Rice vs. Air Force: Players to Watch in Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl

Austin GreenCorrespondent IMarch 31, 2017

ANN ARBOR, MI - SEPTEMBER 08:  Cody Getz #28 of the Air Force Falcons tries to get around the tackle of Courtney Avery #5 of the Michigan Wolverines during a first quarter run at Michigan Stadium on September 8, 2012 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl should have plenty of fireworks, as Rice and Air Force are both bringing high-powered offenses to Fort Worth, Texas.

Rice is the hotter team coming in, having won four straight games and five of their last six. They are averaging 40.5 points per game during their current winning streak, which is bad news for the Falcons' porous defense.

Air Force allowed 28.7 points per game this season, including two games of 40-plus. In their regular-season finale, they gave up 603 total yards in a 48-15 loss to Fresno State.

Of course, Rice's defense is known to give up some points as well. The Owls allowed 31.3 points per game this year, so we should be in for a good ol' fashioned shootout this Saturday.

While it will take a total team effort to win this game, be sure to keep an eye on the following individuals.


Taylor McHargue, QB, Rice

McHargue has been on fire during the Owls' winning streak, completing 65.3 percent of his passes for 843 yards and three touchdowns over the last four games. He's also added 138 yards and three touchdowns on the ground during that span.

Look for the junior to have another strong game against the Falcons' defense. He's racked up 22 total touchdowns this season, and against an Air Force team that has been shredded in recent weeks, he should find the endzone several times.

Cody Getz, RB, Air Force

The senior running back has been incredible this season, rushing for 1,213 yards and nine touchdowns despite missing two games. He had three games of 200-plus rushing yards, and in the Falcons' one-dimensional offense, he's sure to get plenty of touches on Saturday.

Air Force loves to pound the football, as evidenced by their game against Hawaii in November. The Falcons didn't throw a single pass, running the ball 68 times on their way to a 21-7 win. I would be shocked if they repeat that strategy, but Getz will definitely be involved all game long.

Connor Dietz, QB, Air Force

While the Falcons didn't throw against Hawaii, they do have a capable quarterback in Connor Dietz.

Dietz has completed 62 percent of his passes this season for 1,127 yards and eight touchdowns. He also has just three interceptions.

Of course, he does a lot of his damage on the ground. He is the team's second-leading rusher this year, running for 658 yards and five touchdowns on 138 carries. He's had more carries than pass attempts in eight games this season, including six of the last seven.

Dietz will drop back and throw every once in awhile, but look for him to run plenty of quarterback-keepers on Saturday. If he can find the gaps in Rice's defense, Air Force will have a great chance to win their third bowl game in four years.