Mountain West Matchup: Air Force Falcons at Utah State Aggies

las-vegas-strip-2012-2Air Force – Utah State
Time: 10:15 PM ET
Spread: UTA -7.5
M/L: UTA -300; AF +250

Betting odds courtesy of Bovada

The M.O. for Air Force has not changed, and why would it while the Falcons are rolling to a 4-1 record this season? The Falcons rely exclusively on rush almost, amassing 298 yards per game on the ground, good for 10th in the nation. The Falcons have average 32.6 pitons per game, but college football oddsmakers predict trouble on the horizon with host Utah State favored by 7.5-points over the Air Force.

The Falcons are coming off a 30-21 win over Navy, and have won its last three contests. A 17-13 loss to Wyoming has been the lone drop for AF.

Last week the Air Force had less total yardage and less time of possession, but Kyle Pearson was still enough to get AF over the hump with 112 yards and three passing TDs. Jacobi Owens rushed for 78 yards on 23 carries, while Pearson himself ran for 61 yards on 13 carries.

Utah State won 35-20 last week against then-No. 18 Brigham Young. The big victory was a head scratcher and the Aggies have been somewhat enigmatic, and by enigmatic, I mostly mean inconsistent. Following a blowout loss to Tennessee, Utah State came back to pound both Idaho State and Georgia Tech in weeks 2 and 3, before losing 21-14 in OT to Arkansas State.

Essentially, if Utah State can come out looking like the team that defeated a ranked opponent last week, the Aggies will easily cover the spread and win by double-digits. QB Darell Garretson has thrown for 710 yards on the season with a 65.5 percent completion ratio, replacing Chuckie Keeton who is out for the season recovering from a knee injury. Garretson has been far better, anyway, posting a 152.2 QB rating and tallying six TDs to just two INTs.

RB JoJo Natson has been particularly impressive in limited carries, leading the team with 164 yards on a 9.1 yard per carry average. Rashad Hall and Joe Hill linger behind as the No. 1 and No. 2 backs with 151 and 141 yards, respectively. While Natson has the impressive numbers, it is still Hall and Hill with two of the five rushing TDs.

Natson has also functioned well as a dual-threat WR, with 206 reception yards on 25 catches, including one 44-yard TD reception. The Aggies have four receivers with 125 yards or more this season, and Natson is the only below 10 yards per reception, running mostly short routes.

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