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We’re still in the first of two rounds of matches in the West – everyone plays everyone home and away – but Friday’s contest between Colorado and Air Force is a big one. Colorado can seal a 3-0 first half of the conference season with a win, while Air Force is eager to erase the upset by Wyoming from its collective mind.
The Zoomies were originally slated to play the Cowboys March 1st, but it was postponed to a midweek contest March 12. The Zoomies went up to Laramie, Wyo. and fell 29-19.
“They’re a very good team. They didn’t make any good mistakes. We try to counter off of every mistake, whether we forced it or it’s unforced, but they didn’t make any mistakes,” said Air Force coach Joe Muehlbauer of Wyoming.
“They played really well defensively – good tacklers, and we just didn’t execute. We turned the ball over a lot. They’re a very good team, much improved, and we just kind of ran into a little buzz saw out there and didn’t execute. Most of that’s on them. They didn’t let us do anything.”
For Colorado, the West regular season is the conduit to the DI-A playoffs. For Air Force, which has set its sights on the Varsity Cup, the regular season could be seen as less important. But Muehlbauer says the Zoomies want to win every game, and they’re excited to renew the rivalry with Colorado Friday.
“I don’t think that’s in their minds. I’ve never heard that said,” said Muehlbauer, referring to the regular season being thought of as less important. “Every team, and especially here at the Academy, we want to win every match, no matter who we’re playing. I don’t think that’s really it. We’ve been lacking a bit so far, and we’ve got to pick up our game.
“CU’s a good team. I figure everybody in [the West] has really improved a lot, and I’m not sure we have. CSU’s tough, Wyoming is obviously tough, and Colorado’s going to be tough. We’re excited and it is a big rivalry for us.”
The Zoomies have been bitten by the injury bug this season, losing both starting props, a starting lock, a starting flanker to injuries, as well enduring an assortment of twisted ankles and niggles in the backs.
“We’ve got some young guys trying to jump in and see what they can do,” said Muehlbauer, “So it’s going to be exciting anyway.”