happen up in Corvallis with highly ranked teams so keep your eye on this one even though it's a complete mismatch in favor of the Cardinal. - Bryan Fischer

#7 Oklahoma vs. Texas A&M - ABC/ESPN2, 3:30pm ET

With its slim hopes of winning the Big 12 dashed last week by Missouri, the Aggies are now resigned to playing the role of spoiler. What better way to say goodbye to Oklahoma than by killing its chances at a Big 12 title as well? Both of these teams have strong offenses, and we could be in store for quite the shootout in Norman on Saturday. - TF

#19 Wisconsin vs. Purdue - ABC/ESPN2, 3:30pm ET

We're not saying this game won't be competitive, but before the third quarter is over, Russell Wilson will probably throw a sword at the press box then scream, "Are you not entertained?! Is this not why you have come out here?!" And then, if we haven't stretched the Gladiator reference past credulity and good taste, the Camp Randall crowd will begin chanting, "Caroliniard!" over and over. - AJ

Air Force vs. Army - CBS, 3:30pm ET

Air Force already withstood an 18-point comeback from Navy before winning 35-34 in overtime, and it would be a huge let down to follow that performance with a loss against Army at home.  The Falcons can capture their 18th outright win for the Commander-In-Chief's Trophy if they can win the ground attack battle against the Black Knights.  Army and Air Force rank 1st and 3rd nationally in rushing offense, and Saturday's battle will be a test of defense and ball control as the two service academies square off in the annual rivalry.  With Air Force starting quarterback Tim Jefferson reportedly playing with a broken nose, I expect senior Asher Clark to step up in the backfield with a big performance at home.  The Falcons are favored to win this nationally televised battle, but in these rivalry games with the service academies you never know what to expect.  - Chip Patterson

DINNER

Pitt vs. #23 Cincinnati - ESPNU, 7pm ET

The Bearcats have quietly made themselves Big East frontrunners, as the only team without a loss in conference play.  Two years ago Cincinnati came from behind to beat Pittsburgh 45-44 on Heinz Field to cap off an undefeated regular season and earn a berth to the Sugar Bowl.  Now with Butch Jones at the helm, they control their own destiny to return to a BCS bowl.  Their five-game home stretch starts with the Panthers, who will be looking to rebound from losing Ray Graham for the season with a knee injury.  Quarterback Tino Sunseri delivered one of his best performances of the season after Graham went down against UConn, and they'll need it again to take down the conference leaders. - CP

#8 Arkansas vs. #10 South Carolina - ESPN, 7:15pm ET 

Believe it or not, there's going to be two matchups of BCS top 10 teams in the SEC Saturday night. The Hogs and Gamecocks might have been able to draw a little more attention away from that other game if Carolina had done anything on offense of late, but -- go figure -- scoring just 28 points in their past two games doesn't seem to have done much to move the national needle. If Tyler Wilson can avoid getting an early shower courtesy of Melvin Ingram and the rest of the outstanding Gamecock pass rush, Carolina should be hard-pressed to keep pace with the Raozrback offense in Fayetteville. - JH

#3 Oklahoma State vs. #17 Kansas State - ABC/ESPN2, 8pm ET

Consider this Kansas State's last stand. The Wildcats were finally starting to gain the respect they deserved for their strong start to the season only to get trounced by Oklahoma last weekend. They either get off the mat and fight back against a very good Oklahoma State team or they'll just be a footnote in the 2011 season. As for Oklahoma State, they've got plenty to play for, as a berth in the BCS title game is very much in play. - TF

#2 Alabama vs. #1 LSU - CBS, 8pm ET

So, is it possible to sum up two solid weeks of previews and thousands and thousands of words in just a couple of sentences? We'll try: if AJ McCarron doesn't hand the Tigers big plays on defense and Rueben Randle doesn't break free for some big plays on offense, Alabama's brutal run game and equally brutal run defense will eventually wear down the Tigers in Tuscaloosa. But if McCarron does get sloppy and Randle does keep the Tide D off-balance, the matchup's close enough that just those handful of plays could swing it. - JH 

LATE NIGHT SNACK

Washington vs. #6 Oregon - Fox Sports, 10:30pm ET

Washington fans hate Oregon. Oregon fans hate Washington. This Northwest rivalry is underrated by many nationally and has been one-sided as of late but this year's game should be very competitive. The Huskies can score some points on the Ducks defense but can UW defensive coordinator Nick Holt stop the fast-paced Oregon attack? - BF 
Posted on: November 1, 2011 12:43 pm
 

Keys to the Game: Army at Air Force

Posted by Chip Patterson

AIR FORCE WILL WIN IF: Air Force was able to bounce back from a three-game losing streak to finally notch their first conference win against New Mexico. The Falcons will be looking to capture their second-straight Commander-in-Chief's trophy with a victory over their rivals from West Point. Having defeated Navy in a 35-34 overtime thriller earlier in the season, their sixth-straight victory over Army would seal the 18th outright win in the annual battle between the service academies. The Falcons will need their patented option-rushing attack to help build a big lead early, as neither team has an offense that has shown the ability to mount a fast comeback. With starting quarterback Tim Jefferson's status still unknown, I expect senior running back Asher Clark to step up with an increased workload and production in the rivalry game. If the Falcons run their offense and avoid turnovers, they should emerge victorious again in their first home game since Oct. 13.

