Week eight has concluded. Utah State now stands alone in the Mountain Division while San Diego State has taken command of the West Division. This was one of the most exciting weekends of football games the Mountain West has had for quite some time. There were three games with huge implications, and they all came down to the final minutes. Let’s revisit the good, bad, and ugly performances of this past weekend.
The Bulldogs went the safe route late in the game against Nevada and it nearly cost them. After forcing a turnover, the Bulldogs ran the ball three straight times before punting to Nevada. The Wolf Pack were able to march down the field for a quick touchdown, but fortunately for Fresno State, they were able to stop the two point conversion. The Bulldogs were ultimately the more well balanced team, as they were able to find success through the air and on the ground.
The Lobo defense brought it on Saturday. While Wyoming isn’t exactly an offensive juggernaut, they were able to slow down the run. New Mexico dared Wyoming to beat them through the air and it was a strategy that proved to be effective. While New Mexico wasn’t all that effective on offense; they were able to limit costly mistakes against a Cowboy squad that relies on forcing turnovers.
San Diego State
The Aztecs did what they always do. Their stingy defense held a potent Air Force rushing attack in check and helped their offense gain some great field position. The Aztecs were also effective enough running the ball to create a nearly even time of possession. The speed that San Diego State has at linebacker and safety make them the perfect opponent for stopping the triple option.
The Rainbow Warriors played New Mexico State again. And they beat them again. Their offense looked great, and the defense struggled but was able to create some timely turnovers. It is hard to take a lot away from all of these games that Mountain West teams are playing against New Mexico State. The bigger question for me is, why are they playing them?
San Jose State
The Spartans offense played their best game since losing quarterback Nick Starkel. Backup quarterback Nick Nash was electric in the run game and solid through the air. The coaching staff did a nice job of making adjustments in the second half which led to a comeback victory for the Spartans.
The Aggies were outgained and outplayed for the majority of the game. But there were a couple of key factors that went their way in the victory, coaching and turnovers. Those two things gave the Aggies just enough to come away with the 26-24 victory over Colorado State.
The Wolf Pack won the yardage battle and got a career night out of quarterback Carson Strong and receiver Romeo Doubs. The Wolf Pack continue to struggle running the ball. The lack of balance may cost them a spot in the Mountain West Championship Game.
Air Force relies on playing flawless football. They didn’t do that against San Diego State, and it cost them the game. Costly mistakes on offense gave the Aztecs great field position throughout the game, and it ultimately cost the Falcons the game and quite possibly a spot in the Mountain West Championship.
At some point the Rebels have to win one of these games. This team is improved, but it just isn’t showing up in the win column. The Rebels have been a first-half team; they just can’t figure out how to finish games. That ultimately falls on this coaching staff.
This was a REALLY bad loss and interviews after the game seem to indicate some division among Cowboy players. Levi Williams voiced an understandable displeasure with the rotating quarterback situation, but frankly, I don’t think either quarterback has what it takes to fix the mess that Wyoming has on offense. Only scoring three points against New Mexico? That calls for drastic measures
What was Steve Addazio and his staff thinking at the end of their game against Utah State? With 11 seconds left, he rushed his field goal kicker onto the field and it resulted in a missed field goal that would have won the game for the Rams. It was a massive fail for a squad that had a chance to change their season with a big win. One massively bad decision cost the Rams first place in the Mountain Division.
That’s it for this edition of “The Good, the Bad, the Ugly.” Which moments from week eight stood out to you? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.