Home » Blog » Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl Preview: Air Force vs. Rice

Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl Preview: Air Force vs. Rice

The Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl kicks off a full day of games on Saturday with Air Force (6-6, 5-3) taking on Rice (6-6, 4-4). The Owls are playing their first bowl game since 2008 and entering it with a four-game win streak. For Air Force, Saturday’s game represents its sixth straight bowl appearance but they ended their season on a losing note after starting out 4-1 for the year.

The name of this game will be running for both teams as the Falcons are so dependent on it (87 percent of the time), that in its Nov. 16 game against Hawaii (a 21-7 victory), it had zero pass attempts–a first for an FBS team in three years.

It appears to work for them as it is No. 2 nationally with its rushing offense (328.8 yards per game) and since 1986, it has ended the season as a top 10 team in this area.

Air Force RB Cody Getz

Air Force quarterback Connor Dietz and running back Cody Getz are a productive ground duo, combining to run 27 times a game, grabbing 1,899 yards and scoring 14 touchdowns. Dietz, who uses the triple-option attack, can throw when he has to and for the season, he has 1,127 passing yards, eight touchdowns, and three picks.

Should he choose to throw the ball, he has weapons to choose from including Ty MacArthur, Drew Coleman or Dontae Strickland who have a combined 72 targets, 50 catches, 969 yards and seven scores.

Dietz has a great offensive line that did not allow any sacks this season through its first nine games.

But Air Force’s niche is the running game and Getz is the star for this team.

To date, the diminutive back has 1,213 rushing yards with nine touchdowns–even after missing two games to injury. He is the school’s first player to have three 200-yard running games in one season. This could continue on Saturday as Rice’s run defense has given up 193.2 yards per game, giving them a No. 94 ranking nationally.

Air Force coach Troy Calhoun said of Getz via ESPN, “Cody is a great, great story. A guy that has not played a whole lot, at least here at the academy, until his senior year. He’s only 162 pounds and probably the tiniest back in the country. But has good feet and he cuts well, loves to play, and he’ll be one of those guys I think that will be a lot of fun to watch on December 29.”

As for Rice’s offense, they’re more balanced. In their four-game win streak, they’ve averaged 40.5 points and 432.0 yards. Their field general is Taylor McHargue who went 64 for 98 passes, 843 yards, three scores, and one pick during this time but he’s really been pretty good all season from the accolade that this year’s team has the second-most productive offense in the school’s history.

This includes 381 points, 5,053 yards of total offense (with 2,415 running), moving past 2008’s 10-3 team.

Rice’s star running back is senior Charles Ross. In the team’s season finale against UTEP, he had a career-high 154-yards with two touchdowns.

Should Rice decide to employ their passing game, McHargue will look to either Jordan Taylor (673 yards) or Sam McGuffie (523 yards and five touchdowns) but he’s been known to just run the ball himself on either second- or third-and-longs.

As for the teams’ defenses, there’s not much to say about either of them. Air Force lost a lot of players after last season and their group is physically small.

There’s history between the teams with Air Force having the advantage at 5-1 but they haven’t played one another since 1998. Three of their previous games came when they both played in the WAC.

The Falcons aren’t new to the Armed Forces Bowl: they have played in four of them, which is the most for any team with a 2-2 record. Experience may not help as Air Force gets the nod (-2, 62.5 o/u).


  • 100%