Recuperating Air Force halfbacks ready for Utah game

Updated: October 29, 2003, 2:31 AM ET

AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. (AP)-- Air Force halfbacks Darnell Stephens and Anthony Butler are expected to play in Saturday's game against Utah after using the Falcons' bye week to recover from injuries.

Stephens, who had a right leg injury, has rushed for 448 yards and a touchdown. Butler, who hurt his right foot, has 305 yards and two touchdowns.

"Darnell Stephens practiced yesterday and did very well. We think by the weekend he'll be full speed," Air Force coach Fisher DeBerry said Tuesday.

Coaches limited Butler's practice time on Monday, but he was expected to get more as the week went on.

Matt Ward, who filled in at halfback, will also get playing time when Air Force (6-2, 3-1 Mountain West) meets Utah (6-2, 3-1).

"Matt's grown up an awful lot. He's blocking better. He understands what we're doing. He's done a good job returning kicks for us this year," DeBerry said.

Ward is averaging 10.8 yards per punt return. He has rushed for 265 yards and three touchdowns.

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index