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Air Force Beats Wyoming, Heads To Boise State

by Graham Knight

The Falcons lead the nation in rushing offense averaging 341 yards a game. They’re holding opponents to less than one hundred yards on the ground. They’re number two in time of possession -- only behind Army -- and they’ve got two players ranked in the top six: one in rushing and the other in sacks.


All of these added up an Air Force 24-14 win over previously-unbeaten Wyoming, raising the Falcon’s record to 5-1, and the Falcon’s dominance was clear from the start of the game.


From the opening kickoff the Falcons kept the ball on the ground, using more than 8 minutes and going 75 yards for a score on their first possession, capped off by a one-yard Brad Roberts touchdown run. Roberts would carry 10 times in that 15-play drive alone, on his way to a career high of 33 carries and 140 yards on the day.


"It’s a lot of the offensive line letting me get to the second level half the time, letting me take on the littler guys there so it’s a lot better there too," Roberts said after the game.


Roberts is sixth in the nation in rushing and second in carries with 150 through six games.


"There’s definitely some bumps and bruises," said the junior running back from Arvada, CO of his ability to stay on the field, "but so far I’ve been pretty good, going to the trainers. All the trainers are helping me out a ton."


The Falcons jumped out to a 14-0 lead before Wyoming tied things up just before halftime thanks to two quick, big-play drives. In the second half Air Force took to the skies, attacking multiple times with an aerial assault on the arm of quarterback Haaziq Daniels who led the sorties. Daniels, who didn’t attempt a pass in the first half, went 7-10 in the second half for 110 yards which included a 13-yard touchdown strike to Micah Davis.

Air Force Falcons junior linebacker Vince Sanford tackles Wyoming Cowboys quarterback Sean Chambers during a football game played on October 9, 2021 at Falcon Stadium at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO.
Air Force Falcons junior linebacker Vince Sanford tackles Wyoming Cowboys quarterback Sean Chambers during a football game played on October 9, 2021 at Falcon Stadium, United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO.

To help top things off, the Air Force defense closed down the Cowboys, holding them to just 87 yards of offense and zero points in the second half. Linebacker Vince Sanford came up with a huge 20-yard strip-sack to stop a Wyoming drive in the 4th quarter. Sanford is now tied for sixth in the nation with 6.5 sacks in the season.


"In high school I played wide receiver, mostly, so I never envisioned myself as a pass rusher," Sanford said, "but when they put me in the position I just tried to do my best and do what I can do."


Sanford was recognized for his great game -- and great season thus far -- with Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Week honors, as well as being named the Chuck Bednarik Award Player of the Week. The Bednarick Award is given annually to the best defensive player in the nation.


Sanford's coach also recognizes his talent. "He has good quickness," Falcon's Head Coach Troy Calhoun said. "He just has so much, just so much savvy in the way that he plays, and the good part is that he can get stronger too."


Air Force is riding high from taking another team off of the undefeated list -- for now -- but their schedule doesn’t let up. Next up for the Falcons is a trip to the Smurf Turf of perennial powerhouse -- and Mountain West rival -- Boise State. Even though the Broncos are just 3-3 this year, they’re coming off a convincing win over BYU who was ranked 10th the nation. After that, the Falcons are home against another Top 25 team: San Diego State.


Then, in the first week of November, the Commander’s Classic against Army in Arlington, Texas.



edited for web by Joe Harman