Week nine featured games with championship implications. Some teams rose to the occasion (Boise State, Fresno State, Air Force), while others failed (Wyoming and UNLV). The race to the championship game brought out the best and worst of teams. Let’s take a look back at the good, bad, and ugly performances from week nine.
I have no clue where this team has been all season. The Broncos completely manhandled a Cowboy squad that is known for their physical style of play. Ashton Jeanty left the game in the second quarter with a reported lower body injury. Eric McAllister stepped up in the absence of Jeanty to provide the offense with a much needed spark. Boise State also had its best defensive performance of the season, holding Wyoming to only 112 yards of total offense.
A snowy game against a pass-heavy Colorado State team was just what the Falcons needed. Air Force was able to overcome another slow start to improve to 8-0 on the season, including 5-0 in conference play. Two more wins would likely secure a spot in the conference championship game for the Falcons.
The Wolf Pack continued to show off their improved team this weekend. They jumped out to a quick 24-0 lead and were able to hold off a late push by the Lobos. Nevada was able to make New Mexico quarterback, Dylan Hopkins, uncomfortable in the pocket, forcing three interceptions. The last two week’s may have saved Ken Wilson’s job. Can the Wolf Pack continue this trend and finish the season on a high note?
It wasn’t the cleanest game the Bulldogs have played this season, but they got the job done. Fresno State quarterback, Mikey Keene, seemed like he was still feeling the effects of an ankle injury that he suffered against Wyoming. But, the Bulldog defense came up big in the fourth quarter, stopping the Rebels from scoring in the red zone on two different occasions. The Bulldogs improved to 7-1 on the season and will host Boise State in a game with title implications this weekend.
San Jose State
The Spartans played like a team that was out for blood. Former Hawaii quarterback Chevan Cordeiro returned to his home state, and his teammates did not let him down. San Jose State’s defense was able to shut down Hawaii’s potent passing attack and hold them scoreless at home, cruising to a 35-0 victory on the islands.
What a heartbreaking loss for the Rebels. For three of the four quarters, they seemed like the better team against Fresno State. UNLV imploded in the third quarter, turning the ball over five times and surrendering 24 points in just one quarter. The Rebels also failed to score twice in the final minutes despite having the ball inside the five yard line on both occasions. This is a really good football team, but they will have to learn to finish down the stretch if they want to hang with the heavyweights of the Mountain West.
Watching this game, it seemed like Wyoming had no interest in playing. Many people expected the Cowboys to win this game, and they were thoroughly manhandled for the majority of the game. Boise State set the tone on both sides of the trenches, and Andrew Peasley seemed to be running for his life almost every time he dropped back to pass. The Cowboys managed only 112 yards of total offense in their loss to the Broncos.
I feel for the Rams. The snowy conditions were too much to overcome against a team that runs the triple option. Colorado State may have been the home team, but the conditions overwhelmingly favored the Falcons. Despite a strong start, the Rams eventually wore down and the injuries that mounted throughout the game didn’t help.
Turnovers and a slow start were too much for the Lobos to overcome for a team that once again failed to live up to the expectations they had entering the season. Hopkins struggled to find receivers and his three interceptions were too much to overcome. It is hard to come back from a 24-point deficit, no matter who you are facing.
The Rainbow Warriors had a complete letdown against the Spartans. You would think this team would have been playing with a chip on their shoulder since they were facing off against their former quarterback, Chevan Cordeiro. Hawaii was bullied from the opening whistle on their way to a convincing defeat at the hands of the Spartans.
Which performances from this past weekend stood out to you? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.