menu-toggle Created with Sketch.
Live

Air Force vs. South Alabama Prediction, NOVA® Home Loans Arizona Bowl Preview

Embed
<iframe src="https://campusinsiders.com/videos/FiaGoxODE6W_svRe8_ol0g5km9KDRq0Q/?video-embed=1" width="640" height="360" style="border:0"></iframe>

Air Force vs. South Alabama prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins the NOVA® Home Loans Arizona Bowl between the Falcons and Jaguars.


Air Force vs. South Alabama – NOVA® Home Loans Arizona Bowl Preview

When: Friday, December 30 – 5:30 p.m. ET
Where: Arizona Stadium, Tucson, AZ
Broadcast: Campus Insiders

Air Force and South Alabama meet for the first time in the NOVA® Home Loans Arizona Bowl. It’s been another outstanding season for Troy Calhoun, who’s won at least eight games in seven of his 10 years at the Academy. The Falcons will head into Tucson on a tear, winners of five straight, capped by a season-ending upset that denied Boise State a shot of playing in the Mountain West Championship Game. Air Force is also this season’s winner of the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy by virtue of beating rivals Navy and Army.

It sure has been a strange year in Mobile. South Alabama has defeated the SEC’s Mississippi State and Mountain West champ San Diego State … yet went 2-6 in Sun Belt play. By beating New Mexico State on Saturday, the Jags qualified for their second bowl in school history.

What To Know About Air Force

This is a typical Calhoun team—fourth nationally in rushing, rugged defensively and disciplined in all phases. And the offense didn’t skip a beat after starting QB Nate Romine was lost for the year in early November. The Arion Worthman era is off to a fine start, aided by the power running of backs Jacobi Owens, Timothy McVey and D.J. Johnson. However, Worthman is less polished as a passer than Romine.

On defense, the Falcons can be beaten over the top, allowing 22 touchdowns. But the run defense gets a ton of help from all-league safeties Weston Steelhammer and Brodie Hicks, and DE Ryan Watson and OLB Haji Dunn will spend a lot of time in the South Alabama backfield.

What to Know About South Alabama

There’s some star power in Mobile. However, consistency has eluded Joey Jones’ team, which is fittingly straddling the .500 mark. The hit-or-miss offense strives for balance. RB Xavier Johnson handled his role in the Week 14 bowl clincher, rushing for 154 yards and three scores. But turnover-prone QB Dallas Davis, who’s thrown more picks than touchdowns, has failed to fully utilize the talents of steady receivers Josh Magee and Kevin Kutchera and next-level TE Gerald Everett.

South Alabama won’t win games on defense, and allowing 4.9 yards a carry will be a particular worry against Air Force. Plus, top defender Randy Allen, who leads the Sun Belt with 18.5 tackles for loss, won’t do much upfield pursuing in Tucson.

Advantages

Offense: Air Force. The Falcons are averaging 34 points per game, and the depth of their backfield keeps legs fresh and opposing defenses on their heels.

Defense: Air Force. The corners can be vulnerable, but will Davis be able to take advantage? The Falcons are physical and solid in the front seven, yielding just 3.4 yards per carry.

Special Teams: Air Force. The Falcons will have a big edge in special teams, led by McVey in the return game and all-league PK Luke Strebel, who has nailed 19-of-22 field goal attempts.

Coaching: Air Force. Calhoun is one of the steadiest, most underrated head coaches in America. The Academy has been fortunate to keep him aboard for the past decade.

Intangibles: Air Force. Unfamiliar with postseason games, South Alabama could be happy to just be here. Air Force, conversely, travels well and will treat the NOVA® Home Loans Arizona Bowl like just another business trip.

Matchup To Watch

Worthman vs. South Alabama LBs Roman Buchanan and Darrell Songy

Worthman has played very well, winning all of his starts and rushing for 603 yards and six scores in only five games. And the extra practice time this month will hasten his development running the offense. The onus falls on Buchanan and Songy, a Belgian-born Oregon State transfer, to quickly fill running lanes and wrap up the agile sophomore quarterback when he gets into space.

