Utah State (6-5, 4-3) will travel to Colorado Springs to take on Air Force (4-7, 3-4) at 8:15 p.m. Saturday in the final regular season game for both teams.
<h2>WHAT IS ON THE LINE?</h2>
Utah State has already secured bowl eligibility, and six wins isn’t possible for Air Force anymore. So a win for USU could only help its chances at a better bowl, but Air Force is just playing for the win.
“The thing that is the focus this week is to find a way to get win number seven,” USU head coach Matt Wells said. “We talked about coming off the bye week a few weeks ago, so it’s not something that started this morning, that it was a two-week sprint, and we were going to do everything we could for two weeks to find a way to win two games in a row. Hawai’i happened to be step one and this week is step two.”
Wells said that because the Falcons won’t be going to a bowl game, there are at least 30 seniors on the team that are playing in their last game Saturday. He expects to get Air Force’s best shot.
“It will be an emotional night for them,” he said. “We will get their best game of the year, and I know that, and I respect that about them. We get it every game, but I just know the last game is different when you don’t have a bowl game at an academy. That’s Senior Day for those guys.”
<h2>HOW TO WATCH & LISTEN</h2>
The game will be nationally televised on ESPN2.
The “KVNU Gameday” pregame show with Al Lewis and Craig Hislop will begin at 6 p.m. and will be broadcast live from the Beehive Pub & Grill at 255 S. Main in Logan. Tune in at 610 AM and 102.1 FM, listen online at kvnutalk.com or on the KVNU mobile app. Radio coverage on KVNU will continue with “Aggie Call” once the game concludes.
Air Force has won just four games this year, but Wells and his players agree the Falcons are a better football team than what the record shows.
“You flip on the tape, and you don’t think they’re 4-7 because of how they play and how hard they play,” Wells said.
Junior linebacker Chase Christiansen had a similar statement.
“When you watch the academies play in general, it’s a tenacious type of football, and it’s never quit, always go, no matter what they are doing,” he said. “The option is an equalizer, I think, in that sense and it’s hard to prepare for. If you make a mistake, they are going to gash you, so you always have to be on your toes and do your job.”
That triple option has the Falcons putting up 281.4 yards per game on the ground, a number that leads the conference, but the team is dead-last in passing yards per game.
“They’ve been running the option for a long time,” Wells said. “There are not many looks they haven’t seen on defense, so we will have to play extremely assignment sound up front, and the back-end guys will have to play with disciplined eyes and extremely disciplined in terms of what we do in the back end, or you’ll get caught, and it’ll be over quick.”
On the other side of the ball, Air Force gives up 235.8 yards per game on the ground, but only allows 147.4 yards per game through the air.
<h2>THIS WEEK’S MOUNTAIN WEST STANDINGS AND SCHEDULE</h2><h4>Friday, Nov. 24</h4>
New Mexico at San Diego State 12:30 p.m. PT
<h4>Saturday, Nov. 25</h4>
UNLV at Nevada 12 p.m. PT
Boise State at Fresno State 12:30 p.m. PT
Wyoming at San Jose State 2 p.m. PT
BYU at Hawai’i 4 p.m. HT
Utah State at Air Force 8:15 p.m. MT
<h4> </h4><table border=”0″><caption><strong> Mountain Division</strong></caption><tbody><tr><td> Boise State</td><td>7-0 </td><td>9-2 </td></tr><tr><td> Wyoming </td><td>5-2 </td><td>7-4 </td></tr><tr><td> Colorado State </td><td>5-3 </td><td>7-5 </td></tr><tr><td> Utah State</td><td>4-3 </td><td>6-5 </td></tr><tr><td> Air Force </td><td>3-4 </td><td>4-7 </td></tr><tr><td> New Mexico </td><td>1-6 </td><td>
</td></tr></tbody></table><table border=”0″><caption><strong>West Division</strong> </caption><tbody><tr><td> Fresno State</td><td>6-1 </td><td>8-3 </td></tr><tr><td> San Diego State</td><td>5-2 </td><td>9-2 </td></tr><tr><td> UNLV </td><td>4-3 </td><td>5-6 </td></tr><tr><td> Nevada </td><td>2-5 </td><td>2-9 </td></tr><tr><td> Hawai’i </td><td>1-7 </td><td>3-8 </td></tr><tr><td> San Jose State </td><td>0-7 </td><td>1-11 </td></tr></tbody></table>