LARAMIE, Wyoming — After Wyoming drove down the field for the winning, come-from-behind touchdown with 58 seconds left, Air Force could only lament lost opportunities.
"We left 21, 28 points on the field, just off of silly mistakes on our part," running back Jacobi Owens said after Air Force fell to Wyoming 17-13 Saturday night. "False starts and illegal formations. That's just on us. We lost this game. I don't think Wyoming beat us."
Falcons coach Troy Calhoun said his team failed to seize on scoring opportunities.
"We have good ingredients and good soul, and there are some things we need to do to finish football games," Calhoun said. "I think part of that is being on the road and a good environment, which this was."
Kirkegaard's TD pass capped a nine play, 75-yard drive after Air Force had taken a 13-10 lead on its previous possession. Kirkegaard completed 6 of 7 passes for 73 during the drive.
"At the end, they just exploited our weakness," Falcons linebacker Jordan Pierce said. "Obviously it was our secondary tonight. We were shutting down the run the whole game, then on the last drive they just threw the ball all the way down the field."
Kirkegaard finished the game completing 23 of 37 passes for 282 yards and no interceptions.
Dominic Rufran caught six passes for 119 yards.
The Falcons (1-1, 0-1) were led by quarterback Kale Pearson, who completed 17 of 32 passes for 226 yards and rushed for 22 more. Pearson's passing numbers are a career-high.
Owens had 76 yards on 18 rushes and one TD for Air Force, which drove to Wyoming's 13-yard line in the closing seconds before fumbling the ball away on a desperate final play as time ran out.
"I credit Wyoming," Calhoun said. "They made some key plays, especially down the stretch."
Seven of the last 10 meetings between Wyoming and Air Force have been decided by one possession.
Using a mixture of passes and runs, Air Force drove into Wyoming's side of the field in its first five drives of the game, grabbing a 10-0 lead on a 50-yard field goal by Will Conant and a 3-yard TD run by Jacobi Owens. The Cowboys defense prevented further damage with some timely sacks and stops
The Wyoming offense struggled with poor field position for much of the first half, but finally got a spark when Kirkegaard completed a 41-yard pass to Dominic Rufran. Six plays later, Kirkegaard connected with Jalen Claiborne on an 11-yard TD pass to pull within 10-7 heading into halftime.
After a scoreless third quarter, Wyoming tied the game on a 33-yard field goal by Stuart Williams. The Cowboys scoring drive came after the Falcons' 220-pound senior fullback Broam Hart fumbled on a 4th and 1 play in a violent collision with Wyoming's 246-pound linebacker Jordan Stanton at Air Force's 42-yard line.
"Making big hits, it's what I do," said Stanton, who had 13 tackles in the game.
Wyoming coach Craig Bohl said the "fumble certainly flipped the field over" in Wyoming's favor.
Air Force regained a 3-point lead with 3:25 left in the game on an 18-play, 60-yard drive that led to a 32-yard field goal by Conant.