Air Force going for 10 in 1st Responder Bowl vs. Louisville

First Responder Bowl: Air Force (9-3) vs. Louisville (6-6), Tuesday, 3:15 p.m. EST (ESPN).

Line: Louisville by 1 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

Series record: First meeting.

WHAT’S AT STAKE

Air Force has won its last three games and has a chance to get to 10 wins for the fourth time in eight seasons. The Falcons won 10 games only five times in the program’s first 57 seasons before that. Their three losses this season are by a combined 17 points. Louisville needs a win to avoid consecutive losing seasons for the first time since 2008-09.

KEY MATCHUP

Louisville’s rushing defense against Air Force’s NCAA-best rushing offense that didn’t throw a pass in its last game. The Falcons had 511 total yards against UNLV while not attempting a pass for the first time in a game since 2012. They run for nearly 341 yards game and have 42 rushing TDs. The Cardinals allowed 545 yards rushing, and nearly 6.9 yards per carry, in their last two games — a 40-point win at Duke and a 31-point loss to instate rival Kentucky.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Air Force: LB Vince Sanford is second on the Falcons with 56 tackles. He has 17 tackles for losses, and 9 ½ sacks.

Louisville: QB Malik Cunningham needs 266 yards passing, 32 yards rushing, two passing TDs and one rushing TD to become the fifth QB in NCAA history with 3,000 yards passing and 1,000 yards rushing, along with 20 passing and 20 rushing TDs in the same season. Former Louisville QB Lamar Jackson accomplished that feat during his Heisman Trophy-winning season in 2016.

FACTS & FIGURES

Louisville, at 231 yards passing and 211 yards rushing a game, is the only team to average 200 yards passing and 200 yards rushing in each of the past three seasons. … Air Force is 13-13-1 in bowl games, 5-5 in coach Troy Calhoun’s 15 seasons. … Cardinals coach Scott Satterfield is 4-0 in bowl games, the last being the 2019 Music City Bowl in his first season at Louisville. … Air Force has 35 sacks, its most since 37 in 2015. The 31 by the Cardinals are their most since 2016, with LB Yasir Abdullah is second in the ACC with nine. … Air Force is playing an ACC team for the first time since beating Georgia Tech in the 2010 Independence Bowl.

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