ARMY WILL WIN IF: Statistically Army's rushing attack puts up slightly better numbers than Air Force (Army leads the nation with 369.0 yards per game, Air Force is third with 326.88), but the Black Knights will find opportunity for victory if they can force the Falcons to turn the ball over. Air Force turned the ball over 8 times during their three-game slide in October, and it has been the one weakness to the Falcons' offensive attack all season. Army's secondary might find that opportunity through the air, where Air Force quarterbacks have thrown at least one interception in any game where more than 15 passes are attempted.

X-FACTOR: Health of Air Force starting quarterback Tim Jefferson. Jefferson left the Falcon's 42-0 victory over New Mexico with a reported injury to his nose. He was back on the practice field on Monday, but head coach Troy Calhoun did not offer any official comment on his status for Army. The good news for the Falcons was his backup, sophomore Conner Deitz, played exceptionally in his absence. Deitz entered the game and finished as the team's leading rusher with 87 yards on six carries - including a 39 yard touchdown rush to put Air Force up 35-0 before halftime.

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Posted on: October 18, 2011 1:19 pm
 

Keys to the Game: Air Force at Boise State

Posted by Adam Jacobi

AIR FORCE WILL WIN IF: Kellen Moore defects from Boise State before the game. Here's a list of the quarterbacks who have beaten Boise State over the last 3+ seasons: Colin Kaepernick and Andy Dalton. That's. it. Two quarterbacks who have been among the most prolific and successful in their respective conferences' histories. Air Force's Tim Jefferson may be a decent enough dual threat QB, but he is no Colin Kaepernick or Andy Dalton. And with Air Force already giving up over 35 points a game so far on the season (including 59 to Notre Dame two weeks ago), setting Moore loose against this Falcon defense may be a fireworks show for the ages.

BOISE STATE WILL WIN IF: Things do not go horribly, horribly wrong. Boise State has outscored its first two Mountain West opponents 120-20 this season, and there's not much reason to think Air Force can keep the game much closer this week. Yes, the Falcon option attack is racking up yards and points this season, but nobody that the Falcons have faced -- not even Notre Dame -- has a front seven as talented as Boise State's. Look for big days from Moore, workhorse tailback Doug Martin, and emerging star wideout Tyler Shoemaker

X-FACTOR: Style points. Boise State's currently ahead of Wisconsin in the BCS rankings at No. 5, and after the Oklahoma-Oklahoma State game and the Alabama-LSU game, Boise State could very well reach No. 3 in the BCS rankings without any help from upsets. So it's going to be crucial for Boise State to continue impressing the Harris Poll and Coaches Poll voters, and the only way to do that against opponents like Air Force is to light up the scoreboard. Is that sporting? No, but it's the way of things in a sport without a playoff system, so it'll be interesting to see when Chris Peterson finally lets his foot off the gas pedal, and how Boise State looks compared to the rest of the top contenders at the end of the day.   
Posted on: October 1, 2011 4:00 pm
Edited on: October 1, 2011 4:40 pm
 

QUICK HITS: Air Force 35, Navy 34 (OT)


Posted by Chip Patterson

AIR FORCE WON. Eight of the last ten Air Force-Navy games have been decided by a one-score margin. So when Air Force jumped out to a 28-10 lead in the fourth quarter, it seemed as though this annually decisive showdown in the battle for the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy might be different. However, Navy scored 18 points in the final 9:34 - including recovering an on sides kick and converting a 2-point attempt - to tie the game and send it to overtime. Navy's failure to convert on the extra point following overtime's first touchdown eventually decided the outcome and Air Force defended the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy with a 35-34 win.

HOW AIR FORCE WON: Falcons' quarterback Tim Jefferson orchestrated three methodical scoring drives in the first half, and the defense held strong against the bruising Navy offensive attack. The Midshipmen dominated the stats, with 466 total yards of offense and more than 40 minutes time of possession, but Air Force came up with enough big plays thanks to Ty MacCurther and Asher Clark.

