FACTS & STATS: Site: Hughes Stadium (30,000) -- Fort Collins, Colorado. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: AF 2-5, CSU 3-2. Away Record: AF 0-4, CSU 3-3. Neutral Record: AF 0-0, CSU 0-1. Conference Record: AF 0-7, CSU 4-3. Series Record: Air Force leads, 31-19-1.
GAME NOTES: The Air Force Falcons get one last crack at picking up their only Mountain West Conference win of the season, as they close out the campaign with a meeting against Colorado State on Saturday afternoon at Hughes Stadium.
The season has been a disappointing one for the Falcons for sure, as the team shows just two wins in 11 opportunities, and one of those was a season-opening victory over Colgate. Last week, the team went up against UNLV and was taken down in a 41-21 final at home.
As for the Rams, they started out the season with back-to-back defeats and losses in three of the first four outings, but now they are just one win away from becoming bowl eligible. Colorado State had a chance to improve its chances of a postseason appearance last week but it was shut down by Utah State, 13-0.
Should CSU pick up the win in this battle it would assure the program of its first winning regular season since 2005.
Air Force won last year's meeting, 42-21, boosting the squad's lead in the all-time series to 31-19-1.
During a bitter cold Thursday night affair at home, the Falcons surrendered 20 first-quarter points and fell behind 27-0 to the UNLV Rebels, en route to a lopsided 41-21 setback in conference play. Nate Romine attempted 11 passes and connected on only three for 72 yards, with one of those going for a 31-yard touchdown to Alex Ludowig in the second quarter. Broam Hart and D.J. Johnson both registered one-yard rushing touchdowns in the second and third quarters, respectively, as the Falcons generated 228 yards on the ground, but at the same time gave up a hefty 330 yards and six touchdowns to the Rebels.
The run defense for the Falcons this season has been subjected to continuous abuse, with opponents producing 252,1 ypg, ranking the unit 119th in the nation heading into the final game of the season. The pass defense has fared a bit better with just 225.5 ypg allowed (57th in the country), but that's only because Air Force opponents have had so much success keeping the ball on the ground to begin with.
From an offensive standpoint, Air Force is just like the other two Service Academies at the FBS level (Army and Navy), in that the team relies almost exclusively on the triple-option. The squad is generating 272.5 ypg rushing (11th-best in the nation), thanks to the efforts of Anthony LaCoste and Hart who have generated 856 and 467 yards, respectively, and both have scored six touchdowns.
Romine has provided the Falcons with an aerial threat from time to time, converting 54.4 percent of his passes for five touchdowns, against just a single interception over eight appearances.
Shut out for the first time this season, the Rams went from producing 66 points against New Mexico a week prior to being limited to just 185 yards of total offense in the 13-0 setback at Utah State on Saturday. Running back Kapri Bibbs, who had six touchdowns and 291 yards a week earlier versus the Lobos and had scored no less than three touchdowns in each of the team's previous five outings, carried the ball 18 times for a paltry 54 yards in the disappointing outcome.
Garrett Grayson converted just 16-of-39 passes for 147 yards, was picked off twice and sacked four times, the latter leaving the Rams with a net of only 38 rushing yards once the smoke cleared in Logan. Defensively, Colorado State put together a very strong effort, limiting the hosts to just a single touchdown and 191 yards of offense, but it simply wasn't good enough.
Heading into last week's battle, the Rams had been logging 5.5 tackles for loss per contest, but against Utah State the team doubled that amount. On the season overall, Shaquil Barrett continues to dominate in that particular category with 20.5 TFL on 69 total stops. Barrett is also tops with 12.0 sacks, one of the best numbers in the nation.
Over on the other side of the ball, this has clearly been a remarkable season for Bibbs who is averaging 124.4 ypg on the ground and has scored a staggering 25 TDs, 11 more than all of CSU's opponents combined this season.
Assuming the Rams want to get back to the basics and they understand that Air Force has trouble stopping the run, expect to see Bibbs and his teammates handling the ball quite a bit this weekend.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Colorado State 38, Air Force 24
Saturday, November 30, 2 p.m. (ET)