Here we are at week 11 in the Mountain West and I can’t help but feel some sadness because our NCAA football season is nearly over. How sad is that.. after this is over then what? We’ll have to watch basketball, and no one should have to do that. Alas, have no fear football fans, it’s still football season and I’m here to dish out another football recap. Not many surprises in the Mountain West this week, but a pretty solid performance from Colorado State running back Kapri Bibbs and Fresno State quarterback Derek (not David) Carr.
The Mountain West got another early start this week as Air Force took a trip south to take on the New Mexico Lobos. Neither team is fighting for much at this point, but they decided to give us a show anyways and score a lot of points for a couple of teams predicated on running the football. New Mexico quarterback Cole Gautsche didn’t waste a lot of time getting the Lobos on the scoreboard as he scored the first two touchdowns of the game about 7 minutes a part in the first quarter, one passing and one rushing. By the time halftime rolled around the Falcons had closed to gap to a touchdown, and then tied it right away to start the third quarter. After that the track meet was on. The teams traded scores for the rest of the half, but a pair of Lobo scores doomed the Falcons in the 4th quarter. The Lobos did their Lobo thing and rushed the ball for 451 yards and five scores. Kasey Carrier rushed for 179 yards and Gautsche rushed for another 140. Oddly, Gautsche’s only completed pass was for a touchdown. His QBR on that one pass was higher than some QBs hit all season. Anthony LaCoste had another terrific performance for the Falcons rushing for 177 yards, and third string quarterback Nate Romine threw for 188 and three scores. New Mexico never punted the ball. Air Force will have a bye next week, New Mexico will host Colorado State.
Colorado State continued their second half surge and pummeled Nevada in the second half to beat the Wolf Pack (two words). Colorado State running back Kapri Bibbs lost his damn mind and rushed for 312 yards for the Rams. Three hundred and twelve freaking yards. How does that happen? For that effort I’m pretty sure he’s going to get his name in the paper (and probably a few weekly awards). He also had four touchdowns in the process. Bibbs’ scores were all the Rams would need to seal this game, but for good measure the Rams kicked three field goals too. On the other side of the ball Cody Fajardo had another solid game, but without a lot of playmakers around him it’s hard for the Wolf Pack to win. Fajardo threw for 247 yards and rushed for another 87 yards. Nevada will host San Jose State next, Colorado State will be at New Mexico to face the Lobos.
The Hawaii Rainbow Warriors made the VERY long trip across the world to take on Navy this week. You have to think that trips this long probably aren’t terribly healthy for a team who’s struggling to win football games. Hawaii kept this one close for two quarters before Navy took over and did things their own way. The ‘Bows finally stuck with one quarterback in a game, perhaps Norm Chow finally had a moment of clarity and realized they weren’t gonna be winning many more games anyways. Sean Schroeder actually had a very good game going 29/33 for 246 and three scores, and was helped by getting 191 yards out of running back Joey Iosefa, but ultimately the Rainbow Warrior defense couldn’t slow down the Navy rushing attack which put up 383 yards on them. The Midshipmen were led by quarterback Keenan Reynolds who put up 226 yards rushing and four scores. I’m guessing he and Kapri Bibbs probably traded tips and tricks before this game because both of them lost their damn mind. Hawaii was also plagued by the college kicker virus that’s been going around, Tyler Hadden missing a pair for the Warriors. Hawaii will host San Diego State next.
In one of the better games in the Mountain West this week Utah State hit the road to take on the shocking UNLV Rebels. Both teams had a bit on the line in this one as both are looking for bowl eligibility, and both teams played like their season depended on it. Both the Rebels and the Aggies used a nice balance of rushing and passing but a Bruce Natson touchdown run with 3:56 left put this one away for the Aggies. Darell Garretson turned in another good performance for the Aggies throwing for 288 and a score. Joey DeMartino added 75 rushing yards and a score. UNLV quarterback Caleb Herring had another good game for the Rebs throwing for 252 and two scores, while Tim Cornett rushed for 115 and a score. These teams both play similar styles of football, and were very evenly matched. Before the season started this game looked like a UNLV arse kicking, good thing we play the game instead. Utah State will have a bye, and UNLV will have a week off to think about beating Air Force to get bowl eligible.
