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The Good, the Bad, the Ugly: Bowl Edition #1

Mixed results on the first weekend of the bowl season

Isleta New Mexico Bowl - New Mexico State v Fresno State Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images

The bowl season kicked off this past weekend with two games featuring Mountain West teams. Fresno State traveled to New Mexico to take on New Mexico State, while Boise State squared off against UCLA in the Los Angeles Bowl. It was a weekend of mixed results for the Mountain West. Let’s take a look at the Good, Bad, and Ugly performances from this past weekend’s Mountain West games.

The Good

Fresno State

The Bulldogs were clicking on all cylinders in New Mexico. They were clearly the superior squad, and it was the best performance their defense has had since the first half of the season. Mikey Keene was extremely sharp, completing 31 of 39 passes for 380 yards and three touchdowns. The Bulldogs had 500 total yards to New Mexico State’s 200 yards. It was a complete performance for Fresno State, who finished the season on a high note after a rough finish to the regular season.


I was really impressed by the heart the Bruins played with in the second half. Their coaching staff did an excellent job of making adjustments in the second half to slow down Boise State’s rushing attack. After UCLA’s starting quarterback Collin Schlee left the game with what appeared to be a concussion, Ethan Garbers came in and completely changed the game with his ability to stretch the field. Garbers’ ability to throw the ball down the field allowed UCLA to move the ball with relative ease in the second half. It was a great finish to the season for Chip Kelly and the Bruins after many questioned whether he should return as their head coach in 2024.

The Bad

Boise State

The Broncos started the game in impressive fashion, running the ball well against one of the top rush defenses in the country. We saw the special talent that the Broncos have in Ashton Jeanty and George Holani, but we also saw the lack of depth the Broncos have on the offensive side of the ball with the departures of Taylen Green and Eric McAllister. It is clear that the Broncos will need more depth at quarterback, wide receiver, and various spots on the defensive side of the ball if they want to be the inaugural Group of Five representative in next year’s college football playoff.

The Ugly

New Mexico State

The Aggies were lucky enough to play a bowl game in their home state in front of many fans, but they performed like a team that was playing Alabama on the opening weekend of the season. New Mexico State was thoroughly manhandled by a Fresno State squad that couldn’t stop the run late in the season. It was really interesting to see that the Aggies could not establish a consistent rushing attack against the Bulldogs and got absolutely nothing through the air. It was a great season for Jerry Kill and the Aggies, but this game showed there is a clear difference in the quality of play between the Mountain West and Conference USA.

What stood out to you from the opening weekend of the bowl season? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.