The Mountain West football season finished off in unanticipated fashion and we wouldn’t expect anything less after a crazy 2023 college football season. Boise State traveled to Las Vegas to take on a UNLV team that has been one of the most surprising teams in the nation. The game featured a lot of turnovers and a ton of explosive plays. Unfortunately for the Rebels, they were on the short end the majority of those explosive plays. Let’s take a look back at the top performances from the Mountain West Championship game.
Boise State’s Secondary
The Bronco secondary started slow, but they buckled down and made plays when they needed to. UNLV’s star wide receiver, RIcky White, had three catches for 50 yards on the opening drive but was held to three catches for 36 yards the rest of the game. A’Marion McCoy had a great game, picking up six tackles and a huge interception for the Broncos.
The potential was always there. I might be in the minority, but it kind of felt like the coaches failed Green this year. He is the kind of player that needs to have confidence to be effective. The coaches sucked out his confidence early in the season and it showed with his performance on the field. Taylen made one bad throw, and it was costly. Other than that, he played a flawless game. When Taylen is given the opportunity to use his legs, it opens up so much for the Bronco offense. We saw what this offense can be when Green is playing with complete confidence. Hopefully Green is back next season and gets a chance to show what he is made of.
Boise State’s Rushing Attack
The Broncos have leaned on their run game all year long and Saturday afternoon was no different. Ashton Jeanty, Taylen Green, and George Holani combined to rush for more than 300 yards against the Rebels. It was clear early in the game that the Rebels were focused on slowing down Boise State’s rushing attack. Early success in the passing game opened things up for the Broncos and got the rushing game going. It was a dominant performance by the offensive line for the Broncos.
Jayden Maiava’s Freshman Moment
For the second consecutive season, a freshman quarterback struggled in the conference championship. Last year, Taylen Green had the worst game of his freshman season and the same thing happened to Jayden Maiava on Saturday. Maiava was missing some fairly easy throws and struggled to locate Boise State defenders when they were playing zone. Maiava may have had a rough performance, but he had a great season and will bounce back big in 2024.
Not sure what the deal was with the big hats for the players of the game, but they were kind of awkward. It is what it is, but I think there is a better way to recognize excellent performances.
Too Many Turnovers
The Mountain West Championship was not the cleanest of games. The two teams combined for five turnovers, many of which were costly. Ultimately, I don’t think the turnovers impacted the outcome of the game. The better team won the game, but there were some messy plays regardless.
I don’t want to lessen the Rebels’ season, but they had a favorable schedule to start the season and did not play a lot of great offenses early in the season. This defense was completely exposed in the final three games of the season. We learned that improving the defensive line needs to be a priority for UNLV moving forward.
Which moments from the championship game stood out to you? Were you surprised by the outcome? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.