Sunday, February 12, 2017

Farewell to 2016: Air Force Falcons

2016 was a season of recurrent dominance on one side (San Diego State), and a resurgence on the other (Wyoming). The strength of the MWC was once again on the Mountain Division side of the league, as both Boise State and Air Force finished with 10 wins after bowl season was over with, and New Mexico finished with 9 wins. Wyoming, finished with 8 after being one of the worst programs in America in recent seasons. The Cowboys made it to the MWC title game after holding off charges from both Boise State and New Mexico, and while the season could have finished better for the Cowboys, the surge in success in Laramie had to be recognized as a huge move forward for Craig Bohl and his Cowboy program. In the West, Hawaii showed signs of life under Nick Rolovich, but the rest of the division, not including San Diego State, tanked once again, that side of the league will have 3 new head coaches in 2017. Here is a look back at the season that was in 2016.

Air Force Falcons
10-3 (5-3)

2016 Schedule
Beat Abilene Christian 37-21
Beat Georgia State 48-14
Beat Utah State 27-20
Beat Navy 28-14
Lost to Wyoming 35-26
Lost to New Mexico 45-40
Lost to Hawaii 34-27
Beat Fresno State 31-21
Beat Army 31-12
Beat Colorado State 49-46
Beat San Jose State 41-38
Beat Boise State 27-20
Beat South Alabama 45-21 (Arizona Bowl)

MVP Offense: RB Timothy McVey, WR Jalen Robinette
McVey has what is probably the most unfortunate name in college football, but he still was a solid contributor on offense, as he rushed for 10 scores on the season, on 708 yards rushing, which came off of 83 carries. For the Falcons, the run game was more of a team effort, as they rushed for 317.38 yards per game. 
Air Force is dependent on their run game, and passing is something they only do every so often. That being said, Jalen Robinette had a massive season as the main target when Air Force did pass the bfootball, as he posted a receiving line of 35-959-6. He averaged 27.4 yards per reception. He caught 7 passes for 182 yards in the loss to New Mexico, but caught 5 passes for 163 yards in the win over Navy. In all, he went over 100 yards four times in 2016.
MVP Defense: DB Weston Steelhammer
Steelhammer was one of the national leaders in interceptions in 2016, as he finished with 7 total picks on the season, and he also led the team in tackles with 80. He also added 4 PBUs, and 4.5 TFLs. Air Force was rock solid against the run in 2016, allowing just 114 yards rushing per game, and they intercepted 15 passes on the season. 
Others of Note: Jacobi Owens led the team in rushing with 859 yards, and averaged 6.05 yards per carry. McVey added 193 yards receiving with 2 more scores through the air. Arion Worthman took over at QB for a time when Nate Romine was injured, and looked promising, passing for 546 yards and 4 scores. He added 674 yards rushing and 6 scores. 
On defense, Haji Dunn, Jr. recorded 7 PBUs, and forced 3 fumbles. Roland Ladipo added 7 PBUs, but it was Jesse Washington who led the team with 11. 
Best Win: Boise State 27-20, Army 31-12, Navy 28-14
The win over Boise State kept the Broncos from winning the Mountain Division title, while the wins over Army and Navy secured the Commander-In-Chief trophy for the Falcons in 2016. The Falcons started the season 4-0, and finished the year strong with a 6-0 run. 
Worst Loss: Hawaii 34-27
Hawaii was improved in 2016, but still did not finish with a winning record, and this was the 3rd consecutive loss for the Falcons. Air Force went on a 3 game skid mid season, and those were their only losses of the season. The unfortunate thing was that these losses all came in MWC play. 
2017 Non Conference Schedule: 9/2 VMI, 9/16 at Michigan, 10/7 at Navy, 11/4 Army
Air Force is a tough team to look ahead for, as they are losing bodies all over the place in large numbers. VMI will be a win, and a fairly easy win at that. The other 3 games all have major questions, with Michigan looking like a standard loss. Best case is 3-1 against this lineup, but worst case is also 1-3. 

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