Three Game Keys In Review: Nevada

Things seemed to be looking up for Air Force, and the Falcons appeared well on their way to winning their first Mountain West game of the season. However, things fell apart late in the fourth quarter, as a Nevada rally dropped Air Force to 1-4 on the season. Here's how the Falcons fared in relationship to the three keys laid out for them:

1) The first key for Air Force was simply for the defense to give the team a chance. The Falcons had a chance to take down Nevada, but this was solely because of the offense. Air Force was once again unable to even remotely slow down an opposing offense, giving up nearly 600 yards of offense and allowing the Wolf Pack to convert 12 of 18 third downs. It's just tough to win games when you can't rely on one unit whatsoever, and that appears to be the case with Air Force's defense. If the Falcons miss a bowl, look no further than this side of the ball.

2) The second key for Air Force was to dominate time of possession. This may have been one of the biggest backbreakers for Air Force on Saturday. While the offense didn't need a lot of time to score (considering the ease with which it did so), the Falcons may have been better off taking their time. Nevada was able to erase a 12-point deficit in the final six minutes to come back. The Wolf Pack held the ball for 32 minutes. The goal coming in was 35 minutes of possession for Air Force. Had the Falcons reached that marker, they would've almost surely won. Naturally, the inability to drive a dagger into Nevada's heart when leading 42-37 is the kind of lamentable occurrence which leads to heartbreak. Naturally, the offense can't be blamed for this loss; it did all the heavy lifting for the Falcons. Yet, when given a chance to claim sweet victory, the offense fell just a little bit short. That's what happens in a losing season: If the strength of a team is anything less than perfect, the weaknesses that exist in other facets of competition are severe enough to lead to defeat.

3) The final key for Air Force was to limit turnovers. Air Force was able to do this, turning the ball over only once. The Falcons' success in moving the ball without mistakes was a key to Air Force's ability to build a 12-point fourth-quarter lead. Again, the offense did its job on Saturday. It needs just a pinch of help in timely situations, chiefly in the red zone and in one-possession games.

Air Force returns to action Saturday at Navy in the first Commander-In-Chief's Trophy game of the 2013 season.

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