Colorado State falls to Air Force 42-21

Updated: September 29, 2012, 7:51 PM ET
Associated Press

AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- Colorado State lost a game and its quarterback, but did get a spark Saturday from a senior seeing his first action on the field.

M.J. McPeek threw for 292 yards and two touchdowns after replacing injured quarterback Garrett Grayson, but it wasn't enough as the Rams lost to Air Force 42-21 Saturday.

"M.J. McPeek came in and did a couple of good things, and we'll move forward with him at the quarterback position," Colorado State coach Jim McElwain said.

Grayson left the game after injuring his left shoulder on a 3-yard run late in the first quarter, with the Rams trailing 21-0. After a rush for no gain, McPeek threw the first pass of his career -- a 55-yard touchdown to Lou Greenwood.

McPeek directed touchdowns on three of his first seven possessions as Colorado State (1-4, 0-1 Mountain West) finished with 441 yards of offense.

But it wasn't nearly enough to overcome an Air Force offense that piled up 459 yards rushing, including 222 from Cody Getz. The Falcons (2-2, 1-1) scored on their first four possessions and had five scoring drives of two minutes or less.

Getz's career-high mark made him the first player in Air Force history to begin a season with four consecutive 100-yard rushing games and the first with two 200-yard games in the same season since Chad Hall in 2007.

"This is as low as I've been," McElwain said. "I know we've got guys in the locker room who have heart, and we'll find out this week who is ready and willing to be a champion and who isn't. When guys start to worry about themselves before the team, that becomes a problem."

Trailing 35-14, the Rams drove into Air Force territory on their opening drive of the second half, but McPeek was intercepted by Anthony LaCoste at the Falcons 23-yard-line. He returned it 47 yards to the Colorado State 30, and two personal foul penalties gave Air Force a first down at the 7, but Getz fumbled on the next play.

Colorado State then went on a 12-play, 95-yard scoring drive that culminated with Kivon Cartwright recovering a Tommey Morris fumble in the end zone. That cut the Air Force lead to 35-21, but it was as close as the Rams would get.

"We had a good, sound scheme planned for Air Force, but they out-executed us," McElwain said. "You've got to take care of the football, you've got to block, tackle and take out your opponent, and that's how you win. But we're not doing those things."

Air Force coach Troy Calhoun praised Colorado State's resolve after being down by three touchdowns.

"I thought they did a really good job of battling back," Calhoun said. "You could just tell they had good grit and good perseverance throughout the entire game."

Connor Dietz threw two touchdowns for Air Force, the nation's No. 2 rushing team entering the game. Five players scored for the Falcons, with Ty MacArthur finding the end zone twice.

Getz, who is among the nation's rushing leaders with 683 yards this season, became the first Falcons player since Beau Morgan in 1996 to hit the century mark in four consecutive games.

For Colorado State, Greenwood had another 58-yard reception and finished with 118 yards receiving.

Air Force had a handful of other scoring chances, but Getz fumbled at the Rams 5-yard line in the third quarter and Parker Herrington missed a 31-yard field-goal attempt in the fourth.

Air Force's seven-game winning streak over Colorado State matches the longest in the series history, with the Falcons also taking seven in a row from 1983-89.

For Colorado State, it's back to work as the Rams prepare for Fresno State on homecoming weekend next Saturday.

"We need to get back on the road for another conference game next weekend, regroup and see if we can bounce back," McElwain said.

Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press

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