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GAME PREVIEW: 17 BYU vs. Air Force

GAME PREVIEW: 17 BYU vs. Air Force



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(KSL Sports) #17 BYU (9-1, 5-1 MWC) is coming off a dominant showing at home against San Diego St. Now the Cougars end the season with two very difficult road games.

Of course, they end the season against the #7 Utah Utes, but first they travel to Colorado Springs, Colo. to take on the streaking Cadets from Air Force. The Falcons (8-2, 5-1 MWC) have won five straight games including last week's victory over Colorado St.

BYU looks to be hitting its stride on both sides of the ball. The Cougar offense had its third straight game of scoring over 40 points and its defense looked aggressive and more focused than it had been in prior games.

The Cougars need to be clicking both offensively and defensively to beat a very good Air Force team, and they need a win to stay in the conference title chase (not to mention an outside shot at getting back in the BCS mix).

KSL takes a look back and a look ahead as we prep for game day.

What did we learn about BYU vs. San Diego St.?

  • BYU should and did dominate an inferior opponent
  • BYU needs to find a change-of-pace back to spell Harvey Unga, whose workload has him breaking down a bit near the end of the season
  • The Hall-Collie-Pitta trio is the best QB-WR-TE combo in the country

What questions do we have about BYU?

  • How much will Unga play and how effective will he be?
  • Is the defense (while dealing with numerous injuries) coming around at the right time?
  • Will BYU be able to take advantage of possibly a limited number possessions against Air Force?

What can BYU expect from Air Force?

  • Lots of rushing (Air Force has had more carries than any other team in the FBS--70 more carries than the next closest team)
  • Multiple varied formations and personnel groupings from a formerly conventional option attack
  • Lots of pressure on the quarterback—the Falcons have 26 sacks on the season

What can we expect from BYU vs. Air Force?

  • A heavy air attack, especially if Unga is not at full speed
  • Another hundred-yard receiving game from Austin Collie
  • Hitters like Coleby Clawson and Andrew Rich to make an impact

Miscellaneous:

  • Falcons have won five straight games.
  • BYU has won the last four games against Air Force by an average score of 42-21.
  • The Falcons average 4.43 yard per carry, but among teams in the Top 30 in rushing yardage, they ranks dead last.
  • The Cadets have led the conference in rushing in 11 consecutive seasons and have been in the top 10 nationally in rushing for 22 consecutive seasons
  • However, in 23 of their last 26 meetings, BYU has held the Falcons below their season rushing average.
  • In fact, BYU has outrushed Air Force in two of their last three meetings.
  • BYU is averaging 36 points a game, the Falcons, 29 points a game.
  • BYU (17) and Air Force (15) are ranked one and two nationally in fumble recoveries

Conclusion:

It is do-or-die time for the Cougars. If BYU is able to dominate the line of scrimmage and keep the Cadets running game in check, the Cougars should win. However, if the Cadets can get the ground game going, allowing them to mix it up, things could get very interesting.

That being said, expect a lot to be riding on the November 22 showdown between the Utes and Cougars.

Kick-off of the game is at 1:30 p.m. from Falcon Stadium in Colorado Springs, Colo, Saturday, Nov. 15. Pregame coverage of the game can be heard on KSL Newsradio 102.7FM/1160AM beginning at 11:30 a.m.

You can listen to and watch Greg Wrubell call the game on KSL.com by clicking on the Radio tab and clicking chat below the Now Live picture in the upper right hand corner.

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