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11/17/2012 1:58 AM EST
Cobb, Getz lift Air Force to 21-7 win over Hawaii
AIR FORCE 21, HAWAII 7

By PAT GRAHAM
AP Sports Writer

AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. (AP) -- On a night when the Air Force
Falcons didn't pass, they received an offer they couldn't pass
up.



Immediately after their 21-7 win over Hawaii on Friday night,
the Falcons received an invitation to the Armed Forces Bowl.



They quickly accepted.



And so the Falcons (6-5, 5-2 Mountain West) will head to a
postseason game for the sixth straight season under coach Troy
Calhoun. They don't know who they will play - don't much care,
really - but were elated at the thought of extending their
season.



"It's a pretty sweet way to go out," said quarterback Connor
Dietz, who was one of 23 seniors playing in their final game at
Falcon Stadium.



Dietz certainly didn't have to worry about icing his right arm
after this one. For just the fifth time in school history, the
Falcons didn't attempt a pass.



Instead, they relied on a ground game that's ranked second in
the country. Wes Cobb scored twice on short runs and Cody Getz
rushed for 125 yards as the Falcons snapped a two-game skid.



"It was a gutty, gritty win," Calhoun said. "An absolute
gut-check of a win."



Jeremy Higgins made his first start for Hawaii and directed a
scoring drive to open the game. But the Warriors (1-9, 0-7)
struggled after that as they lost for an eighth straight time,
the second-longest skid in school history. Hawaii's record is 19
straight losses from 1997-99.



"We weren't able to move the ball very well. We weren't able to
run the ball as well as we thought we were going to," Higgins
said. "We weren't good on third downs in the second half and it
was just a lot of mental errors on my part."



Getz had another big night, eclipsing the 100-yard mark for the
sixth time this season. The diminutive back had a 5-yard TD run
early in the third quarter to break a 7-7 tie.



"That was a great run. Holy cow," Calhoun said. "Probably the
best one he's ever had."



Getz looked more like his explosive self again, showing no
lingering signs of an ankle injury that's hampered him the last
few weeks.



"It feels good seeing those big holes open up again," Getz said.
"But it feels better to get a win, most of all."



The Falcons stayed on the field after the game to accept the
bid. The Armed Forces Bowl will be played Dec. 29 in Fort Worth,
Texas, against a team from Conference USA.



"It feels amazing to know for sure where you're going," Cobb
said.



Cobb added a pair of 2-yard TD bursts to help the Falcons win
back the Kuter Trophy, a memento the team really didn't even
know existed since the two schools hadn't played since 2001.



Granted, it's not as prestigious as the Commander-in-Chief's
Trophy that goes to the academy with the best record in the
annual round-robin competition. But since the Falcons are out of
that race after losses to Army and Navy, this one will have to
suffice.



The tradition of awarding the Kuter Trophy to the Hawaii-Air
Force winner began in 1980, when both teams were members of the
Western Athletic Conference. The hardware was named after the
late Gen. Laurence S. Kuter, who was the first head of the
Pacific Air Forces Command. It was a symbol of the cooperation
between the people of Hawaii and the Air Force.



The Falcons had the trophy in their possession, even though the
Warriors should've been the rightful holders since they beat Air
Force 52-30 in 2001. The academy dusted it off over the summer
and shipped it back to Hawaii.



Now, the Falcons can legitimately place the keepsake in their
trophy case.



Getz gave Air Force the lead for good early in the third quarter
when he bounced off a Hawaii defender and dove into the end
zone. He also had the big play on the drive, when he scampered
54 yards to set up the score.



Hawaii was in prime position to tie the game after Charles Clay
recovered a muffed punt deep in Air Force territory. Three plays
later, though, Hawaii running back Joey Iosefa turned it right
back over to the Falcons.



Cobb plowed in from 2 yards out to tie the game at 7 early in
the second quarter. The score would remain tied at halftime as
Tyler Hadden's 60-yard field goal attempt wound up well short as
time expired.



The Warriors scored on their opening drive for the first time
this season. Higgins avoided a blitz by rolling out to his left,
then lofted a perfect strike to tight end Clark Evans for a
26-yard touchdown.



Higgins stepped in for Sean Schroeder, who's struggled to ignite
the offense. Higgins finished 14 of 23 for 125 yards against Air
Force before being relieved by Schroeder.



"That's a good football team," said Hawaii coach Norm Chow.
"They have such a nice system for themselves. I'm sure they knew
exactly what they were doing."



And they didn't even need to attempt a pass. However, it's not a
recipe Calhoun wants to repeat all that often.



"That's not the way to do it," said Calhoun, whose offense
didn't put the ball in the air for the first time since 1992 at
Wyoming. "It's just not.



"It's been one challenging year, to say the least. And yet it's
neat to see these guys be rewarded and play in another bowl
game. We're not a splendid group or a beautiful group. But we
have the makeup internally that you absolutely want in guys."



---



Pat Graham can be reached on Twitter at
http://twitter.com/pgraham34.

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