After a week off the Mountain West round-up is back. I somehow survived the Great American Brew Fest despite a close call on the first night, and many burritos (allegedly) from Illegal Pete’s. Now that I’ve sampled some of the finest beers in the world it’s time to get back to … what’s not as important. Mountain West football.
The Mountain West is starting to separate the have’s from the have-nots. We got a big surprise on Saturday night as Boise State absolutely throttled the Mountain West’s top team, San Diego State. Just one week ago San Diego State looked like it was headed towards a New Years six bowl game, however, Boise State took care of that small problem by beating the Aztecs relatively handily on the road. Boise got out to a quick 21-0 lead at the half and never looked back. Rashaad Penny was held to just 53 yards on 21 carries as the Bronco defense took away what matters most to the Aztecs.. their rushing attack. Boise State used a special teams and defensive touchdown to propel them in this one. Are the Aztecs New Years dreams now gone? Hard telling, a lot of football to be played, but this was certainly not the easiest path taken for the Aztecs. Boise State will host Wyoming next week, while San Diego State will host Fresno State.
Air Force did everything it could on Saturday to lose to UNLV, but when all was said and done the Falcons mounted one of the largest comebacks in FBS this season and beat the hapless Rebels. The Falcons dug themselves into a 27-7 halftime deficit and came back to win 34-30 at home. The Falcons outscored the Rebels 27-3 in the second half to win a tight one. Arion Worthman scored a one yard touchdown with 2:14 left in the game to seal it for the Falcons. Had it not been for a last second Worthman score the Falcons would have been shut out in the first half. Rebel quarterback Armani Rogers rushed for 148 yards and a score, while Lexington Thomas added 91 more yards, but not enough to hold off the Falcons. Air Force will be at Nevada next week, while UNLV will host Utah State.
Wyoming made the trip across I-80 and north to Logan to take on Utah State. The Cowboys were looking to get their offense on track while Utah State was looking to inch closer to bowl eligibility. The teams both got off to slow starts in the first half, including Josh Allen. The second half was a different story for Wyoming, however. Allen came alive and finished with 208 yards passing and a score, while rushing for a touchdown to lead Wyoming to a win. Wyoming capped off their comeback against the Aggies with a safety tackle of Kent Myers late in the game to seal it. The Aggies, once again bouncing between quarterbacks, got 203 yards passing with one touchdown and three interceptions, while gaining 131 on the ground.
New Mexico and Fresno State had a nice billing leading into the game. However, the end result was not quite as exciting as the pre-game hype was. Fresno State, under the tutelage of Jeff Tedford has taken a turn for the better so far this season. The Bulldogs, after their win on Saturday against the Lobos are now 4-2 and 3-0 in Mountain West play. Hard telling right now what kind of team Fresno State is, but they’re definitely not the team that got Tim DeRuyter fired. On Saturday night their held the run heavy Lobos to 108 yards rushing and buried New Mexico 38-0. The Lobos, down 21-0 at the half were forced to go to the air and got 200 yards out of Tevaka Tuioti, but just couldn’t get their offense moving. The Lobos haven’t been shutout since a 2012 loss to Texas. New Mexico will next host Colorado State while Fresno State will be at San Diego State.
The Mountain West’s most exciting game on Saturday night was in Fort Collins, Colorado as Nevada came to town looking for an upset on the Rams’ homecoming. The teams battled it close into the half with the Rams up 28-21 but out of the gate Ty Gangi and the Wolf Pack got the ball going and scored 21 third quarter points. Gangi tossed three third quarter touchdowns to give the Pack a 42-38 lead headed into the final quarter. Gangi finished the day with 428 yards and four touchdowns, but wasn’t enough to hold off the homestanding Rams. Nick Stevens hit Michael Gallup early in the fourth quarter on a 17 yard pass to put the Rams up for good and give them the two point victory. It was one of the rare instances the Wolf Pack have showed a lot of life this season under Jay Norvell, but the Rams were resilient all the way through. Colorado State will be at New Mexico next weekend, while Nevada will host Air Force.
In the #MWAfterDark game of the night, San Jose State took a trip across the Pacific to take on Robert Kekaula the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors. Folks, I’m telling you, if you’ve never heard the voice of Robert Kekaula serenading your inner cerebellum late at night, I can’t tell you what you’re missing. It’s the best thing you’ll do on a Saturday night. Anyways, back to game things, Diocemy Saint Juste rushed for 202 yards and two scores to lead the Warriors to a 37-26 win against the worst team in the Mountain West, San Jose State. Both the Warriors and San Jose State will be on a bye next week.
Utah State 23
Air Force 34
New Mexico 0
Fresno State 38
Boise State 31
San Diego State 14
Colorado State 44
San Jose State 26
Mountain West Player of the Week
This week’s Mountain West player of the week is Colorado State wide receiver Michael Gallup. Gallup had 13 receptions for 263 yards and three touchdowns in the Rams comeback victory over Nevada on Saturday night.
Mountain West MVP Candidates
Rashaad Penny, RB, San Diego State – 21 carries, 53 yards and 1 TD
Nick Stevens, QB, Colorado State – 26/37 for 384 and 4 TD
Diocemy Saint Juste, RB, Hawaii – 39 carries, 202 yards, 2TD
Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming – 18/26 for 208 yards, 1 TD, 1 rushing TD
Andrew Wingard, DB, Wyoming – 15 tackles
Mountain West Power Rankings
1. San Diego State
2. Boise State
3. Colorado State
5. Fresno State
6. New Mexico
7. Air Force
9. Utah State
12. San Jose State
Final Thoughts and Power Rankings
If you’ve never seen Robert Kekaula do the ice bucket challenge go out to the YouTube device and watch it. Pretty damn funny.
Boise State getting a road win over San Diego State was quite a surprise, and the way they dominated that game was the biggest surprise. I thought for sure the Aztecs were going to run the table this season, especially after the Stanford win. Doesn’t look like that’s going to happen.
South Florida is now fully in control of the Group of Five spot in the New Years bowl game, with Central Florida and Memphis chasing behind them. South Florida has two tests left in their way, Houston and Central Florida in their way to a berth. Not going to be easy, but fully in the driver’s seat.
Colorado State should have lost their homecoming game on Saturday night. Nevada has zero competence in their kicking game, which cost them the game. If I remember right their kicker is now 3/6 on the season. Can’t win many ballgames when your kicker is at 50% on the season. They’ll look back at this game today, tomorrow, and in December and see a missed opportunity.
New Mexico laying a goose egg on Saturday night.. wow. I never saw that coming. The Lobos offense is generally fairly potent and just had absolutely no answer for the Bulldogs. What a game for Tedford and the Bulldogs.