Air Force outlasts Washington State in Cheez-It Bowl, 31-21

Posted at 4:49 AM, Dec 28, 2019

"We wouldn’t mind one again in that regard," Falcons head coach Troy Calhoun said.

200 calories never tasted so good, the Air Force football team was crowned 2019 Cheez-It bowl champions Friday night after their 31-21 win against Washington state at Chase Field.

"It’s amazing, it’s everything you dream of, playing on a national stage," Falcons junior quarterback DJ Hammond III said. "Playing on ESPN, and to play the way we did and come out with a victory is huge."

America’s 24th ranked team showed what made them so dangerous all season. The Falcon rushed for 371 yards and four touchdowns. Hammond had two as he perfectly executed the triple option against a Pac-12 foe.

Taven Birdow added another while the clincher came from offensive MVP Kaden Remsberg on a gutsy fourth-and-three in the fourth quarter to put the game away.

"I knew I had to score and was going to do everything I could to get into the end zone," Remsberg said.

Defensively, AFA’s stout unit, led by Most Valuable Player Grant Donaldson, limited the Cougars "Air Raid" attack to three scores while making a pair of huge fourth-and-goal stops as well.

"As long as we’re making plays and winning, I don’t need to spotlight, that’s not the the type of guy I am," Donaldson said. "But it is nice every once in a while to get the spotlight."

The biggest number on the night though: 11. At 11-2, Air Force completes their most successful season in 21 years (1998).

"Just what a way to go out as a senior," senior defensive back Jeremy Fejedelem said. "It was a huge season for me and the team as well. It was fun to be a part of."

These were plenty of Cheez-It snacks left on the field after the game, similar to the Falcons roster which will return key players such as Hammond, Remsberg and Tre Bugg in 2020 as well as expectations from this 11-win team.

"It’s going to feel amazing, way better than 5-7 because every year I’ve been here we’ve been 5-7 and we’re better than that," Hammond said. "So we’re still going to work hard and go into the off season knowing we have to get better every day. It’s going to be a great feeling."