Great game. Great statement by Air Force’s Falcons. Maybe the teams will meet again in the NCAA Tournament. That would be a hockey fan’s dream.
Casey Kleisinger scores shorthanded goal to give Air Force a 2-0 lead in second period.
Colorado College is in big, big trouble.
Air Force coach Frank Serratore talked earlier this week with The Gazette’s Brian Gomez about his plans for Colorado College.
“Let’s go punch them in the mouth,” Serratore said. “Let’s see what happens.”
And that’s exactly what’s happening here at World Arena. Air Force has dominated, grabbing a 1-0 lead that very nearly became a 2-0 lead. Tony Thomas scored on a sprawling shot that officials waved off.
Air Force is always more hungry in this crosstown rivalry games. Colorado College is usually more talented.
So far tonight, Air Force is more hungry and more talented. CC is in danger of getting punched in the mouth.
Shawn Hempsey will start in place of injured Air Force guard Michael Lyons tonight when the Falcons take on Eastern Michigan at the Cable Car Classic. Freshman Chris Carter started for Lyons Thursday night, but Hempsey got 23 minutes off the bench and had two points and three assists in a loss to Wagner. Tonight will be Hempsey’s first start since March 7, 2009.
Center Taylor Broekhuis will play despite dealing with a sore ankle, an academy spokesman said.
Just finished a season wrap-up conference call with Air Force coach Troy Calhoun (check for my story later on Gazette.com, which will wrap up this season and look forward to next year), and he said that after a couple days to reflect and watch the film, he has no regrets about going for a fake extra point and the two-point conversion in the Military Bowl against Toledo with 52 seconds left. The try failed and Air Force lost 42-41.
“No, sir,” Calhoun said when asked if he had any regrets.
The details of the play, what Air Force was expecting from Toledo’s defense on the extra point try and what Calhoun’s reasoning was for the call, are explained here.
“The look is exactly what we expected,” Calhoun said. “You still have to punch it in. That’s on a coach, too.”
Calhoun credited Toledo for thwarting the attempt. Toledo defensive end Jayrone Elliott sniffed out the play, burst through the line and hit Air Force holder David Baska well short of the goal line.
“That kid did make a pretty darn good play,” Calhoun said.
Air Force guard Michael Lyons, who was the leading scorer in the Mountain West before suffering a high ankle sprain in the Falcons’ last game against Gonzaga, is not dressed out for tonight’s game against Wagner in the Cable Car Classic and will not play, an Air Force spokesman said.
Freshmen Chris Carter and Kamryn Williams are the top candidates to make the start in Lyons’ place. Lyons is also doubtful to play tomorrow, although Air Force hasn’t put a timetable on his return and considers him day to day. In a worst-case scenario, Lyons could miss a few weeks for the Falcons.
It’s hard to imagine a sicker feeling in football than what Air Force kicker Parker Herrington had when the ball, and the Falcons’ Military Bowl win, was rolling away from him and out of bounds.
Air Force tried a fake extra point for a 2-point conversion and a win with 52 seconds left. The ball was not designed to go to Herrington, even though it looked like an option play. He was simply a decoy to draw the outside linebacker outside with him. Punter David Baska was going to run it in. But when Baska was hit, the ball popped loose and Herrington was all alone with the ball near his feet, right in front of the goal line.
“I was running away from the play and all of a sudden the ball is coming at me,” Herrington said. “I was waiting for it to come across my body in front of me, and all of a sudden it takes a bounce directly at me.”
Herrington hit the ball with his hand, and then it bounced off his foot and right towards the sideline. The ball went out of bounds, and after Toledo recovered an onside kick and got a first down, the game was over.
“It was a footrace, and it didn’t slow up,” Herrington said.
Although there were other options – the Falcons could have let the offense go for the 2-point conversion, or they could have kicked the extra point and gone to overtime – Air Force’s players didn’t seem to argue with the decision to go with the fake, which the coaches had informed them was a possibility during the week.
“We talked about it in practice, that if the time came and we scored a touchdown with a few minutes to go, we were going to do that,” guard A.J. Wallerstein said. “If you can’t get the two yards when you need to you don’t deserve to win the game, and they stopped us.”
We’re about ready to kick off at the Military Bowl at RFK Stadium today, and it isn’t raining today, unlike Tuesday. The field appears to be in good condition. It’s a bit windy and chilly, but the weather shouldn’t affect today’s game.
There have been no announced starting lineup changes for the Falcons. It will be interesting to see who starts in place of injured starting linebacker Jordan Waiwaiole – although Austin Niklas is likely to play most of the snaps, there might be a chance senior Ken Lamendola gets a ceremonial start.
I’ll be posting a pregame report here from RFK Stadium, but in the meantime, here’s links to our top stories leading up to the Military Bowl, to get you ready for Air Force vs. Toledo:
- The ability to sell tickets is what every bowl executive looks for. In all my conversations with bowl executive committee members, rarely does record or head-to-head results come up, it’s always about how well a team travels. And, Air Force is now known for traveling pretty well.
- Ramsey believes Air Force will win.
- Really interested to see what new tricks the two coaches have cooked up for the game.
- Air Force’s seniors are very motivated to win.
- The long gap between games is really brutal.
- The breakdown of three things to watch, key matchup, by the numbers and more.
- Every year, I’m gonna feel for the seniors who are injured and will watch their final game from the sideline.
- Air Force was pleased with its practices leading up to the game.
- Air Force guard A.J. Wallerstein is a pretty good player, and he’s ridiculously smart.
- Cool story of linebackers Patrick Hennessey and Ken Lamendola, a pair of ninth-semester players, being such close friends.
- Air Force is going to rely on a lot of new faces next year.
- This is what can make college sports fun: the tale of Anthony Wright, who was on the verge of academic disaster at Air Force as a freshman and is now on track to graduate.
- Maybe the best young player the Falcons have right now is safety Anthony Wooding.
- Receiver Jonathan Warzeka didn’t put up great numbers this season, but he hasn’t let that affect him.
- Quarterback Tim Jefferson is ready to close out a record-breaking career.
- Teams have a tough time preparing for Air Force, but there are challenges for the Falcons in preparation too. Teams throw plenty of tricked up defenses at them to slow down their running game.
- Toledo is motivated after last season’s heartbreaking loss.
- Bowl preparation was a little odd because of the December schedule for Air Force.
- Air Force’s defense wants some redemption in the bowl game.
- Referenced in the first story on the list, the Military Bowl gave the Independence Bowl about $124,000 to make sure it got the Falcons.