AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. (AP) -- With nothing left to play for,
Air Force put together its first complete game of the season.
Shaun Carney threw for 203 yards and two touchdowns, and Air
Force scored four touchdowns in the second half to turn a close
game into a 47-17 rout Saturday over Colorado State in the season
finale for both teams.
"I told them that we ain't going nowhere and this game we don't
have to worry about what if we don't do this and what if we don't
do that, so let's just go out and play the game," Air Force coach
Fisher DeBerry said. "Our players really approached the game like
that and went out and had fun like they were at the grammar
It was a stark contrast to the week before.
Needing to win against San Diego State to keep its streak of
winning seasons alive, Air Force was tentative and tight, turning
the ball over six times and allowing a blocked punt for the fourth
time in three home games.
The pressure off in the season finale, the Falcons played as
well on both sides of the ball as they had all season.
Anthony Butler and Adam Cole ran for two touchdowns apiece, and
Air Force (5-6, 3-4 Mountain West) scored on seven of its first
eight possessions to end a three-game losing streak to Colorado
State. The Falcons also had a season-high 576 total yards and held
the Rams scoreless in the second half.
The resounding victory against their instate rivals had to feel
good to the Falcons after a disappointing season. Air Force
finished with a losing record for the first time since 1993 and
just the third time under DeBerry.
"Being the last game, it's kind of a bittersweet thing," said
senior Dan Shaffer, who keyed Air Force's option with 52 hard yards
from the fullback spot. "You always want to go out on top and I
was really glad for me and my teammates that we were able to do
Colorado State (4-7, 2-5) had a big first half offensively, but
couldn't keep it going in the second to close out its worst season
since going 3-8 in 1991. The Rams had just 30 yards in the third
quarter and were horrible defensively -- again -- giving up 373 yards
"Bottom line, we had to stop them and we didn't do that,"
Colorado State coach Sonny Lubick said.
After a surprisingly high-scoring first half in frigid
conditions, Air Force pulled off another surprise by pulling away
in the third quarter instead of wilting.
The Falcons had been outscored 102-48 during the third period in
their first 10 games, but that trend didn't continue Saturday.
They went 80 yards on their first drive and capped it with
Cole's 2-yard touchdown run, then pushed the lead to 34-17 on
Carney's 5-yard touchdown pass to J.P. Waller after Colorado State
failed on a fourth-and-3 from the Rams' 45.
Darnell Stephens scored on a 2-yard run early in the fourth
quarter, and Cole added his second score midway through on a 2-yard
run that put the Falcons up by 30.
"I thought in the first half we were down 21-17 and we felt we
were still in the game if we could make an adjustment defensively
to stop them," Lubick said. "But we had to make a stop and get
some good field position offensively so we'd have a chance to score
again and we didn't."
Snow was coming down sideways and the wind chill was 13 degrees
at the start, and it only got colder as the game progressed.
Neither team seemed to have much trouble with the conditions,
particularly the quarterbacks.
Carney hit Stephens on a 31-yard pass on Air Force's first drive
to set up Butler's 7-yard touchdown run, then found Waller for a
35-yard touchdown pass to put the Falcons up 14-10 early in the
Carney also took the Falcons 80 yards for Butler's second
touchdown, a 3-yard run with 4 seconds left that put Air Force up
21-17 at halftime. He was 6-for-12 for 123 yards in the first half
-- more than he had in four games this season -- despite several
drops by his receivers.
Carney finished 11-of-18 and ran for 93 yards on 17 carries.
Caleb Hanie completed his first eight passes and hit Kory Sperry
on a 31-yard touchdown pass on Colorado State's first drive. He
added a 30-yard completion to Marcus Houston late in the second
quarter that set up Johnny Walker's 20-yard reverse for a 17-14
Hanie finished 17-for-27 for 229 yards, but was just 6-of-14 for
53 yards with an interception in the second half.
"It was jokingly said that their quarterback had never played
in these conditions, but I thought their quarterback played very
well and made a lot of good plays in the early part of the game,"
DeBerry said. "But I don't think they've had the bad weather up
there in Fort Collins like we've had here."