DALLAS — The Air Force Falcons are bowl game winners once again.
The Falcons defeated the Louisville Cardinals (6-7), out of the Atlantic Coast Conference, 31-28, Tuesday afternoon at the SERVPRO First Responder Bowl at Gerald J. Ford Stadium in Dallas, Texas.
With the win, the Falcons completed their second 10-win season in the past three years (ninth time in program history), and their second bowl game win in the past three years.
Quarterback Haaziq Daniels and wide receive Brandon Lewis had standout games to lead the offense. Daniels accounted for four touchdowns (two passing and two rushing) and threw for a career-high 252 yards. Lewis set an Air Force bowl record with 172 yards receiving on five catches. Daniels threw a pair of touchdown passes to Lewis, the first one going for 61 yards and the second one going for 64 yards.
This was the first time you knew things were going in the Falcons favor... for the top ranked rushing team in the country to connect on a LONG TD pass was something else @ziiqq3 #BLewis pic.twitter.com/Hxuzh7f6pf— Jake Gadon (@JakeGadon_TV) December 29, 2021
“I mean, I think we're making history," said Daniels, after his first bowl game win. "You know there's not a lot of times where a team can win ten games in a season. It's a good feeling, just have to enjoy all of this. Some guys coming back you know we got to do, keep going.”
PLAY OF THE GAME: The fact that Brandon Lewis made, not 1, but 2 (!) guys miss on this touchdown left myself (and the rest of the stadium) speechless pic.twitter.com/LO6yYrxFXO— Jake Gadon (@JakeGadon_TV) December 29, 2021
"I feel like I could’ve been doing this all season and I’m just happy I did do it in my final game," added Lewis, who finished the season with 20 catches for 600 yards. His 30 yards per reception set a new school record.
The win over the Cardinals, Air Force earned its 14th bowl win all-time and the sixth under head coach Troy Calhoun.
“You want to have a year where you have a winning season quite frankly," said Calhoun. "These guys just kept doing more and more. It was impressive to see these guys work this week."
And then.... the final play pic.twitter.com/3K73TVk8AK— Jake Gadon (@JakeGadon_TV) December 29, 2021
The Falcons will lose 29 players to graduation this offseason, but will return a bulk of their roster which includes Daniels, running back Brady Roberts, linebacker Vince Sanford and safety Trey Taylor.