It’s a pair of teams from the Mountain Division of the Mountain West Conference locking up on the gridiron in the Beehive State. The Air Force Falcons are on the road and look to take flight as they take on the Utah State Aggies Saturday night. Air Force had a bye week last week: they were beaten 33-27 on the road by Florida Atlantic in their last contest back on September 8. Utah State is coming off a 73-12 demolition of Tennessee Tech at home last Thursday. The Falcons have a 4-2 edge in the all-time series and have won three straight meetings, including a 38-35 home win in the last meeting on November 25, 2017.
Air Force Falcons Rested for Conference Opener
Air Force put together a decent enough offensive showing in their last game against Florida Atlantic but was carved up through the air. The Falcons gave up 471 yards through the air and became the first service academy beaten by the Owls in their school history. Air Force never led in the game, falling behind 13-0 midway through the second quarter. The Falcons couldn’t draw closer than five the rest of the way. Air Force was outgained 525-371 in the game, gave up 25 first downs to their 19 and held a 32:47 to 27:13 edge in time of possession. Both teams committed a turnover and Air Force did score on a blocked punt, but it wasn’t enough.
The Falcons are 125th in the FBS in passing offense with 96.5 yards per game and 14th in rushing offense with 271 yards per contest. Air Force comes in 65th in the country in scoring offense with 32.5 points a contest and 30th in scoring defense as they allow 16.5 points per game. Isaiah Sanders is eight of 13 for 164 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He contributes 61 rushing yards and a score. Arion Worthman has completed two of eight passes for 29 yards: he adds 11 carries for 66 yards and a score on the ground. Joseph Saucier is second on Air Force with 11 carries for 75 yards while Cole Fagan adds 34 carries for a team high 147 yards plus a score. Marcus Bennett (112 yards) and Ronald Cleveland (27 yards) each have three receptions to tie for the team lead. Matthew Philichi has hit all seven of his extra point attempts and is one of two on field goal attempts. He hit from 48 yards and missed from 61 so far this season. Jake Koehnke hit his lone extra point attempt and did not try a field goal in the game.
Utah State Aggies Shoot for Third Straight Win
Utah State gave a ranked Michigan State team all it wanted when it fell in East Lansing in the opener. The Aggies have shown no mercy in the last two weeks, piling up 132 points in blowing out New Mexico State and Tennessee Tech. Utah State looks to carry that aggressive style into their conference opener. The Aggies rolled to a 45-6 halftime lead over the Golden Eagles before easing off the throttle a bit in the second half. Utah State rolled up 611 yards of offense, 31 first downs and had seven rushing touchdowns in the game. The only negative was two turnovers: both teams committed a pair of giveaways in the game.
The Aggies come into this contest 51st in the FBS with 260.7 yards per game through the air and tied for 44th in the nation with 206.3 rushing yards per contest. Utah State is 4th in scoring offense by putting up 54.7 points a game as opposed to standing 48th in scoring defense as they allow 21 points per contest. Jordan Love has hit 64 of 97 passes for 714 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions. Henry Colombi is 12 of 13 for 68 yards plus 29 rushing yards. Eltoro Allen is fourth on the Aggies in the ground game with nine carries for 38 yards plus a score while Darwin Thompson contributes 22 carries for a team high 231 yards and four touchdowns. Gerold Bright chips in 29 carries for 187 yards plus two scores. When Love looks to throw, Jordan Nathan (nine catches, 111 yards), Dax Raymond (11 grabs, team high 142 yards) and Ron’quavion Tarver (team high 13 grabs, 100 yards) are the top targets. Dominik Eberle has hit all 17 extra points and eight field goals with a long of 51 yards. Connor Coles has hit both extra points while Taylor Hintze booted his lone extra point: neither player has attempted a field goal.
- Aggies are 6-0 ATS in their last 6 games after accumulating more than 450 total yards in their previous game
- Aggies are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games in September
- Aggies are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games on fieldturf
- Falcons are 8-23 ATS in their last 31 games following a straight up loss
- Falcons are 3-12 ATS in their last 15 conference games
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Air Force saw their pass defense get exposed by Florida Atlantic, which overshadowed the fact that they kept All-American Devin Singletary in check. The problem for the Falcons is that the Aggies can move the ball through the air and on the ground. Air Force is going to have to try and pound the ball to keep the ball away from Utah State. The Aggies have momentum and a high octane offense plus home field advantage in this one. Utah State should come up with the win in this one to start conference play on a positive note.
Prediction: Utah State Aggies -10
Full-Game Total Pick
We’ve seen Utah State do all kinds of damage to scoreboards around the nation so far. While some would point out to the competition the last two weeks, and rightfully so, the fact remains that they hung tough with Michigan State on the road in a 38-31 loss. Air Force whipped Stony Brook but was overmatched by Florida Atlantic, which was led by a freshman quarterback. Can the Falcons find a way to corral the Aggies’ offensive attack?
The over is 4-0 in the Falcons’ last 4 games on fieldturf, 5-1 in their last 6 road games and 4-1 in their last 5 road games vs. a team with a winning home record. Utah State has seen the over go 5-0 in their last 5 games following a straight up win of more than 20 points, 7-0 in their last 7 games in September, 4-0 in their last 4 games after scoring more than 40 points in their previous game and 5-1 in their last 6 games after accumulating more than 200 yards rushing in their previous game. With the way Utah State has been putting points on the board, this one likely goes over the total.
Prediction: Over 64
Full-Game Prop Bet
Utah State may have rolled over teams like New Mexico State and Tennessee Tech but you can’t discount their performance against Michigan State. The Aggies showed that they can hang against a tough defense that is loaded with talent. Air Force showed that they have issues in the secondary and they are going to have to find a way to improve defensively. The Falcons’ best bet is to grind the clock and keep the Aggies’ offense off the field. Utah State should be able to go over the number as long as the defense provides the Aggies’ with enough opportunities.
Prediction: Utah State Aggies Over 35.5 -105
Half-Time Side Pick
Utah State is the fourth-best team in the nation in scoring offense as they’ve piled up 133 points in their last two games. The Aggies weren’t even intimidated going on to road to face a Big Ten powerhouse in Michigan State. While Utah State lost that game, they hung 31 points on a Spartans team that brought back a slew of talent. Air Force was gouged by Florida Atlantic in their last game and couldn’t generate enough offense to get back in the game. In this one, the Aggies should have the upper hand at the half.
Prediction: Utah State Aggies -7
Half-Time Total Bet
There is the potential for points to be piled up in this one. Utah State has seen 34, 43 and 51 points put on the board between the teams in the first half of their first three games. Air Force has seen 24 and 26 points on the books at intermission in their two games. The Falcons have the extra week off in their pocket but Utah State has an explosive offense. This one should end up over the total at the half thanks to the Aggies’ ability to move the ball.
Prediction: Over 30.5 -110
Half-Time Prop Prediction
Utah State has the ability to move the ball quickly and put points on the board. Air Force has their issues on the defensive side of things as they couldn’t contain UCF’s passing attack, which was run by a freshman. Love has some experience at the college level, having played in all 12 games as a freshman last season, starting the last six games. That experience, plus some solid weapons, helps the Aggies put points on the board early in this contest.
Prediction: Yes to Will Either Team Score in the First 5 1/2 Minutes of the Game (-125)