Late Air Force TD Pass Results In 41-38 Loss

Nov. 19, 2016

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San Jose, Calif.------- On paper, Senior Night was a career night for San Jose State University football co-captains Kenny Potter and Tim Crawley.

Potter, the Spartans' quarterback, accounted for all five of the team's touchdowns on runs of 17, 1 and 1 yards and passes of 25 and 3 yards. To top it off, he added a 2-point run to tie the game at 31-31 on an untimed play at the end of the third quarter.

Crawley, the team's leading pass receiver, had personal single-game bests of 11 receptions for 147 yards.

But, it was Air Force quarterback Arion Worthman with a career-best 215 rushing yards and two touchdowns and the game-winning 22-yard scoring pass to wide receiver Jalen Robinette with 32 seconds to go that was the difference in a 41-38 loss to the Falcons in a Mountain West game.

Potter and Crawley were involved in the Spartans' final offensive play of season at CEFCU Stadium. Hoping to connect deep in Air Force territory and keep San Jose State's hopes alive, Potter's pass intended for Crawley was deflected into the air and caught by Falcons' safety Weston Steelhammer for his second interception of the game.

The Spartans' quarterback threw for a career-high 340 yards, but was sacked five times, intercepted twice by Steelhammer in the second half and fumbled in the third quarter. Air Force (8-3, 4-3 Mountain West) converted three turnovers into 14 points and its fourth win in a row.

San Jose State had its best first half of offense all season scoring on all four of their possessions. Potter connected with wide receiver Bailey Gaither on a 25-yard scoring pass and had touchdown runs of 17 and 1 for a 20-10 lead. Bryce Crawford added a 31-yard field goal at the end of the half to extend San Jose State's advantage to 23-17. The only blemish was a missed PAT by Crawford on a high center snap.

Mistakes cost the Spartans their lead in the third quarter. Steelhammer intercepted Potter at the Air Force goal line for the Falcons first stop of the game. Air Force turned the takeaway into its first lead of the game, 24-23, on a 78-scoring drive capped by Worthman's second touchdown, a 25-yard run.

Air Force took advantage of a Potter fumble that turned into 4-yard TD run by fullback D.J. Johnson for a 31-23 lead. With everything going their way, the Falcons looked to deliver a knockout blow as Worthman attempted to connect with Robinette, the national leader in yards per catch at 27.1, on a long pass play down the right side. The pass hung up in an uncharacteristic wind from the south, was short leading Robinette to fall leaving Spartan cornerback Andre Chachere alone for an interception and a 50-yard return to the Air Force 28-yard line.

San Jose State took advantage of its good fortune with Potter finding running back Malik Roberson from 3-yards out. Potter's run for a 2-point PAT tied the game at 31-31 going into the start of the fourth quarter.

Air Force's Luke Strebel's 21-yard field goal gave the Falcons a 34-31 lead with 12:03 remaining.

After a scoreless exchange of possessions, Potter led the Spartans on a 7-play, 80-yard touchdown drive for a 38-34 lead with 4:00 to go.

It looked like San Jose State was going to lose the lead, but Falcons' running back Ronald Cleveland was stacked up after a 16-yard run and fumbled on the Spartans' 1-yard line. San Jose State needed one first down with 1:39 left in the game, but was unable to get it.

The Falcons took advantage of a second chance and cashed in for the win.

Air Force outgained San Jose State, 491 to 457. The Falcons gained 458 yards on the ground led by Worthman in his third start of the season.

San Jose State closes out the 2016 season, Saturday, November 26, at Fresno State, in a 12:30 p.m. game.