Thursday, December 31, 2009
Halftime: Air Force 24, Houston 6
By Jeff Caplan
FORT WORTH, Texas --Halftime already? Yes, indeed, it was a quick one (by college football standards). Air Force has controlled the game and the clock with its vaunted rushing attack and have the kind of lead they need, 18 points, to be in contention at the end. The Cougars, a strong second-half scoring team, were limited to just 33 plays in the first half (they average more than 80 a game), with 11 coming on their final, field-goal drive of the first half.
Heralded junior quarterback Case Keenum threw three first-half interceptions, one-third of his total on the season. He completed 13-of-22 passes for 129 yards, just 5.9 yards per completion. Air Force, the nation's No. 1 pass defense, limited the Cougars' No. 1 pass offense to 180 yards of total offense.
Air Force's offense has been efficient and effective, racking up 315 total yards. The Falcons rushed for 196 yards, but also moved the chains with key gains through the air. Quarterback Tim Jefferson has been near-perfect when asked to throw, completing 8-of-9 for 119 yards. He's mostly converted short routes, but twice has keyed scoring drives with downfield passes of 38 yards and 34 yards, both to junior wide receiver Kevin Fogler.
Jefferson nearly put Air Force in the end zone for a fourth time, but with the ball at the Houston 2, Jefferson slipped at the 10 as he rolled right and the Falcons settled for a field goal as time expired.