Week eleven was full of surprises in the Mountain West. The top teams in the West Division struggled, while the top teams in the Mountain Division got the job done. Let’s revisit the good, bad, and ugly moments of week eleven.
The Broncos were home underdogs for the first time in more than a decade. They were hobbled, beaten, and bruised. All of these factors would have made a loss to the Bulldogs understandable. However, the Broncos entered the game with a noticeable chip on their shoulder. The offense moved the ball effectively for all four quarter, but struggled to get into the end zone in the first half. That changed in the second half when the Broncos had three straight touchdown drives. Alexander Mattison had his best game of the year against the top defense in the Mountain West. Brett Rypien was very efficient, and his 49 yard touchdown pass to Khalil Shakir proved to be the difference.
More impressively, the Bronco defense held the Bulldog offense to 17 points, even though they were down four starters. The second half was one of the best performances of the Bryan Harsin era.
The Aggies did what they needed to do and took care of a bad San Jose State team. Utah State had over 800 yards of total offense led by the arm of Jordan Love and his 491 yards passing. The Aggies looked to have a few chinks in the armor in regard to the passing game, but the match up with Boise State in two weeks should be an exciting one.
The Rebels are out of bowl contention, but they played for pride against the Aztecs in a Saturday night showdown. UNLV managed to rack up 436 yards of total offense against a stingy Aztec defense. Tony Sanchez may have saved his job, as the Rebels were able to pull off the biggest upset of the weekend.
The Wolf Pack entered their game against the Rams in search of bowl eligibility. Not only did they become bowl eligible, they absolutely destroyed Colorado State in the process. Nevada finished the game with over 600 yards of total offense and controlled the Rams passing attack throughout the game. The Wolf Pack are playing as well as anyone in the West right now, but it is probably too little, too late.
The Bulldogs entered their Friday night showdown with the Broncos looking to put their stamp on the conference and leave with their first victory on the Blue. Instead, the Bulldog offense was stymied by a Bronco defense that was comprised largely of second stringers. Also, the vaunted Fresno State defense struggled to get the Broncos off the field and stop the run game.
The Rams need to take a long look in the mirror. Last year, many people thought they were the favorites to win the Mountain West. They had a new stadium and were hoping to earn a spot in the Big 12. This year, they will be staying home during the postseason and need to find a way to repair a broken defense. Will the Rams be looking for a new head coach this off season?
San Diego State
What has happened to the Aztecs? Since their victory over Boise State, the Aztecs have struggled in almost every game and just lost to, arguably, the worst team in the league. Rocky Long has his work cut out for him this week as San Diego State heads to Fresno to take on the Bulldogs. It is make or break for the Aztecs this weekend.
That is it for this edition of “The Good, the Bad, the Ugly.” What were your good, bad, and ugly moments of week eleven?