We are down to two more weeks in the regular season, and the race for the Mountain West Championship is becoming clearer. We are down to six teams in contention: Utah State, Air Force, and Boise State in the Mountain and San Diego State, Fresno State, and Nevada in the West. Let’s take a look at how each team stacked up this past weekend. Here are your good, bad, and ugly performances from week 11.
San Diego State
The Aztecs have avoided the last season fall off that has haunted them for a long time. San Diego State was able to use a dominant defense and a solid rushing attack to overcome a Nevada squad that seemed destined for a championship before the season started. The Aztecs are now in sole possession of first place in the West Division.
The Aggies deserve a lot of credit for this one. They fell behind early but never looked down and walked out of San Jose with a convincing 48-17 victory. This was the game where many people thought the Aggies would lose control of the Mountain Division. But, they played an excellent game and the defensive line looked completely dominant. Kudos to the Aggies.
It wasn’t the complete performance the Broncos had against Fresno State, but the defense continues to improve. And after a tumultuous first half of the season, the Broncos have won three in a row and are headed bowling. They will have a close eye on the Utah State and Air Force match-up this weekend. The Broncos still have an outside shot of competing for a Mountain West Championship.
It was a solid performance after a devastating loss to Boise State last weekend. The Bulldog defense had a nice bounceback performance, giving up only seven points to the Lobos. The offense also coasted to an easy 34 points, and Jake Haener returned to his normal self, passing for 300 yards. The Bulldogs still have a chance to play in the Mountain West Championship if UNLV or Boise State can upset the Aztecs.
The Falcons weren’t their dominant selves on defense, but luckily for them, the Colorado State defense had no answer for the Falcon rushing attack. Air Force finished with 388 yards on the ground on their way to a 35-21 victory. Air Force will have a close eye on the Utah State game this weekend, as they still have a chance of representing the Mountain Division in the conference championship game.
The Rebels aren’t that far away from being a five or six win team. This squad has shown a ton of growth this year, and it was on display against Hawaii this weekend. After an 0-8 start, the Rebels have now won two games in a row. Charles Williams was the player of the game with 266 yards rushing on 38 carries.
The Cowboy defense came to play on Friday night, but they did not have the offensive power to overcome an improving Boise State team. The Broncos were able to slow down one of the best rushing attacks in the league, holding Wyoming to 132 yards on the ground.
The Rams had chance after chance to get in this game, but late turnovers and poor play in the red zone led to another loss. This team feels like they are making strides, but their inability to slow teams down in the run game has kept them from being a bowl team. The Rams are officially out of the bowl picture, as they have lost four consecutive conference games.
The inefficiency in the run game has come back to haunt the Wolf Pack once again. Carson Strong may have had another night with more than 300 passing yards, but the Wolf Pack managed only 8 yards on the ground while surrendering 186 yards to the Aztec rushing attack. While there is still a slim chance the Wolf Pack could play in the Mountain West Championship Game, this loss likely sealed their fate.
The Lobos showed up, they were dominated, and they left. This seems to be a trend for a team that looked promising at the beginning of the season. The Lobos are now 1-5 in conference play, with all of their losses by at least two touchdowns. This team has a long way to go before they can be competitive.
San Jose State
The Spartans looked like they were headed in the right direction until Saturday night rolled around. Utah State absolutely manhandled San Jose State in the second half. The Spartan offense had absolutely no answer for the Aggie defense that was able to get consistent pressure on quarterbacks Nick Starkell and Nick Nash. Their only hope at a bowl game now rests on a Thanksgiving Day match-up against rival Fresno State.
This was a pretty embarrassing performance for the Rainbow Warriors. They were pushed around by UNLV’s offensive line, surrendering nearly 300 yards rushing, while managing only 57 themselves. Is the Todd Graham era in Hawaii on its way to an abrupt end?
That’s it for this edition of “The Good, the Bad, the Ugly.” Which moments from this past weekend stood out to you? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.