2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner

More controversy brewing between Air Force and Wyoming

Published: September 24, 2013, 3:32 pm, by Brent Briggeman

More drama has emerged between the football programs at Air Force and Wyoming.

Cowboys linebacker Nehemie Kankolongo was suspended for one game by the Mountain West on Monday for a hit on Anthony LaCoste as LaCoste was returning a kickoff.

On the play, Kankolongo blew through Air Force blocker Colton Huntsman and nearly simultaneously struck LaCoste with the punishing hit. LaCoste fell straight back and fumbled, with Wyoming recovering and eventually being flagged for celebrating on the play.

The league determined that Kankolongo illegally led with the crown of his helmet.

Coach Dave Christensen’s response – they did it too.

“I sent two plays in (to the Mountain West) this afternoon that I want them to review on (Air Force),” Christensen was quoted as saying on Monday by the Casper Star-Tribune. “We had two plays just like that where we were hit, so I’m waiting to hear their response on those two plays.”

Christensen has some recent history with Air Force, having unleashed a profanity-laced tirade on Air Force coach Troy Calhoun following last year’s game in Laramie, Wyo. Christensen felt an Air Force player was directed to fake an injury to save the Falcons a timeout while coming up with a fourth-quarter play that ultimately resulted in the winning touchdown being scored.

Video of the dispute went viral online.

One year later, the two teams seem locked in another spat; even if Calhoun didn’t know about Christensen’s comments until a day after they were made.

“That’s the first I’d heard of that,” Calhoun said, “of two plays being sent in.”

The play itself also generated a bit of buzz on Air Force’s side, as LaCoste, who seemed to be briefly knocked unconscious, was allowed to return later in the quarter and even scored a touchdown.

Calhoun said LaCoste was not knocked out.

LaCoste wasn’t so sure.

“Initially I didn’t think so, but watching the film there were definitely a few seconds that I don’t remember at all,” he said. “The trainers tested me out on the sideline and I got tested again this weekend and I was good.”