Air Force quarterback Tim Jefferson has rushed for 769 yards and a Mountain West Conference-best 15 touchdowns this season. He is averaging 64.1 rushing yards per game. His longest run is 59 yards.
But what will make him particularly challenging for Georgia Tech in the Independence Bowl is his ability to throw the deep pass, according to defensive coordinator Al Groh.
Jefferson, a junior and alum of the Woodward Academy, is completing 52.2 percent of his passes for 1,342 yards and 10 touchdowns. He is averaging 111.8 passing yards per game. His longest pass play this season is 63 yards.
“He’s made a number of really, really good throws down field which expands the issues we have to deal with,” Groh said.
Tech has faced many passing quarterbacks who can run, such as N.C. State’s Russell Wilson, Virginia Tech’s Tyrod Taylor and Georgia’s Aaron Murray, with varying degrees of success.
Wilson rushed for 16 yards and a touchdown, Taylor rushed for 57 yards and Murray didn’t get out of the negative numbers because of a sack.
With Jefferson guiding the offense, the Falcons are averaging 41.6 points in their past three games. He is 20-10 as a starter. Oh, and he also punts, averaging 45.3 yards on 11 attempts.
Jefferson and Tech A-back Jamal Paige grew up down the street from each other in Atlanta, playing on the same youth league teams at Sandtown Park. They won 60 consecutive games as youngsters before moving on to Woodward, which also ran the triple-option offense. Air Force cadets are on break now, and Paige said he hopes to get together with Jefferson soon.
“I told my teammates to be aware of everything,” Paige said. “He’s an all-around good player.”
– Doug Roberson, AJC