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Mountain West Football Week Two And What We Learned

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Air Force

The Falcons are a very good team on defense as well as on offense. The defense is what is going to keep them in games this year, and next weeks game against Oklahoma will be very interesting. In this BYU game the Falcon defense -- who by the way have a brand new defensive coordinator -- shut down BYU's offense once they figured out that Riley Nelson would take off and run if no receiver was open. BYU only completed ten passes on the day with half going to their running backs and zero going to McKay Jacobson or O'Neill Chambers; both of who are suppose to be the teams best receivers.

The Falcons rushing attack did what they were suppose to do and put up the most rushing yards against a BYU defense since 2001. The Falcons need to make sure DB's Reggie Rembert and Anthony Wright, Jr. are 100% in next weeks game against Oklahoma. Penalties need to be put in check as they had 10 for 125 yards on Saturday.

BYU

The two quarterback system that worked to perfection last week fell flat on its face against Air Force, as did the BYU offense that had nothing going for them. Bronco Menenhall has a serious problem on his hands and needs to make a decision at the quarterback spot. Riley Nelson has lead BYU to touchdowns, but he relies too much on his legs to run instead of trying to by more time to pass the ball. Jake Heaps did not do anything terribly bad in the game and if not for a J.J. DiLuigi fumble inside the Air Forces ten yard line Heaps may have played more. He threw only six times and after a pick in the second quarter he was firmly planted on the bench.

Nelson was unable to do much with the ball and while it may have been a good move to see what Heaps could do in consecutive drives, but his floating passes and just taking of and running should have lead to Heaps getting some time. The defense was shady as well the defensive backs were getting beat on the option plays and in the passing game. One would have to dig up the archives to see the last time Air Force had more passing yards then BYU. It was a bad game for highly regarded linebacker freshman to get a lot of playing time against an offense that requires excellent defensive discipline. The defense looked just awful and even though Air Force makes teams look bad in the running game their pass defense was not good either.

Colorado State

Are the Rams reaching a New Mexico level of bad? The offensive line is terrible and the running game which was supposedly a strength is just terrible, and then toss in a true freshman quarterback in the mix which equals a bad football team. QB Pete Thomas is completing a high percentage of passes, but they are all short passes due to Thomas not having any time to throw the ball. Give Thomas some time to throw and he would improve this team tremendously. The defense is not doing much better and the linebackers were to be a bright spot were burned all night against the Nevada pistol offense. If the offensive line can shore up then the team could come together, because a solid line would help the running game get better and also help the passing game which is the only bright spot on this team.

New Mexico

They scored points! That has to count for something. Right? The Lobo defense was able to force a few turnovers which allowed them to keep the game a bit closer, but the bright spot was the passing game as B.R. Hoolbrook 50 times for 323 yards; both were more then Texas Tech. The improved passing could come from that the Red Raider defense is not as good as Oregon's or that the only way for the Lobos to make a comeback was through the pass. The running game was no help in Saturday's matchup as they managed 83 yards. The offensive line needs some work as Holbrook was chased a lot last night and Tech sacked Holbrook four times in the game. The passing game is the bright spot, but just like Colorado State the offensive line needs to improve to help the team get better.

San Diego State

Sound the alarm! The Aztecs have a running game they rushed for 244 yards with Ronnie Hillman rushing for 150 of those on 22 carries, and managed to take four of those to the house. Walter Kazee and Davon Brown each ran for 50 yards, and before Aztec fans get too excited this was against New Mexico State. Go ahead and celebrate Aztec fans and let the team prepare for a true measuring stick against Missouri next weekend. QB Ryan Lindley did his thing again by passing for over 300 yards and his top targets were the same with DeMarco Sampson and Vincent Brown.

This may be a homerish pick, but I think San Diego State will give Missouri a game. I have nothing to back that up since the Aztecs have not been to a bowl game since the Mountain West formed, and they have not been a good team since Marshall Faulk was suiting up for the Aztecs. The defense came alive as well with hold New Mexico State to 2-13 on third down attempts as well as stopping their rushing game. Aztec fans should be mildly optimistic for the season as Brady Hoke looks to be moving the team in the right direction.

TCU

Not much to say in a blowout win over Tennessee Tech, well at least they did not lose to an FCS team like Virginia Tech, Minnesota, and Kansas all did so far in the season. We know that TCU is not going to overlook any opponents and will be tough to beat this year.

UNLV

Playing Omar Clayton was the right choice since he was able to move the ball against the Utah defense, but he was unable to get into the end zone. Their running game continues to be an issue for the Rebels,and if not for Clayton the rushing attack would have been at 74 yards. Their defense gave up big plays, but special teams is where the Rebels were not that good as they continually gave Utah short fields to work with after long punt returns, and one that went for a touchdown. The plus for the Rebels are that they were able to move the ball and protected Omar Clayton much better this week. The running game needs a boost, but look for the Rebels to be even more improved with Clayton as the quarterback in next weeks game against Idaho.

Utah

The pollsters love Utah as they moved up to 14th in both polls after a win over UNLV this past weekend, some of it has to do with all the teams directly above Utah losing. The Utes look to be in good hands if Jordan Wynn ever goes down in the season. Well, in good hands against a superior team, because Terrance Cain is the same quarterback as he was last year. Cain is conservative when the game is close and threw the short routes and focused in on his receivers, but he did get the job done and lead the Utes to a win.

Cain is a quarterback that can play well but he is not one to make big/risky plays when the game is tight. Special teams some what redeemed themselves this week as Shaky Smithson had one big return and then had another for a 77 yard score, but the downside was a blocked punt that lead to a UNLV touchdown. True freshman Brian Blechen is looking to be the real deal and coach Kyle Whittingham is giving him high praise by comparing him to former Ute and current San Diego Charger Eric Weddle.

Wyoming

It is hard to tell when teams play a superior opponent, but Wyoming has shown that they can hang with some really good teams for at least a half, but not a whole game yet. Texas did not just bulldoze the Cowboys, but rather used a methodical plot to win the game. The Wyoming defense did a decent job but they let in 14 points in the final five minutes of the first half which was the problem in the game.

The offense struggled to move the ball consistently against Texas and was only 25% on third down conversions. The running game had problems this week by trying to go against the much larger Texas defensive line. The positive note is that Texas did not blow out Wyoming, so the Pokes were able to slow down the Longhorn offense.

 

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