There isn’t a heck of a lot on the line but bragging rights in the Mountain West on Friday night, but we’re here with our Air Force Falcons vs. UNLV Rebels free picks anywhere here at Bang the Book!
This is the regular season finale for the Falcons, who know that they are going bowling once again this year. You know what you’re getting as well. QB Tim Jefferson will put the ball in the air sparingly, and the triple option is going to be coming at you from all angles. It was a killer to Air Force to lose RB Jared Tew for the season a few weeks ago to a broken leg. Now, RB Asher Clark is really getting the call a lot more often now. He has rumbled for 919 yards and five scores on the year and is likely to become a 1,000 yard rusher on Thursday night. Jefferson has done a nice job putting the ball in the end zone, as he has done so a total of 21 times against just six picks. The Falcons rank No. 2 in the country in rushing at 315.6 yards per game and are parlaying that into the No. 23 total offense in the game as well at 435.9 yards per game. Air Force has been a bit bi-polar at times in terms of scoring though, as it has scored at least 42 points four times, but has been held to 25 or less six times. Teams are only averaging 150.5 yards per game through the air against the Falcons this year, good enough for No. 5 in the country.
UNLV only has two wins this year, but both of them are in MWC play. The bad news is that this Air Force team doesn’t look anything like the New Mexico Lobos or the Wyoming Cowboys. A rush defense that ranks No. 113 in the country is going to be tested to the fullest on Thursday night and will probably get trampled. The question is going to be whether an offense that has averaged just 18.4 points per game and has only scored more than ten points four times in ten games this year is really capable of scoring with the Falcons. The man that is going to have to shine to have any chance of ground the Falcons is RB Tim Cornett. The frosh might only have 380 yards this year, but three of his seven TDs were scored in last week’s win over the Cowboys. In the passing game, the only two men of real note are WR Phillip Payne and WR Michael Johnson, who only have 64 receptions and 867 yards between them. No other receiver is even averaging 16 yards or two catches per game.
The Rebs might be good enough to run with the Cowboys, but they certainly can’t fly with the Falcons. Air Force will want to end its regular season on a high note, which will most likely attract the Independence Bowl this year. UNLV should, quite literally, get run over.
College Football Expert Pick: Air Force Falcons -19