Louisville football will play in its second bowl game of the Scott Satterfield era against the Air Force Falcons in Dallas, Texas. The Cards finished the regular season with six wins and are looking to avoid back-to-back losing seasons for the first time in well over a decade. The Falcons bring in the top rushing attack in the country with a strong triple-option focus. UofL will have to do what most teams struggle with which is stopping the option in a one-off game.
Air Force is led by a dynamic quarterback in Haaziq Daniels. The 6-1/200 signal-caller is averaging 7 yards per play when it comes to total offense with a 5 yard per carry average running the ball. Daniels isn’t a dynamic passer but he does have 5 touchdown passes on the season. Defending the option is all about stopping the dive man so Daniels makes it very hard to slow down the offense as he can get out into space and hurt you.
The running back group for the Falcons is deep but Brad Roberts is the key guy to focus on. The fullback has 1284 yards on the season and he is second in the country in carries per game. The dive man on most plays, Roberts has been able to put up big numbers even though he is the first key for the defense.
The tailback and wingback spots are where the depth shows. Five players are averaging over six yards per carry and you never really know which guy will get the ball. DeAndre Hughes is the guy that stood out to me when watching their games. He has really good speed and hits the corner quickly which allows him to pick up chunk yardage even if you set the edge well.
The receivers are also a mixed bag when it comes to effectiveness. Brandon Lewis and Micah Davis are the top two targets and both have made some plays when given the opportunity this season. When Air Force throws the ball it is typically down the field in some way. Neither receiver has great speed, but the design of the offense puts defenders in a trail position because they’re focused on the run. When that happens, the receivers get a free step on the defense which usually works out for them.
Air Force has the best rushing attack in the country when it comes to yardage but they do drop off a bit when it comes to yards per carry. After watching their games, it seems like they get stuffed at the line more often than I expected and they get into long third downs from time to time. This offensive line executes very well when it comes to blocking up the option plays but there are some issues at times when it comes to being consistent. UofL may have some chances to get stops and force the Falcons to pass.