Utah State 40, San Jose State 12: There is a saying that Chuckie Keeton is going to Chuckie Keeton, and he certainly did a lot of whatever that means against the Spartans. He had four touchdowns, three through the air and one on the ground, but the Aggies punished SJSU with a balanced attack.
David Fales and Keith Smith, on the other hand, are perhaps being asked to do too much at this point. The Spartans have struggled with a tougher schedule in 2013, but the running game continued to look lackluster and injuries to key players -- Vince Buhagiar, Noel Grigsby and now Bene Benwikere and Jabari Carr -- are exposing the team's lack of depth. This is not a bad team, but one dealing with a significant amount of bad luck.
Colorado State 59, UTEP 42: Anyone who thought the Rams would put up nearly 600 yards of total offense against the Miners, raise your hand. Now, lower your hands, because I doubt anyone saw those kinds of pyrotechnics coming. Garrett Grayson followed up an adequate performance against Alabama with his best start as a Ram and probably solidified his hold on the starting quarterback job going forward. The running game rebounded nicely after getting stonewalled against the Crimson Tide, as well. CSU did what it needed to do: Take care of business against an inferior opponent.
San Diego State 26, New Mexico State 16: Salvation! It wasn't a pretty effort, but the Aztecs climbed out of a 16-0 hole to shut out the Aggies after halftime and notch their first win of the year. Donnel Pumphrey may have created a running back controversy (or as our Chris Hondros might put it, a RUNNING BACK CONTROVERSY) by turning 19 carries into 167 yards and three touchdowns. The Aztecs will live or die with their ball control offense, so while September was a disaster, it isn't too late to scrape their way to bowl eligibility. Pumphrey and Adam Muema (if he is healthy, a big "if") will have to lead the way.
UNLV 56, New Mexico 42: Homecoming in Albuquerque turned into an offensive bonanza, as the teams battled to a 35-35 draw at halftime. The Lobos had 400 yards rushing. The Rebels' Marcus Sullivan averaged 69 yards per carry. Granted, it was one carry, but all of those facts are still true.
In the second half, though, UNLV's defense clamped down on the option attack and allowed only 135 yards. The Rebels' offensive stars also stepped up: Tim Cornett rang up 179 yards and three touchdowns, including a 75-yard scamper to ice the game late, while Devante Davis hauled in three scores of his own. This is a lot closer to the team that many expected to see at the start of the season, though it remains to be seen just how potent the offense will be when the schedule gets tougher in October.
As for New Mexico, the offense worked until it didn't. Three Lobos topped 100 yards rushing, but the quarterbacks could not make a play once they got down by two scores. If they are to get to six wins, the defense will have to figure out a thing or two.
Nevada 45, Air Force 42: It was unfortunate for the Wolf Pack that the Academy finally got their offense on track after a few weeks of tumult. On the other hand, Nevada had the best player on the field. Cody Fajardo put the team on his back and scorched a dismal Falcons defense for nearly 500 yards by himself. That is about as much as the AFA has allowed on average so far in 2013, and it might be time for coach Troy Calhoun to admit this is a rebuilding year.
Texas State 42, Wyoming 21: The Pokes had to endure a lengthy weather delay in San Marcos, but its running game failed to show up once they had to take the field again. Brett Smith was forced to get one-dimensional once the Bobcats scored 28 unanswered points, and he simply wasn't efficient enough. Wyoming may be the most unpredictable team in the conference thus far, because the team really should not be losing badly to Sun Belt opponents.
Boise State 60, Southern Mississippi 7: The Golden Eagles never had a chance. There was a lot of speculation as to what the Broncos' running game would look like following the emergence of freshman Aaron Baltazar last week, but Jay Ajayi had the lion's share of carries before the starters got an extended breather in the second half. The ability to share carries should serve Boise's balance attack well.
It may also be worth noting that Boise looks to be in the best shape of any Mountain West team with regards to its backup quarterback. Grant Hedrick did not get much opportunity to throw the ball, but he was 3-for-3 against USM and looks capable of stepping in for Joe Southwick, if needed, without limiting the playbook too much.
Fresno State 42, Hawaii 37: Trips to the island never go smoothly for the Bulldogs. Fresno handled freshman quarterback Ikaika Woolsey, who showed a fair amount of mobility but clearly wasn't prepared to be the starter. However, the defense totally collapsed once Woolsey was benched in favor of Sean Schroeder, who looked like the second coming of Colt Brennan in rallying the Rainbow Warriors to score the game's last 34 points.
It would be easy to dismiss this as #weirdfootball -- Isaiah Burse's disqualification for targeting, shaky refereeing, and five turnovers -- but the defensive issues that have plagued the Bulldogs all season showed no signs of abating. L.J. Jones looked shaky despite two interceptions, and Curtis Riley wasn't much better. The difference between halves is that Schroeder made plays down the field where Woolsey could not, because the opportunities were there for both players.
A lack of discipline buried the Warriors early, but Schroeder may have solved the quarterback quandry with his performance. Steven Lakalaka and Art Laurel had good games, too, so while the results may not show it, this team has a fair amount of promise.