2:06 PM ET, November 17, 2007
Falcon Stadium, UNITED STATES AF ACA, CO
AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. (AP) -- Chad Hall is used to 100-yard rushing performances.
All three topped the 100-yard rushing mark and combined for 419 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground to lead Air Force over San Diego State 55-23 on Saturday.
They became the first Air Force trio to gain 100 yards each since 1988.
"It doesn't get any better, I don't think," Ollis said. "Getting over 100 yards, it is amazing."
It may have been the perfect way to send out the Air Force senior class.
The Falcons (9-3, 6-2) ran for a season-high 569 yards and seniors Ollis, Hall and quarterback Shaun Carney capped an undefeated home season for the first time since 2000.
Ollis and Paffett had a combined 439 yards rushing on the season entering the game. Hall had more than that by midseason.
So when San Diego State (4-6, 3-3, Mountain West Conference) bottled up the dynamic senior wide receiver in the first half, Ollis and Paffett made the Aztecs pay.
Entering the season, the Air Force seniors had never had been to a bowl, never had a winning record, and never beat a fellow service academy at home. Now, with two of those out of the way, a bowl appearance seems all but announced.
"I talked to a bunch of the underclassmen individually before the game," Hall said. "I told them, 'The seniors, we want one thing, we want to go out on top. We don't ask you for much, so help us."
Paffett came to his elders' aid.
Paffett, a junior wide receiver and converted safety, scored a touchdown in every quarter except the fourth. He scored on a 4-yard run in the first quarter, added a 73-yarder midway through the second and had another 4-yard touchdown midway through the third. He finished with 105 yards on just seven carries.
For Ollis, who had 163 yards and two TDs on 15 carries, it was a perfect ending to an unusual story.
Ollis arrived at Air Force as a quarterback, but saw minimal action behind Carney and moved to running back. Last year, Hall was the man who took most of the carries lining up behind Carney. This season, when Hall moved to wide receiver, Ollis finally found himself as a starter.
"He thought he was going to get his chance to be tailback and he got a concussion last week of spring ball," Air Force coach Troy Calhoun said. "He went through a little bit of a lull there at Annapolis and against UNLV, then last week, I thought he ran incredibly hard at Notre Dame. You saw that again today."
San Diego State had a game plan in mind when it arrived: Stop Hall.
The Aztecs did just that in the first half, limiting Hall to just 25 yards rushing. They just couldn't stop everyone else.
"It was a tough preparation for us, that option game," San Diego State coach Chuck Long said. "We didn't play well against it, and you saw what happened. All of the sudden, they started breaking loose and we had trouble containing it."
The Aztecs dominated time of possession in the first half, keeping the ball for nearly eight minutes longer than Air Force, but two costly first-quarter turnovers -- a fumble by running back Brandon Sullivan and an interception thrown by quarterback Kevin O'Connell -- turned into Paffett's 4-yard touchdown and Ollis' 54-yard score.
It was supposed be a rebuilding year for Air Force, but nine wins later, the Falcons are finally talking about a bowl.
"Every single person in the world thought we were rebuilding," Ollis said. "A new coach, a new offense. Same players though. The heart was never lost."
The Aztecs opened the scoring when O'Connell took a keeper for a 1-yard touchdown to cap an 11-play drive.
The Falcons countered with three straight touchdown runs from Ollis, Paffett and Hall to build a two-touchdown lead and wouldn't look back.
O'Connell was 27-for-43 for 384 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Chaz Schilens had six catches for 188 yards.
Hall became the Air Force all-time leader in all-purpose yards with 271, pushing his career total to 4,019. He passed Ernie Jennings (1968-70), who had the previous record of 3,848.
The teams combined for 1,176 yards of total offense.
The win gave the Falcons their first undefeated home season since 1998 and the school's most wins since 2000.
"That's what I wished for before the game, is all the seniors have a great day, have something everyone can remember," Hall said.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||7-18||7-13|
|4th Down Conversions||2-4||1-1|
|TD||06:03||Kevin O'Connell 1 Yd Run (Garrett Palmer Kick) |
Drive: 11 plays, 47 yds, 4:39
|TD||03:59||Jim Ollis 54 Yd Run (Ryan Harrison Kick) |
Drive: 2 plays, 54 yds, :18
|TD||01:03||Ty Paffett 4 Yd Run (Ryan Harrison Kick) |
Drive: 2 plays, 29 yds, :23
|TD||11:53||Chad Hall 3 Yd Run (Ryan Harrison Kick) |
Drive: 8 plays, 69 yds, 2:51
|FG||10:21||Garrett Palmer 40 Yd |
Drive: 6 plays, 50 yds, 1:27
|TD||06:55||Ty Paffett 73 Yd Run (Ryan Harrison Kick) |
Drive: 3 plays, 85 yds, 1:04
|TD||02:22||Atiyyah Henderson 6 Yd Run (Garrett Palmer Kick) |
Drive: 11 plays, 72 yds, 4:25
|TD||12:26||Jim Ollis 31 Yd Run (Ryan Harrison Kick) |
Drive: 8 plays, 71 yds, 2:28
|TD||07:14||Ty Paffett 4 Yd Run (Ryan Harrison Kick) |
Drive: 9 plays, 79 yds, 2:55
|TD||04:11||Brett Swain 9 Yd Pass From Kevin O'Connell (Two-Point Conversion Failed) |
Drive: 8 plays, 80 yds, 3:03
|TD||01:54||Shaun Carney 40 Yd Run (Ryan Harrison Kick) |
Drive: 7 plays, 85 yds, 2:12
|TD||10:50||Chad Hall 32 Yd Run (Pat Failed) |
Drive: 9 plays, 96 yds, 4:04