WHEN AIR FORCE WON: It appeared the Falcons had this game won at several different points, but due to Navy's resilience it wasn't over until the final whistle blew. Jefferson punched in the touchdown for Air Force after Navy missed the extra point on the opening drive of overtime.

WHAT AIR FORCE WON: A great road victory against a very good Navy team.  Blowing that fourth quarter lead would have been a terrible way to head into a big-time matchup next Saturday against Notre Dame in South Bend.  The win also makes the Falcons 32-3 under head coach Troy Calhoun when leading at the start of the fourth quarter.  

WHAT NAVY LOST: Likely a chance to reclaim the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy. The Midshipmen held on to the heralded hardware from 2003-2009 before falling to the 14-6 to the Falcons in Colorado Springs a year ago. Terrific comeback though, and memorable game for the series.

THAT WAS CRAZY: Everything? Everything.

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Posted on: February 18, 2011 12:16 am
 

Spring Practice Primer: Army, Navy, Air Force

Posted by Adam Jacobi

College Football has no offseason. Every coach knows that the preparation for September begins now, in Spring Practice. So we here at the Eye on College Football will get you ready as teams open spring ball with our Spring Practice Primers. Today, we look at the service academies -- Army, Navy, and the Air Force Academy -- who all began spring practice yesterday.

Spring Practice Question: Who's going to take the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy in 2011? 

To say there has usually been a talent disparity among the triumverate of military academy football programs is, to say the least, an understatement. If the outcomes of football games were random events, then the odds of the three teams splitting their series at 1-1 apiece would be one in four. In practice, only four times since the inception of the trophy 39 years ago has that happened. Which program is superior changes, of course -- Air Force leads the series, but with only a plurality of trophy wins instead of a majority -- but rarely is it the case that all three teams are on equal footing coming into a season.

We may be at such a situation, though. 2010 marked the first instance in college football history that Army, Navy, and the Air Force all reached bowl games in the same season. Will the trio repeat the feat in 2011? It's quite possible.

Air Force comes into the 2011 (pardon the expression) flying high, and it's easy to see why: the Falcons beat took the C-i-C trophy for the first time in eight years last season, besting Navy 14-6 and walloping Army 42-22. Better yet, QB Tim Jefferson is back for his senior season after rushing for 15 touchdowns and throwing for 10 more. He's the linchpin of the offense and one of the best option quarterbacks in the nation.

The Air Force offense is hardly a one-man show, of course, and it's no surprise that four different players notched over 100 carries on the season in 2010. Tailback and human/waterbug hybrid Asher Clark is also back; Clark led the Falcons in rushing yardage and added five more rushing TDs.

Still, it'll be interesting to see how Air Force's ground game changes with the addition of Des Kitchings as running backs coach and running game coordinator. Kitchings was most recently at Vanderbilt for three seasons, and he was brought in to replace Jamel Singleton, the longtime Air Force assistant who recently joined the staff of incoming Indiana head coach Kevin Wilson this offseason. There probably won't be sweeping changes or anything -- this is still Troy Calhoun's team, after all -- but this is our first opportunity to see how Kitchings addresses the Falcons' ground game and what changes he might implement.

While the current Commander-in-Chief's Trophy holder is Air Force, this rivalry has belonged to Navy for the majority of the decade; the Midshipmen swept the three-pronged rivalry for the seven prior seasons, and even despite losing to the Falcons in 2010, Navy still went 9-4 and earned a bowl bid. This is still a very strong program, in other words.

Unfortunately for Navy, the impossible task of replacing Ricky Dobbs begins this week. Dobbs was arguably Navy's best quarterback since the days of Roger Staubach ('63), and though Dobbs didn't live up to his preseason Heisman hype as a senior, for crying out loud, the man had Heisman hype. Senior-to-be Kriss Proctor appears to be the best bet to replace Dobbs, but if Navy sees a solid spring from Trey Miller, there could be some drama at the QB position.

Where Navy really needs to excel this spring is on defense, however. The Midshipmen struggled at times in 2010, giving up 23 points and almost 400 yards per game, and now that defense needs to replace six starters. Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo recently restructured some of his defensive assistants' responsibilities; perhaps that will help the Middies' middling D.

As for Army, for once, the Black Knights are no slouch, having reached their first bowl in 13 years last season: a stirring (if sloppy) 16-14 upset of SMU in the Armed Forces Bowl. The Cadets return starting quarterback Trent Steelman... sort of. Steelman will miss spring practice after undergoing shoulder surgery last month. It's on his non-throwing shoulder --the left -- so even if rehabilitation goes slowly, it shouldn't drastically affect his throwing motion.

