Updating the Numbers

UPDATING THE NUMBERS. Fisher DeBerry's record after 239 games, through the Navy game of 2003, as head coach at Air Force stands at 154-84-1(.646) overall; 73-54-1(.574) on the road or at neutral sites and 81-30(.729) in home games.

DEE-FENSE, DEE-FENSE? From November 18, 1999, through this season's Navy game, Air Force has played forty-two games against division 1-A opponents. In 27 (64.3%) of those games Air Force has allowed 24 or more points to the opposition. In those 27 games when allowing 24 or more points AFA has gone 12-15 (.444). In the fifteen games in which the defense has allowed fewer than twenty-four points AFA has gone 13-2(.866). When AFA limits the opposition to fewer than 24 points it wins. When AFA allows twenty-four points or more its chances to win decrease rapidly and the figures support this assessment.

In these forty-two games against division 1-A opponents Air Force has compiled a 25-17 (.595) record. The last time AFA allowed a team to score at least twenty-four points and still posted a victory was last season in Las Vegas against UNLV.

On October 19, 2002, Notre Dame became the first team to defeat AFA when scoring fewer than 24 points since Utah beat the Falcons, 21-15, in the Snow Bowl on October 16, 1999. The only other game Air Force has lost since November 18, 1999, when allowing fewer than twenty-four points is the San Francisco Bowl to Virginia Tech by a 20-13 score.

A CHANCE TO ADVANCE. Here is a look at the leading rushers in AFA history through the Navy game of the 2003 season. Chance Harridge needs 169 yards rushing to become the sixth player in AFA history to reach the 2,000 yard mark. Harridge raced through navy's defense for 129 yards--his best day thus far in 2003--and two TDs. Harridge broke his deadlock with Rob Perez, sped past Rodney Lewis and Jason Jones and into eighth place on the AFA career rushing list. Marty Louthan is 29 yards in front of Harridge.

1. 3612 Dee Dowis
2. 3379 Beau Morgan
3. 2726 John Kershner
4. 2284 Brian Bream
4. 2284 Pat Evans
6. 1993 Greg Johnson
7. 1860 Marty Louthan
8. 1831 Chance Harridge <==
9. 1762 Jason Jones
10. 1760 Rodney Lewis
11. 1702 Rob Perez
12. 1677 Bart Weiss
13. 1633 Terry Issacson
14. 1630 Ken Wood
15. 1551 Shelby Ball
16. 1534 Mike Thiessen
17. 1478 Jake Campbell
18. 1470 Leotis Palmer
19. 1406 Qualario Brown
20. 1400 Scotty McKay
21. 1371 Mike Quinlan
22. 1354 Spanky Gilliam
23. 1347 Larry Thomson
24. 1296 Nakia Addison
25. 1242 Keith Boyea
26. 1233 Johnny Smith
27. 1129 Blane Morgan
28. 1091 Curtis Martin
29. 1074 Bill Berry
30. 1015 Anthony Butler <==
31. 1005 Joel Carlson

Anthony Butler became the thirty-first player in AFA history to crack the 1,000 yard barrier for his career. Butler's 16 yard sprint in the Navy game put him beyond that watershed mark. In his career Butler has carried the ball 181 times for 1,015 yards, 9 TDs and a 5.60 yards per carry average. Butler needs 85 yards to reach the 1,100 mark in his career.

The player most likely to become the next to reach the 1,000 yard threshold is Darnell Stephens. After gaining 88 yards on twenty carries versus navy, the junior from Midwest City, Oklahoma totals 144 carries for 859 yards and a 5.96 yards per carry average in his career. Stephens needs another 141 yards this season to become the 31st AFA player to rush for 1,000 yards in his career.

AND JUST FOR KICKS. Entering the 2003 season PK Joey Ashcroft was on a pace to set and/or challenge several significant place-kicking records in AFA football history. Ashcroft hit on one of two attempts against Navy. Have a look where he stands in some prominent categories in AFA place-kicking annals.

AFA Career FG Percentage Leaders
1. Jackson Whiting-1998-99 19-23 .826
2. Joey Ashcroft-current 21-26 .807 <==
3. Joe Wood-1989-91 39-49 .796
4. David Adams-1998-2000 26-34 .765
5. Carlos Mateos-1984 12-16 .750

Career Field Goals Made
1. Dave Lawson 51 (1972-75)
2. Sean Pavlich 42 (1980-83)
3. Joe Wood 39 (1989-91)
4. Dennis Leuthaser 27 (1967-69)
5. Dave Adams 26 (1998-2000)
With his three pointer against Navy, Ashcroft now has 21 FGs in his career and needs five more to join this list.

