For a moment, Fresno State’s afternoon in Colorado Springs, Colorado seemed perfect.
Fresno State running back Marteze Waller initiated the quick start with a 64-yard run to give the Bulldogs a 7-0 lead against Air Force.
Minutes later, backup running back Dustin Garrison ignited his own 60-yard touchdown run to give the ‘Dogs a 14-0 lead.
But that was the end of the ‘Dogs glory.
Following Garrison’s touchdown, the Falcons retaliated with 42 straight points to send the ‘Dogs home with a 42-14 loss.
“Anytime you lose it’s extremely disappointing,” head coach Tim DeRuyter said. “I thought we started the game well, I thought our guys came out with a lot of fight and we executed well early. We gave up a chunk play when we didn’t fit things well, let them score, get back in it and gave them some momentum.”
Air Force quarterback Karson Roberts torched the ‘Dogs with four rushing touchdowns and a touchdown catch.
The quarterback snagged the touchdown pass from wide receiver Jalen Robinette, who spun out of a tackle on a reverse to complete a 20-yard strike.
Robert’s five total touchdowns tied for the second most by any player in Air Force history.
He finished the game with 92 yards rushing and five completions for 108 yards.
“They execute their offense well,” DeRuyter said. “They came up with some schemes that they hadn’t shown and we didn’t fit things well or tackle well. We didn’t get some first downs on offense, so it was just a tough outing.”
Without injured fullbacks Shayne Davern (knee) and D.J. Johnson (ankle), the Falcons still rushed for 458 yards.
Falcons’ running back Bryan Driskell recorded 144 yards on 12 carries, while Jacobi Owens added to the Air Force total with 23 carries for 137 yards and one touchdown.
Cornerback Jamal Ellis provided a rare Fresno State highlight in the second half.
With the Falcons leading 28-14 in the third quarter, Ellis forced a fumble on an option pitch, recovered it and returned it 24 yards to the Air Force 36-yard line.
But the Falcons forced the ‘Dogs into a three-and-out following the turnover, then marched 79 yards down the field on the ensuing drive to score a fifth-straight touchdown.
Fresno State quarterback Kilton Anderson was 14-of-39 passing in the game for 177 yards and one interception.
“[Air Force] changed some things up on defense and we might have got a little complacent with the two scores,” Anderson said. “We have to figure it out during this bye week and fix what we need to get fixed.”
Fresno State (2-6, 1-4) must win out to become bowl eligible. Following the bye week, the ‘Dogs will host Nevada on Nov. 5.
“I think we’ve got great kids,” DeRuyter said. “Our kids have bounced back after losses. I have no worries at all. We have really good senior leaders.”