The Air Force Falcons have played the role of spoiler all season.
The latest example came Friday against the Colorado State Rams. A Will Conant field goal as time expired proved to be the difference as the Falcons claimed a 27-24 victory.
With the win, Air Force improved its record to 9-3 this season. Colorado State, meanwhile, dropped to 10-2, and the program’s aspirations of possibly being the highest-ranked Group of Five program quickly vanished.
For Colorado State, the Boise State Broncos still needed to lose Saturday against the Utah State Aggies to become the top team from a non-Power Five conference. Now, it doesn’t matter.
Air Force also upset Boise State earlier in the season which made the Broncos’ trek through the season far more difficult before finally being ranked in the College Football Playoff committee’s Top 25 for the first time this past week.
The Falcons haven’t made life easy for any of their opponents.
The academy also claimed its first Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy since 2011 despite the Navy Midshipmen being considered the favorites to win the award.
But Air Force would never have been in the position it currently resides without a poor decision from Colorado State head coach Jim McElwain.
With 44 seconds remaining, the Rams faced a 4th-and-2 from the Falcons’ 42-yard line. McElwain decided to go for it instead of trying to pin Air Force deep into their own end. Running back Dee Hart, who ran for 115 yards, was stopped short of the first down, and Air Force took over with 38 seconds left.
A 26-yard pass from Air Force quarterback Nate Romine to junior wide receiver Garrett Brown was the big play the Falcons needed to move into field goal position. Conant proved to be up to the task when it came time to attempt the field goal.
Despite the loss, McElwain provided the quote of the day regarding Conant’s field goal:
At 9-4, Air Force is the fourth team in the Mountain West Conference to win at least nine games.