Week three may not have resulted in a ton of wins for the Mountain West, but it did display the depth that the league has and gave us an idea of how good the conference can be this season. Let’s take a look back at the good, bad, and ugly performances from week three.
The Falcons might very well be the team to beat in the Mountain West if the offense can consistently play at that level. The final score of 39-21 does not show how much the Falcons truly dominated this contest. The defense came up with big plays early in the game and capitalized on Aggie mistakes to jump out to a quick, insurmountable lead. This team has a very manageable schedule and the talent to make some real noise at the national level.
It may not have been the complete victory that Broncos fans were looking for, but we saw some significant improvements against a North Dakota squad that is one of the best at the FCS level. If the Broncos can start a little faster and avoid the third quarter turnovers, this is easily a 40-50 point win. Taylen Green looked like he started to get some of his confidence back, and wide receiver Eric McAllister is emerging as a legitimate number one receiver for the Broncos.
What an exciting win for the Rebels. Things looked bleak when they fell behind 17-0 and starting quarterback Doug Brumfield went down with an injury. Jayden Maiava came in and led a heroic comeback. Maiava really impressed me with his pinpoint accuracy on the deep ball. The Rebels were also able to capitalize on some turnovers to come away with the victory.
I wasn’t really sure where to place the Cowboys. For three quarters they fought toe-to-toe with the number four team in the nation and did it with their backup quarterback. We got to see the long awaited debut of running back Harrison Waylee who scored a 62 yards rushing touchdown in the early moments of the game. After Waylee’s long run, the Cowboys struggled offensively but went into the fourth quarter with the game tied at ten. Ultimately, the Longhorns were too much for the Cowboys, but it was an impressive performance nonetheless.
What a gutsy performance by the Rams. By all accounts, they were the better team for the majority of this contest. Ultimately, some undisciplined penalties and turnovers led to the two overtime loss against Deion Sanders and the Buffaloes. Rams fans should be feeling pretty good about the future of this team with quarterback Brayden Fowler-Nicolosi and the talented wide receivers and tight ends he has at his disposal.
The Bulldogs won this game in dominant, convincing fashion over Arizona State. The Sun Devils turned the ball over eight times, and while the Bulldogs did struggle to finish drives, this game was never in doubt. The schedule sets up nicely for the Bulldogs. Is this the year they finally make a big bowl game? The potential for a special season is certainly there.
I gave the Wolf Pack zero chance in this game. I honestly thought it would be over by the end of the first quarter. But, this team played with heart and discipline for the first time this season and it almost resulted in a huge upset over Kansas. Maybe Nevada can use this game as a building experience and use it to build some momentum moving forward.
San Diego State
Ignore the final score, and this was probably the best performance by the Aztecs this season. The defense looks like it might be finding its groove, and Jalen Mayden had a solid game passing the football. My biggest concern for the Aztecs is that they are struggling to run the football and that is what usually wins games for this team.
San Jose State
I was really surprised to see that the Spartans were touchdown underdogs to Toledo. The Spartans were the better team on paper, and honestly, they were the better team in this game. But the final score came down to the Spartans inability to finish drives and establish a consistent rushing attack. San Jose State also struggled to slow down the rushing attack of the Rockets. This led to the Spartans squandering a ten point lead on two different occasions.
This team needs to keep their eyes on the future. When the majority of your defense is freshmen and sophomores, there are going to be times where you get exposed. That was the case Friday night against Air Force. It will be interesting to see how Blake Anderson and his staff deal with the quarterback position moving forward. Will Cooper Legas get another chance, or will the Aggies go with freshman McCae Hillstead?
The 55-10 loss to the Ducks is exactly what we expected. Timmy Chang’s team is not ready to compete against top level teams, and the defense still has a long ways to go. I am concerned about how this team has performed the last few weeks after battling against Vanderbilt and Stanford the first two weeks of the season.
A winnable rivalry game and the Lobos completely laid an egg. This was a must win game for New Mexico against their in-state rival, New Mexico State. It was a disappointing performance for a team that has potential. After the game, Lobo head coach Danny Gonzales claimed that his team will recover and play in a bowl game at season’s end.
Which performances from this last weekend stood out to you? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.