Texas El Paso Coach Charlie Bailey had it right.
"This was a game of two offensive teams," he said after Air Force and its junior quarterback, Beau Morgan, beat his Miners and their freshman quarterback, John Rayborn, in a Western Athletic Conference shootout, 56-46, Saturday at Air Force Academy, Colo.
Morgan ran for four touchdowns and passed for another, but his performance was at least equaled by Rayborn, who had five touchdown passes and a scoring run.
The victory left Air Force 4-2 overall and 4-1 in the WAC. UTEP dropped to 1-5, 0-3.
Rayborn staked the Miners to a 31-14 lead with 1:52 left in the first half on one of his three touchdown passes to Alvin Black.
But Morgan closed the gap to 31-21 when he ran 18 yards for a score on a quarterback draw a minute later, then opened the third quarter with a one-yard sneak to cap a six-play, 80-yard drive. He put the Falcons ahead for good later in the quarter when he connected with halfback Jake Campbell on a 22-yard scoring pass play.
Blanton, who completed 26 of 41 passes with no interceptions, connected with Az Hakim on a 48-yard pass play with 9:27 left in the fourth quarter for the winning score.
"Billy did the efficient things and he had success on the broken plays," said Aztec Coach Ted Tollner. "He was marvelous."
Said Blanton: "I made a lot of safe decisions [with] no turnovers."
Craigus Thompson and Jason Moore both had interceptions for the Aztecs in the final nine minutes of the game. Moore also had an earlier interception off Utah's Mike Fouts, the nephew of former San Diego Charger quarterback Dan Fouts.
San Diego also intercepted Henry Lusk once on a halfback option play.
The Aztec defense came up with five turnovers, including three--a fumble recovery and two interceptions--in the final 10 minutes of the game.
"No question it helped us," Tollner said of the turnovers. "At the same time we were most productive on long drives."
Tulsa 35, Wyoming 6--The Golden Hurricane, which next year joins an expanded 16-team WAC, introduced a different kind of attack--a strong running game coupled with a strong defense--in this game at Tulsa, Okla.
Reggie Williams ran for 166 yards and the defense had six interceptions. Wyoming (2-2) had scored 52 and 45 points in its previous two games.
The grinding, plowing running of Williams, a redshirt freshman who had his third consecutive 100-yard day, set up a conservative passing attack for Tulsa (3-3).
The Cowboys, ranked third in the nation in total offense at 551 yards a game, finished with 320.