Air Force’s road game at San Diego State this past weekend was supposed to be a warm-up before it faced two top-10 teams, No. 4 TCU and No. 9 Utah, in consecutive weekends. Instead, the trip turned into a debacle.
Led by a freshman running back who rushed for 191 yards, San Diego State upset the then-No. 23 Falcons 27-25. To make matters worse, Air Force lost starting fullback Jared Tew for the rest of the regular season after possibly breaking his fibula in the first quarter. Outside of quarterback Tim Jefferson, Tew was probably the player the Falcons could least afford to lose.
This isn’t how it was supposed to go. Air Force was on pace to have a special, special season after starting the season 5-1, defeating Navy and BYU and putting a scare into Oklahoma. Air Force still controls its own destiny to winning the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy and could still make some national noise if it can recapture it’s early season magic these next two weeks against TCU and Utah.
It will be tough without Tew, though. A preseason all-conference selection, Tew rushed for over 500 yards and three touchdowns in his first six games. Tew’s duties will fall to senior fullback Nathan Walker, but as The (Colorado Springs) Gazette scribe Frank Schwab observes, Walker doesn’t have the break away speed of Tew and leaves the Falcons with little depth behind him.
Air Force plunged out of both the AP Top 25 and the USA Today coaches’ poll after the loss to the Aztecs. The Falcons had spent two weeks ranked in the AP poll, but apparently two road losses by a total of five points — with one of those losses coming against the #1 team in the nation, according to the first BCS rankings of the year — means you’re not as good as #23 Virginia Tech, who lost at home to James Madison.