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Armed Forces Bowl Preview Capsule

🕐 2 min read

Air Force (8-5, Mountain West) vs. California (7-5, Pac-12), 2 p.m. ET (ESPN)

Line: California by 7.

Series Record: California leads 6-2.


A rematch of the 2007 Armed Forces Bowl, which Cal won 42-36. The Bears, in their first bowl since 2011, go for their first eight-win season since 2009. The Falcons are trying to reach at least nine wins for the second year in a row, having last done that in 1997-98 when they combined for 22 wins (10 in 1997, 12 the next year).


Air Force’s rushing game and California’s passing offense. The Falcons rank second nationally with 322 yards rushing per game, and are the only team nationally with six different players with 100-yard games this season. Led by quarterback Jared Goff, the Bears are sixth nationally with 369 yards passing per game and are the only team that has six players with at least 30 catches each. If Air Force chews up the clock with its running game, that’s less time for Goff to air things out.


Air Force: Jacobi Owens leads the Falcons with 1,013 yards rushing with six touchdowns. Owens has actually started the last seven games at fullback due to injuries to juniors D.J. Johnson and Shayne Davern. In seven games since moving from fullback to tailback, Owens has run for 709 yards. The Falcons are 7-1 this season when a fullback has 100 yards rushing.

California: Goff has thrown for 4,252 yards and 37 touchdowns, breaking his own single-season school records. The first true freshman quarterback to start his first game for the Bears, he has started all 36 games he has played and holds 26 school records.


California has lost five of seven games since a 5-0 start. … Air Force is 1-8 in games played at TCU’s Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth, 1-3 in the Armed Forces Bowl and 0-5 in games against the Horned Frogs. … The Falcons are 11-12-1 in bowl games. … Cal is 10-10-1 in bowl games.


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