Field Goals Made in a Season
1. 19 Dave Lawson 1974
1. 19 Dave Adams 2000
3. 17 Joe Wood 1991
4. 16 Jim Sturch 1978
4. 16 Joey Ashcroft 2002

AFA AGAINST THE POINTS. From 2001 to the present here's look at how the Falcons have fared against the point spread. Bear in mind that Las Vegas does not set a line for a game matching a division 1-A team against a division 1-AA team. In 2001, Air Force went 3-8 against the spread. In 2002, AFA went 9-4 against the point spread. The Falcons are 2-3 against the spread this year. The Falcons were 15 point favorites against Navy and lost the game.

WHITEWASHED. Air Force posted its ninth shutout during Fisher DeBerry's tenure as head coach when it beat Wofford, 49-0, to open the 2003 season. Army (1991), The Citadel (1993), San Jose State (1996) Colorado State and Army (1997), Wake Forest (1998), Army (1999) and Tennessee Tech (2001) are the other shutouts administered by the Falcons in the DeBerry era.

TAKING THE OFFENSIVE. Chuck Petersen has been the offensive coordinator for the Falcons from the outset of the 2000 season. Since Petersen has assumed the reins to the Air Force attack the Falcons have posted a record of 27-15(.642) in forty-two games through the team's effort versus Navy.

LOOKING BACKWARD AND FORWARD. Wofford is 4-1 on the year. Northwestern is 2-4. North Texas is 2-3. Wyoming is 1-4. BYU is 3-3. Navy is 3-2. The aggregate record of the teams Air Force played in the first half of the 2003 regular season is 15-17(.469).

Here are the records of AFA's remaining regular season opponents in 2003.
UNLV is 4-1. CSU is 3-3. Utah is 4-1. Army is 0-5. New Mexico is 3-3. San Diego State is 3-3. These teams' composite record is 17-16(.515). Thus far the combined records of teams on AFA's schedule in 2003 is 32-33(.492). The schedule gets tougher in the second half for the Falcons as five of the six opponents Air Force will face begin the home stretch with records of .500 or better.

If Air Force and the Mountain West Conference want to gain the national acclaim they so fervently seek, then raising the quality of non-conference competition against which the MWC's teams play is mandatory. Playing and defeating Wofford and North Texas won't impress or influence fans, pollsters or bowl committees.

IS LESS MORE? Here's a brief comparative look at Chance Harridge's offensive production through the first half of the 2002 and 2003 seasons.

2002 Rushing: 122 carries for 615 yards 15 TDs and a 5.04 yards per carry average.
2003 Rushing: 79 carries for 421 yards 5 TDs and a 5.33 yards per carry average.

2002 Passing: 27 for 55 and 381 yards/ 2 ints/ 4 TDs and a 49.1% completion mark.
2003 Passing: 43 for 80 and 522 yards/ 3 ints/ 5 TDs and a 53.8% completion mark.

2002 Total offense: 996 yards and 19 TDs with a team record of 6-0.
2003 Total offense: 943 yards and 10 TDs with a team record of 5-1.

ANOTHER MOUNTAIN TO CLIMB. It might be too much of a challenge for him to move into the top rungs of this list, but have a look at where Chance Harridge stands in relation to the all time total offense leaders at AFA.

1. 6,627--Beau Morgan 1994-96
2. 6,482--Dee Dowis 1986-1989
3. 5,511--Dave Ziebart 1976-1979
4. 4,997--Marty Louthan 1980-1983
5. 4,740--Rich Haynie 1971-1973

Entering the UNLV game this coming weekend Harridge has amassed 1,831 yards rushing and 1,702 yards passing for a total offensive output of 3,533 yards. He would need to account for 1,207 yards over the course of the remainder of his career to tie Rich Haynie for fifth place on the total offense chart in AFA football history. Assuming a best case scenario--that Harridge remains healthy and that AFA earns a bowl bid--he'd need to average 173 yards a contest over the next seven games to move into a fifth place tie with Haynie.

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