Out of the Air Force Falcons 460 yards of total offense last night in the Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl, wide receiver Tyler Williams accounted for 108 of them. Having the opportunity to play in front of his friends and family, the Ironwood Ridge alum returned to Tucson nearly four years after winning a state championship with the Nighthawks and spoke of the opportunity to return home to play in front of all his loved ones.
Of the experience to play in front of his hometown, Williams said, “It was such a blessing. God is good. Being able to be with my friends and family. To see my city, you know, there a lot of love in this city. Especially for one of their own. I was glad to be back.”
At the end of the first half, Williams accounted for approximately a fourth of all of Air Force’s offensive yards. The Falcons were struggling to get anything going on the ground and were trailing 21-3 to South Alabama in the second quarter before scoring 18 unanswered points to go into the locker room at the half tied 21-21. Air Force would go on to score a total of 42 answered points and win 45-21.
What changed? Air Force had begun to line there wide receiver Williams up in the backfield. Adding speed to their backfield and running constant option plays wide to each side line, by the time we reached the fourth quarter, the Jaguars defense was completely gassed.
With the former Nighthawk lined up in the back field, the passing game was opened up for AFA QB Arion Worthman to connect with WRs Jale Robinette and Jim McIvey for an addition 141 yards of total receiving. Robinette had 124 of those yards on two receptions. Air Force used a run by committee rushing attack having used seven rushers for 253 total yard. The Falcons only used 3 receivers for 207 yard receiving.
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After only being targeted a few time all year for the Falcons, it seems the Air Force coaching staff wanted their Tucson native to shine for his homecoming. I asked Williams if there was a conscious effort on behalf of his coaching staff to make him a center piece for his homecoming game.
“I don’t think so. We have have so many capable guys on our offense. Today was the day my number got called. It just happened to work out that way. It was just a blessing to be to do it in front of all my loved ones in the stands. Today they called my number and I’m just glad I was able to step up. I never doubted for a second that we would come back and win this game.”
Air Force coach Troy Calhoun mentioned that Williams was not called on more because he was playing in his hometown.
“I will say this, he is an amazingly mature, focused young man,” Calhoun said. “It had to mean something special for him, for all of our guys who are seniors. Tyler played great and that was special that it happened here in Tucson.”
Born a Wildcat fan, lifetime fanhood was solidified when he was able to meet Tedy Bruschi, Sean Harris, Brandon Sanders, Chuck Levy and Ontiwaun Carter as a sixth grader. Having served 10 years in the armed forces and having been deployed all over the world, he’s still managed to make it to every Arizona home football game, bowl game and at least one away game for the last 12 years. Now combining his love of writing with his love of all things sports, Jose is proud and honored to join AllSportsTucson.com as a writer.