Academy accepts bid to Armed Forces Bowl

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U.S. Air Force Academy officials have accepted a bid to play in the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl on New Year's Eve at Fort Worth, Texas. 

The Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl, an ESPN regional television owned-and-operated event, will be aired at 11:30 a.m. CST on ESPN, live from Amon G. Carter Stadium. 

The previous four Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl games have been played on December 23 with the University of Utah defeating the University of Tulsa 25-13 last year.

"We are thrilled to have the Air Force Academy as the Mountain West Conference's representative in the 2007 game," said Tom Starr, the executive director of the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl. "With our military theme, what better way is there to honor the armed forces by having an Academy play in our game. With nine wins and a strong finish to their season, the Falcons will bring an exciting brand of football to Amon G. Carter Stadium on New Year's Eve."

With three-straight wins and six victories in their last seven games to end the 2007 season, the Falcons are the first school since the inaugural Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl game in 2003 to enter the Amon G. Carter Stadium game with more than seven regular-season wins. The Academy is currently 9-3 this fall after posting a 55-23 win at home Nov. 18 over San Diego State.

The 9-3 record is Air Force's first winning season since posting a 7-5 mark in 2003. The Falcons' six wins in Mountain West Conference play is their most ever and best league record since finishing the 1998 season with a 7-1 record in the Western Athletic Conference.

The Falcons have the second-best rushing attack in the country (298.5 yards per game) to rank among the top 10 in the nation for the 21st-straight season. The Falcons won the national rushing title in 2002 (307.8) when Air Force played in their last post-season game by losing 20-13 to Virginia Tech at the 2002 Emerald Bowl in San Francisco.

Troy Calhoun also becomes the third first-season coach at the Air Force to lead the Falcons to a post-season bowl game following in the footsteps of Ben Martin in 1958 and Fisher DeBerry in 1984. A 1989 graduate of the Academy, Calhoun replaced DeBerry last December as only the sixth coach in the 52-season history of Air Force football.

The first Academy graduate to coach the Falcons, Calhoun was an active duty officer in the Air Force from 1989 to 1995, and was the school's recruiting coordinator and the junior varsity offensive coordinator in 1993 and 1994. An assistant for one season for the NFL's Houston Texans before taking the Air Force job, Calhoun started at quarterback for the Academy in 1986 and was one of only two freshmen to letter for the 1985 team that finished fifth in the final polls with a 12-1 record that included wins over national powers Notre Dame and Texas.

Appearing in its first post-season game since 2002, the Air Force will be competing in their 18th bowl since the start of their intercollegiate football program in 1956. 

While z-back Hall is the only player in the country to lead his team in rushing (1,415 yards and 14 touchdowns to rank ninth nationally) and receiving (488 for 46 receptions and one touchdown), Air Force quarterback Shaun Carney has become the Academy's all-time passing leader as a four-year starter by breaking records this season for passing yardage (5,323), passing touchdowns (38) and total yardage (7,776). 

Ticket prices for the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl are $40 for sideline seats and $15 for end zone tickets. Military veterans receive half off any $40 seat and active duty members get in free via the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl corporate military ticket underwriting program. A portion of local ticket sales will go to designated military charities. Tickets for this year's game can be obtained by calling the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl office at 817-810-0012, or visit for more information.

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