The Mountain West football season has arrived! It’s a little late this season due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but we got here! The first week of the Mountain West season generally got going without many hiccups. Colorado State and New Mexico cancelled their game due to the virus raging throughout New Mexico right now.
Earlier this year the Mountain West had decided to postpone the season. At the time it was not known if that was indefinite or until they had a plan. Thankfully for football fans, they came up with a plan to play the games safely and allowed the season to commence. The conference will play conference only games, an eight game season. The championship game will be held on Saturday, December 19th. The conference will also play a host of games on Thursdays and Fridays, as well as the traditional Saturday games.
The Mountain West began their season this weekend alongside the Big Ten conference. Some conferences had already begun play including the SEC, ACC, Big 12, Conference USA, Sun Belt, and AAC. Teams have had to cancel games, or plan games one week in advance for various reasons, but games are being played. Most stadiums are allowing fans in limited capacities.
Wyoming and Nevada kicked off the Mountain West season in Reno. Carson Strong had himself a night, going 39/52 for 420 yards and four touchdowns as the Wolf Pack picked a part the Wyoming defense all night long. On the third play of the game Wyoming quarterback Sean Chambers suffered an injury to his left leg that has been ruled a season ending injury. At one point the Cowboys were down by 22 points late in the third quarter, but a late hit on receiver Ayden Eberhardt inspired the team and they rallied to force overtime against Nevada. However, Carson Strong’s fourth touchdown of the night put the game away. Wyoming will host Hawaii next week, while Nevada will take on UNLV to see who gets to own the Fremont Cannon.
Boise State and Utah State locked horns in on the Blue shortly after the first kick off. The Broncos looked to be in already mid-season form and wasted no time dispatching the Aggies. Hank Bachmeier went 20/28 for 268 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for one more. George Holani added 100 yards rushing to the effort. Utah State will host San Diego State, while Boise State will travel to Air Force.
Hawaii made the trip to mainland this weekend to take on Fresno State. The Warriors got 229 yards passing and 116 yards rushing from quarterback Chevan Cordeiro, scoring two rushing touchdowns as the Warriors took it to Fresno State. The Warriors were aided in part by four Bulldog turnovers, three from quarterback Jake Haener. Next week Hawaii will travel to Laramie to take on the Cowboys. Fresno State will host Colorado State.
UNLV got their season started by taking a trip to San Diego and receiving a pretty healthy beating at the hands of the Aztecs. San Diego State rushed for 287 yards and three touchdowns to defeat the Rebels. Greg Bell led the way for the Aztecs, rushing for 111 yards and a score. UNLV got its only score on a Max Gilliam touchdown pass to Steve Jenkins. The Rebels finished with 186 total yards offense. San Diego State will travel to Utah State, while UNLV will host Nevada.
In the final game of the night Air Force went west and played against San Jose State. The game, tied 0-0 at the half, picked up some momentum in the second half. The Spartans, led by Arkansas transfer Nick Starkel, pulled an upset over the Falcons. Starkel threw for 226 yards and a two scores while limiting the Falcons to 206 yards rushing on 49 attempts. Air Force will host Boise State next week while San Jose State will attempt to play at New Mexico.
Onto the rest!
Mountain West Player of the Week
This week’s Mountain West player of the week is Nevada quarterback Carson Strong. Strong was 39/52 for 420 yards and four touchdowns as the Wolf Pack beat Wyoming in their home opener.
Mountain West MVP Candidates
Hank Bachmeier, QB, Boise State
Carson Strong, QB, Nevada
Xazavian Valladay, RB, Wyoming
Nick Starkel, QB, San Jose State
Chevan Cordeiro, QB, Hawaii
Mountain West Power Rankings
San Diego State
San Jose State
The Quad Shot
Folks, we’re back! It was a long road to get here, this year has been very weird. Hopefully all of you reading out there have made it through 2020 as unscathed as possible. A lot of strange in the world, losing loved ones, losing employment, maybe having Covid-19, or any number of things. Despite all of that, hopefully this weekend provided a bright spot for many of you out there. Personally for myself, not much has changed.. I was working from home before all of this, I got a dog to hang out with, my beer intake has greatly increased (Imagine Nation Brewing and Mountains Walking Brewing FTW!) and my golf game is the best it’s ever been. All in all, I’m pretty fortunate. In what seems like it might have been a year ago, I think we can all agree, Carole Baskin definitely killed her husband.
Going to be interesting to see which teams can get out of the gate in a hurry in the Mountain West. Boise State looked like they’d be playing already. Felt like Wyoming was sleep walking for the first half against Nevada, who came out firing. Not much room for error in this abbreviated season, so every loss is magnified. It’s a race to December 19th!
Hank Bachmeier looks like he could very well be the league MVP. If the Broncos keep rolling at this pace there’s no reason to believe he won’t be the best player in the Mountain West. In an immediate hot take, I really don’t see anyone that’ll stop Boise State this season. Way too many questions for teams like Wyoming, San Diego State, and Nevada.
Will be curious to see if New Mexico can pull off having a game this weekend. Local guidelines and surging cases around Albuquerque have apparently paralyzed the city. Hopefully the Lobos can get back on track this weekend, it would probably be a big boost for the community looking for normalcy.