For the second straight week, an Air Force victory meant player of the week honors for two Falcons.
Air Force seniors Aaron Kirchoff and Ryan Harrison were named the Mountain West Conference’s Defensive and Special Teams Players of the Week, respectively, on Monday for their performances in last Thursday’s 23-10 victory over New Mexico. A week earlier, freshman quarterback Tim Jefferson and Harrison earned player of the week honors after the Falcons’ 29-28 victory over UNLV.
Kirchoff, a free safety, made four tackles, broke up a pass, forced a fumble and made the play that completely swung the game’s momentum on the last play of the first quarter.
New Mexico was up 10-0 and had the ball at the Air Force 12-yard line. Quarterback Brad Gruner took off on a run and made it to about the 5-yard line, but senior linebacker Brandon Reeves knocked the ball loose. Kirchoff grabbed the bouncing ball and went 96 yards for a game-changing score. It was the second-longest fumble recovery in Air Force history.
“It kept us in the game, and that changed the momentum,” Air Force freshman quarterback Tim Jefferson said of Kirchoff’s return.
Harrison, the Falcons’ kicking specialist, was named the league’s special teams player of the week for the second week in a row and third time in his career. Harrison averaged 41.5 yards on four punts and made all three of his field goal attempts (from 30, 43 and 32 yards). Harrison has made 16 of 18 field goals this season.