Air Force Comes Close But Can't Upset The Sooners, Falls 27-24

Air Force takes on Oklahoma at 1:30 Saturday in Norman, Oklahoma.

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Game Against Oklahoma Bodes Well For Air Force's Season

Norman, OK (Sports Network) - DeMarco Murray ran for a pair of scores, but it was his 17-yard touchdown reception late in the third quarter that proved to be the difference, as seventh-ranked Oklahoma survived a late charge from Air Force's overpowering run attack to beat the Falcons, 27-24.

Landry Jones completed 26-of-42 passes for 254 yards, while Murray finished with 110 yards on the ground for the Sooners (3-0), who extended the nation's longest home winning streak to 33 games.

After a low-scoring first half, Air Force tied the game, 10-10, on Tim Jefferson's 38-yard TD run. The score capped an 80-yard drive to start the third quarter.

Oklahoma needed only 31 seconds to reclaim the lead. A productive return on the subsequent kickoff placed the ball at the Air Force 41-yard line. Jones completed a 36-yard pass to Ryan Broyles before Murray charged into the end zone on the next play.

After the Falcons went three-and-out, Jimmy Stevens converted a 41-yard field goal to extend Oklahoma's lead to 20-10.

A costly fumble by Jefferson -- the game's only turnover -- on the next series gave Oklahoma possession at its own 24. Murray finished off the 10-play drive by taking a screen pass from Jones and following a convoy of blockers for a 17-yard TD.

Jared Tew and Kyle Halderman both ran for touchdowns in the fourth quarter, the latter coming with 3:39 to play, but the Falcons (2-1) came up short in their upset bid after Oklahoma ran out the remaining time.

"(Air Force's) execution in the second half was definitely better than ours on defense," said Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops.

Air Force came in leading the nation with 423 yards rushing per game and amassed another 351 yards on the ground.

"To come in here and win a game like this, you have to be plus on the turnover margin and you have to come up with a couple more big plays," said Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun.

Oklahoma raced out to a 7-0 lead when Murray capped the game's opening drive with a three-yard score.

Erik Soderberg kicked a 20-yard field goal later in the first quarter to put Air Force on the board. A 32-yard conversion by Stevens accounted for all the scoring in the second frame.

Broyles finished with 116 yards on 10 receptions...Jefferson led Air Force with 96 yards rushing, while Tew totaled 93 on 21 carries...Oklahoma won the previous meeting on September 1, 2001 at Falcon Stadium.

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Last Minute Injury News And Notes

Last minute notes on today's big showdown with Air Force and Oklahoma.  First off, Air Force is a 16.5 underdog to number seven Oklahoma that seems a bit high in my opinion.  That number could be a reality if Air Force's top running backs --Asher Clark and Jared Tew -- sit out any significant time due to injury:

Tew has a hand injury and Clark has an ankle injury. If either one doesn’t play, or they’re limited, that will set Air Force’s offense back. There’s not too much experience at tailback after Clark, so a young player like Darius Jones would be on the spot if he gets a bigger role.


Air Force does spread the ball to many different runners, but Tew and Clark are the main runners who can do the most damage to opposing teams.

Oklahoma has no significant player out of this game.  The only player is backup running back Brennan Clay who is doubtful with a head and neck injury. He was not expected to contribute much in this game.

The big matchup to watch in this game will be in secondary with Air Force's DB Reggie Rembert against Oklahoma's WR Ryan Broyles.  Last season, Broyles had 89 catches for 1,120 yards and 15 touchdowns.  Expect the Falcons to have a linebacker or safety shadow Broyles as well to try to limit his production.

Air Force is the obvious favorite and here is a sample of final score predictions from The Oklahoman:

Jake Trotter: OU, 44-14
Mike Baldwin: OU, 34-20
Berry Tramel: OU, 41-21
Jenni Carlson: OU, 41-17
Brandon Chatmon: OU, 42-20
John Helsley: OU, 35-20
Mike Sherman: OU, 42-14

Not a shocker that they would have the Sooners as an easy win, but to keep the Air Force faithful optimistic, Utah State nearly upset Oklahoma two weeks ago.

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Legendary Air Force Coach Fisher DeBerry To Visit Air Force When They Play Oklahoma

Air Force needs all the help they can get in Saturday's matchup against Oklahoma, and perhaps the motivation of the legendary Air Force coach Fisher DeBerry attending the game might be a jolt to the team:

...given the chance to see his old team without needing to travel far from his lakeside home in Oklahoma, DeBerry isn't about to pass up the opportunity. He plans to watch the Falcons play in person when they visit No. 7 Oklahoma on Saturday.

The last time he attended an Air Force game was Oct. 17 when the Falcons won 10-0 at home against Wyoming.

The 72-year-old DeBerry doesn't want to interfere or be a distraction when Air Force could have a chance at a big win, but he still has a passion for the program where he went 169-109-1 and went to 12 bowl games.

DeBerry is credited with the current offense that the Falcons run which torture teams with the methodical full back dive and then burn the defense with some variation of the offense. Current coach Troy Calhoun was smart enough to keep that tradition, and hopefully similar success at the Academy. 

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