Utah State gets shut down by Air Force, 31-7


Utah State manages just 128 total yards and 7 first downs

Air Force fullback Taven Birdow, left, falls into the end zone to score a touchdown as Utah State cornerback Cameron Haney covers in the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019, at Air Force Academy, Colo. Air Force won 31-7. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Col. (ABC4 Sports) – Three different Air Force players rushed for at least 88 yards and combined for four touchdowns as the Falcons beat Utah State 31-7 late Saturday night at Falcon Stadium.

The Aggies (4-3, 3-1 Mountain West) had trouble moving the ball all night against Air Force, which limited Utah State to just 128 total yards and seven first downs. In fact, USU did not record its initial first down until the second quarter, which proved to be the only time they moved the sticks during the first 30 minutes of play.

“We got beat by a better team,” Utah State coach Gary Anderson said. “No question about it. Air Force pretty much dominated both sides of the football. We knew they were a good team coming in. They showed they’re a good team.”

The Falcons (6-2, 4-1 MW), who improved to 4-0 at home this season, led 17-0 at halftime following a pair of 1-yard touchdown runs by Timothy Jackson and Kadin Remsburg, and a 57-yard field goal from Jake Koehnke.

Jackson finished with 148 yards rushing and the one TD on 25 carries, Remsburg added 92 yards and two scores on 16 carries, and Taven Birdow finished the night with 88 yards and one touchdown on 18 carries.

Air Force racked up 472 yards of total offense, including 448 yards on the ground. The Falcons had 30 first downs – holding USU to just eight in the process – and held the ball for nearly 46 minutes on the cold and windy night.

The Aggies, who have lost three straight on the road to Air Force, showed some life in the third quarter. USU took the second-half kickoff and marched 75 yards in nine plays, capped by a 27-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Jordan Love to graduate transfer wide receiver Siaosi Mariner, cutting the deficit to 17-7.

Utah State then forced the Falcons to punt on the ensuing possession, but Air Force’s Charlie Scott pinned the Aggies on their own 1-yard line.

USU went three-and-out on its series, and punted the ball back to Air Force. The Falcons scored touchdowns on their next two drives to put the game away for good.

Love finished 14-of-23 for 114 yards. Sophomore wide receiver Deven Thompkins led the Aggies with six receptions for 26 yards.

Defensively, Utah State forced a pair of fumbles on Air Force’s first two series. Senior cornerback DJ Williams recovered the first one for the Aggies, while junior graduate transfer defensive end Nick Heninger recovered the second. Heninger also forced a fumble.

Unfortunately for Utah State, the offense couldn’t do anything with the takeaways.

The Aggies had three defensive players with double-digit tackles in Williams (14), junior safety Shaq Bond (12) and junior linebacker David Woodward (11).

Utah State returns home to face BYU next Saturday, looking for its third straight win over the Cougars.

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