The Mountain West Power Rankings are a glance at where things stand at this point of the season. Boise State was dominant in a non-conference tilt with Fresno State but the other three schools playing non-conference games all got hammered. TCU knocked off San Diego State in the first big conference clash of the season while one of the worst teams in the country, New Mexico, had the week off. There are three conference games scheduled for this week including a tough Thursday night game for San Diego State at Air Force.
1. Boise State Broncos (5-0)
Last Game: Beat Fresno State 57-7; Next Game- @ Colorado State October 15th
The Broncos continued their dominance of the WAC by blowing out Fresno State 57-7. The defense did not allow the Bulldogs a 1st down until the final play of the 1st quarter or across midfield until near the end of the 2nd quarter. Fresno State’s only score came on a punt return while the Broncos got three touchdown passes from Kellen Moore, two going to newly reinstated Geraldo Boldewijn, and four different players scored rushing touchdowns as well. The defense forced four turnovers and held the Bulldogs to 270 yards. Fresno State converted only 2-14 3rd down attempts as they struggled to move the ball all night long. Boise State is still not satisfied with their running attack and they hope to improve that aspect of their offense in this week’s first Mountain West Conference game at Colorado State.
2. TCU (4-2)
Last Game: Beat San Diego State 27-14; Next Game- vs New Mexico October 22nd
TCU jumped out to a 20-0 lead midway through the 3rd quarter and the defense forced four turnovers in a big MWC win over the Aztecs. San Diego State was out of sorts offensively in the 1st half and Ronnie Hillman had only 55 yards on the ground, by far his lowest total of the season. Ryan Lindley threw two 2nd half touchdown passes but also had three interceptions and completed just 15-41 passes. It was the defensive performance that the Horned Frogs have been accustomed to but had not seen yet this season. Casey Pachall threw two touchdown passes, one to Antoine Hicks and the other to Josh Boyce and Matthew Tucker put the game away with a rushing touchdown in the 4th quarter. Hicks led the receivers with seven catches for 103 yards and Ed Wesley racked up 146 yards on the ground for TCU. The Horned Frogs also set the Mountain West record for most consecutive conference games won with 19.
3. San Diego State Aztecs (3-2)
Last Game: Lost to TCU 27-14; Next Game- @ Air Force October 13th
Ryan Lindley and Ronnie Hillman suffered through their worst performances of the season in a frustrating loss to TCU Saturday night. Lindley threw three interceptions to put the Aztecs in a hole they could not climb out of and Hillman had a second straight game without a touchdown after scoring eight in the first three games of the season. Hillman also was held to just 55 yards, nearly 100 yards fewer than his season average. The Aztec defense allowed 234 yards on the ground and TCU converted 63% of their 3rd down attempts. The Aztecs have now been humbled in consecutive games and are struggling on both sides of the ball. A tough Thursday night game at Air Force awaits before a bye week and two winnable home games against Wyoming and New Mexico.
4. Air Force (3-2)
Last Game: Lost to Notre Dame 59-33; Next Game- vs San Diego State October 13th
The Falcons offense was clicking on all cylinders in Notre Dame Stadium on Saturday. Unfortunately, the defense allowed Notre Dame more points than they’d scored in 15 years. The Irish piled up 42 1st half points behind four Tommy Rees touchdown passes. Asher Clark fumbled on the Falcons’ first play and the defense allowed touchdowns on all six of Notre Dame’s 1st half possessions. Clark finished with 102 yards on the ground and the offense outgained Notre Dame 565-560 but the Irish were too physical up front and pushed the Falcons around at the line of scrimmage. Tim Jefferson threw for one touchdown and ran for another and Air Force converted all five of their 4th down attempts but it wasn’t enough to overcome the suddenly high-flying Irish in the highest scoring game in the history of Notre Dame Stadium.
5. Colorado State (3-2)
Last Game: Lost to San Jose State 38-31 October 1st; Next Game- vs Boise State October 15th
Colorado State had the week off, hoping to bounce back from a humiliating loss to San Jose State. They welcome Boise State to Fort Collins for the first game of the Broncos’ tenure in the Mountain West, not exactly the way to get back on track after a tough loss. The Rams sit at 3-2 on the season but so far have not truly excelled on either side of the ball. The offense struggles to run the ball and relies heavily on sophomore quarterback Pete Thomas. Thomas is completing a respectable 67% of his passes but has just six touchdown passes and five interceptions and has taken 13 sacks in five games. Those are the kind of numbers that the ball-hawking Broncos hope to take advantage of. If the Rams want to stay competitive, they’ll have to figure out a way to slow down Kellen Moore. Colorado State is giving up only 176 yards per game through the air but 168 on the ground.
