Only four games on the docket this week in the Mountain West, and boy was it a wild week in the conference! One game was postponed two weeks after New Mexico defensive end Nahje Flowers was found dead earlier last week. Air Force agreed to a data change it will be played at the end of November. Nevada pulled off the upset of the week, by taking down West division leader San Diego State. Nevada took a 17-10 lead early in the fourth quarter and held the Aztecs to a field goal the rest of the way to escape with a 17-13 win. The Pack reached bowl eligibility with that win. The Aztecs held the Wolf Pack 29 yards rushing on 28 attempts.
Utah State got a terrific game out of Jordan Love, he went 30/39 for 388 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Aggies over the Bulldogs in Fresno. Fresno State held a four point lead early in the fourth quarter, but two Dominik Eberle field goals gave the Aggies the win. Jorge Reyna had an efficient game, 16/20 for 263 yards but provided no scores. The Bulldogs got five touchdowns on the ground.
Hawaii and San Jose State did battle on the island in a quarterback dual. With Cole McDonald out of the lineup and Chevan Cordeiro taking the reins the Warriors did battle against Josh Love. Cordeiro passed for 309 yards and three scores as Hawaii eeked out a win vs San Jose State. Cordeiro ran for a two yard touchdown with 4:23 left in the game to give the Warriors a nine point lead. However, San Jose State wasn’t done. Josh Love responded with a 19 yard pass to Isaiah Hamilton to pull San Jose State within two. SJSU couldn’t recover a kick and Hawaii eventually ran out the last 1:50 for the win.
In the night cap Wyoming went west and took on Boise State on the blue. Wyoming gave up a quick opening drive score that looked like the boat race might be on. However, the Wyoming defense locked down and held Boise State to 285 yards and 17 points. As the two teams went into overtime Boise State drove down to the two yard line but the Cowboy defense stood strong. Boise State elected for a field goal and made it. Wyoming took their turn in overtime and after a near interception in the end zone, Wyoming lined up for their own field goal attempt. Cooper Rothe came up short and right on a 38 yard attempt and Boise State escaped with the win. Somewhere Craig Thompson had a sigh of relief.
Coming up this week is Fresno State taking on San Diego State Friday night on ESPN. Hawaii will travel to Vegas to take on UNLV, Wyoming will go to Utah State (ESPNU), Air Force will go to Colorado State (ESPN2) and in the night cap New Mexico will go to Boise State (ESPN2).
Utah State 37
Fresno State 35
San Diego State 13
San Jose State 40
Boise State 20
New Mexico – Postponed
Mountain West Player of the Week
This week’s Mountain West player of the week is Utah State quarterback Jordan Love. Love was 30/39 for 388 yards and two touchdowns as the Aggies defeated Fresno State on Saturday.
Mountain West MVP Candidates
Cole McDonald, QB, Hawaii
Josh Love, QB, San Jose State
Jordan Love, QB, Utah State
Ahmari Davis, RB, New Mexico
Warren Jackson, WR, Colorado State
Mountain West Power Rankings
San Diego State
San Jose State
The Quad Shot
Wyoming nearly disrupted the Mountain West on Saturday night in Boise. The Cowboys held a late 17-10 lead on the Broncos, but gave up a late score to let the Broncos tie it up and eventually win in overtime. The Cowboys are basically one dimensional right now, and watching them against Boise State it appears that one dimension is to run Xazavian Valladay into the jaws of the beast and hope he comes out in positive yardage. Offensive coordinator Brent Vigen called a solid game, but his game management in the last five minutes, and into overtime, left a sour taste in my mouth. Boise State had been loading the box for more than a quarter and Wyoming was playing it fairly conservative. The conservative play calling has been a bane of Wyoming fans’ existence for a few seasons now and Saturday night may have been the tipping point for the fan base. The players played with a lot of energy last night, and Boise had the look of a team who’d been whipped, but momentum is a fickle thing.
I can’t believe we’re living in a world where San Jose State could reach bowl eligibility. Both games left on their schedule are winnable, at UNLV and at home against Fresno State. If the Spartans were to somehow finish at 6-6 would they even be selected for a bowl? The Mountain West currently has six teams eligible for a bowl game, and four more teams who could get to six wins. The only teams we can put the done chain on are UNLV and New Mexico. Colorado State and Fresno State have the toughest paths ahead of them. The Rams will have Air Force, Wyoming, and Boise State to get to eligibility. Fresno State has San Diego State, Nevada, and San Jose State. The Spartans could very well pull this off.
As I was reviewing my Mountain West MVPs above, I have a hard time finding clear candidates for the award. Now, I only look at the offensive MVP, so save the D-MVP takes. However, is there an offensive player in the conference head and shoulders above the rest? I don’t think so. Josh Love, if he was playing on a winning team, might be the clear favorite. However, I really doubt the conference will give the award to a player from a, at best, 6-6 team. What about Cole McDonald? Hawaii is a winning team, but is Hawaii good enough? Will McDonald even start again this season? Hank Bachmeier from Boise State might have been the MVP had he not gotten hurt. No one is blowing the doors off of the rushing or receiving categories. Tough topic, glad I don’t have to pick the winner.
Thanks to Chad Smith for pinch-hitting for me the last couple of weeks. He did an outstanding job in relief. Life is wild, man. Spent a week trudging around the Eastern Montana wilderness in search of the elusive wapiti. Long week of hiking up and down drainages that all lead into the Missouri River. Unfortunately, elk are much smarter than humans this time of year and we came home empty handed. Got to spend a week with my ol’ man though, not something that happens too often. After I made the eight hour drive back to Missoula I unpacked my suitcase and repacked it and left for Vegas for a week for work. The sun is kinda cool, plenty of it to go around in Sin City! Found a couple of bartenders who had their opinions on UNLV’s Tony Sanchez. I think UNLV might be headed for a coaching change at season’s end.