We made it through another week of Mountain West football! This week the game between Wyoming and Air Force was cancelled because of COVID-19 issues at the Air Force academy. Other programs were noticeably impacted by COVID-19 (see Boise State). But that didn’t stop the college football world from moving forward. Let’s take a look at our good, bad, and ugly performances from week four.
The Broncos bounced back in a big way after a rough loss to BYU. Boise State continued to struggle a little bit on the offensive side of the ball. But three touchdowns on special teams and a great defensive showing helped the Broncos to overcome some rust and lack of depth on the offensive side of the ball.
San Diego State
Similar to the Broncos, the Aztecs had a great bounce back performance after suffering a let down against San Jose State the week prior. The Aztec ground attack was absolutely dominant in the first half; a large halftime lead allowed San Diego State to go through the second half in cruise control.
The Bulldogs have looked like a different team since their week one loss to Hawaii and are still in contention for a spot in the Mountain West Championship game. We finally got to see the Jalen Cropper we were all expecting when he signed in 2019. Cropper accounted for more than 200 yards receiving and three touchdowns, as the Bulldogs cruised to a fairly easy victory. Fresno State has a tough slate the last four weeks with games against San Jose State, Nevada, and San Diego State. Win all three of those and another showdown with Boise State could be on the horizon.
This was easily the worst showing of the year for the Wolf Pack. They really struggled to click offensively in the first half, and some creative play calling by the Lobos allowed them to go into halftime with the lead. Nevada found its footing in the second half when Carson Strong started finding Romeo Doubs downfield. The Wolf Pack will host the Aztecs this weekend in a game that will have a major impact on the title hopes of both teams.
San Jose State
Much like the Nevada, this wasn’t San Jose State’s finest showing. But the result is all that matters, and nobody saw a 4-0 start for the Spartans coming. After a slow start, the Spartans were able to create some separation in the second half en route to a 34-17 victory. The passing game for the Spartans has been potent, but they will need to put up some big numbers this Saturday if they are going to leave Fresno with their perfect record still intact.
I realize they are 0-3 and in a normal season there wouldn’t be many positives to say. But, New Mexico has been moved out of state and has gone through more adversity than any team in the conference. With that being said, the Lobos have exceeded my expectations. They have been competitive in all of their games and are slowly starting to figure things out on the defensive side of the ball. If they had their starting quarterback this past weekend, we could very well be talking about their first victory.
Baby steps. After firing Gary Andersen this past week, the Aggies had their best performance of the year against a solid Fresno State squad. Nobody in the Mountain West has played a schedule nearly as tough as the Aggies, and they showed signs of improvement. If they can build on this, they might be able to score a win or two before the season is over. Unfortunately, I don’t think it will happen in Laramie this weekend.
Like the Lobos and Aggies, we should be judging UNLV on the progress they make over the course of the season. During portions of the game, it looked like Justin Rogers might be the answer to their problems at quarterback. He did an excellent job of connecting with his young receivers. If Rogers can spread the field, it will allow the Rebles to utilize Charles Williams more efficiently in the run game.
The Rainbow Warriors looked unprepared and overwhelmed. They never had a shot in this game. The offensive line, which was perceived as a strength entering the season, has struggled mightily. The offense just can’t find consistent production under their new leadership. Things won’t get much easier as Hawaii has Boise State, Nevada, and San Jose State the next three weeks.
How do you allow three kicks to get blocked in one game? To make matters worse, all three kicks were returned for touchdowns. Even against Boise State’s decimated defense, the Rams struggled to find consistency on the offensive side of the ball. Maybe they just need to play Wyoming every week.
Which performances from week four stood out to you? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.