#24 Air Force upped their College Premier Division record to 3-1 Saturday, defeating #29 Colorado State 46-10 at Infinity Park Stadium in Glendale, Colo. The Zoomies led 15-10 at halftime and were able to pull away from their upstate rivals with 31 unanswered points in the second half.
Colorado State drew first blood when flyhalf Ryan Walker hit a penalty after an Air Force loose forward was pinged at the breakdown to put CSU up 3-0 at 10 minutes.
A balance of forward and backline maneuvers brought Air Force to CSU’s 10-meter line, where flyhalf Carson Cleveland sold a nifty dummy and was into space before being held up. Clean ball produced from the ensuing ruck had Cleveland feinting the wide pass and slipping a short toss inside to streaking outside center Austin Ollis, who burst over the line for a Cleveland-converted goal, and a 7-3 Air Force lead at 20 minutes.
Air Force No. 8 and senior captain Brennan Gallagher was sin-binned for a breakdown infringement, and CSU used the advantage well with Walker banging the ball upfield into touch. The Rams captured the lineout and mauled forward in bits and snatches. The Rams broke weakside, and inside center Patrick Kobilca created space to allow Kevin Dombrock a lane up the sidelines to the Zoomie 22. After a slick handoff to wing Marques Vieira, the speedy three-quarter was gone and into goal. CSU re-took the lead after Walker’s conversion and led 10-7 at 30 minutes.
With time waning in the half, the Rams were pinged for offsides at the breakdown at their 22-meter line, and Cleveland drew the Zoomies even with a well-slotted goal at 38 minutes. Air Force kept pushing before the break, as their forwards drove the hard yards from CSU’s 10-meter line into their opponent’s 22 in a series of pick-and-gos before a long pass wide put winger Aaron Schuetze in at the corner to give Air Force a 15-10 halftime lead.
The first 10 minutes of the second half had both sides struggling to obtain superiority, but minor infractions and mental lapses resulted in possession exchanges and neither could realize a benefit until Air Force stormed into CSU’s territory and set up shop.
Center Anthony Ruize chased and gathered an Air Force fly kick and raced it in for the opening score of the second half, which Cleveland converted to extend the Zoomie lead to 22-10.
A sin bin put the Rams on their back foot, and Gallagher, first-half yellow card recipient, capitalized with a try off the base of an Air Force scrum, increasing the lead to 27-10. The Zoomies scored three more tries, from Gallagher, replacement prop Jeremy Warfield and center Kenneth Kinderwater, with CSU at full strength to round out the scoring.
Tries: Ollis, Schuetze, Ruize, Gallagher (2), Warfield, Kinderwater
Cons Cleveland (4)
Officials: C. Cross, M. Nelson, D. Hattrup