Football: Falcons win thriller in desert 29-28

  • Published
  • By Maj. Brett Ashworth
  • U.S. Air Force Academy Public Affairs
The U.S. Air Force Academy football team won a nailbiter against the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in a 29-28 back and forth game Oct. 18 in Las Vegas.

The Falcons put the ball in the air only seven times while rushing 68 times; however, freshman quarterback Tim Jefferson connected on six of those seven passes for 162 yards and two touchdowns.

Fullback Todd Newell got the Falcons on the scoreboard first with a 52-yard touchdown rumble midway through the first quarter.

The Falcons extended their lead to 14-0 on a 28-yard touchdown pass to Josh Cousins early in the second quarter. UNLV finally got on the board with a touchdown with 8:14 left in the first half. Ryan Harrison hit a 26-yard field goal to push the Air Force lead to 10 with only 1:36 left in the first half. But the Rebels struck back with a touchdown pass with 14 seconds left in the first half to cut the Air Force's halftime lead to three.

The Falcons got on the board again midway through the third period. The drive was highlighted by a spectacular 59-yard catch and run by tight end Travis Dekker in which he hurdled a UNLV defensive back en route to the Rebel 4-yard line. However, the Falcons couldn't push the ball in and settled for another Harrison field goal to extend their lead to 20-14.

UNLV answered right back taking their first lead of the game on an 11-play, 80-yard drive. Following a failed fourth down run by Falcon freshman running back Asher Clark, the Rebels extended their lead to 28-20 on a 45-yard touchdown run.

Reggie Rembert took the ensuing kickoff 41 yards to the Falcon 45-yard line, setting the stage for the late game rally. Three plays later Jefferson hit Kyle Halderman on a 44-yard strike up the middle to cut the score to 28-26. The Falcons' two-point conversion came up short as Halderman was stopped on a sweep.

UNLV stalled on their next drive. However, they pinned the Falcons on their own 8-yard line with 9:39 left in the game. Jefferson calmly led Air Force 91 yards, eating up more than seven minutes of the clock. Harrison came on with 2:29 left in the game to kick the game-winning field goal.

However, it took one last defensive stand by the Falcon defense to ensure the Air Force victory. The Rebels marched into Air Force territory before the Falcons defense stiffened and made a final fourth down stop with just over a minute left in the game when linebacker Justin Moore and safety Chris Thomas combined to knock the ball loose from a Rebel receiver. 

"It was a great, great football game," said Falcon head coach Troy Calhoun. "I mean, a very well played football game on a terrific night." 

With the win, the Falcons advance to 5-2 on the year and 3-1 in Mountain West Conference play.

The Falcons are back in action Oct. 23 in a night game at Falcon Stadium against the New Mexico Lobos.

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