AIR FORCE ACADEMY — A frigid night against the option offense.
It’s a new and difficult test for the Colorado State football team Saturday night.
The Rams head south on I-25 to face Air Force in the battle for the Ram-Falcon Trophy. The Falcons will qualify for a bowl this season, while CSU is looking for a springboard into next season.
Saturday’s game kicks off at 7 p.m. and can be watched on FS2.
Follow sports reporter Kevin Lytle’s updates below for insights and takeaways live during the game.
Air Force 24, Colorado State 12
3 takeaways:Air Force runs over Colorado State football team
CSU tried an onsides kick and then timeouts to stop the clock and get the ball back but Air Force picked up a first down to keep churning the clock.
Clay Millen connects with true freshman Jordan Williams on a 21-yard touchdown pass. Another beautiful strike and a first career TD for Williams.
Again the two-point try fails.
Air Force lead is 24-12 with 5:17 to go.
Air Force attempts but misses a 53-yard field goal.
CSU ball at own 36 down 24-6 with 9:27 left in the game.
Air Force 24, Colorado State 6.
AFA has a 2nd and 5 at own 47 to start the fourth.
Rams quickly take advantage of the turnover, with Millen hitting Tory Horton with a strike from 28 yards out.
That’s Horton’s seventh TD of the season.
The two-point try fails.
Air Force leads 24-6 with 37 seconds left in the third quarter.
CSU went three-and-out but Air Force muffed the punt catch and CJ Onyechi fell on the fumble.
CSU ball at Air Force’s 21 with 1:23 left in the third quarter.
John Lee Eldridge III runs in from 4 yards out for Air Force. AFA with a 72-yard drive in 12 plays and 5:34.
It’s now 24-0.
CSU drives to the Air Force 28 on first drive of third quarter for Rams, but CSU goes for a 4th and 5 at the 28 and fails.
CSU has crossed midfield twice and turned it over on downs each time.
CSU forces an Air Force 3-and-out to open the second half and a shanked punt gives CSU the ball at own 47 for first drive of the half.
Air Force 17, Colorado State 0.
Matthew Dapore hits a 45-yard field goal at the buzzer to add to the Air Force lead. The Falcons got to scoring position with a fake kneel and then run for 34 yards.
Air Force has 224 yards of offense (all rushing) to 92 for CSU. Plays run are 37-22 for Air Force and time of possession is 18:45 to 11:15 for AFA.
CSU started drive after Air Force touchdown at own 3 after a weird kick sequence.
Rams move the ball into Air Force territory but face 4th and 2 at AFA 29. CSU decides to go for it because an FG does little in this one, but screen to Avery Morrow is sniffed out and CSU turns it over on downs.
CSU has punted on all three drives and Air Force has touchdowns now on two of its three.
Brad Roberts with a 34-yard TD run the play after Air Force converts a 4th and 1. Falcons lead 14-0 with 2:36 until half.
Roberts has 102 yards on 17 carries already.
Air Force has 23 consecutive plays without an attempted pass before throwing incomplete on a third and long.
CSU forces a punt and gets a 1st and 10 at own 15 with 9:10 to go before half.
Air Force already has 14:15 time of possession.
Like their first drive, the Rams get one first down then punt on their second drive. In a typical game no real movement through two drives wouldn’t be that big a deal.
But as Air Force showed on the first drive, it is a problem here. AFA churns clock and opponents have very limited opportunities.
If Air Force were to go score on its second drive (Falcons start 1st and 10 at own 27) the Rams would be in a bigger hole than even the deficit would suggest because of the clock-eating Falcons.
Air Force 7, Colorado State 0.
A supremely fast first quarter (less than 30 minutes of real time) and just two-plus drives. CSU has a 2nd and 11 at its own 35 to start the second quarter.
A quick 7-0 lead for Air Force. Falcons go 80 yards on 15 plays on first drive, capped by an 11-yard run from DeAndre Hughes for the score. Air Force ate up a whopping 9:24 of clock on the drive. Every play was a run.
CSU had one first down on its first drive but then punted.
Air Force wins the toss and defers. CSU will receiver opening kick.
“It’s a beautiful night for football,” the ref says at the coin flip. Kickoff temperature is about 20 degrees.
Look for players huddling around these tonight.
The Karas brothers from Pomona High School will line up on different sides in this one.
Aaron Karas is a true freshman at CSU while older brother Adam is a junior for the Falcons. Both play on the offensive line.
It’s down to 31 degrees more than 3 hours before kickoff. Temp is expected to drop to 20 by kick and into the mid teens during the game.
The stadium blocks the sun from the field early in the day, meaning a very cold playing field.
CSU’s recent history in this matchup is flat out bad. It stinks like day old trash.
The Rams have lost the matchup five times in a row. OK, that’s not a great number but not that bad, right? Walk it back further.
CSU has just two wins in the last 15 games against Air Force. The Rams haven’t won back-to-back since 2002 and 2003.
And in Falcon Stadium? Yikes. CSU has lost eight in a row and hasn’t won at Air Force since 2002.
It’s always a fun moment when college football teams award scholarships to walk-ons. Six of them earned that this week at CSU.
Coach Jay Norvell announced Monday six players were put on scholarship.
- Running back Keegan Holles
- Offensive lineman Keegan Hamilton
- Linebacker Drew Kulick
- Safety Ayden Hector
- Kicker Michael Boyle
- Kicker Henry Katleman
Holles said his parents were his first phone call after getting the news.
“It was awesome. They were so excited. Huge smile on their faces as well. I was kind of speechless, too,” he said.
Three of the six — Holles, Hamilton and Kulick — are Colorado kids and Norvell said he wants to build a strong walk-on program, heavy on Colorado kids, and give them a chance to earn scholarships.
The CSU football team had recruiting news Friday, with a receiver from Tennessee announcing his verbal commitment to the Rams.
Jamari Person, a 6-2 wideout, announced his intention to join the Rams. Check out the full list of commits in the recruiting tracker:
CSU football recruiting tracker:Class grows to more than 20 commitments