Air Force (5-4) at San Diego State (7-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, Nov. 10, 3:30 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Qualcomm Stadium (54.000) -- San Diego, California. Television: NBCSN. Home Record: Air Force 4-1, SDSU 5-1. Away Record: Air Force 1-3, SDSU 2-2. Neutral Record: Air Force 0-0, SDSU 0-0. Conference Record: Air Force 4-1, SDSU 5-1. Series Record: Air Force leads, 19-11.
GAME NOTES: Following their huge upset of the Boise State Broncos, the San Diego State Aztecs try to extend their win streak to six in a row this weekend as they host the Air Force Falcons in Mountain West Conference action at Qualcomm Stadium.
Considered more than a two-touchdown underdog in Idaho, the Aztecs opened the meeting against nationally-ranked BSU with a kickoff return for a touchdown and eventually held on for a 21-19 victory. Now 5-1 in conference play as a result, the Aztecs are currently tied with Fresno State for the top spot in the standings and are already bowl eligible.
Prior to the victory versus the Broncos, San Diego State had dropped all 21 of their previous meetings with nationally-ranked programs on the road. The triumph also served to secure a third straight winning season for the Aztecs, who have waited more than two decades to put such a successful run together.
As for the Falcons, they went into last week's meeting with Army riding a three-game win streak since bowing to Navy in overtime (28-21) back on Oct. 6 as part of the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy series for this season. Unfortunately for Air Force, the team didn't play nearly as well in the second part of the series as they stumbled to a 41-21 setback against the Black Knights.
Tied with Boise State for third in the MWC standings at 4-1, Air Force is 5-4 overall with three games remaining as it too hopes to appear in the postseason.
SDSU posted a 41-27 win in the most recent meeting last season on the road, but overall the team still trails in the series with Air Force, 19-11.
Ranked second in the nation in rushing heading into last week with 366.3 ypg, trailing only Army (383.1 ypg) in that category, the Falcons looked completely lost as they gained a total of just 103 yards and scored three times on 43 attempts. Even more surprisingly, the passing attack, while throwing three interceptions, actually completed 17-of-29 for 235 yards in the setback.
The Air Force defense held the Knights under their season average on the ground but still permitted 314 yards and four TDs.
Stopping the run has been a big problem for the Falcons all season long as they give up 226.3 ypg which ranks them last in the conference and 114th in the nation. The Academy hasn't had much luck separating the opposition from the ball either through nine games, gaining possession of only two fumbles. Because of that, the squad is tied for 105th in the country in turnover margin with minus-0.89 per game.
Cody Getz, ranked third in the conference and 11th in the nation in rushing with 118.9 ypg, delivered a trio of 200-yard games through the first five outings of the season, but in the last three games in which he has played he has just a combined 64 yards on the ground. Nevertheless, the Falcons have plenty of other options to turn to as five different players have gained at least 350 yards on the ground.
Colin Lockett was responsible for one of the biggest plays of the week in the league as he returned the opening kick by Boise State 100 yards for a touchdown, marking the first kick return for 100 yards for the Aztecs since 1979. Lockett finished with 148 all-purpose yards as he was named the MWC Special Teams Player of the Week.
Still learning the ropes at quarterback, Adam Dingwell converted 12-of-18 passes for 105 yards, was sacked twice and intercepted once, but overall managed the game just well enough to earn SDSU the upset victory. Running back Adam Muema accounted for a team-best 127 yards and a score on 25 rushing attempts.
Dingwell has stepped in for an injured Adam Katz and thrown for five touchdowns and just two INTs on 73 attempts, but really the offense now revolves around Muema and Walter Kazee who have combined to gain 1,700 yards and reach the end zone 18 times on 300 rushing attempts. The production by the duo is somewhat surprising given how weak the offensive line has been for much of the season.
Through 10 games last season the Aztecs permitted just 0.78 sacks per game (ninth nationally) as they guarded Ryan Lindley, but this year the numbers show SDSU giving up three sacks per game which is ninth in the conference and 107th in the country so there is certainly some work to be done there for sure.
As is always the case, the Falcons will try to monopolize the ball by running it time and again, but that will also be the objective of San Diego State as well so expect the edge to be given to the hosts if Dingwell has even a decent outing.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: San Diego State 31, Air Force 20
11/07 10:38:10 ET