COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Sports Network) - Tim Jefferson threw for 160 yards and two touchdowns to Zach Kauth, as 25th-ranked Air Force took a 49-27 win over Colorado State at Falcon Stadium.
Asher Clark ran for 125 yards and a touchdown for the Falcons (5-1, 3-0 MWC), who are ranked for the first time since 2003 and won their third straight game.
Jonathan Warzeka returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown, while Jared Tew and Kyle Halderman each added a rushing score for Air Force.
Leonard Mason finished with 139 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries for the Rams (1-5, 0-2), who have lost the last five matchups with Air Force. Pete Thomas completed 22-of-35 passes for 136 yards and a touchdown, with one interception.
Air Force jumped out to the lead by scoring on its first two drives. The first lasted only a minute and half, as Jefferson -- who completed 5-of-9 passes -- found Joshua Freeman for a 51-yard gain to the Colorado State six-yard line. A personal foul penalty moved the ball to the three, and Tew cracked the goal line on the next play.
After a Rams punt, the Falcons started at their own 20 and went 80 yards in five plays and 69 seconds. Clark ran for 19 yards to midfield before Jefferson connected with Kauth for 39 yards. Clark ran for eight yards to set up his three-yard touchdown run with 9:07 remaining in the quarter.
Colorado State spent most of that time getting deep into Air Force territory, but on 4th-and-2 from the three, Thomas' pass to fullback Zac Pauga fell incomplete.
Air Force threatened to score again shortly into the second quarter, after Reggie Rembert intercepted Thomas and returned the ball to the Colorado State three. However, Tew fumbled to give the ball back to the Rams.
Possession changed hands again shortly into Colorado State's ensuing drive, as Mason fumbled at the end of a run and Rembert recovered at the Rams' 33. Air Force turned that into points two plays later, when Jefferson completed a 27- yard touchdown throw to Kauth, making it a 21-0 game with 9:11 left.
The Rams countered with their first score, thanks to a 70-yard kickoff return from Derek Good. Lou Greenwood capped the short drive with a 13-yard run into the end zone.
But Air Force responded with an 80-yard drive that took more than five minutes off the clock. The 14th and final play of the march was a six-yard run by Halderman with 1:16 on the clock, and the Falcons took the 28-7 lead into the break.
The Falcons increased their lead with a dominant third quarter, during which they scored three touchdowns.
The first was set up by a six-yard punt by the Rams' Pete Kontodiakos on the opening possession of the frame. Air Force needed to go just 38 yards for a touchdown and nearly didn't get there, as it faced a 4th-and-9 from the 25. However, Ben Cochran hooked up with tight end Chaz Demerath on a 25-yard touchdown a little more than three minutes in.
Colorado State capitalized on Ivory Herd's interception of Jefferson later in the quarter, scoring on a four-yard run by Mason with 5:01 left. But the extra point was blocked, and it only got worse for the Rams, as Warzeka took the ensuing kickoff from goal line to goal line.
Jefferson's 19-yard touchdown throw to Kauth with 1:01 remaining gave the Falcons a 49-13 lead heading to the final quarter.
The deficit was too much to overcome for the Rams, who scored twice in the fourth -- on Thomas' five-yard pass to Eric Peitz and a two-yard run by Chris Nwoke.