Mountain West Conference News and Notes
Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) -
AIR FORCE: The Falcons scored a rushing touchdown for the 50th straight game last Friday night versus Boise State, but the team needed a lot more than that in what turned into a 42-20 setback on the blue turf. Quarterback Jaleel Awini actually scored twice on the ground for the Academy, finishing with 107 yards on 23 attempts for a squad that generated just 188 yards on 52 carries. Awini did complete four of his nine passes for another 99 yards, but the defense surrendered 533 yards to the Broncos in the losing cause. Air Force has now scored in a school-record of 249 straight games, the fourth-longest active streak in the nation behind Michigan (353), Florida (312) and former MWC foe TCU (257). The Falcons are back home this coming weekend, playing their third straight league opponent as they host the Wyoming Cowboys. Air Force pulled out a narrow 28-27 win in last year's meeting in Laramie, pushing the team's advantage in the all-time series to 27-21-3.
BOISE STATE: Running back Jay Ajayi carried the load for the Broncos last Friday night as he scored four times in a 42-20 win over Air Force in the Mountain West Conference opener for the team. Ajayi ran for a game-high 125 yards on 17 attempts in order to offset two fumbles, one of which was lost to Air Force in the red zone. Quarterback Joe Southwick chipped in with 53 yards and a score on just six rushing attempts as the Broncos rolled up 229 yards against a team which is used to running all over their opponents. Southwick converted all but two of his 29 pass attempts for 287 yards and a score to Kirby Moore, his completion percentage of .931 setting the all-time Boise State single-game record, previously held by Jared Zabransky at .913 (21- of-23). The Broncos hit the road for one of their toughest tests of the season this week, battling the Fresno State Bulldogs. Last year, BSU pulled out a 20-10 victory at home versus the Bulldogs, which means the Broncos own a 10-4 edge in the all-time series.
COLORADO STATE: The Rams picked up their first win of the season on Saturday as they captured a 34-17 win over visiting Cal Poly at Hughes Stadium. With the victory, CSU has now won four straight home dates for the first time since 2005. Quarterback Garrett Grayson converted 21-of-30 passes for 297 yards and a couple of touchdowns, while Crockett Gillmore reeled in seven passes for 83 yards, both of which were game highs. Running back Chris Nwoke was responsible for 133 rushing yards on 19 attempts, as the Rams rolled up 236 yards on the ground en route to 533 yards of total offense. Head coach Jim McElwain returns to his previous stomping grounds with the Rams this week as the team goes up against the mighty Alabama Crimson Tide for the first time in school history. Before arriving in Fort Collins, McElwain was the offensive coordinator in Tuscaloosa (2008-11).
FRESNO STATE: Due to the devastating weather conditions in the state of Colorado in the days leading up to the Fresno State/Colorado clash in Boulder, the schools decided it would be in the best interest of the community to postpone the contest since the city, as of Friday afternoon, was still being designated as a national emergency site. With record rainfall in the region displacing residents/students and causing widespread damage, classes at Colorado had been canceled through Friday so it only made sense to put athletics on the back burner for the time being. Unfortunately, with the way that the schedule plays out for both schools, there might not be an opportunity for the game to be made up this season. With the postponement of the Colorado meeting, that means the Bulldogs will now play three straight home dates to open up the 2013 campaign. Fresno State prepares for what figures to be one of the toughest games of the entire season as it awaits the arrival of Boise State on Friday night. Fresno State lost just a single game in conference play last season, that being against BSU in a 20-10 final.
HAWAII: After a break in the action, the Warriors head back to the football field this coming weekend to battle the Nevada Wolf Pack in the conference opener in Reno. Hawaii was blown away by the Pack a season ago at home, 69-24, one of the most lopsided defeats in program history. With the setback, Hawaii fell behind in the all-time series, 9-8.
NEVADA: Without quarterback Cody Fajardo, who was sidelined with a sprained right knee, the Wolf Pack were easily overwhelmed by 10th-ranked Florida State on Saturday in a 62-7 final. Devin Combs made the start in place of Fajardo, hitting on 6-of-9 passes for 37 yards and a score, but he appeared to be limping in the first half. Head coach Brian Polian, who has taken over for the legendary Chris Ault in Reno, made the change to freshman signal-caller Tyler Stewart in the second half, the youngster converting 7-of-15 passes for 49 yards and an interception. Defensively, Nevada surrendered 377 rushing yards and 617 yards of total offense. Back at home for the first of two straight dates in Reno, the Wolf Pack get ready for the arrival of the Hawaii Warriors on Saturday. Last season, Nevada crushed the Warriors in Honolulu by a final of 69-24, the visitors rushing for more than 350 yards and seven touchdowns -- six of those coming from Stefphon Jefferson.
