This afternoon at 3:15, Servpro First Responder Bowl; Air Force vs. Louisville

Air Force (9-3, 6-2 MW) vs. Louisville (6-6, 4-4 ACC)

Game 13: SERVPRO First Responder Bowl
Air Force (9-3, 6-2 MW) vs. Louisville (6-6, 4-4 ACC)
Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2:15 p.m. CT, Gerald J. Ford Stadium (SMU), Dallas, TX

BROADCAST INFORMATION
• Television: ESPN

• Radio: KVOR AM 740 in Colorado Springs, CO
Jim Arthur (play-by-play); Jesse Kurtz (analyst)

STORYLINES
• Air Force is playing in its 28th bowl game overall and 11th in head coach Troy Calhoun‘s 15 seasons. Air Force has a 13-13-1 all-time bowl record, including a 5-5 mark under Calhoun.
• This is Air Force’s first appearance in the SERVPRO First Responder Bowl.
• Air Force and Louisville are playing for the first time ever.

BOWL HISTORY
Air Force is playing in its 28th bowl game. The Falcons have earned a bowl bid 11 times in head coach Troy Calhoun‘s 15 seasons. Air Force has a 13-13-1 all-time bowl record, including a 5-5 mark under Calhoun.

BOWL FACTS
• This is Air Force’s first appearance in the SERVPRO First Responder Bowl.
• Air Force and Louisville are playing for the first time ever.
• Air Force will be playing its second neutral site game at Gerald J. Ford Stadium, as the Falcons played Houston in the venue in 2008…the game was moved from Houston due to Hurricane Ike and was not televised.
• Air Force is playing an ACC team in a bowl for the first time since playing Georgia Tech in the 2010 Independence Bowl.
• Air Force is 2-2 all-time in bowl games vs. the ACC with two of the four meetings coming in the Independence Bowl. The Falcons lost to North Carolina, 35-0, in the 1963 Gator Bowl, beat Virginia Tech, 23-7, in the 1984 Independence Bowl, lost to Virginia Tech, 20-13, in the 2002 San Francisco Bowl and beat Georgia Tech, 14-7, in the 2010 Independence Bowl.
• This is Air Force’s eighth bowl in the state of Texas and first since falling to California, 55-36, in the 2015 Armed Forces Bowl.
• Air Force will be playing a Power 5 team for the second straight bowl game. The Falcons defeated Washington State, 31-21, in the 2019 Cheez-It Bowl in Arizona.
• Air Force has 11 players from the state of Texas on the roster.

AIR FORCE VS. POWER FIVE
Air Force is 6-12 against Power Five teams since 2003. The Falcons are 0-2 at home and 6-9 on the road/neutral. Air Force is 4-9 under head coach Troy Calhoun.

AIR FORCE VS. NON-CONFERENCE OPPONENTS
Air Force is 42-27 against non-conference opponents under head coach Troy Calhoun. The Falcons are 27-4 at home, 9-17 on the road and 6-6 in neutral site games. Air Force is 3-1 this season, including a 2-0 mark at home.

THE SERIES/ACC
• Air Force and Louisville are meeting for the first time.
• Air Force is 12-10 in 22 meetings against team from the ACC.
• Air Force is 2-2 vs. ACC in bowl games.
• The Falcons are playing an ACC team for the first time since beating Georgia Tech, 14-7, in the 2010 Independence Bowl.

LOOKING AT LOUISVILLE
Louisville finished 6-6 overall this season and tied for fourth in the Atlantic Division of the ACC with a 4-4 mark…The Cards had a two-game winning streak snapped in their last game, a 52-21, loss vs. Kentucky Nov. 27 … Louisville is coached by Scott Satterfield, who is in his third season … The team averages 31.9 points per game while allowing 27.0 … Redshirt junior quarterback Malik Cunningham leads the team in rushing with 968 yards and 19 touchdowns … Cunningham has hit 196-316 passes for 2,734 yards with 18 touchdowns and six interceptions … Redshirt sophomore Marshon Ford leads the team in receiving with 47 catches for 530 yards and two touchdowns, while freshman Jordan Watkins has added 35 catches for 529 yards and four TDs … Redshirt senior C.J. Avery leads the team in tackles with 87 … Junior Yasir Abdullah leads the team in tackles for loss with 14.5 for 82 yards and sacks with 9.0 for 71.

