Mountain West Conference News and Notes
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
AIR FORCE: The second-best rushing team in the nation was at it again on Saturday, as the Falcons rolled up 352 yards and scored five times on the ground, but still the team was taken out by UNLV, 38-35, in the Mountain West Conference opener at Sam Boyd Stadium. Air Force, which is generating a hefty 375.3 ypg on the ground, saw quarterback Connor Dietz post 68 yards and two TDs rushing, and another 90 yards on a mere three pass completions as the squad lost for the second time in as many games. Cody Getz accounted for 113 yards and a TD on 15 rushing attempts, but the Academy was beaten at its own game as the Rebels scored four rushing touchdowns against an Air Force squad that now ranks 116th in the nation in sacks with just 0.67 per game. Next up for the Falcons is a clash with nearby foe Colorado State, the first of four conference home dates for the Academy this season. Air Force delivered a 45-21 win in last season's meeting, and that means the squad now owns a 30-19-1 edge in the all-time series versus the Rams.
BOISE STATE: The meeting with BYU was supposed to be a tough fight last Thursday night, but there's no way a school-record crowd of 36,864 could have imagined the Broncos barely slipping by in a 7-6 decision. For the first time since 1994, a Boise State contest was scoreless at the half and it wasn't until an interception by defensive tackle Mike Atkinson was returned 36 yards for a score early in the third frame that either team made a serious push towards the end zone. Had it not been for the BSU defense, forcing five turnovers and preventing a successful two-point conversion late in the meeting, it could have easily been the second loss of the season for the hosts. D.J. Harper ran for a game-high 112 yards, the sixth 100-yard game of his career, while Joe Southwick struggled in going 15-of-25 for only 145 yards. The Broncos, who held BYU to a mere 200 yards of total offense, hit the road for the first and only time in the month of September as they head to Albuquerque this week to battle the New Mexico Lobos in their Mountain West Conference opener. Boise State has defeated UNM all three times that they have met, the most recent of those being a 45-0 thrashing last season.
COLORADO STATE: The Rams opened the 2012 season on a positive note with a victory over Colorado in Denver several weeks ago, but since then they have been heading in the wrong direction and that continued on Saturday evening as the team suffered a 31-19 loss against Utah State in Fort Collins. The CSU offense was shut out for the first 37 minutes of the meeting, finally getting on the scoreboard thanks to a 28-yard field goal by Jared Roberts midway through the third quarter. Quarterback Garrett Grayson tried to carry his team as he converted 22-of-40 passes for 224 yards and two touchdowns, but he was sacked five times for a loss of 21 yards, resulting in the team netting just 107 yards on the ground overall as they dropped their third straight outing. The MWC schedule gets underway for the Rams this weekend as they close out the month of September with a road trip to Air Force. Colorado State was beaten up by the Falcons last season, 45-21, and as a result now trails in the all-time series, 30-19-1.
FRESNO STATE: The Bulldogs found themselves ahead by a score of 20-7 after just 10 minutes of action in the first quarter on Saturday, but the quick start wasn't enough to carry the team through as it eventually lost to Tulsa on the road by a single point, 27-26. The defense played a key role in keeping the Bulldogs competitive as both Patrick Su'a and Tristan Okpalaugo returned interceptions for touchdowns in the first and third quarters, respectively, but that also meant that from the 5:28 mark of the first frame on, the FSU offense was never heard from. Robbie Rouse, who became the school's all-time leading rusher last week, accounted for a game-high 135 yards and scored once on 27 rushing attempts, while Derek Carr connected on 26-of-44 passes for 231 yards and a score in the disappointing outcome. Familiar foes already because they both reside in the Golden State, FSU is back at home this Saturday and will face the San Diego State Aztecs in their first-ever meeting as members of the MWC. The Aztecs won the last meeting a season ago by a score of 35-28, FSU's regular-season finale, which means SDSU now owns a 27-20-4 advantage in the all-time series.
HAWAII: Last week, the Warriors easily handled Lamar in a 54-2 rout at home, but the tables were turned on Hawaii this past weekend as Nevada scorched the hosts in a 69-24 decision at Aloha Stadium. Obviously, the Warriors had some serious issues on defense, but none more glaring that trying to slow down Nevada's Stefphon Jefferson who scored seven touchdowns all by himself. The Warriors gave up 575 yards of total offense to the visitors while quarterback Sean Schroeder tried to level the playing field as he converted 22-of-40 passes for 234 yards and two touchdowns, but he was also picked off twice and sacked four times, with one of those INTs being returned 78 yards for a score early in the fourth quarter by Nevada. Jeremiah Ostrowski caught seven balls for 99 yards and a TD, while Will Gregory notched 92 yards and a score on 16 rushing attempts in the setback. Next up for the Warriors this week is non- conference foe BYU in Provo on Friday night. Hawaii lost last year's meeting at the end of the regular season, 41-20, at home in Honolulu, which means the all-time series stands at 20-8 in favor of the Cougars.
