The Mountain Division in the Mountain West is nearly wrapped up after week 11. Boise State’s magic number is now down to one, and they will need a win against either Air Force or Fresno State to claim the Mountain division crown. On the other side of the Mountain West we have Fresno State with a one game lead over San Diego State. They will need a win against Boise State or Wyoming to claim the West division title. Assuming that both teams win out that would leave Boise State as the host of the title game, as they are sitting higher than Fresno State in the current rankings.
That said, both teams have a tough road to plow if they want to win their current divisions. Boise State seems to struggle against Air Force at times. A win against Fresno State might be a difficult task to accomplish as well. Fresno State will have to travel to Laramie for a November football game, then have Boise State to close the season. The real shame here would be the two teams possibly having to face each other in back to back weeks. Life in college football.
This week’s games got started with BYU heading to Sin City to take on UNLV. BYU has had a fairly down season, having come into this game winning only two games. UNLV has been trying to right the ship all season, but has still struggled. This wasn’t going to be UNLVs night, however. BYU got on the board first with a Brayden El-Bakri one yard touchdown run. UNLV would respond on the following drive with a Lexington Thomas one yard run of his own. BYU came back on the following drive with an 11 yard touchdown pass to Aleva Hifo from quarterback Joe Critchlow. BYU kept their foot on the pedal in the second half, outscoring the Rebels 17-14. The Rebels led the Cougars in total yards, however, two turnovers didn’t help the Rebel cause. Johnny Stanton had 325 yards through the air with a pair of touchdowns. UNLV will be at New Mexico on Friday night on ESPN2.
In the Mountain West pillow fight of the week Nevada hosted San Jose State. To say that the Wolf Pack beat the Spartans down would be an understatement. Nevada escaped this game with a 59-14 victory to climb one step closer out of the cellar. Nevada capitalized on a plethora of San Jose State mistakes, returning two interceptions for touchdowns, as well as returning a blocked punt for a touchdown. Dameon Baber returned one of those interceptions 100 yards for the score. On offense the Wolf Pack got three touchdown passes from Ty Gangi, as well as a rushing touchdown. San Jose State scored a feel good touchdown with :17 left in the game, a Michael Carrillo touchdown pass to Sean Pinson. Nevada will go to San Diego State next week, while San Jose State will get a chance at Colorado State.
New Mexico played a rare late season out of conference game at Texas A&M on Saturday afternoon in College Station. This game was over the second Texas A&M scored in the first 28 seconds of the game on a Nick Starkel 60 yard touchdown pass to Christian Kirk. That started an avalanche of Aggie scores, eventually getting to 48-0 with 1:40 left in the first half. New Mexico would get on the board late in the first half by returning a kick 100 yards for a touchdown. Texas A&M presumably started playing second and third teams in the second half as they only score one more time, a Kellen Mond touchdown pass to Camron Buckley early in the fourth quarter. New Mexico ripped off a 14 play, 80 yard drive that took 7:49 off the clock in the third quarter for their only other score. The Aggies piled up 562 yards to New Mexico’s 144 for the game. New Mexico will look to move on from this one and will host UNLV on Friday night.
Wyoming took a trip down I-25 to Colorado Springs to take on the Air Force Falcons on Veterans Day. Wyoming got up 21-0 very quickly on the Falcons, getting touchdown runs from Josh Allen, Trey Woods, and a touchdown pass from Allen to Jared Scott to start the game. Before the half Air Force would respond with an Arion Worthman touchdown pass to Marcus Bennett to close the gap. Air Force would get within seven when Taven Birdow punched in a ten yard touchdown run. Wyoming would ice the game mid-fourth quarter when Kellen Overstreet played the hero role for the second week in a row, scoring from nine yards out. Allen left the game in the second half with an undisclosed injury and was replaced by Nick Smith. Air Force dropped to 4-6 on the season. The Falcons outgained the Cowboys 378 to 229 but turned the ball over three times. Wyoming will host Fresno State next weekend while Air Force will be at Boise State.
