Week ten of the Mountain West did not disappoint when it comes to surprise and excitement. Fans of the conference were left scratching their heads after watching Air Force lose in convincing fashion, but watched Fresno State keep their New Year’s Six hopes alive in a win over Boise State. Let’s revisit how each team performed in this edition of “The Good, the Bad, the Ugly.”
The Cowboys came away with a comfortable win over their biggest rival in a battle for the Bronze Boot. The Cowboys had a well-balanced attack after struggling to move the ball against Boise State the previous weekend. This game makes Wyoming bowl eligible and keeps them alive for a chance at the Mountain West title.
The Bulldogs rose to the occasion in their 37-30 win. This game really came down to which team was more disciplined and made the fewest mistakes, and that was clearly the Bulldogs. Malik Sherrod had a career day for Fresno State with 255 all-purpose yards, including a return touchdown to end the first half and a long rushing touchdown to seal the win for the Bulldogs. The win keeps hopes of a conference championship and a potential berth in a New Year’s Six game alive for Fresno State.
Timmy Chang and the Rainbow Warriors really needed a conference win to feel good about this season. This was probably the most realistic chance to come away with the win, and the Rainbow Warriors were able to respond on the road. This was another glimpse of the potential that is within this team. If Timmy Chang can find a way to improve both sides of the trenches this offseason, Hawaii is going to surprise teams next fall.
UNLV was able to continue their impressive season with a convincing win over New Mexico this past weekend. Freshman quarterback Jayden Maiava continued his impressive season with an efficient game that was highlighted by big plays in the passing game. Junior wide receiver Ricky White continues to emerge as one of the most dynamic players in the conference, finishing the game with eight receptions for 165 yards.
It wasn’t always pretty, but the Aggies were able to travel to San Diego and leave with the win, keeping their hopes of making a bowl game alive. The quarterback carousel continued for the Aggies as Cooper Legas replaced McCael Hillstead and led Utah State to the double overtime victory.
Mistakes continue to plague this team. There were times in this game where it looked like the Rams could make things interesting, but their inability to take care of the football has cost them multiple games this season. This loss has likely destroyed any hope of making a bowl game this season. Jay Norvell’s tenure in Fort Collins continues to be a disappointment.
After winning two consecutive games, it seemed like the Wolf Pack were finally finding their identity. Not only had they won consecutive games, but they also were facing a Hawaii team that struggles on the road. This was a game that Ken Wilson and his team could have and should have won. The Wolf Pack offense continued to struggle in the passing game, completing only 6 of 23 passes for 112 yards.
A 37-30 loss against an 8-1 team doesn’t usually land you in the “Ugly” category, but the Broncos are held to a different standard. This game was messy and undisciplined. Bronco defenders were running their mouths despite giving up big plays; special teams made multiple mistakes on kickoffs that proved costly. Four of the five losses can be traced back to the defense’s inability to make stops in big situations, poor usage of timeouts, and personnel mistakes. Can the coaching staff survive this? Boise State is in unprecedented territory.
The Falcons came into this game having one of the best seasons in the history of the program. They have done an excellent job of avoiding costly mistakes and playing disciplined football. All of the mistakes they have avoided cost them in their loss to Army. Costly fumbles put the Falcons in an early hole, and the team was forced out of their comfort zone. They had to put the ball in the air far more frequently than they would have preferred. This game will cost Air Force their chance at a New Year’s Six bowl, but the good new is they can recover and still win the conference championship.
For a team that had big goals coming into the season, 2023 has been a massive failure for the Lobos. UAB transfer Dylan Hopkins was supposed to save the New Mexico offense, and this was going to be the year that the defense put it all together. This loss was not the kind of statement that the Lobos wanted to make, and it might be the final nail in the coffin of Gonzales’ tenure as head coach.
San Diego State
The Aztecs continue to have a forgettable season. This team cannot pull it together on both sides of the ball. The defense had a solid performance in the first half, but laid an egg in the second half and overtime. The offense has also been wildly inconsistent; a team that prides itself on physical play got pushed around, yet again.
What stood out to you from this past weekend? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.