Some teams can handle the Falcon offense, and some teams can not. My preview indicated that the UNLV defense might provide a challenge to the Falcons, but that was emphatically not the case.
With the Falcon’s first string quarterback, tailback, tight end, and slotback/receiver sitting on the bench, the Falcons racked up 511 yards on the ground, not even bothering to attempt a pass. It was the worst performance by a team against the Falcons this year.
After the results of the earlier Mountain West games, there was no reason to get very motivated for the game other than pride and player development, and the Falcons opted for player development after cementing the win in the first half. With Haaziq Daniels on the bench with a non-Covid illness, QB Warren Bryan started at quarterback, and provided his usual solid leadership. As a senior, his presence as backup QB will certainly be missed next year. Nine other backups produced 205 yards on the ground.
Brad Roberts was one of the few regulars that saw a lot of action in the game, and produced 16 carries and 98 yards, which was enough to give him the Mountain West rushing title despite the fact that UNLV left Charles Williams in the game long after Roberts had retired to the bench. Emmanuel Michel was even better at the position, producing 123 yards on 12 carries running behind one of the nation’s best offensive lines. The Falcons dominated time of possession 40:49 to 19:11, and 26:12 to 3:48 in the second half.
The Mountain West Championship game will be played next Saturday in Carson, CA between the San Diego State Aztecs and the Utah State Aggies. San Diego State beat Boise State 27-16, led, as usual, by a strong defense and a surprisingly good passing attack. Utah State overwhelmed New Mexico 35-10, and advances to the final game by virtue of it’s win over Air Force earlier in the year.
Let’s look at a few facts about the Falcon’s season:
Vince Sanford picked up a sack and two TFLs in the game, giving him 9.5 sacks on the season for -91 yards and 17 TFLs on the season for -116. The 9.5 sacks puts him in 8th place in the Falcon record books. The sack yardage puts him second place in the Falcon record books behind College Hall of Famer Chad Hennings.
Brad Robert’s 1279 yards puts him in sixth place in the record books. He’ll likely end up in third place ahead of Heisman Trophy finalist Dee Dowis after the bowl game. His 279 carries is the second most ever by a Falcon behind Brian Bream.
Jordan Jackson’s 1.5 sacks gives him 12 for his career, putting him in eighth place in the record books.
The Falcons have averaged 341.4 yards per game rushing, which is the highest average since 1989, Dee Dowis’ senior season.
The Falcons defense allowed an average of 288.2 yards per game, the lowest average since 1999.
One more win in the bowl game would give them 10 wins, which would be the ninth time meeting or exceeding that number. It would also be the third time in the last eight years.
Bowl game announcements should start rolling in after the championship games next week.