The Mountain West Conference got a lot of opportunities this week to showcase the league on national TV and some succeeded in representing their conference and others rolled over and played dead. The week featured Boise and Fresno forgetting what defense was, Wyoming’s Brett Smith losing his damn mind, and Mr. Charles F. Keeton realizing that he may not be Superman. It also featured San Diego State being their huggable, laughable selves. I just want to pat them on the head and let them know it’s going to be okay.. but right now, I don’t think it’s going to be okay. Onto the week…
Boise State and Fresno State kicked off the action on Friday night in the main event on ESPN. This game was tabbed as the best game of the season in the Mountain West. It did not disappoint. This game was bananas from the start and didn’t let off the gas until Kirby Moore dropped a fourth down pass to end the game. The game was close going into halftime, 24-19 in favor of Fresno, but it looked like Boise was being dominated in all phases of the game. The Broncos were down 34-19 at one point in the 3rd quarter, but the Broncos used a long return from Dallas Burroughs to setup a Aaron Baltazar touchdown, then a pooch kick on the next kickoff turned into Boise football and they punched in another touchdown to get within two. Boise took a 4th quarter lead to go up by six, but Fresno returned the favor with a touchdown of their own with 2:14 left to go up by one and they would hold onto the lead and win. Fresno’s first win over Boise since the internet was invented.. or close to that. Derek Carr was Derek Carr in this game.. he threw the ball a lot and there was a lot of yards attached to his name at the end. Boise will be at home this week to take on Southern Mississippi this week, much to the relief of the BSU truck driver who killed a cow with his truck last time these two teams played. Fresno is going to take a vacation next week so they can play Hawaii.
I’m going to go off on a quick tangent here and call out Chris Peterson and Robert Prince. What on Earth were you guys thinking when you decided to go for two in the 2nd quarter after the Hedrick to Ware touchdown pass. There’s no reason, not a single one, why you should go for two that early in the game, and when it was completely unnecessary. I said on Twitter (@WyoNationDotCom) as soon as that failed that it would cost them later in the game. Boise lost by one point. Coincidence? I know it was a read option play where if they saw the right matchup to go for two, but seriously.. what a horrendously stupid call, and you won’t convince me otherwise, even if you have a human implosion device on your sideline named Dan Goodale.
Moving on…. I’m done being an armchair quarterback/head coach/offensive coordinator/all around good guy…
San Jose State got their chance to show the world that last season wasn’t a fluke and do so in front of a national audience. One problem.. Minnesota is a much better team than San Jose State and dominated the game from the get-go. SJSU got some bad news on Friday when wide receiver Noel Grigsby was ruled out for the season with a knee injury.. big blow for a team that’s struggling a little bit. David Fales didn’t seem to miss a beat as he threw for 439 yards and three scores, but also had a pair of INTs. Minnesota got it done on the ground by grinding out 353 yards and holding the ball for more than 41 minutes. That’s going to tire a defense out in a hurry. Damning for SJSU was 1 for 9 on 3rd down conversions. The Spartans don’t get a break as they’ll face Utah State on ESPN Friday night.
In a chance for the upset of the week Utah State traveled to Los Angeles to take on USC. The Aggies were hoping Mr Charles F Keeton would lose his mind and send Lane Kiffin off into the sunset flipping burgers at the nearest In N Out. USC used a salty defense to put a stop to Keeton’s nonsense holding him to 164 total yards. USU wasn’t no slacker on the defensive side of the ball, holding USC to 17, but no one is calling USC an offensive juggernaut anymore, especially when they don’t have a quarterback. Keeton threw for two touchdowns, but the USU rushing attack was mostly ineffective against the Trojans. The Aggies will shake this one off to take on San Jose State this Friday on ESPN.