NEW MEXICO: Once again the Lobos tried to fashion an aggressive and successful rushing attack over the weekend during their visit to Pittsburgh, but the squad still came up short in a 49-27 defeat. New Mexico ran the ball 52 times, generating just 213 yards, although it did score three touchdowns on the ground thanks to the efforts of Crusoe Gongbay and Cole Gautsche who accounted for all three TDs. Gongbay ran for 95 yards and a score on 10 carries, while Gautsche hit the end zone twice on 10 attempts. Quarterback Clayton Mitchem converted 8-of-15 passes for 64 yards and was sacked three times as the team dropped to 1-2 on the campaign. Defensively, while the unit did permit 49 points, Dante Caro raised a few eyebrows with an interception and fumble recovery. With their trip to Pennsylvania now complete, the Lobos get an additional week to prepare for their next opponent, UNLV, which doesn't arrive in Albuquerque until Sept. 28.
SAN DIEGO STATE: Following an early break in the schedule after only two games, the Aztecs return to the field this coming weekend to do battle with the Oregon State Beavers at home. San Diego State holds a 2-1 edge in the all- time series, yet the most recent meeting back in 2000 was clearly one-sided in favor of OSU, 35-3.
SAN JOSE STATE: The Spartans hit the road for their second straight game and one of the four they must endure during a five-game stretch, dropping in on the Minnesota Golden Gophers this coming weekend after taking time off following their matchup with Stanford on Sept. 7. This is just the third meeting ever between the programs and the first since 1992 when the Spartans tied the series at 1-1 with a 39-30 victory.
UNLV: Caleb Herring threw for 266 yards and three touchdowns as he helped guide the UNLV Rebels to a 31-21 win over the Central Michigan Chippewas in non-conference play at Sam Boyd Stadium on Saturday night. Herring completed all but four of his 28 pass attempts in the outing for the Rebels, with seven balls being caught by Devante Davis who finished with 140 yards and all three aerial scores for the hosts. Running back Tim Cornett contributed with a game- high 94 yards and a touchdown on the ground. With the victory the Rebels, who had been outscored 109-36 through the first two outings of 2013, snapped a five-game slide. For the third straight week the Rebels find themselves hosting a non-conference opponent, this time around being Western Illinois on Saturday. The squads are knotted at one game apiece in the all-time series, but haven't faced each other since UNLV delivered a 59-29 win back in 1977.
UTAH STATE: For the second week in a row quarterback Chuckie Keeton tied his own school record, this time tossing five touchdowns in the first half alone, as the Aggies rolled over Weber State on Saturday, 70-6. Keeton was 19-of-25 passing for 249 yards, tossing five TDs for the third time in his career. The signal-caller now has 50 passing scores, while also moving into third place on the school's all-time completions list with his efforts against the Wildcats. Utah State, which scored all of its points in the first three quarters, rolled up 587 yards of total offense, while holding the visitors to a mere 138 yards in the onslaught. Backup quarterback Craig Harrison completed all four of his pass attempts for 71 yards and a score, while Joey DeMartino took charge of the rushing attack with 105 yards and three TDs on only eight carries. The point total for USU was the team's highest since delivering a 76-0 knockout to New Mexico State back in 1964, with the 63-point margin of victory the seventh-largest in program history. The Aggies are set to play the first of back-to-back games in the Golden State this coming weekend as they clash with the USC Trojans. Utah State, which will battle San Jose State in conference play on Sept. 27, has never defeated USC. The last meeting took place in 1989 and the Trojans easily handled the action in that one, 66-10, increasing their series advantage to 4-0 in the process.
WYOMING: The Cowboys had to endure a 58-minute break in the action during their meeting with Northern Colorado on Saturday afternoon, but that didn't stop Wyoming from eventually enjoying a 35-7 victory over the Bears in Laramie. The defense came to play for the Pokes as they recorded five tackles for loss and returned a pair of interceptions for touchdowns, the first time that's happened in more than a decade. Shaun Wick scored touchdowns on runs of one and 20 yards in the second and four quarters, respectively, while Jordan Stanton (39 yards) and Cortland Fort (50 yards) brought back picks for TDs as well. Quarterback Brett Smith hit 30-of-47 passes for 264 yards and a TD, but was picked off once and sack four times. The Cowboys get their MWC schedule off the ground this coming weekend as they drop in on the Air Force Falcons in Colorado. Wyoming lost by just a single point last season, 28-27, in Laramie which means the Pokes now trail the all-time series with the Academy by a 27-21-3 margin.
09/16 10:54:44 ET