6. Wyoming (3-2)
Last Game: Lost to Utah State 63-19; Next Game- vs UNLV October 15th
The Cowboys were run off the field in the 2nd half by Utah State as the Aggies scored the final 42 points of the game to cruise to the easy win. Wyoming allowed 548 yards including 318 on the ground. The Cowboys struggled to get Utah State off the field, allowing 8-11 3rd down attempts. Wyoming actually led the game 12-0 just three minutes into the game as Brett Smith led a 77-yard scoring drive, scoring on a 2-yard run. Utah State fumbled the kickoff return and James Caraway recovered the fumble in the end zone. From that point on, however, the Aggies dominated and took the lead for good on the first of freshman quarterback Chuckie Keeton’s four touchdown passes. Smith finished 28-46 for 265 yards and an interception. The Cowboys hope to get right against UNLV in the conference opener for both teams this weekend.
7. UNLV (1-4)
Last Game: Lost to Nevada 37-0; Next Game- @ Wyoming October 15th
UNLV was embarrassed once again in its intrastate rivalry as Nevada dominated the Rebels with 699 yards of total offense, to just 110 for UNLV. Caleb Herring had as many completions to Nevada as to his own team as he completed 1-14 passes for eight yards with an interception. The defense actually forced five Nevada turnovers but allowed Tyler Lantrip and Cody Fajardo to combine for 459 yards passing and three touchdowns. Rishard Matthews piled up 220 yards receiving, including a 90-yard touchdown in the 2nd quarter for the Wolf Pack. Dionza Bradford had 79 yards rushing for the Rebels who had only seven 1st downs for the game. The Rebels threatened to score first as CJ Cox recovered a Fajardo fumble at the Nevada 18-yard line but Herring was intercepted in the end zone two plays later. There would not be another good scoring opportunity for the remainder of the game. It was the 7th straight win in the series for Nevada.
8. New Mexico (0-5)
Last Game: Lost to New Mexico State 42-28 October 1st; Next Game- @ Nevada October 15th
New Mexico did not lose for the first time this season as they enjoyed their bye week. Arguably the worst team in college football, the Lobos are still looking for their first win of the season as they travel to Nevada this week, followed by a trip to Fort Worth to face TCU. After splitting time with starter Tarean Austin through the first four games, B.R. Holbrook has taken over at quarterback, hoping to spark the offense. It may not matter as the defense has allowed 43 points per game, good for 119th in the country out of 120 teams. That includes allowing only 14 in a season-opening loss to Colorado State. Deon Long has been a bright spot on offense, averaging 18.9 yards per reception with three touchdowns.
Future Mountain West Conference team updates:
Nevada racked up nearly 700 yards of offense against a terrible UNLV team, an incredible feat considering they also turned the ball over five times. Cody Fajardo started in place of senior Tyler Lantrip but was mostly ineffective early and Lantrip stepped in and eventually threw for 366 yards and three touchdowns. Rishard Matthews was the star of the game with 10 catches for 220 yards and a score. The game against UNLV was the first at home after a brutal four-game stretch on the road to start the season. The Wolf Pack faced two top-10 teams in Oregon and Boise State, struggled in a win over San Jose State and lost a heartbreaker to Texas Tech. Although currently only 2-3 on the season, the Wolf Pack may be rounding in to form and have an easy game against New Mexico leading up to the biggest conference game of the season against Fresno State on October 22nd.
Fresno State got absolutely slaughtered at home against Boise State. Stop us if you’ve heard this one. After losing 51-0 in Boise a year ago, the Bulldogs fell behind 50-0 before Devon Wylie returned a punt 77 yards for a touchdown. Derek Carr struggled mightily as he completed 17-30 throws for just 126 yards, an interception and a fumble. Robbie Rouse finished with 72 yards rushing but 40 of those came on one play, the only time Fresno State crossed midfield in the 1st half, just before Carr’s fumble. Rouse had been the workhorse of late, carrying at least 25 times in each of the previous four games and averaging 128.5 yards per contest. With the Bulldogs playing from behind, and failing repeatedly on 3rd downs, Rouse could not get untracked outside of the one long run.
Hawaii had the week off following their win at Louisiana Tech. The Warriors stay on the road this week as they face San Jose State, hoping to find some more balance in their offense. Senior quarterback Bryant Moniz has been outstanding, averaging 315 yards per game through the air with 15 touchdown passes and just one interception. Since running for 121 yards and three touchdowns in the season opener, Moniz has just five yards combined in the past four games. It reflects how one-dimensional the Warriors’ offense has become. They are 8th in the country in passing offense and just 110th on the ground. The Warriors will be favorites against the Spartans as well as their next two games against New Mexico State and Idaho before beginning a tough three-game conference stretch.
Week One Power Rankings
Week Two Power Rankings
Week Three Power Rankings
Week Four Power Rankings
Week Five Power Rankings
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