Air Force Flies High Against Utah State, Cruising to Convincing Victory, 39-21

The final score doesn't quite indicate the level of dominance from the Air Force Falcons against the Utah State Aggies as Air Force impressed in each facet.

It was a dominant effort from the Air Force Falcons on Friday night, easily handling the Utah State Aggies in each squad’s Mountain West opener. Air Force utilized a strong showing on both sides of the ball to cruise past Utah State, 39-21.

PFN Mock Draft Simulator - Desktop

Air Force Falcons Control Action, Fly Past Utah State, 39-21

It wasn’t just the Air Force offense that made waves in this dominant showing. Their stout defense once again limited an opposing offense to season lows.

The Air Force defense showed up early, forcing a quick three-and-out from the Utah State offense. Their offense then rallied off some impressive plays of their own.

Air Force utilized their rushing attack to methodically march down the field on the Aggies, successfully executing their game plan to keep Utah State off the field on offense and take the game to the Aggies’ defense.

A 12-play, 63-yard drive to open the scoring was the perfect way to do just that, especially considering it took 6:57 off the game clock.

Emmanuel Michel punched it in from a yard out, and following multiple penalties on the subsequent extra-point attempt, Michel also ran in a 2-point conversion from the half-yard line to push Air Force’s lead to 8-0.

It wasn’t long before the Air Force defense was at it again. Alec Mock rushed around the edge and his consistent pressure forced a fumble by Utah State QB Cooper Legas, one that was recovered by a ball-hawking Falcon defense.

All it took from there was three plays for QB Zac Larrier to get into the end zone for Air Force as they took a quick 15-0 lead on their home field.

The dominant first quarter continued with more of the same for Air Force. The Falcons held Utah State to zero total yards on offense on their three drives, including -5 yards through the air.

Michel punched in a two-yard score that capped a seven-play, 79-yard drive with just 11 seconds remaining as the Falcons outgained the Aggies 153-0 in the first quarter.

The Rout was On Despite Utah State QB Change

The game was all but over, early on, after Johnathan Youngblood intercepted Legas on Utah State’s first promising drive of the game. John Lee Eldridge and the Air Force offense marched down the field in five plays, going 72 yards for a touchdown to increase their lead to 29-0.

It got so bad for Utah State offensively that they turned to backup quarterback McCae Hillstead with 11:11 left in the second quarter. Hillstead didn’t make it easy, nor did head coach Blake Anderson’s insertion of Levi Williams into the lineup as Hillstead got in a groove, but the Aggies got on the scoreboard just before the half.

Hillstead found Terrell Vaughn for a two-yard touchdown after the Aggies were almost held without points from a goalline stand by Air Force. However, a fourth-down stop by the Falcons incurred a personal foul facemask penalty that gave Utah State a new set of downs.

They capitalized on the penalty with their first score of the game, bringing it to a 29-7 Air Force lead.

That would be the lone good from the first half for Utah State as they allowed Air Force down the field for a long field goal as time expired on the half and headed to halftime down, 32-7.

Hillstead added a spark for the Aggies offense, but it was too little too late in the long run. He finished the game with three touchdowns on 18-27 passing for 202 yards.

Air Force utilized a nearly perfect offensive game plan led by QB Zac Larrier. In total, Michel scored three times while Larrier and Eldridge crossed the goal line once of their own. The Falcons had four different ball carriers rush for over 55 yards, while Utah State ran for just 54 yards as a team.

Utah State was outgained 428-302, including 344-54 on the ground, as they couldn’t stop the Air Force rushing attack.

Air Force is back in action in Week 3 as they continue Mountain West play with a trip to San Jose State on Friday night in Week 4. Utah State heads back to Logan and hosts the Sun Belt’s James Madison on Saturday.

Game Highlights

  • Air Force OLB PJ Ramsey perfectly played a zone read, RPO from the Utah State offense in the first quarter. Ramsey essentially took out the ball carrier, forcing Legas to keep it himself before Ramsey quickly snatched Legas to the ground for a TFL.
  • Matthew Dapore snuck in a 49-yard field goal attempt as time expired in the first half. Narrowly eclipsing the inside portion of the upright and with just enough distance, Dapore pushed the Falcons’ lead to 32-7 at the break.
  • The Utah State offense may have found their QB of the future with McCae Hillstead. Thurst into the action, there were too many good throws from the freshman to list, plenty of which should make it a difficult decision for Blake Anderson not to start next week.
  • Utah State WR Micah Davis made a ridiculous one-handed catch along the sidelines in the fourth quarter. Though too little too late, Davis showed an impressive catch radius and immaculate body control.

College Football Transfer Portal Tracker

Never miss a beat with the CFN-exclusive College Football Transfer Portal Tracker, listing the student-athletes entering and exiting the transfer portal.

Related Articles