Three Game Keys: San Diego State

Air Force welcomes San Diego State to Colorado Springs on Thursday night with hopes of stopping a five-game losing skid, an extended slide that has the team's bowl hopes teetering on the edge of impossibility. Can the Falcons solve the Aztecs?

1) The first key for Air Force is to finish drives. If you want to find an FBS defense that's worse in the red zone than San Diego State's, you'll come up empty. San Diego State is one of six teams which have allowed an opponent to score on every red zone trip this season. To make matters worse, 17 of those 18 scores against San Diego State have been touchdowns. The Aztecs simply can't make the necessary stops when teams drive deep on them. In a game in which Air Force might give up a substantial amount of points, it has to finish drives with sevens, not threes.

2) The second key for Air Force is to generate a push up front, thereby controlling the line of scrimmage. The Aztecs' offensive line has allowed one of the higher totals in the country when it comes to tackles for a loss of yardage. SDSU's run game has been pedestrian for most of the season, ranking 78th in the country due to the slight but real regression of running back Adam Muema. If San Diego State establishes a ground game early, it will be tough for Air Force to get stops and play this game the way it wants to.

3) The third and final key for Air Force will be to take advantage of San Diego State's tendency to commit turnovers. The Aztecs – as one would expect from a 2-3 team – have quite a few weaknesses, and the turnover bug is one that Air Force should be looking to feast on. The Falcons simply haven't had a game this season in which they've gotten most of the breaks, either with turnovers or time of possession. This game against San Diego State gives Air Force a chance to win these categories, and doing so would go a long way to helping the Falcons in their attempt to stop their skid.

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