Air Force vs. Fresno State prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins Friday night’s matchup between the Falcons and Bulldogs.
When: Friday, Oct. 28 – 10:30 p.m. ET
Where: Bulldog Stadium, Fresno, California
TV Broadcast: ESPN 2
Troy Calhoun’s Falcons (4-3) started off 4-0 but have since fallen off the face of the Earth with three consecutive losses to Wyoming, New Mexico and Hawaii. This past weekend’s 34-27 loss to the Rainbow Warriors saw Air Force score first and grab the lead three times before eventually falling to Hawaii in double overtime.
Well, a 1-7 start to the season earned head coach Tim DeRuyter a direct trip to the unemployment line, and the Bulldogs will have a few candidates to examine as they search for a new head coach. However, that won’t change the suspect season Fresno State has undergone thus far. Since their 31-3 win over Sacramento State in Week 2, the Bulldogs have lost six straight games to Toledo, Tulsa, UNLV, Nevada, San Diego State and Utah State. They fell to the Aggies last week, 38-20.
Last year’s matchup between the Falcons and Bulldogs ended in a 42-14 win for Air Force, who leads the all-time series, 5-3. Fresno State’s last win was a 48-15 rout in 2012 in Fresno.
What To Know About Air Force
The Falcons have relied on the running game this season, and the heavy hitter has been Jacobi Owens, who’s rushed for 434 yards and three touchdowns, but he only picked up 45 yards on 12 carries in the loss to Hawaii. Timothy McVey, Shayne Davern and Nate Romine all combined for 250 rushing yards and three touchdowns.
Romine’s success stopped there. He completed only one pass out of 10 attempts for 20 yards and threw an interception. Ryan Reffitt caught that only completion. Romine’s season stats aren’t too great either. He’s completed 40.4 percent of his passes for 1,109 yards, nine touchdowns and four interceptions.
What to Know About Fresno State
Chason Virgil has seen his fair share of poor throwing performances, but he wasn’t too bad against Utah State. He completed 27-of-44 passes for 205 yards with a touchdown. That scoring strike went for one yard to Jared Rice with 24 seconds left in the first half. After that, the Bulldogs relied on Kody Kroening to drill a 27-yard field goal and a 49-yard field goal.
The first touchdown for Fresno State, though, came via the legs of halfback Dontel James. He was given 29 carries and ran for 80 yards. Virgil rushed for 28 yards on eight carries, though.
Offense: Air Force – Romine and Owens will both be better than they were last weekend.
Defense: Air Force – The Falcons are allowing 348.1 yards per game, which has them ranked No. 24 in the country.
Special Teams: Fresno State – Kroening has been spot on in the kicking game.
Coaching: Air Force – Considering Fresno State just fired its head coach …
Matchup To Watch
Nate Romine vs. Chason Virgil
Both quarterbacks have been somewhat sloppy with the football this season. Neither one can dazzle you when they drop back, but that still means the one who performs better will lead his team to a victory. If Romine can complete half of his passes, not get picked off, and move the chains with his legs, Air Force will be in great shape. But the exact same goes for Virgil and the Bulldogs.
Spread: Air Force -14
Air Force vs. Fresno State Prediction
Romine won’t go 1-of-10 passing like he did last time out. He’ll throw a touchdown pass, but he’ll also get picked off. That will help keep the Bulldogs in the game, but a rushing touchdown from James will help even more. Still, Owens will bust out of the gate and sniff 100 yards rushing. He’ll find the end zone, as will McVey, and the Falcons will find themselves on the right side of the scoreboard when the clock hits zeros.
Air Force vs. Fresno State Score Prediction: Air Force 28, Fresno State 20