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The Good, the Bad, the Ugly: Best and Worst Games of 2021

Let’s take a look back at the top games of the 2021 season

Boise State v San Diego State Photo by Tom Hauck/Getty Images

Most teams are wrapping up Spring ball as we enter a bit of a dead period in college football. Coaches will turn their focus toward the 2023 recruiting class and offseason workouts. But here at Mountain West Connection, college football never stops. This week, we are going to take a look back at the good, bad, and ugly games of the 2021 football season. Remember, just because a game is in the “Ugly” category does not mean it was bad for your team. It just means it didn’t meet the expectations that most people had headed into the game.

The Good

Utah State @ Air Force

This week three showdown produced one of the most exciting games of the season. This is where we started to see that the Aggies were a legitimate contender, as they were able to leave Colorado Springs with a 49-45 victory over a talented Falcon squad. The game featured five lead changes and a late comeback by Utah State who sealed it by forcing a late Air Force fumble.

Air Force @ Nevada

This would be my pick for game of the year in the Mountain West. Nevada was absolutely manhandled in the first half by Air Force and went into the half trailing 17-3. In the second half we got a glimpse as to why NFL scouts love Carson Strong so much. Strong was able to lead the Wolf Pack back into the game and force overtime. Unfortunately for the Wolf Pack, the new overtime rules hurt them and they lost 41-39 in three overtimes.

Nevada @ San Diego State

Carson Strong may have thrown for 350 yards, but the Wolf Pack managed only eight yards on the ground on their way to a 23-21 loss to the Aztecs. On the other side, the Aztecs managed 186 yards on the ground and used their rushing attack to control possession. The best part of this game was how clean it was: zero turnovers between the two teams.

Nevada @ Fresno State

The Wolf Pack may not have had the season they were hoping for, but they sure were involved in a lot of exciting games. This game featured over 700 yards through the air, including 476 from Carson Strong. But the Nevada run defense haunted them once again. The Bulldogs managed 205 yards on the ground and were able to hold on for 34-32 victory.

Air Force @ Boise State

This was an old-fashioned slug-fest. Air Force always gives Boise State fits, and this game is a perfect example why. The Falcons forced the Broncos into playing their style of football, dominating time of possession and controlling the game on the ground. A late recovery on an onside kick almost allowed Boise State to pull off the comeback, but a Hank Bachmeier interception allowed Air Force to come away with the 24-17 victory.

The Bad

Boise State @ Utah State

In a nationally televised game on CBS, the conference heavyweight Boise State marched down to Logan to take on a surprising Utah State team. The Aggies were off from the beginning. Logan Bonner missed on a number of passes, resulting in some costly interceptions. The Boise State defense had their most dominating showing of the year, holding an electric Utah State offense to three points. Boise State walked out of Logan with a convincing 27-3 victory.

The Ugly

New Mexico @ Wyoming

This one wins the award for worst game of the season. This has to be the most embarrassing loss in the Craig Bohl era. Wyoming looked absolutely clueless against a mediocre New Mexico defense. Neither team managed 300 total yards of offense and two Cowboy turnovers proved costly. You would think this game was played in the snow, but it wasn’t.

Boise State @ Fresno State

The Broncos and Bulldogs have one of the best rivalries in the Mountain West. This game was setting up to be one of the better games of the year. Boise State was coming in as underdog with a 4-4 record with bowl eligibility in question. The Bulldogs had one of the most electric offenses in college football and were nationally ranked. But this wasn’t a football game, it was an absolute beatdown for Boise State. The Broncos were able to get consistent pressure on Jake Haener and forced him into three interceptions. The Broncos left Fresno with a convincing 40-14 victory.

The Mountain West Championship

I have to give it to Blake Anderson; he exposed a San Diego State defense that had been flawless for much of the season. It was a championship-worthy performance for Utah State. Unfortunately, COVID did have quite an impact on this game, as the Aztecs were without a number of players. But it did not have an impact on the outcome of the game, as the Aggies were able to dominate every facet of the game on their way to a convincing 46-13 victory.

That’s it for this edition of “The Good, the Bad, the Ugly.” What do you think the best game of the 2021 season was? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.