Air Force eyes bowl eligibility against Utah State

Posted at 11:44 PM, Oct 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-23 01:44:54-04

The Air Force football team (5-2, 3-1 MWC) is starting to find its groove after back-to-back wins against Fresno State and Hawai'i the past two weeks.

On Saturday, the Falcons will host Utah State (4-2, 3-0 MWC) with an opportunity to eclipse their sixth win of the season and become bowl eligible for the first time since 2016 in the process.

"We've always seen and known that we have something special," senior defensive back Eric Ward said. "Everything is starting to click, with everything clicking a bowl game would mean the world."

The Aggies are a stout test, with their only losses this season coming to ranked Power 5 teams in Wake Forest and Louisiana State University. While it's always important to check off goals on the season, beating the Mountain West Conference foe is the first priority.

The two teams have split the past two games with Utah State winning 42-32 last year in Logan, while AFA proved victorious 38-35 in their last meeting in Colorado Springs. Overall, Air Force leads the tightly contested series, 4-3.

Falcons head coach Troy Calhoun told the media Tuesday they won't know the status of junior quarterback DJ Hammond III until later in the week. Don't be surprised if the triple option offense turns to backup Mike Schmidt for a second straight week after the senior's 267 total yard and four touchdown performance.

"It's not going to change the specific focus for this game, we're not going to put too much pressure on ourselves or make the moment bigger than it should be to get this sixth win," Schmidt said. "To be in the position to do that early in the season, is something the past few years we haven't gotten to that mark. It's a really good feeling."

"It's definitely a thing where we want to go 1-0 every week and buckle down each week," senior wide receiver Ben Waters said. "This is a big game and being able to get this win and be bowl eligible would be huge."

Kickoff is set for 8:15 p.m. at Falcon Stadium with the team encouraging a "White Out" of USU in the home contest.