Around The Mountain: A Look At MWC Football

From Around the Mountain: A Weekly Breakdown of MWC Football

Today it’s a mid-week recap of the action that was from around the Mountain West Conference in week six of the 2015 NCAA football season. With this being the second week of conference match-ups, things are starting to take shape as to how the conference is stacking up against similar competition from around the country. So far this year, there are the haves (Boise State), the maybes (Utah State and Air Force) and the absolute doormats (Wyoming, Fresno State, Colorado State, and Hawaii). The remaining schools (San Jose State, UNLV, UNR, SDSU, and New Mexico) are all sitting in a strange position heading into week seven of the season: they are either going to begin lining themselves up with a run towards bowl contention, or they are going to lose steam and fall to the bottom feeders of the conference, with an eye towards the future.

Once again, we look at the good (Utah State), the bad (Wyoming) and the downright ugly (Fresno State) from week six of Mountain West Conference play. It seems that a couple of these schools (Wyoming and Fresno State) continue to make this list week-in and week-out. It would be nice to see one or both put up a great effort at least once during the regular season, as any dreams of going to a bowl are all but gone this year.

Sure, #25-ranked Boise State put a beating on Colorado State in Fort Collins this past weekend, but they were supposed to. If the only legitimate contender out of this conference can’t handle a little altitude and a Swiss cheese defense, they have no business being ranked. So instead, we’ll focus the good on the Utah State Aggies, and their demolishing of the Fresno State Bulldogs, and we’ll knock out two birds with one stone, covering the good and the ugly in one swoop.

To use a mixed martial arts term, the Aggies used the ground and pound technique–43 times to be exact, to rush for over 200 yards and five scores (three by Devante Mays, two by LaJuan Hunt) as this game was close during the first quarter. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, who are now 1-5 on the season, things spun out of control quickly during the second period, as they allowed Utah State to push 22 unanswered points on the scoreboard, and that was just too large of a deficit to overcome. The Fresno State offensive line didn’t help matters, as they allowed quarterback Kilton Anderson to get dropped in the end zone for a safety, and the Aggies took a 29-7 lead into the locker room.

A whole lot of nothing were the story of the second and third quarters for Fresno State, as they book-ended another poor effort in the middle of the game, with one final score in garbage time. Utah State racked up nearly 500 total yards of offense on the day, while allowing Fresno State only 194. The final from California, Utah State 56, Fresno State 14. Where’s Derek Carr when you need him?

It’s hard to move an 0-6 team out of the category of bad, but had the Wyoming Cowboys’ been able to protect their quarterback and prevent some turnovers, they might have shocked the entire conference last Saturday at Falcon Stadium on site at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, but in the end, those mistakes were just too much to overcome, and the now 3-2 Falcons held on to beat the winless Pokes, 31-17.

This game had upset written all over it for the Cowboys, as they only trailed Air Force by the score of 7-3 going into halftime. Poor Cameron Coffman, the UW signal caller. He was running for his life all day, and was dropped four times in the contest. The constant pressure also forced Coffman into tossing a pair of picks, and the usually sure-handed Brian Hill coughed up the pigskin twice, while rushing for 128 yards. Both fumbles killed extended drives for the Cowboys, and directly affected the outcome and momentum of the game. The Falcons have yet to yield a lead to an opponent at home this season.

It’s hard for a team that has yet to win a game on the season to feel good about losing, but the effort from the Cowboys–especially on the road with such a young group of players, are definitely a sign of improvement. Turnovers will kill the best of teams, and when the quarterback and primary ball carrier both give it up twice each, any team would struggle to stay in the game, let alone only lose by 14.

Check back in with me this coming weekend, as we will have continuing coverage of Mountain West Football in our weekly “From Around the Mountain” column.

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