In the most bananas game of the night in the Mountain West Colorado State hosted Boise State in Fort Collins. The Rams were up 35-17 at the half. Nick Stevens had two touchdown passes and Dalyn Dawkins has two touchdown runs to propel the Rams in the first half. Boise State would close to 35-31 in the third quarter by punching in two quick touchdowns right out of the gate, an Alexander Mattison touchdown run and a Alec Dhaenens touchdown reception. Colorado State gave themselves some temporary breathing room with a ten yard Nick Stevens touchdown run, but Boise would respond with a touchdown of their own. Heading into the fourth quarter the Rams would go up again, 52-38 on a Wyatt Bryan field goal, then a Rashaad Boddie touchdown run. Boise responded with two Brett Rypien touchdown throws, both coming in the last two minutes of regulation, to send the game to overtime. Once in overtime Mattison Alexander sealed the game with a four yard touchdown run. Huge let down for the Rams at home. Boise State will host Air Force next week, Colorado State will host San Jose State.
In the night cap from Honolulu the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors hosted Fresno State. The Warriors got an early lead on the Bulldogs, Dru Brown throwing a touchdown pass to Kumoku Noa to open the scoring. Fresno State would respond with three straight second quarter touchdowns, three touchdown passes from Marcus McMaryion. Fresno wasn’t done scoring as they scored ten more in the third quarter to open up a 31-7 lead. Hawaii got two quick scores in the fourth quarter, one Dru Brown touchdown pass and an interception return for touchdown by Salomon Matautia. However, that wouldn’t be enough for the Rainbow Warriors to pull the upset on the West leading Bulldogs. McMaryion finished with four touchdown passes. Fresno State will be at Wyoming next week, while Hawaii will be at Utah State.
San Jose State 14
New Mexico 14
Texas A&M 55
Air Force 14
Boise State 59
Colorado State 52
Fresno State 31
Mountain West Player of the Week
This week’s Mountain West player of the week is Boise State running back Alexander Mattison. Mattison had 23 carries for 242 yards and three touchdowns as the Broncos came back to beat Colorado State in overtime on Saturday night in Fort Collins.
Mountain West MVP Candidates
Rashaad Penny, RB, San Diego State – Bye week
Nick Stevens, QB, Colorado State – 29/43 for 309, 2 TD 1 INT
Andrew Wingard, DB, Wyoming – 6 tackles, 1 TFL
Brett Rypien, QB, Boise State – 23/43 for 331 yards, 4 TD 1 INT
Diocemy Saint Juste, RB, Hawaii – 22 carries, 104 yards
Mountain West Power Rankings
1. Boise State
2. San Diego State
4. Fresno State
5. Colorado State
6. Air Force
7. Utah State
11. New Mexico
12. San Jose State
Final Thoughts and Hot Takes
San Jose State is a very bad football team, I’m pretty sure I’ve elaborated on that somewhere in the past. Of the 255 teams ranked by Jeff Sagarin (FBS and FCS), San Jose State comes in at 192. They are the second lowest FBS team besides UTEP.
Also to note from the Sagarin rankings the Mountain West-Mountain division is the 12th ranked conference, while the West division is the 16th ranked conference. One FCS conference is above the West division, that being the Missouri Valley.
For those that don’t follow FCS, the Missouri Valley is basically the B1G of FCS. They even have Bo Pelini coaching there. Not sure if there’s any comparison of an FCS conference to the SEC.
I think Air Force is going to give Boise State trouble this week. Boise doesn’t seem to play them very well generally, but I think there could be an upset there. The Falcons have been playing better football lately. They’ll have their work cut out for them though, the Broncos play pretty good defense. Except on Saturday night against the Rams. Unfortunately for these two they get the dreaded 8:15pm kickoff on ESPN2 on Saturday night.. the worst game time slot there is.
Wyoming could be in big trouble if Josh Allen can’t go on Saturday afternoon. The Cowboys are an entirely different team without Allen and with their current offensive power outage, it doesn’t get any better with Nick Smith in. Will be interesting to see how this develops over the week. Allen’s injury was non-contact, it appeared on the TV, but we don’t really know yet.
Colorado State.. how do you give up so many big leads so quickly against Boise State? That game was in hand multiple times on Saturday night and somehow… you lost in a track meet. I don’t get it.
I bet ESPN wishes they didn’t have to air UNLV and New Mexico on TV next week. What a dud of a game that’s going to be. Good on ‘em though, they get paid for that TV appearance despite the fact that no one will be watching two really bad teams duke it out.