NEVADA: Stefphon Jefferson captured national attention on Saturday night as he tied an NCAA record with seven touchdowns, leading the Wolf Pack to an overwhelming 69-24 win over the Hawaii Warriors in the Mountain West Conference opener for both programs at Aloha Stadium. Jefferson, the nation's leading rusher after four weeks with 174.8 ypg, carried the ball 31 times for 170 yards and six touchdowns on the ground, adding three receptions for another 76 yards and a score, making him the fourth player in history and the first since Oklahoma State's Rashaan Woods in 2003 to land in the end zone seven times in a single outing. Also having a strong game for Nevada was quarterback Cody Fajardo who connected on 14-of-20 passes for 220 yards and two touchdowns for a Nevada squad that is now 3-1 on the season after beating Hawaii in Honolulu for the first time since 1948. The Pack is out on the road again this coming weekend as it challenges the Texas State Bobcats in San Marcos -- the first-ever meeting between the two programs.
NEW MEXICO: The Lobos finally put to rest the nation's longest road losing streak at 24 games as they topped in-state rival New Mexico State, 27-14, in Las Cruces over the weekend. Kasey Carrier ran for a game-high 129 yards and a score on 21 carries, while Jhurell Pressley added another 71 rushing yards and landed in the end zone twice as UNM snapped a three-game series losing streak against NMSU as well. B.R. Holbrook converted 11-of-18 passes for 92 yards for a New Mexico squad that controlled the action for more than 38 minutes on the night. The Lobos are finally back at home in Albuquerque this weekend where they will do battle with the Boise State Broncos, one of the newer members of the Mountain West who joined prior to the 2011 campaign. Unfortunately, UNM has yet to defeat the Broncos, bowing in all three previous meetings, including last year's 45-0 final.
SAN DIEGO STATE: In a back-and-forth game against San Jose State on Saturday, the Aztecs came out on the short end of a 38-34 decision at home, snapping a two-game win streak in the process. San Diego State ran 29 more plays on offense and generated 484 yards, thanks in large part to Adam Muema who posted a career-high 202 yards on 25 attempts, scoring once to give him at least one TD in each of the first four games of the season for SDSU. Walter Kazee chipped in with another 90 yards rushing and a score on 17 attempts, while Ryan Katz connected on 17-of-27 passes for 213 yards and two TDs, but he was sacked five times in the losing effort. The Aztecs kick off the MWC portion of their schedule this coming weekend with a matchup against the Fresno State Bulldogs on the road. San Diego State took care of the Bulldogs last season, 35-28, which means the squad now owns a 27-20-4 advantage in the all-time series.
UNLV: Bringing an end to an eight-game slide, one of the longest in the nation entering last week, the Rebels turned the tables on Air Force in the MWC opener for both squads with a 38-35 final at home in the desert on Saturday. UNLV running back Tim Cornett ran for a team-best 114 yards and a score for the hosts, but it was Bradley Randle who stole the headlines with his three rushing TDs on 20 carries in the close call. Quarterback Nick Sherry hit the mark on 23-of-32 pass attempts for 250 yards and a TD, a three-yard effort to William Vea in the fourth quarter which proved to be the game-winner for UNLV. Defensively, the squad held Air Force to just three completed passes and while that is a great number that will surely boost the team's stats, one must remember that the Falcons are one of the teams in FBS that rarely throw the ball. The Rebels finally hit the road for the first time this season, taking on the Utah State Aggies in Logan this coming weekend. UNLV won the most recent meeting back in 2008 by a score of 27-17, but the all-time series favors USU, 12-7.
WYOMING: Brett Smith threw five touchdown passes, including the game-winner in overtime, as the Wyoming Cowboys defeated the Idaho Vandals, 40-37, in non- conference action at the Kibbie Dome on Saturday. Smith finished the afternoon 23-of-35 for 365 yards, eight of his completions going to Chris McNeill who turned his receptions into a career-high 219 yards and a score for the Cowboys in their first win of the season as they snapped a four-game slide. Despite the high-scoring affair, the Cowboys ran for just 80 yards on 30 attempts, dropping the squad to 117.5 ypg on the ground over the first four games of 2012 which has them ranked 100th in the nation at the moment. Unfortunately, when it comes to limiting opponents on the ground, the Pokes are rather weak as they permit 253.0 ypg to rank 115th in the country. The Cowboys are catching their first break in the schedule this week and won't be back in action until Oct. 6 versus Nevada in Reno, a team against which Wyoming has split four previous encounters.
09/24 10:13:52 ET