Football: Falcons’ fourth quarter awakening comes up short

USAF photo: Staff Sgt. Raymond Hoy Air Force quarterback Tim Jefferson runs for a first down against the San Diego State Aztecs Oct. 16 at San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium. Jefferson finished the game 13 of 30 for 175 yards through the air and 15 rushes for 95 yards on the ground. The Falcons lost the game 27-25.

By Staff Sgt. Raymond Hoy: U.S. Air Force Academy Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — The Air Force Academy Falcons showed some life in the fourth quarter, but came up short in a losing effort to San Diego State University Oct. 16 at Qualcomm Stadium here. The 23rd ranked Falcons lost to the Aztecs 27-25.

The game started off slowly for both teams. Both quarterbacks threw interceptions in the first quarter and went into the second quarter tied at zero.

It was San Diego’s big-play ability that opened it up for the Aztecs. Leading the way was Aztec running back Ronnie Hillman who had two long runs, including his 65-yard touchdown run for the first points of the game.

The Falcons found their running legs as they began to move the ball against the Aztecs. Both second-quarter drives came up a little short though leading to two Eric Soderberg field goals. The Aztecs were able to answer just before the half with a field goal of their own from Abel Perez taking the 10-6 lead into halftime.

After trading punts to start the second half, the Aztecs struck again with an 8-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Lindley to Gavin Escobar pushing their lead to 17-6.

The Falcons answered back with a 10-play, 66-yard drive of their own that included a couple of big runs from Asher Clark, including his 20-yard touchdown run to cap the drive. Air Force missed the two-point conversion though, giving San Diego a 17-12 lead at the end of the third quarter.

Things heated up in the fourth quarter after the Aztecs put another field goal on the board. They led 20-12 until the Falcons were finally able to put another touchdown on the board with a Nathan Walker 4-yard touchdown run with two minutes left. They got the two-point conversion initially, but it was overturned by the replay booth, keeping the Aztec lead to two at 20-18 with 2:08 left in the game.

Following a failed on-side kick, the Falcons gave up a back-breaking 44-yard touchdown run to Ronnie Hillman on the first play of the drive, putting San Diego up by nine with 2:00 left on the clock.

Air Force answered with a Time Jefferson 7-yard touchdown pass to Chaz Demerath cutting the Aztec lead to two points, 27-25, with only 18 tics left on the clock.

That was the final score following another failed Falcon on-side kick.

The loss takes the Falcons to 5-2 with a 3-1 record in the Mountain West. They head to Texas to take on the Horned Frogs of Texas Christian University Saturday. Game time is set for 7 p.m. CST.