Air Force capped one of its best seasons of the Troy Calhoun era with a 31-21 win against Washington State in the Cheez-It Bowl on Friday night. The Falcons entered the game looking for a crucial postseason win after failing to make a bowl game in both the 2017 and 2018 seasons, making Friday night's win against Washington State an affirming moment for Calhoun's program.
The Falcons found themselves behind the eight ball for its rivalry with the service academies in a year where all three squads -- Army, Navy and Air Force -- fielded competitive squads. Air Force's loss to Navy earlier in the season prevented its shot from entering the conversation for the Commander-In-Chief Trophy, but this is a group that remained in the thick of the race for a spot in the Mountain West title game prior to Friday night's bowl win.
Friday night's win for Air Force comes with a disappointment for Washington State and the Cougars, who followed a top-15 finish in 2018 with a sub-.500 record in 2019. Anthony Gordon was one of the top statistical quarterbacks in the country, but the Cougars' inability to squeeze out a win in one of the game's biggest stages left Air Force celebrating one of the most significant wins in the program's bowl history.
Air Force was powered in the bowl win by a ground attack that totaled 371 yards and four touchdowns on 69 rushing attempts. Falcons quarterback Donald Hammond threw the ball just 12 times in the win and completed just four passes as the Falcons elevated their game on the big stage to log their place in the college football record books.