Football: Falcon freshmen spark 35-10 win

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Steve Grever
  • U.S. Air Force Academy Public Affairs
U.S. Air Force Academy freshmen quarterback Tim Jefferson and tailback Ashley Clark led the Falcons' high-powered running attack to a 35-10 victory over the San Diego State Aztecs Oct. 11 at Qualcomm Stadium here.

Clark, making his first start of the season, rambled for 109 yards on 15 carries and also scored one of the Falcons' five touchdowns.

Jefferson set the tone early for the Air Force's offense during its opening drive, as the team marched down the field and scored on a 1-yard quarterback keeper to give the Falcons a 7-0 lead.

Falcons' Head Coach Troy Calhoun said the two freshmen infused a lot of energy into the offense and showed glimpses of greater things to come.

"Those guys gave us some pop," he said. "They are going to be good players. They have a lot of work ahead of them, but they are guys with leadership potential."

The Falcons looked sluggish on both sides of ball in the first half and trailed the Aztecs 10-7 at the half. But, the Air Force quickly regrouped in the third quarter with touchdowns by Clark and tailback Todd Newell, giving the Falcons a 21-10 lead by the end of the third quarter.

The Air Force continued to put a stranglehold on the Aztec offense in the fourth quarter as inside linebacker Justin Moore hauled in his first career interception for a touchdown, giving the Falcons a 28-10 advantage with 11:37 left in the game. After an injury to Jefferson, quarterback Shea Smith stepped in and threw a 32-yard touchdown strike to wide receiver Josh Cousins.

The Falcons' defense pressured the Aztecs' quarterback most of the night and recorded four sacks and two interceptions. Senior defensive end Jake Paulson had 1.5 sacks, giving him 8.5 for the season.

The Falcons amassed 473 yards total offense, their second greatest offensive output since their 508-yard performance during the season opener against Southern Utah.

Coach Calhoun said they executed their game plan much better in the second half and didn't miss many opportunities to get the ball in the end zone.

"I think the first half we played on egg shells," he said. "It just seemed like we had a bunch of guys in the locker room waiting for someone else to spark us. If you go to the Air Force Academy, you don't wait. You need initiators, leaders and guys who are assertive."

The Falcons improved their season record to 4-2 while the Aztecs dropped to 1-5. The Falcons continue their road trip as they next square off against the University of Nevada Las Vegas at 8 p.m. MST Oct. 18.

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