Three Keys: Air Force at Fresno State

Firstly let me wish you and yours a happy Thanksgiving and a weekend full of fun and football. The Falcons close out the regular season on Saturday with a trip to California to take on the Fresno State Bulldogs. This is the first regular season meeting between the two since 1997 and the first meeting of any kind since 2000.

Firstly let me wish you and yours a happy Thanksgiving and a weekend full of fun and football. The Falcons close out the regular season on Saturday with a trip to California to take on the Fresno State Bulldogs. This is the first regular season meeting between the two since 1997 and the first meeting of any kind since 2000. Air Force already have a bowl bid locked up, but at 6-5 a victory would ensure a winning season. Here are the three keys.

1) Maintain the defensive effort

Last week against Hawaii was the Falcons best defensive effort of the year. The swarming defense and solid tackling completely shut down the Warriors attack and held the men from the island to just 162 total yards. Fresno State, however, will be a totally different proposition offensively as the Bulldogs bring the 18th ranked passing attack in the country averaging almost 309 yards per game through the air. For the Falcons to win in Fresno the defense will have to maintain the discipline and effort that they put forward last Saturday. Junior Derek Carr (younger brother of David) has a ridiculous touchdown to interception ratio of 32-5 in 2012, so the defense will have to throw pressure at him to try and force mistakes. If they can pick a ball or two off it would likely be a game turning bonus.

2) Continue November success

Troy Calhoun has had a great run at Air Force in November games. The Falcons are 8-2 under the head coach in November against unranked teams and it is a reflection of the discipline and standards that Calhoun expects that the Falcons are that good. It also says something to the conditioning that the team has that they are that successful as the days get colder and a season's worth of attrition takes its toll. Air Force needs to use this superior conditioning this weekend to swarm around the field and go that extra half yard if they are to beat a very good Bulldogs squad.

3) Don't forget the pass

It is probably safe to say that Connor Dietz arm is pretty well rested going into this game. Dietz, remember, did not throw a single pass in the systematic destruction of Hawaii last week as the running game completely overwhelmed the Warriors. This Saturday presents a sterner defensive test, however, and the Flacons need to make sure that there is a passing threat interspersed with the rushing assault. I would expect to see Dietz take a shot or two early in an attempt to keep the Bulldogs off balance. The success of the pass could play a sneaky role in deciding the outcome of the game.

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