Week 9 saw some of the biggest games of the year in the Mountain West. Some were rivalry games (UNLV vs. Nevada), some were teams looking to stay alive (Boise State vs. Colorado State), and some were for first place (Fresno State vs. San Diego State). Let’s take a look at how these games, and others, played out.
The Broncos overcame their worst start of the year and picked a great game to have their best second half of the season. The Broncos were well balanced on offense, managing 253 yards through the air and 177 yards on the ground. Boise State’s defense also stepped up in the second half after a slow start. It looks like this team may have found a serviceable offensive line, and they appear to be getting healthier. Is it too little to late?
San Jose State
It wasn’t the prettiest victory, but Nick Nash used his legs to carry the Spartans to a 27-21 victory over Wyoming. Nash and the Spartans struggled to move the ball through the air, but the quarterback was dynamic on his feet with 112 yards rushing. The Spartan defense was stout and San Jose State’s bowl hopes are still alive.
The Wolf Pack looked like a team that was out for revenge after losing an important game against Fresno State. Nevada completely dominated their biggest foe in UNLV. Carson Strong was his usual magnificent self, throwing for 417 yards and four touchdowns. The Wolf Pack held on to the Fremont Cannon on their way to an easy 51-20 victory.
The Aggies came out on fire and never looked back. The Aggies finished with well over 500 yards of offense on their way to an easy 51-31 victory over Hawaii. Utah State is currently sitting in first place in the Mountain Division and has, arguably, the easiest schedule of any contender. They will be favorites in the rest of their games. If they take care of business, they will represent the Mountain in the conference championship game.
The Bulldogs came out on fire. They jumped out to a quick 20-0 lead. The Bulldogs have by far the most balanced offensive attack in the Mountain West. The Bulldogs are now in the top 25 and sit alone at the top of the West. They are expected to have a full house when they host Boise State Saturday evening.
The Rams had every chance to pull away in the first half, but their inability to run the ball in the red zone and finish drives ultimately cost them their first victory over Boise State. The Rams are now 3-5 and are on the outside looking in for a bowl game.
San Diego State
The Aztec defense faced their toughest opposition of the year and they failed. San Diego State could not slow the Bulldogs down on the ground or through the air. The Bulldogs were also able to slow down the Aztec rushing attack. Somehow the Aztecs almost battled back, but they didn’t have enough fire power through the air. Is this the beginning of the Aztecs’ annual mid-season fall off? Or will they be able to bounce back?
4-0 in non-conference play, 0-4 in conference play. The Cowboys made a switch at quarterback, going with Levi Williams against San Jose State. Levi Williams was less than stellar, throwing for only 129 yards and two interceptions. The schedule does not get much easier for Wyoming. Can they become bowl eligible? I don’t think so.
Will Marcus Arroyo ever win a game as UNLV head coach? I’m not so sure at this point. New Mexico might be their last chance. Prior to this week, it looked like UNLV was improving, but they took some major steps back on both sides of the ball. Is Arroyo on the hot seat? I think he deserves another year, but it wouldn’t shock me if he needs a win or two to keep his job.
The Rainbow Warriors could not overcome a slow start and sloppy play to begin the game. Chevan Cordeiro looked solid in his first game back, but the defense picked a bad game to have their worst performance of the year. This loss will likely cost Hawaii a chance at a bowl game.
That’s it for this edition of “The Good, the Bad, the Ugly.” Which performances from this past weekend stood out to you? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.