I’m sure all of you are as excited for the full slate of NFL games as I am, but before we can do that, we have to put the second week of NCAA football to bed. Living in the great state of Wyoming, I reside smack in the middle of Mountain West Conference football. Starting today, I’m going to be bringing you a quick breakdown from around the conference–the good (Air Force so far), the bad (Wyoming Cowboys), and the ugly (UNLV football, period.)
In the thin air of Colorado Springs, the Air Force Falcons gained an early conference victory over San Jose State, as the name of the game this Saturday was field position. D.J. Johnson ran wild, rushing for 103 yards and three touchdowns to help the Falcons pull away from the Spartans after a key turnover enabled Air Force to win their eighth-straight game at home by the final of 37-16. Unfortunately, quarterback Nate Romine, who also rushed for over 100 yards and a score, left the game with a leg injury. Air Force is now 2-0.
Meantime, in Laramie at War Memorial Stadium, the Wyoming Cowboys defense looked absolutely lost, allowing 38 first half points to visiting Eastern Michigan. The Pokes also found themselves using their third-string quarterback, as back-up Josh Allen left the game early with a shoulder injury. The Cowboys rushed for 430 yards, but their ineffectiveness throwing the football allowed both the clock to dwindle, and the Eastern Michigan Eagles to rack up over 500 yards of total offense, to seal the win 48-29.
It was somewhat of a homecoming for Eastern Michigan coach Craig Creighton, who grew up and played high school football in Wyoming. Eagles’ quarterback Brogan Roback had a successful day in the air, finishing 17-for-24, for 330 yards and three scores. Eastern Michigan gets their first win of the year (1-1), while the Pokes drop to a disappointing 0-2 to open the 2015 campaign.
Finally, down in Las Vegas, the Tony Sanchez era at UNLV has opened as many expected, with the Rebels having their first home game, hosting #13-ranked UCLA. The Bruins Paul Perkins ran all over the Rebels, gaining 151 yards and reaching the endzone twice. UCLA opened the first quarter with 10 points, and led 17-0 at halftime. A 17-point outburst in the third quarter, buried the Rebels, whose offense was missing most of the night, especially through the air, as they gained only 56 passing yards on the night.
UCLA recorded more than 500 total yards in what was an almost even split yardage-wise (273 passing, 253 rushing) in what turned out to be more of a glorified scrimmage than a college football game for the Bruins, easily winning 37-3. UCLA had 30 first downs to only 11 for the Rebels. Former Bishop Gorman and first-year Rebels coach Tony Sanchez is still looking for answers, as he attempts to turn around a program that has been to exactly one bowl game since 2000.
Other scores from around the conference: Former Mountain West member BYU defeated #20 ranked Boise State, 35-24 in Provo. Tulsa moves to 2-0 with a 40-21 victory over the New Mexico Lobos. #22 ranked Arizona handled the Wolf Pack of UNR in Reno, 44-20. The Cal Bears easily crushed the San Diego State Aztecs in Berkeley, 35-7. The Colorado State Rams nearly pulled off the victory against Minnesota in overtime, losing 23-20. The #1 team in the country, Ohio State whipped Hawaii 38-0. An in-state rivalry in Utah, the #24 ranked Utes beat the Aggies 24-14, and finally, the beating of the week went to #17 ranked Ole Miss, as they walloped Fresno State by the eye-popping score of 73-21.
Next week, I’ll be profiling three more games from the Mountain West–the good, the bad, and the ugly. Mountain West teams are a combined 11-13 through two weeks of the 2015 college football season.