The Fresno State Bulldogs continue to make their push towards a BCS bowl game and that march led them through Laramie this week to take on the Cowboys. The Cowboys and Bulldogs both roped in that sweet sweet Mountain West cash by having this game played on ESPN2. For a short time Saturday night it looked like Derek (not David) Carr’s Bulldogs were going to be in trouble as the Cowboys raced out to a 10-0 lead but that’s when Carr woke up and went on a scoring rampage. As a Wyoming Cowboy fan my liver took a beating for the rest of this game. The Bulldogs went on to score 48 unanswered points. That was not very much fun. The game was still close at the half, 14-10, but it got really bad after that. Carr did what Carr does and that was throw for 360 yards and four scores. Josh Quezada had a nice game against a vulnerable Cowboy rush defense going for 105 and a score. Brett Smith never got it going, throwing for his lowest total of the year, 141 yards, and rushing for 12 yards. Tedder Easton led Cowboy rushers with 90 yards, 79 of that coming on one play. Fresno will have the week off, Wyoming will collect more of that ESPN money as they take on Boise State.
In the Mountain West night cap San Diego State took a trip up the PCH to take on San Jose State. This was also a terrific matchup between two pretty similar teams facing very similar situations in their season. Both teams are nearing bowl eligibility, and both teams are trying to keep pacing with streaking Fresno State. San Jose State looked to have this game wrapped up in the 4th quarter when they held a 30-20 lead on the Aztecs, but Quinn Kaehler had other ideas. Kaehler hit Adam Roberts on a 1 yard touchdown pass to get the Aztecs within three points, then Adam Muema punched a touchdown in with 3:32 left to ice it for the Aztecs. Turnovers plagued David Fales, coming at inopportune times, and allowed the Aztecs to hang around. Adam Muema continued his great performances with a 113 yard effort with a pair for scores for the Aztecs. Fales threw for 301 yards and 3 scores while receiver Chandler Jones caught 155 yards of those. San Diego State continues having kicker trouble as they currently have a couple of guys in uniform. Personally, they should hire a donkey to kick the ball for them, could be more effective. The Aztecs will be at Hawaii next week, San Jose State will be at Nevada, both teams can get bowl eligible next week with wins.
The Mountain West “West” division looks to be all but wrapped up for Fresno State, and they will undoubtedly be hosting the game unless something crazy happens. I doubt anything crazy will happen. The Mountain Division of the conference looks to be a mess right now with Boise State and Utah State at the top and Colorado State still in the hunt. Anything is far from decided on that side of the conference. Kapri Bibbs is a big reason why Colorado State is still in the hunt and likely while they’ll get bowl eligible. He should win some player of the week honors. I can’t believe UNLV is a win against Air Force away from being bowl eligible. Incredible what one change can make to a football team, in this case it was Hauck putting Nick Sherry on the bench in favor of Caleb Herring.
This coming week only has four games, and none of them will have any real meaningful impact on the conference. A week off may hurt Fresno in the BCS hunt, as Northern Illinois will be taking on a very good Ball State team and could potentially leap the Bulldogs in the right circumstances. Boise will host Wyoming on ESPN2, both teams will collect a $500K paycheck from the conference. Boise will look to increase its lead in the conference, Wyoming will hope for an upset. Colorado State will try to get bowl eligible with a win over New Mexico. San Diego State will also try to get bowl eligible as they play Hawaii. San Jose State is looking to get post season eligible with a game vs Nevada. Three teams with something to play for is nice to see, the conference is certainly picking up steam considering the god awful slow start it got off to. Fresno is making a push towards the BCS.. an upset would be much welcomed if you’re Central Florida and Northern Illinois, however, the Mountain West could use a representative in major bowl game. Have a good week, everyone!