The Mountain West picture is not becoming anymore clear in this eighth football week. Fresno State up and beat down San Diego State, Boise State and Colorado State both won close games.. the race at the top is going to come to a close finish if the last few weeks have been any indicator.
The week got started with Air Force and Nevada on Friday night in Reno. The Wolf Pack have struggled this season and their problems didn’t get any better on against the Falcons. Air Force rushed for an inexplicable 91 carries and 550 yards in a thriller. The Falcons had two players with 20 carries a piece, and three players over 100 yards. Despite those numbers Air Force needed a Luke Strebel field goal with no time remaining to break a 42 all tie and win the game. Nevada tied the game with 3:57 left in the game when Ty Gangi hit Daiyan Henley on a 31 yard pass. Air Force took over from there and booted the game winner. Air Force will travel up I-25 this week to take on Colorado State, while Nevada will have the week off.
Colorado State also played a close game on Friday night, as the Rams took on New Mexico. The Rams had control for most of the game, however, New Mexico tried to make it interesting in the closing seconds with Aaron Molina catching a 12 yard touchdown pass from Tevaka Tuioti with 12 seconds left on the clock. However, a Lobo victory was not meant to be as the Lobos recovered their onside kick but their drive stalled and the Rams won. Nick Stevens threw for 231 yards and two scores, while Izzy Matthews rushed for 116 yards and a score. The Rams will host Air Force, while New Mexico will head to Laramie to take on Wyoming.
Utah State was looking to get back to their winning ways and a game against UNLV is usually a pretty good opportunity to do that. The Aggies racked up 588 yards and 52 points to take down the Rebels on Saturday evening in Las Vegas. At the half it appeared the teams were on their way to a track meet with the game tied at 28. The Aggies scored two quick touchdowns before the half to knot it. After halftime, however, UNLV didn’t seem to be real interested in the football game and didn’t score any points. Utah State scored 38 straight points to earn a win. Jordan Love threw for 316 yards and two scores, and rushed for 42 yards and another score. LaJuan Hunt had 101 yards rushing and three touchdowns as well. UNLVs Lexington Thomas did his part, rushing for 161 and two scores, but that was not enough. Utah State will take on Boise State this weekend, while UNLV will be taking on Fresno State.
Wyoming traveled to the blue turf to take on Boise State on Saturday night. Wyoming and Boise State traded a series of punts and missed opportunities in the first half in a half of football that was as good as a bedtime story. The second half, however, Wyoming’s thin defensive line started wearing down and the Cowboys had no answer for the Montell Cozart/Alexander Mattison combination of rushing the football. The Broncos ripped off an 18 play, 9:44 drive to start the second half to get within four, then took control of the game there on out. Brett Rypien finished 12/17 for 104 yards for the Broncos. Josh Allen finished 12/27 for 131 yards with a score and two interceptions for the Cowboys. Wyoming will host New Mexico while Boise State will travela Utah State.
In the #MWAfterDark game of the night, Fresno State hit the road to take on the suddenly sliding San Diego State Aztecs. Fresno State simply dominated this game from the get-go. Running back Josh Hokit got the scoring started for the Bulldogs, then rushed for two more touchdowns, including the game winner, a four yard run with less than two minutes left. The only score to come out of the Aztec sideline was a 37 yard field goal from kicker John Baron. The Bulldogs are the Mountain West’s west division lone remaining team unbeaten in conference. Boise State and Colorado State are both unbeaten in the mountain division. Fresno State will host UNLV while San Diego State will make a trip across the water to Hawaii.
Utah State 52
Air Force 45
Colorado State 27
New Mexico 24
Boise State 24
Fresno State 27
San Diego State 3
Mountain West Player of the Week
This week’s Mountain West player of the week is Boise State’s Montell Cozart. Cozart was the difference maker in a Boise State win over Wyoming. Cozart was 6/7 for 73 yards and a touchdown through the air, and had 16 rushes for 52 yards and two scores.
Mountain West MVP Rankings
Rashaad Penny, RB, San Diego State – 15 carries, 69 yards
Nick Stevens, QB, Colorado State – 17/33 for 231 yards, 2 TD
Diocemy Saint Juste, RB, Hawaii – Idle
Andrew Wingard, DB, Wyoming – 15 tackles
Mountain West Power Rankings
1. Boise State
2. Colorado State
3. Fresno State
4. San Diego State
6. New Mexico
8. Air Force
9. Utah State
12. San Jose State
Final Thoughts and Hot Takes
San Jose State is so bad that they are 13 point under dogs to BYU. Think about that for a minute. I really don’t think this game will be close. It would be nice if San Jose State started carrying their weight around here.
But those TV sets….
Air Force running 91 rushes on Friday night is the most unheard of thing in football. The most attempts in a football game is 99, Missouri vs Colorado in 1968. Almost Falcons, I think this is a record you can beat!
Rashaad Penny sure hasn’t looked like himself lately. The guy started the season on a tear, and now is having some fairly pedestrian games by his standard. He hurt? Become the sole focus of Mountain West defenses?
With San Diego State’s second loss it does not appear that a Mountain West team will be filling the group of five bowl game spot on New Year’s Day. That’s a shame for the conference, but the American Athletic has a couple teams that look pretty good right now. Scott Frost’s UCF Knights sure look like they’re pretty good.
I don’t know who or what Jeff Tedford sold his soul to, but the turnaround that Fresno State has made this season is nothing short of impressive. Never saw that coming at the beginning of the season.
My picks for winners this week? Wyoming, Colorado State, BYU, Fresno State, Boise State, and Hawaii.