- Associated Press - Friday, September 5, 2014

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) - The last time Air Force visited Wyoming, there was an ugly scene after the game when the two coaches met on the field.

While the confrontation two years ago might be on some people’s minds, Falcons coach Troy Calhoun says it’ll have nothing to do with what happens Saturday.

“Last time I checked what our players’ job is, and what our job is as staff members at the Air Force Academy, is to protect freedoms, and play a game, but grow and move on and go do things later in life,” he said.

After Air Force won 28-27 in 2012, Wyoming coach Dave Christensen berated Calhoun, accusing Air Force of faking an injury to its starting quarterback in the fourth quarter in order to save a time out.

Christensen later apologized, was suspended for one week and fined $50,000 for the incident that spoiled Wyoming’s Military Appreciation Day.



He’s no longer Wyoming’s coach, having been fired after a 5-7 record last year.

His replacement, Craig Bohl, who led North Dakota State to the last three Football Championship Subdivision titles, says despite being new to the Mountain West Conference, he’s aware of the history between the two teams.

“I’ve been updated a little bit about how intense the games have been through the years,” Bohl said. “Not only just recently, but even from some of our former players in some of the great games that have been decided on the gridiron.”

Here are some things to know about the Air Force-Wyoming matchup:

RUSHING TO SUCCESS: Both Wyoming and Air Force relied on strong ground attacks in their victories last week. Against Montana, the Cowboys rushed for 209 yards, including a 134-yard performance by Shaun Wick. The team total was nearly 20 yards more than Wyoming’s 2013 rushing average of 190.4 yards per game. Air Force rushed for 539 yards and six touchdowns against Nicholls State. Jacobi Owens gained 233 yards on 23 carries - an average of 10.1 yards per carry.

PASSING THOUGHT: While Air Force and Wyoming showed strong ground attacks in their first games, neither team showed much of a passing attack. Air Force quarterback Kale Pearson attempted only six passes last week, completing three for 19 yards. Wyoming quarterback Colby Kirkegaard completed 13 of 21 passes against Montana for 92 yards.

MILESTONES: Wyoming is seeking its 300th home victory. Now in its 118th season of playing college football, the Cowboys are 299-187-18 in 504 home games. Meanwhile, Air Force is seeking its 100th win as a member of the Mountain West. The Falcons currently hold a 99-85 record since the league’s inception in 1999.

BENCH TIME: One of Bohl’s key goals for Wyoming is to improve the offense’s time of possession. Last year, Wyoming, using a spread offense, ranked 123rd in average time of possession at 25 minutes, 3 seconds, meaning the Cowboys defense was on the field for an average of 34:57 a game. In last week’s game, Wyoming’s new pro-style offense held the ball for 34:54 and the defense was on the field for 25:06.

LATE START, MORE PREP: Kickoff is set for 8:15 p.m. MDT. Calhoun says the late start time allows for a little more preparation, such as additional film study or walk-throughs. But he said coaches have to be careful not to go overboard in preparation. “There’s always that fine balance as a coach you’re trying to strike and make sure you’re trained and really, really well prepared, and yet having your guys with adequate rest.”

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