The Mountain West title game is now set after this week of play. Boise State will more than likely be hosting Fresno State. The Broncos took care of their business on Saturday night by defeating Air Force in Boise. Fresno State took care of their end of the deal by defeating Wyoming in Laramie on Saturday afternoon. These two teams will meet next week in the regular season finale. Weird scheduling will result in these two teams playing each other two weeks in a row. However, did anyone really predict these two teams would be playing in the Mountain West championship? Not sure anyone saw that coming.
To get things started in the Mountain West this week UNLV took the trip to Albuquerque to take on the New Mexico Lobos. UNLV was looking to get enough wins to become bowl eligible while New Mexico was looking to finish this miserable season as soon as possible. These teams exchanged leads seven times. New Mexico had its heart ripped out at the end of the game and couldn’t close. With 1:11 left in the game the Lobo went up 35-30 with a Lamar Jordan 41 yard touchdown. UNLV responded with a touchdown five plays later with Armani Rogers hit Kendal Keys for a 14 yard touchdown to put the Rebels up for good and one game out of bowl eligibility. Lexington Thomas rushed for 127 yards and two touchdowns, while Rogers rushed for 193 yards and a touchdown. New Mexico will be at San Diego State to close their season, while UNLV will be at Nevada in the Silver State Showdown.
Wyoming would quickly learn what their future looks like without Josh Allen. Allen would sit out the game with a shoulder injury sustained during the Air Force game last week. This game shaped up to be a defensive battle, as predicted going into the game. Both of these defenses are the best in the Mountain West and it showed on Saturday. The teams battled to a 13-7 ending with Fresno State coming out on top. Fresno State kicker Jimmy Camacho was the leading scorer in this game, accounting for a third of the total points scored. The two touchdowns scored were Marcus McMaryion hitting Ronnie Rivers from 21 yards out. For Wyoming Nick Smith hit Nico Evans from six yards out for the lone Wyoming score. Wyoming will close its regular season at San Jose State, while Fresno State will host Boise State.
Air Force’s season continued in a tailspin this weekend at Boise State. The Broncos have traditionally struggled with the Falcons, however, the Broncos came out with one mission on their minds. Host the Mountain West title game. The Broncos started hot on the Falcons and didn’t take their foot off the gas. Brett Rypien threw for 300 yards and three touchdown to lead the Broncos. The Broncos mostly held the Falcons in check on the ground, as they rushed for 181 yards, while Nate Romine threw for 115 yards. The Falcons three turnovers didn’t help their cause to keep this game close. Boise State will close the regular season at Fresno State, while Air Force will host Utah State.
Colorado State would say that they’ve had somewhat of a disappointing season, even in their new stadium. However, on Saturday night, the Rams were looking to close the first season in their home out with a bang. Lucky for them San Jose State was in town which made that a much easier task. The Rams rushed for 301 yards, and passed for 305 yards to beat San Jose State on Saturday. San Jose State scored early on the Rams, DeJon Packer taking one in from 14 yards out. Colorado State went on to score 35 straight before SJSU would get on the board again. Malike Roberson ripped off a 54 yard run for the Spartans. However, Colorado State would respond in their next possession to make sure any kind of scoring would be meaningless. Colorado State is finished with their regular season. San Jose State will host Wyoming.
Rashaad Penny made his case for why he should be in New York in a few weeks sharing a row of seats with the nation’s top players. Whether that happens or not remains to be seen, but Penny is more than doing his part. Penny broke Marshall Faulk’s Aztec record for total yards in a career this weekend. Penny accumulated 429 total yards in the Aztecs beating of Nevada. Penny took a punt return and a kick return to the house, as well as two rushing touchdowns to lead basically everyone in the country. Ty Gangi threw for 414 yards and three scores, however, that wasn’t enough to get the Wolf Pack anywhere close to striking distance in this one. Nevada will look to keep the Fremont Cannon on their campus as they host UNLV, while San Diego State will host New Mexico on Friday night.
