Air Force vs. Utah State Prediction, Game Preview

    Air Force vs. Utah State prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins between the Falcons and Aggies.

    September 19, 2016

    Air Force vs. Utah State prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins between the Falcons and Aggies.


    Air Force vs. Utah State Game Preview

    When: Saturday, Sept. 24 – 10:15 p.m. ET
    Where: Merlin Olsen Field at Maverik Stadium, Logan, Utah
    TV Broadcast: FS1

    The Falcons and head coach Troy Calhoun are coming off a bye week following back-to-back wins to open the season. What began with a 37-21 victory over Abilene Christian in Week 1 was topped by a 48-14 win against Georgia State two weeks ago. Now, they’ll open Mountain West play with Utah State. Air Force began conference play with San Jose State last year and won, 37-16. It will look for a similar result, as the Falcons are 12-5 in league openers since 1999. When opening MW play on the road, the Falcons are 5-2. 

    As for the Aggies, well, they too have two wins on their record, but there is one blemish. After demolishing Weber State in Week 1, 45-6, Utah State fell on the road to USC, 45-7. Last week, though, Matt Wells’ team picked up a victory over Arkansas State, 34-20. This is the third consecutive season the Aggies have begun conference play at home, and they’ve won all three. Utah State is 31-25-3 all-time in league openers, but it has won 29 of its last 35 MW games. 

    The all-time series between Air Force and Utah State is tied, 2-2. The last time the two programs met, though, the Aggies came out on top, 34-16, in 2014.

    What To Know About Air Force

    The Falcons have not one, not two, not three or four, but five players capable of racking up yards on the ground. Quarterback Nate Romine has only completed 42.1 percent of his passes, but he’s rushed for 132 yards on 27 carries so far. D.J. Johnson, Shayne Davern, Jacobi Owens, Timothy McVey and Tyler Williams have all rushed for over 80 yards on the season. Air Force has only attempted 20 passes so far, so expect it to run, run, and run some more. 

    What to Know About Utah State

    Devante Mays is the home run hitter for the Aggies on offense. Though he missed last week’s game with a knee injury, Tonny Lindsey did a fine job filling in for him with 98 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries. Even if Mays is scratched for this game, Lindsey and Lajuan Hunt can fill the void. Utah State also has a quarterback capable of taking off with the rock when he needs to do so. Kent Myers has rushed for 113 yards on 25 carries thus far, and he’s coupled that with 440 passing yards and two touchdowns with 59.5 percent of his passes completed. The Aggies will chip away with the running game and sprinkle in the passing attack before eventually gash a defense with big runs. 

    Advantages

    Offense: Mays is the difference maker. If he’s banged up, the edge has to go to the Falcons. They have a stable of players who can tote the rock, and even with Myers’ ability to run, Romine can do the same. 

    Defense: It has to be Air Force. The Falcons are ranked No. 11 in total defense so far, allowing 257 yards per game. Jack Flor and Ryan Watson are always ready to wrap up and make a tackle. 

    Special Teams: Utah State has its own kick return threat in Kennedy Williams, but the nod goes to Air Force because Timothy McVey has been better. On three kick returns, he’s totaled 142 yards and a touchdown. With Luke Strebel being perfect on field goals, it has to go the Falcons. 

    Coaching: Wells is a talented coach with a solid staff, but Calhoun has been doing this for a long time, and he’s orchestrating a top-15 defense right now. 

    Matchup To Watch

    Nate Romine vs. Kent Myers

    It’s the dual-threat duel. Romine and Myers can both pull the ball down and get up field in a hurry. They’ll each pick up sizable chunks of yardage in this one, but it will come down to which quarterback can be more efficient as a passer. Myers has been better from the pocket early on this season, but a lot can happen in one game. If Romine can locate and spread out the Utah State defense, then the Falcons can continue to slice through in the running game. The same can be said for the Aggies. 

    Air Force vs. Utah State Betting Odds

    Spread: Air Force -3
    Over/Under: 53.5

    Air Force vs. Utah State Prediction

    The Air Force defense is simply too stout for Utah State to overcome if Mays isn’t fully healthy. The Falcons will force the Aggies to be more one-dimensional than they already are by taking away the short passing game and throwing a spy on Myers. Air Force will go up by two touchdowns in the first half, but after Utah State narrows the gap, the Falcons will put together one last scoring drive to end it with a win. 

    Air Force vs. Utah State Score Prediction: Air Force 30, Utah State 24

    MORE: 1-128 College Football Rankings – Week 4

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