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Owens leads Air Force to 44-16 win over Nicholls

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AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. (AP) Jacobi Owens rushed for 233 yards in his Air Force debut and Devin Rushing scored two short touchdowns, helping the Falcons beat Nicholls 44-16 on Saturday for their 19th straight win over a team from the Football Championship Subdivision.

Owens' output was the most ever by a Falcons player making his first start, breaking the mark of 218 set by Cody Getz in 2012. It's also the seventh-most yards in a game all-time at a school known for its vaunted ground game.

The sophomore averaged 10.1 yards per carry as he danced around and through Nicholls defenders. Owens emerged as the primary ball carrier after a big game in the spring.

Air Force finished with 539 yards rushing, the team's highest total since 2011.

The Colonels kept up with Air Force for just over a quarter before fading. They were beaten 72-0 by the Falcons to start the 2009 season.

Kale Pearson was back at quarterback for Air Force after suffering a torn right ACL in the season opener a year ago. He made all the right reads in the option offense to give Owens & Co. plenty of room to run. Pearson rushed for 46 yards as the Falcons improved to 8-0 in openers under coach Troy Calhoun.

It also was Calhoun's 50th career win at the Academy.

Garrett Brown, Broam Hart, Shayne Davern and Paco Solano also scored TDs for the Falcons. Davern is making the switch from linebacker to fullback this season.

The Colonels kept up with Air Force early on, tying the game at 9-apiece on a 37-yard field goal by Francisco Condado with 13:20 left in the second quarter.

That's when the Falcons snapped out of their offensive doldrums, scoring 35 straight points to coast to the win.

The Air Force defense certainly did its part in the second half, holding Kalen Henderson and the Colonels in check. Henderson didn't have much time to throw and was sacked four times. The senior threw for 136 yards and ran for 1 yard on 12 attempts.

Nicholls fell to 3-21 against FBS schools since 2001. The Colonels beat Western Michigan last season with Henderson at the helm.

Tobias Lofton scored an 18-yard TD for Nicholls when he broke through the line and went untouched into the end zone late in the first quarter. The Colonels added another in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter when backup QB Beaux Hebert connected with Darryl Watson for a 10-yard score.

The Colonels have a difficult start to their season, playing five of their first six games on the road.