Hawaii made the long trip to Logan, Utah and got a taste of a Rocky Mountain winter. The cold weather, among other things must have affected the Rainbow Warriors as they didn’t put up a lot of fight against the Aggies on Saturday. The Aggies rushed for 311 yards and three touchdowns to beat the Warriors. LaJuan Hunt contributed 111 yards and a touchdown to that effort. On the other side of the ball Diocemy Saint Juste rushed for 122 yards for Hawaii. Hawaii held the ball for 38 minutes of this contest and somehow could not get a single score on the board, and only had one turnover. Utah State got itself bowl eligible with this win. The Aggies will be at Air Force, while Hawaii will host BYU.
New Mexico 35
Fresno State 13
Air Force 19
Boise State 44
Utah State 38
San Jose State 14
Colorado State 42
San Diego State 42
Mountain West Player of the Week
This week’s Mountain West player of the week is San Diego State running back Rashaad Penny. Penny 24 times for 222 yards and two touchdowns in the Aztecs win over Nevada. Penny was also named the Walter Camp Player of the Week this week.
Mountain West MVP Candidates
Rashaad Penny, RB, San Diego State – 24 rushes, 222 yards, 2 TD, 1 KR TD, 1 PR TD
Nick Stevens, QB, Colorado State – 26/32 for 305 yards, 3 TD, 6 rush for 28 yards
Andrew Wingard, DB, Wyoming – 12 tackles, 7 solo tackles
Brett Rypien, QB, Boise State – 16/22 for 300 yards, 3 TD
Diocemy Saint Juste, RB, Hawaii – 28 carries for 122 yards, 2 rec for 20 yards
Mountain West Power Rankings
1. Boise State
2. San Diego State
3. Fresno State
5. Colorado State
6. Utah State
8. Air Force
11. New Mexico
12. San Jose State
Final Thoughts and Hot Takes
A lot at stake for UNLV this weekend. Win and they’re bowling, and lose and Tony Sanchez will have another losing season under his belt in Las Vegas. I have no idea what his job status is, but would the major booster of UNLV tolerate many more losing seasons?
Rashaad Penny deserves to be in New York as a Heisman finalist. I’m not saying he should win it as Baker Mayfield is having an incredible season. However, Penny is one of the best players in this country. However, he’s got a tough road ahead of him to accomplish that. There is usually an East Coast bias that accompanies these types of awards and invitations and there’s probably many Heisman voters and folks in the committee who have even seen the Aztecs or Penny play. A tragedy for sure, but reality when people on the East coast can’t stay awake for 7pm kickoff in San Diego.
Unknown if Josh Allen will play on Saturday against San Jose State, but sure disappointing for him to not be able to close out his Cowboy career on the field in Laramie this past weekend. Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl said after that game that Allen has likely finished his Cowboy career at the end of this season and will be moving on to the NFL. For Allen’s sake, I hope his shoulder is okay. For the fans, I hope we get another opportunity to see Allen play a couple more games for the brown and gold.
BYU and Hawaii should be an interesting matchup on the island this weekend. /sarcasm font
A lot of complaining on the Twittersphere about Fresno State and BSU having to play each other two weeks in a row, once for the Mountain West championship. Not an ideal situation for the Mountain West, but it is what it is. The Mountain West can probably fix this problem by fixing the schedule so that there aren’t any cross-divisional games in the final week of the season. My solution is very easy on the surface, but probably considerably more difficult to actually accomplish. But really, who at the beginning of the season actually thought this is what we’d be seeing as the championship game?
New Mexico has gotten back to back Friday night games this season. I’m sure their fan base is thrilled with that. On Friday night the stadium appeared to be pretty much empty. I’m sure a combination of cold and weird Friday kickoff probably played a part in that. But the tens of fans that were in attendance sure got their hearts ripped out as UNLV punched in that last minute touchdown.
The Fremont cannon might be the best trophy in all of college football. I really like the Floyd of Rosedale trophy, as well as the Bits of Broken Chair. However, this trophy is significantly more difficult to deal with. The winner gets to take it home and paint it. I wonder if it still fires.
My winners this week: San Diego State, Wyoming, Nevada, Boise State, BYU, Utah State.