Wow...what a shocking week of Mountain West football! The week was highlighted by some of the biggest surprises of the Mountain West season and some shocking news off the field. Let’s dive right in. Here are the good, bad, and ugly performances of week eleven.
The Rebels continued to silence the doubters with a convincing 34-14 victory over Wyoming. UNLV has been the biggest surprise in the conference and is now in the driver’s seat in the Mountain West standings. Freshman quarterback Jayden Maiava continues to impress, and wide receiver Ricky White has emerged as the top receiver in the conference. The Rebels will have a chance to move one step closer to a championship if they can march into Colorado Springs and come away with a victory.
The Aggies were rolling on the offensive side of the ball in their dominating win over Nevada. The win improves the Aggies to 5-5 on the season with games against Boise State and New Mexico to finish the season. I like their chances at pulling out a win in one of the last two games and making a bowl game despite a roller coaster season.
The Rams have been involved in a lot of exciting games this year, and this past weekend was no exception. The Rams almost fell apart late in the game, but they were able to fend off a late push by the Aztecs to come away with a 22-19 victory. The Rams may be 4-6, but they have an excellent shot at salvaging the season with a bowl appearance as they finish the season with games against Nevada and Hawaii.
Sometimes playing a bottom feeder can be just what you need to get back on track. The Boise State offense was efficient and able to capitalize on some big plays through the air to jump out to an early lead. However, there is still plenty to be worried about on the defensive side of the ball. New Mexico was able to move the ball for much of the game and dominated the time of possession during the first half. Surprisingly, Andy Avalos was fired the next morning. It will be interesting to see how this team responds in the final weeks.
San Jose State
The Spartans are getting hot at the right time and still have a shot at playing for the Mountain West title if they can get some help. San Jose State completely dominated Fresno State on both sides of the ball. On offense, they did it with a bruising rushing attack led by Kairee Robinson. The Spartans rushing attack was so efficient, that quarterback Chevan Cordeiro only had to attempt 18 passes.
The Rainbow Warriors pulled off what might be considered the biggest upset of the Mountain West season to this point. Hawaii did just enough on the offensive side of the ball to pull off the upset, but it was their performance on the defensive side that really impressed. The Rainbow Warriors were able to force the Falcons into making some uncharacteristic mistakes and prevent them from breaking off a bunch of big runs. Timmy Chang finally got his signature win.
The Wolf Pack continued to show some growth over the weekend despite losing to the Aggies. It seems like the offense is finally figuring things out, but similar to Boise State and New Mexico, Nevada has a defensive head coach and they are struggling to stop opposing teams. I think this program is showing some positive signs. Hopefully Wilson gets one more year.
San Diego State
The Aztecs continue to be a puzzling team. Brady Hoke seems to have lost the confidence of the fans and his players. This team has been a complete embarrassment in conference play. The offense continues to sputter, and the fans are becoming restless. Will Hoke be back in San Diego next season? It doesn’t appear likely at this point.
I was in the stands for this game and was really impressed with the poise of true freshman quarterback Devon Dampier. I think the Lobos might have themselves their quarterback of the future. But let’s switch to the other side of the ball. The Lobos had no answer for a Boise State offense that was missing many of its top players. For a defensive minded head coach, Danny Gonzales has sure struggled to put together a unit that can get the job done.
The Cowboys continue to be a puzzling team on the road. Outside of the second quarter, Wyoming looked completely overmatched. For a team with so much potential, they have managed to throw this season away by laying an egg in their last two home games. Inconsistent offense continues to be a bugaboo for this program, and this year’s defense does not have the ability to keep them in games like it has in past years.
The Bulldogs have been battered and bruised in recent weeks, and it looks like the injuries have finally caught up to this team. San Jose State completely dominated Fresno State on both sides of the ball to claim the Valley Trophy. I still like Fresno State’s chances of making the championship game if they can take care of business the next two weeks. It will be interesting to see if Mikey Keene is able to take the field next weekend.
The Falcons have looked completely out of sorts the last two weeks. Is it injuries mounting up? Were they the result of a soft schedule? Air Force looked like a lock to play for the Mountain West championship; now their hopes of even making the game are in jeopardy after laying an egg in Hawaii. How will they respond in a huge game against the Rebels this week? It will be interesting to see.
That’s it for this edition of “The Good, the Bad, the Ugly.” What stood out to you about this past weekend? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.