Backup quarterback Arion Worthmanran for 102 yards and two touchdowns as an injury replacement to rally Air Force past Fresno State 31-21 on Friday night.
Air Force (5-3, 2-3 Mountain West Conference) snapped a three-game losing streak, while Fresno State (1-8, 0-5) joined the 1929 Bulldogs as the only teams in school history to lose seven consecutive games.
The Falcons were able to win despite senior starting quarterback Nate Romine leaving the game with an apparent ankle injury with 6:19 remaining in the third quarter, when the Falcons were trailing 21-17.
Enter Worthman, a sophomore with one career rush and one career pass - both in this season's opener - to his credit. He fueled the winning rally as the primary ball carrier on two scoring drives in the fourth quarter, attempting just two passes as Air Force ran the ball on its final 30 plays - including all 24 in the fourth quarter.
Worthman's 2-yard leap into the end zone on an option keeper gave Air Force a 24-21 lead with 13:02 to play in the game. His 4-yard keeper sealed the victory with 2:34 to play in the game.
Fresno State was playing its first game since head coach Tim DeRuyter was fired. Freshman quarterbackChason Virgil threw three touchdown passes to KeeSean Johnson, but also threw four interceptions that set up two Falcons touchdowns.
AIR FORCE: The Falcons have scored in 293 consecutive games, the fifth-longest streak in FBS history, and the third-longest active streak behind Florida (353) and Texas Christian (300).
FRESNO STATE: The Bulldogs are out of bowl-game contention, so their attention is focused on finding the next head coach to replace DeRuyter. Local media reports name former Cal coach Jeff Tedford, a former Fresno State player and offensive coordinator, as the clear front runner. Tedford has long-running ties with Fresno State athletic director Jim Bartko from their mutual time at Oregon. Other potential candidates include Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin, a former Fresno State quarterback, and former USC coach Steve Sarkisian.
AIR FORCE: The Falcons can win the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy for a record 19th outright time with a win next Saturday at Army. Air Force beat Navy 28-14 on Oct. 1 in the first leg of the round robin.
FRESNO STATE: The Bulldogs hope to avoid the second 1-8 start in school history, dating to 1921, in next Saturday's trip to Colorado State.