Air Force-BYU Preview
Hall, with a chance to set a school record for victories by a quarterback, leads the 19th-ranked Cougars as they try to extend a five-game winning streak against the Falcons on Saturday.
Oddsmakers from online sports book SPORTSBETTING.com have made BYU –10.5 point spread favorites (View College Football odds) for Saturday’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 54% of bets for this game have been placed on Air Force +10.5 (View College Football bet percentages).
As a sophomore and first-time starter in 2007, Hall threw for 1,216 yards and eight touchdowns in his first three games. He then got his first taste of conference play, passing for 293 yards and two TDs in a 33-23 win over Air Force on Sept. 22, 2007.
Now, Hall is a win away from surpassing Heisman Trophy-winner Ty Detmer's school record of 29. He tied that mark last Saturday, passing for 314 yards and two touchdowns in a 24-19 victory over winless New Mexico.
That gave the Cougars (8-2, 5-1) an 8-2 record or better in four straight seasons for the first time in school history.
"It's not easy, regardless of who you're playing and where," coach Bronco Mendenhall said.
With Hall under center in their last two games against the Falcons (7-4, 5-2), the Cougars have extended their run to five in the series since a 24-10 home loss Sept. 27, 2003.
BYU's Harvey Unga has rushed for 199 yards and two scores while catching a TD pass in his two games against Air Force. He's 21 yards and four carries shy of surpassing Curtis Brown (2002, 2004-06) as the Cougars' all-time leader in both categories.
Unga, who has gained 3,281 yards on 638 attempts, is tied for the conference lead this season with nine touchdowns.
Air Force and its option offense is fourth in the nation in rushing, averaging 279.2 yards per game. The Falcons are set to close out the regular season after rushing for 431 yards in a 45-17 win over UNLV last Saturday, giving them three straight victories.
Troy Calhoun is the first coach to lead Air Force to at least seven wins in his first three seasons. The Falcons went 8-4 in 2008 and 9-3 in '07.
Calhoun continues to feed the ball to running backs Asher Clark and Jared Tew, who have helped Air Force become bowl eligible for the third straight year. Clark set career highs with three touchdowns and 160 yards on the ground versus the Rebels while Tew added 61 yards and a score.
Clark, who was named MWC offensive player of the week, had his first 100-yard game of the season and surpassed his career best of 136 yards, set in a 38-17 win over Colorado State on Nov. 8, 2008.
"He's got the ability to take some plays that initially look like four-yard gains and make those plays longer than that," Calhoun said.
Clark and Tew have combined for 1,464 yards and 12 TDs. Clark was held to 28 yards on 10 carries and Tew gained 21 yards on his two attempts in a 38-24 loss to BYU on Nov. 15, 2008.
Still, the Falcons managed to rush for 323 yards. Quarterback Tim Jefferson gained 75 yards rushing but completed 12 of 20 passes for 98 yards with an interception.
Jefferson was 8 of 13 for 126 yards and gained 63 on the ground against UNLV. He's been picked off once in 76 attempts this season, as Air Force is tied for second in the nation in fewest turnovers with seven.
The Falcons' defense, meanwhile, has forced 25 turnovers, putting the team in a tie for 12th in that category. The Falcons are ranked ninth in scoring defense, allowing 13.3 points per game.
Air Force has allowed more than 20 points once this season, losing 23-16 in overtime to then-No. 19 Utah on Oct. 24. The Falcons, though, have given up an average of 41.0 points during their losing streak against the Cougars.
BYU leads the series 23-6.
Posted: 11/17/09 6:52PM ET