AFAFalcons Staff Writer
DEE-FENSE? From November 18, 1999, through this season's UNLV
game, Air Force has played forty-three games against division 1-A opponents. In 27
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 sixteen games in which the defense has allowed fewer than twenty-four
points AFA has gone 14-2(.875).
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-three games against division 1-A opponents Air Force has compiled a 26-17(.604) 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 UNLV game of the 2003 season. Chance Harridge needs 80 yards rushing to become the sixth player in AFA history to reach the 2,000 yard mark. Harridge ran for 89 yards and two TDs against the Rebels as he moved into seventh place on AFA's career rushing list. He'll need 74 yards against CSU this Thursday to pass Greg Johnson to become the school's sixth leading career rusher and 80 yards to reach the 2,000 yard mark.
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. 1920 Chance Harridge <==
8. 1860 Marty Louthan
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. 1029 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 effectiveness against UNLV was limited due to the cast on his right hand, but he managed to contribute 14 yards on four carries. In his career Butler has carried the ball 187 times for 1,029 yards, 9 TDs and a 5.50 yards per carry average. Butler needs 71 yards to reach the 1,100 mark.
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 158 carries for 922 yards and a 5.83 yards per carry average in his career. Stephens needs another 78 yards this season to become the 32nd AFA player to rush for 1,000 yards in his career. He would join Butler in having cracked the 1,000 watershed for his career.
AND JUST FOR KICKS. PK Joey Ashcroft continues his assault on establishing himself among the most accomplished kickers in AFA history. Ashcroft hit on one of two attempts against UNLV. 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 22-28 .786 <==
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 UNLV, Ashcroft now has 22 FGs in his career and needs four 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 3-3 against the spread this year. The Falcons were 7 point favorites against UNLV, won the game, 24-7, and covered the spread.
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 28-15(.651) in forty-three games through the team's effort versus UNLV.
LOOKING BACKWARD AND FORWARD. Wofford is 5-1 on the year. Northwestern is 3-4; North Texas 3-3; Wyoming 2-4; BYU 3-4; Navy 4-2 and UNLV is 4-2. The aggregate record of the teams Air Force played through the first seven games of its schedule is 24-20 (.545).
Here are the records of AFA's remaining regular season opponents in 2003.
CSU is 4-3; Utah 5-1; Army 0-6; New Mexico 3-3 and San Diego State is 3-4. These teams' composite record is 15-17(.469). Thus far the combined records of teams on AFA's schedule in 2003 is 39-37(.513). Three of the Falcons five remaining regular season opponents have 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. BYU has games remaining against Boise State and Notre Dame, and while the Cougars may have a tough time winning either game, they are to be congratulated for taking on worthy non-conference challengers. Other MWC teams should follow BYU's lead in scheduling suitable non-conference opponents.
IS LESS MORE? Here's a brief comparative look at Chance Harridge's offensive production through the first seven games of the 2002 and 2003 seasons.
2002 Rushing: 135 carries for 646 yards 16 TDs and a 5.78 yards per carry average.
2003 Rushing: 91 carries for 510 yards 7 TDs and a 5.60 yards per carry average.
2002 Passing: 33 for 69 and 438 yards/ 3 ints/ 4 TDs and a 47.8% completion mark.
2003 Passing: 48 for 90 and 585 yards/ 3 ints/ 5 TDs and a 53.3% completion mark.
2002 Total offense: 1,084 yards and 19 TDs with a team record of 6-1.
2003 Total offense: 1,095 yards and 12 TDs with a team record of 6-1.
In 2002 Harridge ran 234 times for 1,159 yards in the regular season and carried the ball, on average, 19.5 times a game. In 2003, Harridge is averaging exactly 13 carries a game through the team's first seven contests and is on a pace to register 156 rushing attempts in the regular season.
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 CSU game this Thursday evening, Harridge has amassed 1,920 yards rushing and 1,765 yards passing for a total offensive output of 3,685 yards. He would need to account for 1,055 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 176 yards a contest over the next six games to move into a fifth place tie with Haynie.