Sunday, September 9, 2007

Final thoughts on Utah

That was a hugely important, confidence-inspiring victory for Air Force on Saturday. After falling short in close games so many times during the last three seasons, the Falcons badly needed to succeed in crunch time, just to show themselves they could do it.

A day after the game, Air Force coach Troy Calhoun remained pleased with what he saw.

“You flip that tape on, and there are guys flying around,” Calhoun said. “There are guys that are sore today.”

They’ll need to heal quickly as TCU – probably the best and most talented squad Air Force will face in the regular season – rolls into town this week for a Thursday night game. The Horned Frogs led Texas at halftime Saturday night before losing, 34-13.

“The first half, they were the better team,” Calhoun said of TCU.

Some lingering thoughts from the Utah game …

- Calhoun was asked Sunday about two costly 15-yard penalties the Falcons picked up against Utah – an illegal block call that negated a nice run by Chad Hall and a personal foul against Travis Dekker late in the game that pushed the Falcons from the Utah 7-yard line back to the 22.

“We’ve got them on tape, you can take a look at them,” Calhoun said.

Asked if that meant he questioned with the calls, Calhoun replied, “You can take a look at them if you want.”

- Why did Air Force keep the ball on the ground so much after the first quarter?

Field position for one. The Falcons started six drives inside their own 25-yard line, including two at the 2-yard line and one at the 1-yard line. Another factor was the standout play of the Air Force defense, which made taking chances on offense less appealing. In addition, the Falcons’ receivers were not getting off press coverage and creating enough separation, Calhoun said.

But most importantly, it came down to this – Utah wasn’t stopping the run. On the Falcons’ first drive of the second half they went 13, 8, 10, 7, 4, 7 and 4 yards, all on the ground, for a touchdown. On their final drive they went 17, 5, 7, 16, 2 and 11 before stalling.

“To move it like we did, that’s pretty indicative that we did some pretty good things up front,” Calhoun said.

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