AN AIR FORCE WIN WOULD
• Air Force would finish the season 10-3 overall, posting double-digit wins for the second time in three seasons and ninth time in program history…the Falcons would post its fourth double-digit win season under head coach Troy Calhoun
• Air Force would win its third straight bowl game dating back to 2016…the three-game streak would be the longest since winning a school record four straight from 1982-85
• Air Force would improve to 13-10 all-time vs. teams from the ACC
• Air Force would improve to 43-27 against non-conference opponents under head coach Troy Calhoun, including a 4-1 mark this season
• Air Force would win its third straight game vs. a Power 5 team
• Air Force would improve to 7-11 against Power Five teams since 2003, including a 7-9 mark on the road/neutral sites

KEEPING AN EYE ON….
• Air Force has recorded 91 consecutive running plays dating back to the second half of the Nevada game…the Falcons have gained 600 yards and averaged 6.6 yards per carry…Air Force had 511 yards on 69 plays vs. UNLV in its last game, all rushes.
• Air Force’s nine wins marks the 14th time in program history the team has won nine or more games in a season.
• Air Force has 779 rushing attempts this season which is the eighth most in a season in program history and most since setting the school record of 882 in 2016.
• Air Force has 4,090 rushing yards this season which ranks eighth in program history…the school record is 4,635 set in 1987.
• Air Force has rushed for 42 touchdowns this season which ranks seventh in program history and is the most since rushing for 45 in 2015…the school record is 50 set in 1989.
• Air Force has 216 rushing first downs which ranks eighth in program history…the school record is 230 set in 2016.
• Air Force has 35 sacks this season which is seventh in program history and most since getting 37 in 2015…the school record is 47 set in 1994.
• Air Force has 288 yards in quarterback sacks which is the second most in program history and most since the school record of 311 set in 1998.

AIR FORCE LEADS THE NATION IN RUSHING FOR RECORD 10TH STRAIGHT WEEK
• Air Force leads the nation in rushing with a 340.8 average…the Falcons are one of only two teams in the nation averaging over 300 yards
• This is a school-record 10th consecutive week the Falcons have led the nation, which breaks the record of eight set in weeks 1-8 in 2010
• Air Force’s 340.8 average is the best in program history since averaging 356.0 in 1989…the average is the fourth best overall at Air Force
• Air Force has out-rushed its opponent in every game this season
• Air Force has rushed for 400 or more yards five times this season, including two straight games…The Falcons have averaged 498 yards the last two games, rushing for a season-high 511 vs. UNLV and 485 at Nevada.
• Air Force’s 511 yards rushing vs. UNLV is the most since rushing for 550 vs. Nevada in 2017.
• Air Force rushed for 400-plus yards three consecutive weeks earlier this season, averaging 430.3 per game…the Falcons rushed for 437 vs. Utah State, a season-high 446 vs. FAU and 408 vs. UNM
• Air Force won the national rushing title in 2020 with a 305.7 per-game average…the title is the second in program history and first since 2002
• Air Force has ranked among the nation’s top 10 seven straight years and 33 of the last 34 overall.

2021 NCAA Rushing Leaders
#    Team (Conf.)                      Avg.
1.  Air Force (MW)                  340.8
2.  Army (Ind.)                          301.2
3.  North Texas (C-USA)          245.2
4.  Kent State (MAC)                243.2
5.  Northern Illinois (MAC)     234.2

OFFENSE NOTES
• Air Force leads the MW and ranks third in the nation in fourth downs (.775/31-40)
• Air Force has scored a touchdown on its opening drive in eight games this season
• Air Force has outscored opponents 94-27 in the first quarter this season
• Air Force rushed for a season-best 511 yards vs. UNLV and didn’t attempt a pass in the game for the first time since 2012

DEFENSE NOTES
• Air Force ranks in the top three of the MW and top 20 nationally in four categories

Category                 Stats        MW     NCAA
Scoring Defense    19.1        2nd       13th
Passing Defense    193.3      2nd       20th
Rushing Defense    94.7        2nd       7th
Total Defense         288.0       1st       5th

• Air Force is one of just six defenses in the nation to hold opponents under 300 yards per game
• Air Force leads the MW and ranks third nationally in first down defense (178)
• Air Force is allowing just 17.7 points per game over the last two seasons
• Air Force has held 13 of the last 15 opponents to 21 points or less…the only two teams to score more than 21 are Utah State (49) and Nevada (39 in triple overtime) this season
• Air Force has held its opponent below 300 yards of total offense in seven games…the Falcons have won six of the seven games when doing so
• Air Force has forced a punt or turnover on the opponent’s opening drive 10 times

COURTESY AIR FORCE ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS

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