Colorado State looked like they were (on paper) going to probably die a horrible, awful death against Alabama this week. Nick Saban has been known to eat the souls of humans, but apparently he found a soft spot (maybe he’s a human now?) for his old offensive coordinator, Jim McElwain. The Rams hung tight with Alabama, but it really looked like Alabama was mostly asleep during this game.. or maybe AJ McCarron was REALLY upset of the rumors of him and his extremely beautiful girlfriend (guy is way out-kicking his coverage) breaking up. Alabama running back TJ Yeldon was suspended for the 1st quarter for a violation of team rules, likely cutting in line in front of Saban at the froyo bar in the practice facility. Quarterback Garrett Grayson played well, going 24-38 for 228 yards, but had no scores, but also protected the ball. Win win, I guess? The Ram rushing attack didn’t exist, so we won’t talk about them. The Rams only had a couple of trips across mid-field, but managed a pair of field goals both times. Way to go, Jared Roberts! You scored on Bama! The Rams get a small reprieve next week as they take on UTEP at home.
San Diego State.. the Mountain West’s lovable losers this year. Even UNLV has more wins than these guys. San Diego State looked like they were going to rip Oregon State in this game, going up 27-14 late in the third quarter.. what could go wrong, play out the last 17 minutes and be done, right? Noooooope. Sean Mannion took matters into his own hands and went beast mode for the second week in a row. Two touchdown passes later, and a INT return of Quinn Kaehler’s pass and the Beavers were up 34-30 with two and a half minutes left. Adam Muema still hasn’t found his 2012 form, rushing for 71 yards on 28 attempts. Wide receiver Colin Lockett had a nice game for the Aztecs catching 5 balls for 113 yards and a touchdown, one of them being an 80 yard catch. The Aztecs have a shot at their first win next week as they take on New Mexico State on the road.
If I had word to describe what Hawaii did this past weekend against Nevada I think I would describe it as “ohmygodthiscoachistryingtogetfired.” Hawaii apparently felt that the best way to beat Nevada was to confuse them by running four.. yes, FOUR different QBs. I’m guessing they all have some sort of different specialty, hopefully throwing is one thing they all have in common. And it’s not like they were playing a Nevada team who is particularly good, they were down to their third string QB because of injuries to Cody Fajardo and Devin Combs. Between the four QBs they were 24/45 for 243 yards 1 TD, 4 INTs. As they say.. if you have two (or four) quarterbacks, you have no quarterbacks. Maybe the Rainbow Warriors should try the ol’ Four Horsemen offense.. just for kicks. Tyler Stewart, a freshman for the Wolf Pack (two words) filled in admirably by throwing for 202 yards and 3 TDs in the absence of the two QBs ahead of him on the depth chart. Nevada capped the game off with a fumble return for a TD by Alex Bertrando. The ‘Bows will ensure that we all get to stay up late on Saturday night to watch football as they take on Fresno State at home. Nevada will get to stay home this week to take on Air Force.
The lovable, laughable UNLV Rebels are starting to look like a football team again.. it’s going to be a lot harder to pick on them if they keep this winning up. This week their opponent was FCS Western Illinois. In the preseason this looked like another FCS loss for Hauck. Boy did he prove us wrong! He has apparently found a quarterback, senior Caleb Herring. Herring was fairly efficient on the night, 14/20 for 140 yards and a TD also rushing for 57 yards. Tim Cornett is starting to get his groove back, he had 83 yards and two scores for the Rebs. UNLV straight overmatched the Leathernecks in this one. UNLV will travel to New Mexico this week for their Mountain West opener.
In the Mountain West nightcap Wyoming headed down I-25 to Colorado Springs to take on Air Force. Last year’s game in Laramie got ugly when Dave Christensen and Troy Calhoun had words. This year Christensen was looking for a little payback and he got it in a big way. The Cowboys scored early and often and never took their foot off the gas until the game was far out of reach. Air Force continued to struggle a lot on defense, giving up 622 yards to the Cowboy offense. Brett Smith lost his damn mind by throwing for 373 yards and 4 touchdowns and rushing for another 138 yards and a score. Most total yards by a Mountain West player this season. Air Force will travel to Nevada next. Wyoming will be on the road again to take on Texas State on the mostly fictional Longhorn Network.
Not a real exciting slate of games for the Mountain West next week.. I can see Boise probably taking out a lot of frustration on Southern Miss at home and Fresno completely dismantling Hawaii. San Diego State and New Mexico State win the pillow fight of the week, but I think SDSU can pull out a win. Utah State and San Jose State will feature two of the top gunslingers in the Mountain West on national TV, but the loss of Grigsby really hurts the quality of this game, but a terrific matchup nonetheless.