The Mountain West title game is set. Over the weekend Fresno State defeated Boise State on their home turf. To be winners of the Mountain West Conference they will have to beat Boise State once more, but this time on the blue. Announced on Sunday morning was the game will be hosted in Boise, Idaho, the winner moving onto the Las Vegas Bowl. The teams have identical records coming into the game, 9-3 on the season, 7-1 in conference play.
Brett Rypien threw for 278 yards, but that wasn’t enough to get the Broncos the win. Marcus McMaryion had a great game for the Bulldogs, throwing for 332 yards and two scores. Fresno State put an end to any Bronco comeback when KeeSean Johnson took an 81 yard pass to the house in the fourth quarter. Fresno State sealed the game with a Brett Rypien sack for a safety. Pending the result of this game the winner will go to Vegas and the loser will await their bowl destination and opponent.
The Mountain West week started off with New Mexico traveling to San Diego to take on the Aztecs. Rashaad Penny once again stole the show, rushing for 203 yards and two touchdown to lead the Aztecs to a win against New Mexico. The Lobos rushing attack was held mostly in check, only gaining 82 yards on the ground. Quarterbacks Tevaka Tuioti and Lamar Jordan combined to go 16/30 for 167 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions. A forgettable season in Albuquerque. San Diego State will finish the season at 10-2 and will wait to see who they will play in a bowl game.
Wyoming went on the road in their regular season finale to take on the hapless San Jose State Spartans. Someone forgot to tell the Spartans they were going to be a punching bag in this game. Quarterback Montel Aaron threw for 174 yards and rushed for a touchdown to lead the Spartans to their second win of the season. Wyoming was once again without quarterback Josh Allen who sat out his second straight game with a shoulder injury. Nick Smith, Allen’s replacement, had a rough game, throwing for 171 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. The Cowboys got a career effort from Kellen Overstreet, rushing for 139 yards. The Spartans season has come to an end. Wyoming will await their bowl opponent next weekend.
In the Silver State Showdown Nevada and UNLV teed it up with the winner getting the Fremont Cannon at the end of the game. Ty Gangi gave the Wolf Pack a good effort, throwing for 266 yards and two touchdowns. Kelton Moore added 109 yards on the ground. Nevada got on the board first with a Wyatt Demps touchdown, but UNLV ripped off 13 straight points to get the lead on the Pack. Nevada would get a field goal before the half. In the second half Nevada punched in a pair of touchdowns, one a Trevion Armstrong touchdown catch, one a Kelton Moore touchdown run, to give the Pack the Fremont Cannon for another year. With the loss UNLV failed to become bowl eligible, completing their fourth straight season with a losing record.
Hawaii hosted the BYU Cougars in their season finale. Neither team will be bowling this season, so this game was more of a morale booster to go into next season. BYU is playing something like their fourth string quarterback and he threw for 166 yards and a touchdown. They also got two touchdowns from a guy named Squally. Hawaii got a good day from Dru Brown, who had 258 yards passing and two touchdowns. Hawaii got in a deep hole by the time the third quarter rolled out and did score two fourth quarter touchdowns, however, their defense wasn’t keeping the Cougars from scoring. Much harder to mount a comeback that way. As noted previous, neither of these teams are playing in the offseason.
In the Mountain West’s final regular season game, and airing in the “ESPN doesn’t give a shit about anyone, attendance, or playing football in the Rockies in late November” time slot Utah State hit the road to take on the Air Force Academy in front of tens of fans. Quarterback Isaiah Sanders led a fourth quarter comeback that featured a couple lead changes or so to give the Falcons a late season victory. There were six lead changes in this game. Air Force put in the final touchdown, a Sanders run from ten yards out. Jordan Love completed a 33 yard pass to get the Aggies to midfield, however, four straight incompletions sealed the deal for the Falcons. Utah State will await to see their bowl destination. Air Force is the top 5-7 team amongst all 5-7 teams, however, there are enough bowl eligible teams to fill all bowl slots, so unless something crazy happens the Falcons season will be over.
New Mexico 10
San Diego State 35
San Jose State 20
Boise State 17
Fresno State 28
Utah State 35
Air Force 38
Mountain West Player of the Week
This week’s Mountain West player of the week is Fresno State quarterback Marcus McMaryion. McMaryion threw for 332 yards and two touchdowns as the Bulldogs beat Boise State on Saturday night.
Mountain West MVP Candidates
Rashaad Penny, RB, San Diego State – 22 carries, 203 yards 2 TD
Nick Stevens, QB, Colorado State – Idle
Andrew Wingard, DB, Wyoming – 10 tackles, 1 pass breakup
Brett Rypien, QB, Boise State – 22/31 for 278 yards
Diocemy Saint Juste, RB, Hawaii – 12 carries, 39 yards
Mountain West Power Rankings
1. Fresno State
2. Boise State
3. San Diego State
4. Colorado State
6. Air Force
7. Utah State
11. New Mexico
12. San Jose State
Final Thoughts and Hot Takes
Wyoming losing to San Jose State was inexcusable. I’m pretty sure everyone in the conference, no matter who you’re a fan of, is probably agreeable to that statement.
Fresno State having to go on the road to play Boise State for the Mountain West championship is stupid, especially after Fresno taking the head to head. I get why the Mountain West doesn’t want a neutral site game, as there would probably be no one there, however, there has to be a better solution, right?
Pretty sure that Rashaad Penny is going to be the Mountain West player of the year. That was pretty evident earlier in the season. However, his award snubs are pretty annoying. Group of Five teams and talent definitely don’t get the respect they deserve.
Colorado State having a bye to end the season is a little bizarre. Not great for the Rams, I’m sure. And A LOT of downtime between their last game and a bowl game. In other Ram news, defensive coordinator Marty English announced that he’ll be retiring at the end of the season. Good recruiter in the state of Colorado.
Nevada ruining UNLVs chances at a bowl game has to be the most satisfying feeling in the world for the Wolf Pack considering how their season went. Tony Sanchez is now 1-2 against the Wolf Pack, and on his third straight losing season at UNLV. Gotta wonder if the boosters who bought out Bobby Hauck thought this would be the position their program would be in at this point. He was handpicked by the boosters, doesn’t strike me as getting much in return for their investment.
Speaking of Bobby Hauck (current special teams coordinator for San Diego State), he’s a rumored candidate for the opening at Montana, where he was previously the head coach before going to UNLV.
Boise State wins next week. That’s my prediction.