No. 25 Boise State visits Air Force for first road mission
Boise State is a late entrant to the current season but the No. 25 Broncos are intent on making up for lost time.
Boise State opened with a strong performance and looks to notch another impressive victory when it visits Air Force on Saturday at the academy grounds just outside Colorado Springs, Colo.
The Mountain West initially postponed the 2020 conference season due to the COVID-19 pandemic before relenting and beginning conference play last weekend.
Still, the Broncos looked like they were near midseason form last week in trouncing Utah State 42-13.
The opening victory was on the blue turf in Boise. Now the task of preparing for and playing a game gets tougher with the Broncos taking the show on the road.
“It’s a new challenge,” Boise State coach Bryan Harsin said Monday. “There’s more adversity we’re going to have to face by traveling and having to worry about the things that come with that.”
Boise State beat Air Force 48-38 on its last visit in 2018.
The Falcons (1-1, 0-1 Mountain West) will be playing their third game of the season. Air Force routed Navy 40-7 on Oct. 3 but stumbled last week in a 17-6 loss at San Jose State.
Air Force junior fullback Timothy Jackson doesn’t want the disappointing result to linger.
“Quick mindset,” Jackson told reporters. “We’re on to the next one and thinking about Boise now.”
Based on Boise State’s dominance against Utah State, Air Force could be facing quite a chore, as the Broncos cracked the national rankings.
“That’s where we want to be, and not because of the ranking, but because we’re one of the better teams,” Harsin said. “You always want to be one of the better teams in the country.
“I’m proud of our program. That’s important for Boise State and our brand and all the people that are part of the program. I do appreciate the recognition that we get for getting a chance to be in one of those polls or whatever it is. It’s appreciated. Now we have to keep finding ways to win so we can stay.”
Broncos sophomore quarterback Hank Bachmeier enjoyed a strong season debut by passing for 268 yards and accounting for four touchdowns (three passing, rushing) versus Utah State.
Sophomore running back George Holani rushed for 100 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries and caught a scoring pass. Junior receiver Khalil Shakir caught seven passes for career highs of 123 yards and two touchdowns.
The play of senior outside linebacker Sam Whitney (seven tackles) was one of the highlights of the defense’s performance. He missed the entire 2019 season due to an ACL tear.
Meanwhile, Falcons coach Troy Calhoun (99-70 in 14 seasons) is looking to join College Football Hall of Famer Fisher DeBerry (169-109-1 from 1984 to 2006) as the only coaches to win 100 games at the academy.
Air Force will run, run and run some more against the Broncos and is averaging 287.5 rushing yards a game, fifth most on the country.
Jackson has a team-high 178 rushing yards. He ran for 118 during the rout of Navy but had just 60 against San Jose State.
Sophomore quarterback Haaziq Daniels has passed for 133 yards and one touchdown and rushed for 121 yards and one score.
Senior defensive tackle George Silvanic leads Air Force in tackles (13), tackles for loss (three) and sacks (1.5).
The Falcons are allowing just 12.0 points per game, so it is the offense that needs a jump start against Boise State.
“We’ve just got to be a little more stout,” Calhoun said. “We’ve got to block better, and we’ve got to run better, too.”
–Field Level Media