Around the Mountain: A Weekly Breakdown of MWC Football

From Around the Mountain: A Weekly Breakdown of MWC Football

College football in the Mountain West Conference continues to get battered as Week Three of the NCAA season is now complete. There were several competitive games, but by the end of Saturday night, the conference overall, continued their disappointing trend of losing games, finishing at 2-10. In the second of our weekly series, I’m going to break down the good (Boise State), the bad (New Mexico), and the ugly (Fresno State). At the rate the conference is going during the 2015 season, a majority of the squads could be facing long and losing seasons by the time bowl bids come around shortly after Thanksgiving.

Let’s start by looking at what could easily be the class of the conference with Boise State, as they took on lowly little brother in Idaho State. The Broncos returned to their dominant ways, after losing to BYU last week. They jumped out early, led by Jeremy McNichols, who had three touchdowns, and Kelsey Young added a pair, with Boise State running away 52-0. It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows for the Broncos on the Smurfturf however, as starting quarterback Ryan Finley injured his ankle, left the game, and never came back in. It is still unknown whether he’ll be available against Virginia next week.

The Broncos had close to 600 total yards of offense, led by 21 at the half, and then came out of the break by putting 28 more on Idaho State, before finishing with a field goal to end the game. Five penalties by Boise State showed they still have some work to do before full conference play opens. The Broncos are now 2-1 on the season.

Arizona State showed some of their potential on offense, as they easily handled what could be one of worst teams in the Mountain West this season, as the Sun Devils easily won by a final of 34-10. Quarterback Mike Bercovivi accounted for four touchdowns (3 passing, 1 rushing). There was some light, albeit brief for New Mexico, as redshirt freshman Tyrone Owens broke off a 65-yard touchdown run for the Lobos’ lone score of the day.

The Lobos’ defense looked lost throughout the day, allowing just a shade under 450 total yards of offense to the Sun Devils. New Mexico’s best chance to stay in the ballgame came during the second quarter, as their offense chewed up close to nine minutes but came away with nothing, as the Lobos’ kicked missed a 35-yard field goal attempt, and Arizona State went into the half, up ten. New Mexico tried to make it a game, putting up ten on the Owens scoring run and a Jason Sanders field goal, but again, the defense was nowhere to be found, as Arizona State matched and exceeded New Mexico’s output, putting up 14 points of their own in the third quarter. The Lobos fall to 1-2, while Arizona State opens Pac-12 play next week at with an even record of 1-1.

Finally, the ugly game of the week, Fresno State could’ve taken full advantage of a Utah Utes’ injury situation with quarterback Travis Wilson sidelined, but unfortunately, the 21st-ranked Utes used special teams and defense to put it on the Bulldogs until the fourth quarter, with an easy 45-25 win.

There was also a revenge factor in play, as the Utes leaned heavily on running back Devontae Booker with the loss of Wilson. Booker, who had been offered a scholarship by Fresno State, only to have it pulled back, ran all over the Bulldogs defense for 156 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The closest the Bulldogs were able to get to coming back, was closing the lead to 24-10, after a touchdown pass by quarterback Zack Greenlee, but could close the gap no further.

The real story however, was the Utah defense and special teams, as they returned a fumble for a score, along with a 98-yard kick return by Cory Butler, and a 77-yard punt return by Britain Covey. Utah will enter conference play at a clean 3-0, while Fresno State limps into Week Four at 1-2. Be sure to check in next week as I select three more games from Mountain West football play from “Around the Mountain.”

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