We made it through another week of Mountain West football! This time with zero cancellations. While COVID did not prevent any teams from playing, it did create some uncertainty for this coming week (see Boise State). Not one single game this past weekend was decided by single digits. We are already seeing some real separation between the contenders and the pretenders. With that being said, let’s take a look at the good, bad, and ugly performances of this past weekend.
After falling short in a shootout against Nevada, Wyoming responded in dominating fashion against the Rainbow Warriors. Wyoming was able to contain Chevan Cordeiro and the Hawaii offense. They also did a much better job of establishing Xazavian Valladay and Trey Smith in the running game. Wyoming still has the potential to be a force in the Mountain West, but they will likely have to play flawless football the rest of the season.
The Bulldogs looked dead in the water against Hawaii last week. This was a great bounce back performance, and quarterback Jake Haener looked the part. Is this a sign of things to come for the Bulldogs? I’m not so sure. Maybe a matchup against a thin Colorado State secondary is what Fresno State needed to find some momentum.
It wasn’t always pretty, but the Broncos were able to go into Colorado Springs and come away with a fairly convincing victory over a scrappy Air Force squad. Boise State was without starting quarterback Hank Bachmeier and starting safety JL Skinner. Star running back George Holani also went down with an early injury. Boise State still managed 49 points, and Jack Sears was nearly perfect in relief of Bachmeier. Is there another quarterback controversy brewing in Boise?
San Jose State
I have to give credit where credit is due. The Spartans have been impressive through two weeks. They look improved on the defensive side of the ball, and Starkell is filling in nicely at the quarterback position. San Jose State will face a major test next weekend when they travel to San Diego to take on the Aztecs. If the Spartans can somehow pull this one out, the hype will be real.
San Diego State
This looks like Aztec squads we are used to seeing: a run heavy offense with a dominating defense. I think this is a really good football team, but they haven’t really been tested yet. The Aztecs have an intriguing game against the Spartans this weekend and still have to face Nevada. But, the Spartans have the defense to go the distance this year.
Carson Strong has looked like the best quarterback in the Mountain West through the first two weeks, and Nevada is looking like a legitimate contender. Nevada has one of the most manageable schedules from here on out. That week five matchup with the Aztecs may decide a spot in the conference championship game.
The Rebels land in the bad category this week, because they took some steps in the right direction and made the contest with Nevada semi-competitive. This is not a good football team, but Arroyo has improved this roster and will continue to do so. Be patient Rebel fans; this is a long term rebuild.
This Air Force team showed a ton of guts. They were without their best runners in Kaden Remsberg and Timothy Jackson. We saw what this offense is capable of when they are healthy on the offensive line, but we also saw how flawed their defense could be when they face a capable offense.
I’m going to give some credit to the Lobos. They gave the Spartans all they could handle for about two and a half quarters. New Mexico has had to overcome plenty of uncertainty. The game was moved from New Mexico to San Jose in the middle of the week, and fatigue appeared to be a factor late in the game. I feel for this team; they are probably going to be a road team for the entire season.
The Rainbow Warrior defense did everything they could to keep their team in this game, but ultimately, they spent way too much time on the field. Hawaii looked over-matched for much of the game and is going to have to make some major adjustments on the offensive side of the ball. The Cowboys forced Cordeiro to be a pocket passer and exposed many of his flaws throughout the contest.
I was scratching my head when the Rams announced Todd Centeio as their starting quarterback. I thought Patrick O’Brien had a really solid 2019 season and would have a great 2020 season. Centeio proved to be a capable runner but really struggled to throw the ball against a Fresno defense that got torched the week prior. It was their first game, but things are not looking good for the Rams.
The Aggies have had the toughest two weeks of any team in the conference. But there isn’t much to get excited about if you are a Utah State fan. They were without their biggest offensive weapon this past weekend in Jaylen Warren and have managed only 20 points in their first two contests while giving up 80 points. Things aren’t looking much better for the Aggies this weekend, as they will travel to Reno to take on the Wolf Pack.
That’s it for this edition of “The Good, the Bad, the Ugly.” What stuck out to you about week two? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.