That said, in 2010, Steelman ran the ball 197 times (which isn't even counting the option plays where he pitched the ball and absorbed contact) to 133 pass attempts, so it's not like he can hide a bum shoulder by hanging out in the pocket all afternoon. The Black Knights will look to depend on Steelman in the fall, so it will be extremely interesting to see how the offense handles not having its leader in the saddle during these spring sessions.

The Black Knights' new team captain is linebacker Steven Erzinger, replacing graduating linebacker Stephen Anderson (so many linebackers; so many Steves) who held the title for the last two seasons. Army technically ranked 29th in total defense in 2010, but a closer look at the yards given up per play actually puts Army down at 84th in the nation, so the defense wasn't so much "good" as "not on the field very much." Erzinger's first task, without doubt, is to get his guys into that "good" category if the Cadets want a shot at the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy.

Posted on: December 27, 2010 8:46 pm
 

Bowl Grades: Independence Bowl

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Air Force out-optioned Georgia Tech just enough to win the game 14-7.

Air Force


Offense: Looking at the final score, you can see that offense was at a premium in this game.  Also, while Air Force won the game, the Falcons actually didn't play strong enough to even reflect the 14 points they did get.  All you need to know is that Air Force's option attack was so successful against Georgia Tech on Monday that the Falcons threw the ball 23 times.  During the regular season they averaged 12 passes a game.  Even crazier, Air Force was more successful throwing the ball than running it, as Tim Jefferson led a nice drive out of the shotgun before halftime to get a field goal.  As for Air Force's lone touchdown, it came following a muffed punt by Georgia Tech set the Falcons up inside the 15-yard line.  In fact, punter Keil Bartholomew was Air Force's offensive MVP, as two of his punts were muffed by Tech and resulted in about 90 yards of field position and eight points.  Grade: D

Defense: While they only gave up 7 points, the Falcons defense wasn't amazing on Monday night.  They did allow Georgia Tech to rush for 320 yards, and gave up nearly 5 yards a carry.  They also allowed Tech to convert 8 of 18 third downs, and 2 of 3 fourth downs.  The key for Air Force was that they forced a few key turnovers.  On the opening drive of the second half, Tech put together an 18-play, 77 yard drive that took over eight and a half minutes off the clock.  That's when GT's Tevin Washington was stripped inside the Air Force 5-yard line and the Falcons recovered.  The second big turnover came at the end of the fourth quarter when Jon Davis intercepted a Washington pass in the final seconds to seal the victory.  Grade: B-

Coaching: At the end of the day, you can't be too critical of a coaching staff when the team gets a win, but there were a few things I felt Troy Calhoun and the Falcons could have done.  Particularly after seeing the success that the offense had out of the shotgun at the end of the first half.  The Falcons couldn't get much going on the ground all day, so I would have liked to have seen Air Force shake things up a bit on offense.  Of course, following the script did get a win.  Grade: B

Georgia Tech


Offense: Coming into the game I had doubts about Tevin Washington and how well he could lead Georgia Tech in this game in lieu of the injured Josh Nesbitt.  Well, Washington didn't play poorly at all.  Yes, there were those two back-breaking turnovers that can't be forgiven, but he also had 131 yards rushing.  Anthony Allen finished with 91 yards, and Tech ran the ball well on the day.  The problem was that yards don't count for points, and the Jackets just couldn't punch it into the end zone when it mattered.  Grade: C+

Defense: I had a lot of crow to eat when it came to Georgia Tech in this game.  Much like Washington, I had low expectations for Georgia Tech's defense in this game as well.  Seems I forgot one important thing: when you spend all season practicing against an option offense, you tend to get pretty good at stopping an option offense.  Anytime you can hold Air Force under 200 yards on the ground and force them to air it out more than they want to, you've done your job, and Tech did just that.  It's not their fault they were let down by special teams and turnovers on offense.  I'd give them an even better grade than this had they been able to force some turnovers.  Grade: A-

Coaching: I can't fault Paul Johnson or anyone on his coaching staff for this game.  They had a plan, stuck to it, and the plan worked.  They were without their starting quarterback and were in the game with a chance to win through the closing seconds.  The coaches can't be held accountable for backup punt returners and a backup quarterback turning the ball over.  Grade: A

Final Grade


I was looking forward to this game for weeks because I'm a big fan of the triple option offense, and we don't get many chances to see two teams running it face off.  The problem is that option offenses generally struggle in bowl games, and it turns out that when they go against each other, it tends to make things worse.  Seriously, the most enjoyable part of this game was that the Air Force's falcon mascot literally flew away before the game and the academy needed to form a search party to find him in downtown Shreveport.  They did find him in the fourth quarter.  They would not confirm that he was found at a casino playing blackjack.  Still, the game was close throughout, and the bird did provide entertainment, so that bumps the grade up a notch. Grade: C+
 
 
 
 
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