Wow! What a crazy week of Mountain West football. Some teams emerged from the ashes to become realistic title contenders, while some heavy favorites failed miserably. The results from this past weekend have created a number of interesting scenarios going into the final weekend. Before we look forward, let’s take one last look back. Here are the good, bad, and ugly performances from week twelve.
The Broncos needed a spark and it appears they found it under interim head coach Spencer Danielson. The Broncos started slow, falling behind 10-0. But the rushing game started to open up and the Broncos scored 45 straight points to leave Logan with a convincing win over Utah State. Boise State finished the game with 352 yards on the ground and their championship hopes live on another day.
The Cowboys continue to be one of the best home teams in the country, as they absolutely manhandled Hawaii. The Cowboys’ passing attack looked the best it has all year with Peasley going for more than 300 yards. The Cowboys were able to secure their seventh win of the season.
Where has this team been all season? The final score of 25-17 may not show it, but the Lobos absolutely manhandled Fresno State in this game. New Mexico went for over 300 yards on the ground and outgained the Bulldogs by 298 yards. What a showing by the Lobos! Did this win save Danny Gonzales’ job?
San Jose State
It may not have been the prettiest win for the Spartans, but they protected their home field and came away with their fifth consecutive victory. San Jose State’s transition to a run-first team that wins in the trenches has been a thing of beauty. Coach Brennan and his staff have done an excellent job of making changes that have helped this team become a contender for the Mountain West Championship.
The Rebels had their most impressive win of the season and did it by absolutely stifling the Air Force offense in the second half. Despite falling behind 24-7 in the second quarter, the Rebels were able to capitalize in the passing game and on Air Force mistakes to come away with an impressive victory. Unless something crazy happens in the computer rankings, the win seals their spot in the conference championship game, and they will likely be the host regardless of what happens this weekend.
It appears that the Rams have salvaged what has been a crazy season. This team has looked different every time they have taken the field, but a solid performance against Jay Norvell’s former squad has put the Rams one step closer to bowl eligibility. This was probably the most well-balanced performance the Rams have had on the offensive side of the ball this year, passing for 245 yards and running for 169 yards. Colorado State will look to become bowl eligible against Hawaii this weekend.
This week was much of the same for the Wolf Pack. Inconsistencies on both sides of the ball have really held this team back. Every time it starts to look like they are putting things together, they take a step backward. I think Ken Wilson and his staff have shown enough to warrant getting another year; it will be interesting to see if Nevada’s administration feels the same way.
The Falcons absolutely dominated the first half of their loss to the Rebels, but ultimately the inability of the offense to move the ball and the struggles of their secondary cost them this game. Some of the play calls for the Falcons were questionable. Why are you passing the ball in third and short situations? Ultimately, their inability to have any sort of a passing attack made a late comeback impossible for Air Force. It will be interesting to see how they respond against Boise State with a spot in the Mountain West Championship game on the line.
San Diego State
The Aztecs continue to be a puzzling team. They looked solid in the first half, but the offense’s inability to control the ball and put points on the board continues to be the reason this team can’t win games. I expected a down year for the Aztecs, but for them to be the worst team in the conference? I did not see that coming. This week’s performance is another reason this team needs to be smart with their next head coaching hire, and why it should be someone who is a proven commodity on the offensive side of the ball.
Wow...I did not see this coming. The final score does not adequately show how poorly the Bulldogs truly played this past Saturday night. They were absolutely dominated by the Lobos on both sides of the ball. They were outgained by nearly 300 yards and had zero answer for New Mexico’s rushing attack. This loss eliminates the Bulldogs from contending for the Mountain West title.
The Aggies came out fast against the Broncos, but a turnover-prone second quarter, an inability to stop the run, and mounting injuries took their toll on Utah State. The Aggies still have a lot to play for in their final game, as they travel to New Mexico. A win will put them in a bowl game and give the Aggies some hope heading into the 2024 season.
The Rainbow Warriors are a puzzling team. Every once in a while they will shock you with a dominating performance and follow it up with an awful showing. After shocking Air Force at home, Hawaii traveled to Laramie and got blasted by the Cowboys. Timmy Chang and his staff have made steps in the right direction this season, but there is still a lot of work to be done on the islands.
Which moments from this past weekend stood out to you? Which two teams are going to play for the Mountain West Championship? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.