Air Force Academy, Colo. • Calvin Tyler Jr. raced 61 yards for the go-ahead touchdown with just under four minutes to play to lift Utah State to a 49-45 win over Air Force in the Mountain West Conference opener Saturday night.
The Aggies, who had just one win a year ago, won their third straight game to open the season for the first time since 1978.
Tyler carried 19 times for 132 yards and two touchdowns to lead Utah State while Logan Bonner completed 21 of 34 passes for 253 yards and two touchdowns. Andrew Peasley threw three second-half touchdown passes, including a 72-yard bomb to Deven Thompkins with 9:51 to go to pull the Aggies within a touchdown of the Falcons, 45-40.
Air Force took a 10-0 lead in the first quarter, but Bonner engineered a 13-play, 71-yard drive capped by Tyler’s first touchdown, then drove the Aggies 92 yards in 11 plays on their next series, giving them a 13-10 lead after hitting Brandon Bowling from six-yards out.
Haaziq Daniels connected with Micah Davis on a 56-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter to put Air Force back in front and Dane Kinamon scored just before intermission to put the Falcons in front, 24-13.
Bonner led the Aggies on another long drive to start the second half, hitting Justin McGriff with a 24-yard scoring pass to make it 24-20.
Emmanuel Michel had touchdown runs of 51- and 55-yards in the third quarter to put the Falcons up 38-34 going into the final period, and Daniels pushed the lead to 45-34 with a 39-yard touchdown dash.
Peasley answered with a three-play drive capped by his bomb to Thompkins.
Thompkins finished with nine catches for 188 yards for Utah State and Bowling pulled in nine for 136.
Daniels led Air Force (2-1) with 182 yards on 6-of-12 passing and added 95 yards on 13 carries. Michel carried 11 times for 133 yards and Brad Roberts carried 21 times for 113.