Air Force football (1-1) nearly pulled off an improbable upset at Florida Atlantic (1-1) in a 33-27 setback Saturday at FAU Stadium in Boca Raton, Fla. Trailing by 13 points with 50 seconds left in the game, the Falcons special teams rallied to get the game within a score and put themselves in a position to win the game.
Down 33-20, senior Garrett Kauppila
blocked an FAU punt and sophomore Lakota Wills
scooped the ball up for the five-yard score to make it a 33-27 ballgame with 50 seconds left in regulation. The Falcons were able to get the ball right back on a successful onside kick. Ronald Cleveland
was able to recover the ball after it squirted away from an FAU defender.
Air Force was unable to complete the comeback as quarterback Isaiah Sanders
was forced into throwing an interception with 10 seconds left. Florida Atlantic ran out the clock to end the game.
Making his first start of the season, Sanders threw for 164 yards, completing eight passes on 13 attempts, all career-high's.
Junior Cole Fagan
led the Falcons in rushing for the second-straight week, carrying 16 times for 80 yards. Junior Nolan Eriksen
ran for 44 yards on eight carries, scoring a rushing touchdown. Junior Taven Birdow
also ran for a touchdown and finished with 29 yards rushing.
Florida Atlantic raced out to a 13-0 lead after a pair of field goals in the first quarter and a touchdown midway through the second. Eriksen's one-yard plunge put Air Force on the board with 2:50 to play in the second quarter to make it a 13-7 FAU lead.
The Owls scored a touchdown with seconds left in the second quarter to go up 19-7 at halftime.
Air Force made it a 19-14 game early in the third quarter as Sanders connected on a 12-yard touchdown pass to tight end Kade Waguespack
. It was Waguespack's first-career touchdown for the Falcons.
Florida Atlantic came right back two minutes later with a 48 yard touchdown catch by Jovon Durante to put the Owls up 25-14.
Air Force scored on the ensuing drive to keep pace with FAU, trailing 25-20. Birdow ran it in from seven yards out.
The Owls seemed to put the game out of reach when quarterback Chris Robison found Willie Wright for a 26-yard touchdown pass to put FAU up 33-20 with 10:41 to play in the fourth quarter.
Air Force finished with 209 yards out the ground and 164 through the air.
Kauppila led Air Force with a career-high nine tackles. Junior linebacker Kyle Johnson
also had a career-high with eight tackles.
Air Force is off from competition next weekend. The Falcons return to action at Utah State on Saturday, Sept. 22. Kick time will be announced early this coming week and will be broadcast on one of the ESPN Networks.