The Mountain West Power Rankings are a glance at where things stand this week. The top team in the conference, Boise State, had the week off while each of the other seven schools had games to play. Every school with the exception of Air Force is in action this weekend, starting with Boise State Friday night on ESPN against Toledo. Here is one writer’s view of where things stand after two weeks:
1. Boise State Broncos (1-0)
Last Game: Beat Georgia 35-21 in Atlanta, GA September 3rd; Next Game- @ Toledo September 16th
The only news that Boise State made during their week off came from the NCAA. The Broncos were placed on probation in part due to violations within the football program and will deal with penalties in both practice time as well as scholarships over the next three seasons. Coach Chris Petersen and his team would like to use their Friday night tilt with Toledo to drown out the distractions and get the team focused once again on the field. Toledo put a scare into Ohio State just one week ago and despite their 57-14 loss in Boise a season ago, they remain a threat with their multiple-look offense that has rotating quarterbacks as well as standout receiver Eric Page.
2. San Diego State Aztecs (2-0)
Last Game: Beat Army 23-20; Next Game- vs Washington State September 17th
The Aztecs struggled but ultimately overcame Army on Abelardo Perez’ 42-yard field goal with just over nine minutes remaining to break the tie and take the win. Ryan Lindley struggled in the passing game completing just 8-18 passes for 146 yards, 68 of those coming on one play in the first drive on a touchdown pass to Colin Lockett. Ronnie Hillman had his 2nd consecutive solid game with 117 yards and two touchdowns. The defense could not keep Army’s running game in check as the Black Knights exploded for 403 yards on 77 carries. Quarterback Trent Steelman scored three times and put a significant scare into the Aztecs. San Diego State now faces a surprising Washington State team that is averaging 61.5 points in its first two games.
3. TCU (1-1)
Last Game: Beat Air Force 35-19; Next Game- vs Louisiana-Monroe September 17th
TCU bounced back nicely in their conference opener against Air Force. The offense was typically balanced and quarterback Casey Pachall was an efficient 20-25 for 206 yards and two touchdowns. Matthew Tucker filled in at running back and piled up 95 yards and two scores. The defense did well to contain Air Force to 249 yards on the ground after the Falcons racked up 391 last week. The Horned Frogs were efficient on 3rd downs, going 9-16 to help keep Air Force off the field. Louisiana-Monroe travels to Fort Worth this week in the first of three consecutive non-conference games that should have the Frogs clicking before a trip to San Diego State on October 8th.
4. Air Force (1-1)
Last Game: Lost to TCU 35-19; Next Game- vs Tennessee State September 24th
Air Force struggled in their first big matchup of the season as TCU scored the first 21 points of the game and never looked back. The Falcons actually outgained the Horned Frogs and generally did not play poorly but still managed to find themselves down 35-9 midway through the 4th quarter. Air Force now gets the week off before facing Tennessee State and then run a gauntlet of difficult games with road contests at Navy and Notre Dame before they get back into Mountain West Conference play hosting San Diego State. That is followed by a trip to Boise to face the #4 Broncos. Much is riding on the line in their next three games to maintain positive momentum before their big conferences games coming up.
5. Colorado State (2-0)
Last Game: Beat Northern Colorado 33-14; Next Game- vs Colorado in Denver September 17th
The Rams improved to 2-0 as they bested Northern Colorado on Saturday behind Pete Thomas’ 259 passing yards and 100 yards rushing and two touchdowns from Raymond Carter. In all, Colorado State piled up 501 yards of offense and held the Bears to 216 yards and only nine 1st downs. Thomas did throw three interceptions but otherwise, it was a dominant team effort, highlighted by the 41-19 discrepency in time of possession. The Rams now face the 2nd leg of their intra-state challenge as they take on Colorado in Denver on Saturday. The Buffaloes are 0-2 in their 1st Pac-12 campaign but look much improved from a year ago.
6. Wyoming (2-0)
Last Game: Beat Texas State 45-10; Next Game- @ Bowling Green September 17th
True freshman quarterback Brett Smith led the Cowboys to 618 yards of total offense as Wyoming outscored Texas State 28-0 in the 2nd half to run away with the win. Smith passed for 236 yards and ran for 73 more while accounting for three touchdowns. Ghaali Muhammad and Brandon Miller each ran for over 100 yards as well, part of a 382 yard explosion by the Cowboys. Wyoming now travels to Bowling Green to take on the 2-0 Falcons before a contest in Lincoln against Nebraska. The pressure cooker will now be on for Smith as he continues to develop. He will need to clean up his mistakes as two interceptions and barely 50% passing will not get it done against the Falcons or the Huskers.
7. New Mexico (0-2)
Last Game: Lost to Arkansas 52-3; Next Game- vs Texas Tech September 17th
The Lobos got embarrassed by Arkansas in a 52-3 rout last week. They gave up 632 yards, 373 through the air and 259 on the ground. If there was a positive to take away it’s that they did not turn the ball over and were whistled for only three penalties. So while being completely out-manned, they at least did not beat themselves. The Lobos host Texas Tech this week, a team that has had the bye week to prepare. An 0-3 start before a visit from Sam Houston State is quite possible.
8. UNLV (0-2)
Last Game: Lost to Washington State 59-7; Next Game- vs Hawaii September 17th
New Mexico’s partners in futility were completely annhilated in a visit to Pullman, losing 59-7 to a team featuring its backup quarterback. The Rebels allowed 471 yards through the air and 610 yards of total offense while only scoring on the kickoff following Washington State’s 8th touchdown of the game with 5:29 remaining. UNLV managed only 158 yards including just 60 yards passing on 20 attempts. 10 penalties and a putrid 2-12 effort on 3rd downs (and 0-3 on 4th downs) contributed to the crushing defeat. The Rebels now host an explosive Hawaii team and will hope to contain an opponent to fewer than 50 points for the first time this season.
Week One Power Rankings
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