Air Force vs. South Alabama Betting Odds

Spread: No line as of post
Over/Under: No line as of post

Air Force vs. South Alabama Prediction

South Alabama has a lot of time to prepare for the Air Force triple-option. However, time and practice aren’t enough to address the Falcons’ advantages in physicality or system know-how. They’ll pound the USA front wall with a steady diet of Worthman and his bevy of north-south backs. The Jaguars will also struggle on offense, especially if Davis is forced to rally the troops in comeback mode. Air Force will roll, without too much resistance, to its second 10-win season in the last three years under Calhoun.

Air Force vs. South Alabama Score Prediction: Air Force 38, South Alabama 17

Campus Insiders Staff Picks

Brian Stultz: Air Force
Jeff Bartl: Air Force
Rich Cirminiello: Air Force
Robert Judin: Air Force
Jordan Cornette: Air Force

MORE: No. 1-128 College Football Rankings – Week 15

Related Posts

Featured

  • Video
  • March 22, 2017
  • Campus Insiders

NCAA Tournament Bracket Busters March Towards History

Teams like Xavier, Wisconsin, South Carolina, and Michigan are responsible for knocking out four of the top 16 seeded teams in the NCAA Tournament. But can they prove to be more than one upset wonders? Campus Insiders breaks down the history of how teams seeded 11, 8, and 7 have fared in the big dance.

Live Events

All times are Eastern Time Zone.

Live Schedule

All times are Eastern Time Zone.
Clear Filters
Thursday, March 23, 2017
TimeET Title Category Network
2:00 pm Tennis (W) Mountain West Network
9:00 pm Baseball TheW.TV
Friday, March 24, 2017
TimeET Title Category Network
7:00 pm Softball Mountain West Network
9:00 pm Baseball TheW.TV
9:00 pm Baseball TheW.TV
9:00 pm Softball Mountain West Network
9:00 pm Softball Mountain West Network
9:00 pm Baseball TheW.TV
Saturday, March 25, 2017
TimeET Title Category Network
12:00 pm Softball Patriot League Network
12:00 pm Lacrosse (W) Patriot League Network
12:00 pm Softball Patriot League Network
12:00 pm Baseball Patriot League Network
1:00 pm Lacrosse (W) Patriot League Network
1:00 pm Lacrosse (M) Patriot League Network
1:00 pm Lacrosse (W) Patriot League Network
1:00 pm Lacrosse (M) Patriot League Network
1:00 pm Lacrosse (W) Patriot League Network
2:00 pm Softball Patriot League Network
2:00 pm Lacrosse (M) Mountain West Network
2:30 pm Lacrosse (W) Patriot League Network
2:30 pm Softball Patriot League Network
3:00 pm Baseball Patriot League Network
3:30 pm Lacrosse (M) Patriot League Network
4:00 pm Softball Mountain West Network
4:00 pm Baseball TheW.TV
6:00 pm Baseball TheW.TV
7:00 pm Softball Mountain West Network
9:00 pm Softball Mountain West Network
9:00 pm Baseball TheW.TV
10:00 pm Volleyball (M) TheW.TV
Sunday, March 26, 2017
TimeET Title Category Network
12:00 pm Baseball Patriot League Network
12:00 pm Softball Patriot League Network
12:00 pm Softball Patriot League Network
1:00 pm Baseball Patriot League Network
2:00 pm Softball Mountain West Network
3:00 pm Baseball Patriot League Network
3:00 pm Lacrosse (W) TheW.TV
3:00 pm Baseball TheW.TV
3:00 pm Softball Mountain West Network
4:00 pm Baseball TheW.TV
4:00 pm Baseball Mountain West Network
Tuesday, March 28, 2017
TimeET Title Category Network
3:00 pm Baseball Patriot League Network
9:00 pm Baseball TheW.TV
Wednesday, March 29, 2017
TimeET Title Category Network
3:00 pm Lacrosse (W) Patriot League Network
3:00 pm Lacrosse (W) Patriot League Network
5:00 pm Lacrosse (W) Patriot League Network
7:00 pm Lacrosse (W) Patriot League Network
7:00 pm
Navy at Lehigh
Lacrosse (W)
Lacrosse (W) Patriot League Network
9:00 pm Baseball TheW.TV
9:00 pm Softball Mountain West Network
10:00 pm Baseball Mountain West Network

Popular Posts

  • College Basketball
  • March 22, 2017
  • Jeff Bartl

Tom Crean Deserved Better From Indiana

Tom Crean rebuilt the Indiana program, then became a victim of his own success. The school's administration - and the Hoosiers' fan base - owed him more than an undeserved dismissal.