The Mountain West picture got slightly foggier this weekend in the West division. Both Fresno State and San Diego State suffered losses this weekend which did quite a bit of harm to Fresno State’s post season chances to get a shot at a Power Five team.
Utah State managed to throttle San Jose State to keep their goal of a Mountain West championship in line. Boise State is nipping right on their heels for their case to play in the title game as well. It’s going to be an interesting two weeks in the Mountain West before we get to the title game.
In this week’s action the Broncos and Bulldogs got us started on Friday night in Boise. The Broncos got on the board first with a Haden Hoggarth field goal. The Bulldogs would respond in the second quarter with a KeeSean Johnson touchdown pass from Marcus McMaryion from three yards out. The Bulldogs would end the half with an Asa Fuller 47 yard field goal to go up 10-3. Fresno State got on the board first in the second half with a Ronnie Rivers touchdown to go up 17-3. Boise State responded on the following drive with an Alexander Mattison seven yard touchdown run. Boise State took control of the game at this point with another Mattison touchdown. Boise put the game away with a Khalil Shakir touchdown pass from Brett Rypien to pull the upset on the Blue.
In the biggest upset of the week in the Mountain West we had UNLV take the trip south to San Diego. The Aztecs were sitting second in the West division waiting for a Fresno State loss to get a spot in the Mountain West championship game. UNLV took a first quarter lead with a pair of field goals from Evan Pantels. San Diego State responded with a Christian Chapman touchdown pass to Tim Wilson. UNLV came back on the next drive with a Lexington Thomas touchdown run. San Diego State got a score at the end of the half from Juwan Washington to take a 14-13 lead into the half. San Diego State ripped off ten points in the third quarter, a field goal from John Baron and a touchdown from Ryan Agnew to Tim Wilson. UNLV wasn’t going to go quietly, however. Brandon Presley picked up a ten yard touchdown from Max Gilliam to cut the lead to five. With 3:27 left in the game Lexington Thomas punched in a 75 yard touchdown run to take a 27-24 lead. On the following drive Ryan Agnew was intercepted by Jericho Flowers, ending the Aztecs night shortly after.
Now onto the rest..
Fresno State 17
Boise State 24
New Mexico 24
Air Force 42
San Jose State 24
Utah State 62
San Diego State 24
Colorado State 10
Mountain West Player of the Week
This week’s Mountain West player of the week is UNLV running back Lexington Thomas. Thomas rushed 21 times for 133 yards and two touchdowns, as well as catching 34 yards of passes, in the UNLV win over San Diego State on Saturday night.
Mountain West MVP Candidates
Brett Rypien, QB, Boise State – 24/29 for 269 yards with 1 TD, 1 INT
Marcus McMaryion, QB, Fresno State – 24/35 for 283 yards and 1 TD
Jordan Love, QB, Utah State – 32/42 for 491 yards and 5 TD, 1 rushing TD
Nico Evans, RB, Wyoming – The Cowboys had a bye
John Ursua, WR, Hawaii – The Warriors had a bye
Mountain West Power Rankings
San Diego State
San Jose State
The Quad Shot
The win over San Diego State was a big one for UNLV. The Rebels looked like they might be done for the season, however, they come out and beat San Diego State on the road with a last minute score. Surprisingly result. The Rebels played pretty well throughout the game. The Aztecs didn’t get a lot of production out of their weapons. I doubt this game saves Tony Sanchez’s job, but it’s something. Then again, for all we know, Sanchez has a lifetime contract at UNLV.
Colorado State was absolutely throttled this weekend by Nevada. As we were driving between Moscow and Spokane this weekend I was scrolling through Twitter and saw an opinion piece from Rams beat writer Kelly Lyell calling the Rams out for a lack of ownership, pride, and motivation. That kind of piece is the kind that head coaches don’t typically survive. Kelly makes some good points. Hard to see Mike Bobo getting another year in Fort Collins. At the same time, Bobo’s buyout is $8 million dollars if they fire him at the end of the season. Ouch.
Fresno State was the highest ranked team in the latest bowl playoff rankings. Utah State was not ranked. With Fresno State’s loss this weekend to Boise State and the Aggies being unranked it’s really tough to imagine that the Mountain West is any longer in contention for a group of five spot on New Years Day. Barring a loss from Central Florida it looks like they probably have that spot wrapped up. The Knights currently have Cincinnati and South Florida left on their regular season schedule, and a championship game against SMU, Houston, or Tulane. There won’t be a lot of competition in any of those opponents, I’m guessing. Tough luck for the Aggies.
A digression out of the Mountain West for a moment. As most of you know, I live way up in Western Montana. I went on a road trip with some friends this weekend to Moscow, Idaho for Montana vs Idaho. Idaho dropped down from FBS to FCS in football this season. The Vandals return to the Big Sky Conference has not exactly been a happy welcome. A long time ago while my buddy and I were playing NCAA Football on our PS3s we’d occasionally find ourselves playing in the Kibbie Dome in Moscow. Jokingly we were always like, “DUDE! We have to go to this place in person!” Now that the Griz/Vandal rivalry is back on this was a great opportunity. This game has been played 85 times with Idaho leading the series 55-28-2. They play for the “Little Brown Stein.” Montana has now won five in a row (first game since 2003) against Idaho. It was a fun weekend with some great guys. Too bad my buddy couldn’t join for this, the Kibbie Dome is really quite something (good and bad).