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Mountain West Stars in the NFL (Week One)

The best performances from former MWC legends in the NFL

Green Bay Packers v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

For much of the country, football has returned in all of it’s glory. Unfortunately, fans of Mountain West Conference schools have been unable to join in on the celebration. We are left to find unique ways to scratch the incessant college football itch. A mild salve for the irritation comes in the form of the NFL. Our favorite college squads may not be playing, but we can still watch some legends from yesteryear battle it out in the pros.

Each week of the NFL season we will highlight the top five performances from former Mountain West titans. It’s important to note that the list is highly subjective and will have a bias towards players that rack up counting stats (yards, tackles, sacks, completions, etc.). In addition to the top five, we’ll throw in some notable performances from former MWC players. If we miss something, let us know in the comments and we’ll feature it in an “oops” section the following week.

Top Five Mountain West Conference Performances

Number Five:

Darian Thompson, Safety, Dallas Cowboys ~ 10 Tackles

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Dallas Cowboys Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The former Boise State safety was announced as a surprise starter a few weeks before the NFL season kicked off. The Cowboys waived veteran Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix to make room for Thompson, and he paid immediate dividends with ten tackles in a season-opening loss to the Rams. Thompson was forced to step up after the Cowboys lost fellow Boise State legend Leighton Vander Esch to a collarbone injury early in the game.

Number Four:

Alexander Mattison, Running Back, Minnesota Vikings ~ 50 Rushing Yards - 30 Receiving Yards

NFL: Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Boise State goes back-to-back on the list after an inspired performance by backup RB Alexander Mattison in a loss to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. Mattison had 50 rushing yards on just six carries (8.3 YPC) and caught all four of his receiving targets for 30 yards. Meanwhile, the recently paid Dalvin Cook was limited to 50 rushing yards on 12 carries (4.2 YPC) and had one catch for minus two yards. Mattison also stole Darnell Savage's soul:

Number 3:

Derek Carr, Quarterback, Las Vegas Raiders ~ 22/30 - 239 Yards - One Passing Touchdown

NFL: Oakland Raiders at Carolina Panthers Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Fresno State joins the fray after former Bulldog gunslinger Derek Carr led his Las Vegas Raiders to victory over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday. Carr wasn’t flashy, but he was efficient. Carr completed 22/30 passes (73%) and threw a touchdown pass and no interceptions. Most importantly, with the Raiders trailing late in the game, Carr led Las Vegas to a game-clinching touchdown to secure the Las Vegas Raiders first ever victory.

Derek Carr’s day SHOULD be remembered for hooking up with his brand new toy, first round WR Henry Ruggs III...

...and throwing an absolute dime to Agholor for a 23-yard touchdown...

...but unfortunately, the football world will instead focus on Carr using Jon Gruden’s wife’s name as an audible:

Number Two:

Josh Allen, Quarterback, Buffalo Bills ~ 33/46 - 312 Yards - 2 Passing Touchdowns - 57 Rushing Yards - 1 Rushing Touchdown

NFL: New York Jets at Buffalo Bills Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Wyoming Cowboys legend Josh Allen takes the number two spot this week after leading the Buffalo Bills to a 27 - 17 win against the New York Jets. Allen finished with a monster stat line, completing 33 passes for 312 yards with two touchdowns through the air. He added 57 rushing yards and one touchdown on the ground. As is typical with Allen, things weren’t always pretty (he lost two fumbles), but he did more than enough to lead the Bills to victory.

As with Derek Carr, what we should be talking about with Josh Allen are all of these throws...

...but it seems like all anyone wants to talk about is this one:

Number One:

Davante Adams, Wide Receiver, Green Bay Packers ~ 14 Receptions - 156 Yards - Two Touchdowns

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings Appleton Post-Crescent-USA TODAY NETWORK via Imagn Content Services, LLC

When you tie an 80-year old franchise record in a dominate divisional game win to open the season you are getting the number one spot on the list. That is exactly what the former Fresno State Bulldog did on Sunday. Davante Adams grabbed a ridiculous 14 catches on 17 targets and finished with 156 yards and two touchdowns. Adams has an eye-popping 27 catches in his last two games against the Vikings.

Adams is widely considered the best route runner in the NFL. He showed off that skill throughout the game on Sunday:

Adams also added an acrobatic toe-tapping touchdown that is too pretty to leave out:

Notable Plays From Week One:

The official week one list is complete. Wyoming finishes with one player and is joined by a pair of Boise State Broncos and Fresno State Bulldogs, respectively. However, a few other notable plays were made by Mountain West alumni:

Former Wyoming Cowboy safety Andrew Wingard snags his first career interception off of future Hall-of-Fame (right?) QB Phillip Rivers:

ANOTHER Wyoming Cowboy, DE Carl Granderson, sacks Tom Brady and does a...creative dance in celebration:

Last but not least, we welcome the Colorado State Rams to the party to highlight maybe the most controversial play of the weekend. Dallas Cowboys WR Michael Gallup caught a huge pass along the sideline late in the 4th quarter against the L.A. Rams, but it was called off after a downy-soft offensive pass interference penalty was called:

With week one in the books, and the MWC stars highlighted, it is on to week two (remember to leave a comment if we missed a big play or moment). Watch out for these former MWC luminaries tonight when the Browns face off against the Bengals to kickoff week two:


Nevada Wolfpack OG Joel Bitonio

Colorado State WR Rashard Higgins


Wyoming LB Logan Wilson

UNLV CB Torry McTyer