Air Force was struggling to run the ball and failed to convert a few great opportunities in the passing game. Instead of growing frustrated and losing focus, the Falcons kept plugging along.
Their persistence paid off.
Air Force cashed in when Georgia Tech muffed a punt in the second half of the Independence Bowl, getting a go-ahead touchdown run from Jared Tew in a 14-7 victory Monday in Shreveport, La.
“Our discipline really shined in this game,” Falcons defensive tackle Rick Ricketts said. “We liked our game plan going in. It was pretty straight forward, so it was just a matter of executing.”
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The matchup between the two best rushing teams in the country was largely decided by special teams.
Backup kicker Zack Bell converted the first two field-goal attempts of his career before Tew’s 3-yard run gave the Falcons (9-4) the lead for good. Air Force’s only touchdown came four plays after Daniel McKayhan’s second muffed punt of the game – the third of four turnovers for Georgia Tech (6-7).
Georgia Tech’s 327 yards rushing per game this season edged Air Force’s 317.9 average for the nation’s top spot.
Air Force’s Tim Jefferson completed 11 of 23 passes for 117 yards. Bell’s field goals came from 41 and 42 yards.
Players from Notre Dame and Miami will not be allowed to cross the border into Ciudad Juarez, Mexico’s most dangerous city during their free time before the Sun Bowl.
Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly took his team’s passports before the Fighting Irish flew to El Paso as a precaution. The Hurricanes didn’t bring passports, either.
Florida will be without cornerback Janoris Jenkins and three other starters against Penn State in the Outback Bowl. Jenkins had surgery on his right shoulder. Right tackle Maurice Hurt and defensive tackles Lawrence Marsh and Terron Sanders also will miss coach Urban Meyer’s finale. . . . North Carolina says running back Anthony Elzy will not play in the Music City Bowl.