Air Force Falcons (10-2) vs. Washington State Cougars (6-6)
Friday, December 28, 2019, 10:15 PM ET (Chase Field)
Cheez-it Bowl (College Football Playoff)
Line: Falcons -135 Cougars +115
Spread: Falcons -2.5 Total: 69
The Air Force Falcons and Washington State Cougars, two inter-conference rivals will face for a bowl title in the Cheez-It Bowl held in downtown rival.
The Cougars finish their regular season 5th in the Pac-12 North after a 31-13 loss to the Washington Huskies. The Falcons finish their regular season 2nd in the Mountain West with seven straight victories for a 10-2 record.
Washington State Looks to Bounce Back Against Air Force
he Washington State Cougars have the best passing offense in college football that is averaging 444.3 yards per contest. They also have a top 10 offense, but that offense struggled in the most recent game against the Washington Huskies. The Cougars are facing the Falcons’ secondary that allows 208.1 yards to the opposing quarterbacks. Anthony Gordon, who did record a 300+ yard game against Washington, threw a couple of interceptions without touchdowns. He will have a chance to bounce back on Saturday.
The Cougars have a practically non-existent running offense that averages miserable 72.5 yards per game. Given that Air Force has a top 20 defense against the run that is letting 107.7 yards on average.
Senior quarterback Anthony Gordon is one of the hottest passers in the country this year. He completed 465 of 647 passes for 5,228 yards (1st) with 45 touchdowns (2nd) and 16 interceptions. When it comes to the games against the non-conference sides, Gordon is 96/122 for 1,324 yards with 12 touchdowns and two interceptions.
Gordon’s favorite target this season is senior wideout Brandon Arconado. Arconado leads the Cougars with 67 receptions for 942 yards with six touchdowns. He wasn’t very effective against the non-conference rivals, though. Arconado recorded 23 catches for 308 yards and one score in those matchups.
Freshman running back Elijah Collins is Michigan State’s top runner this time around with 892 yards and five touchdowns on 201 carries. Collins has 281 rushing yards, and one TD on 44 carries against the non-conference opponents.
Gordon has another offensive weapon in his arsenal – sophomore running back Max Borghi. This multidimensional runner has been productive with both the ball on the ground and as a receiver. Borghi has 790 rushing yards with 11 touchdowns on 121 carries, while he added 81 catches for 566 yards with
Falcons Look To Limit Washington State’s Offense
The Air Force Falcons have a top 40 offense and a top 20 defense, which is a mighty combo. This combination proved to be lethal in the last seven games, all of which the Falcons won. Totally opposite to the Cougars, Air Force is utilizing its running game much more than the passing. The Falcons have the 3rd best rushing offense in college football that is averaging 292.5 yards per game. Washington State allows 170.0 yards to the opposing runners.
The Falcons have one of the worst passing offenses that average 131.0 yards per contest. The Cougars are rather lenient toward the opposing quarterbacks as they are letting 286.8 yards per game. Air Force’s junior QB Donald Hammond III didn’t attempt more than 25 passes in a game this season, but if he is forced to throw the ball, he will have a solid chance to do damage through the air.
Hammond III completed 52 of 99 passes for 1,286 yards with 13 touchdowns and five interceptions. He added 491 yards on the ground on 106 carries for 11 touchdowns. Hammond didn’t record more than 100 rushing yards this season, but he is more than capable of scoring when in goal situations.
Junior running back Kadin Remsberg leads the Falcons with 872 rushing yards and seven touchdowns on 155 attempts. Remsberg has 271 yards, and three scores on 53 carries against the non-conference opponents.
Senior receiver Geraud Sanders is Air Force’s top option in the air this year. Sanders has 29 receptions for 736 yards and seven touchdowns. He is the best wideout in college football when it comes to yards per catch (25.4). Sanders is a deep threat and a valuable asset when the Falcons need to throw the ball.
Air Force’s combo of offense and defense will be a great advantage heading into the Cheez-It Bowl. As opposed to Washington State, the Falcons have a running game led by Remsberg as well as a solid receiving game by Sanders. Those players will be the keys to Air Force limiting the Cougars’ high-power offense, as well as clinching the Cheez-It Bowl.