Fresno State is worried about more than Air Force’s running game in the Silicon Valley Classic. The Falcons have proved they’re effective with the pass as well.
Senior quarterback Mike Thiessen threw for 1,687 yards this season, the most for Air Force since 1969. In addition to 13 touchdown passes, he ran for 713 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Receiver Ryan Fleming had 52 receptions for 930 yards--a 17.9-yard average--for the Falcons (8-3), who finished the season second in the Mountain West Conference to Colorado State.
The Falcons bring the option--and Thiessen’s arm--to San Jose State’s Spartan Stadium today to face Fresno State in the first annual Silicon Valley Classic bowl game.
Fresno State (7-4) finished third in the Western Athletic Conference, which encompassed the Mountain West before the conference split.
The Bulldogs faced the option earlier this season against Rice and emerged with a 27-24 victory. But Fresno State Coach Pat Hill said Air Force has a different style.
“When you’re playing Air Force, it’s not so much the option, it’s the discipline of the people running it,” Hill said. “Air Force is going to make their plays. You have to minimize your mistakes.”
Fresno State’s offense is led by David Carr, who completed 61.4% of his passes for 2,338 yards and 18 touchdowns. He rushed for four touchdowns.
Defense, however, is Fresno State’s forte. They finished second in the WAC in that category.
“They make so many plays, and everything they do is built around those two big linebackers [Tim Skipper and Orlando Huff],” Air Force Coach Fisher DeBerry said.