Mountain West: Week 4 Recap

Fresno State edged Boise State in a barnburner of a game last Friday.

Fresno State edged Boise State in a barnburner of a game last Friday.

The Mountain West made headlines and highlight reels Friday night as Fresno State downed rivals Boise State in a shootout at Bulldog Stadium in Fresno, Calif.

The Bulldogs (3-0, 1-0 MWC) parried each offensive charge the Broncos (2-2, 1-1 MWC) could bring, finally managing to secure a 41-40 win thanks to Josh Quezada’s 1-yard scoring run with little more than two minutes left on the clock. The victory marked the first time Fresno State had beaten Boise State since 2005 and propelled the Bulldogs into the AP Top 25 for the first time since October 2008.

With these two sides entering the season as favorites in their respective divisions, this high-scoring game, which saw the Broncos cover the spread and the total go (way) over, might be the highlight of the Mountain West this season. But then again, the two sides may be destined to meet once again in the conference championship game, to be played on December 7.

No. 25 Fresno State will head out across the Pacific this week for a matchup with winless Hawaii (0-3, 0-1 MWC). The Bulldogs have won three of their last four trips to Hawaii, dating back to 2005.

The Rainbow Warriors were rolled over by Nevada (2-2, 1-0 MWC) last Saturday. Backup quarterback Tyler Stewart took to the field for the Wolf Pack, completing 14 of 20 passes for 202 yards and three touchdowns. The Warriors meanwhile lost their starting quarterback, Taylor Graham, to injury, leading to a quarterback by committee situation. Ultimately, six turnovers proved too much for the Honolulu team.

Boise State will also face a winless side this Saturday, welcoming Southern Miss (0-3, 0-0 C-USA) to Bronco Stadium. The Broncos have beaten the Golden Eagles all three times the schools have met, including last year’s game in Hattiesburg, Miss.

One school with the potential to put a spanner in the works of any Fresno State-Boise State rematch is conference newcomer Utah State (2-2, 1-0 MWC). Fresh off a 70-6 drubbing of Weber State, the Aggies made a strong showing in a losing effort to Southern California (3-1, 0-1 Pac-12). The somewhat overrated Trojans managed to fend off the Aggies’ offense late in the game, hanging on for a field-goal victory.

Despite the loss, Utah State will take confidence into its game against San Jose State (1-2, 0-0 MWC) this Friday. The Spartans weren’t quite so convincing against AQ opposition as the Aggies this past weekend.

San Jose State managed to keep things close against Minnesota (4-0, 0-0 Big Ten) for the first half, entering the locker room trailing 20-17. The team then conceded 23 straight points in the second half before scoring a consolation touchdown late in the fourth. Quarterback David Fales completed 22 of 35 passes for 439 yards and three touchdowns, but two interceptions marred his performance. Meanwhile, the Gophers outrushed the Mountain West side 353-47, scoring six touchdowns on the ground, four from quarterback Mitch Leidner.

The Aggies have won four straight against the Spartans, including a 22-point blowout last season.

Like San Jose State, Colorado State (1-3, 0-0 MWC) also struggled against AQ opposition in Week 4. The Rams were handed a 31-6 defeat by No. 1 Alabama. The final score in Tuscaloosa was not nearly as lopsided as many expected; something the Rams – who covered the spread – can be proud of.

Colorado State will host Texas-El Paso (1-2, 0-1 C-USA) in Week 5. Longtime WAC rivals, the Rams own a 24-10 all-time advantage over UTEP, but the Miners picked up a 31-17 win the last time the two schools met (Oct. 2011), snapping an eight-game losing streak in the series.

San Diego State (0-3, 0-0 MWC) will be happy to see conference play begin when the calendar flips over to October. The Aztecs blew a 30-21 lead with 5:18 left on the clock this past Saturday, surrendering a pair of touchdowns to Oregon State (3-1, 1-0 Pac-12) and losing 34-31. The side has now lost three straight to start the season, with Saturday’s game the only one that was competitive.

Before the Aztecs can attempt to salvage their season with conference play, the side will travel to New Mexico State (0-4) this Saturday. That’s a spot of good news in itself. San Diego State is undefeated in six meetings with the Aggies, including a 41-21 win the last time the schools met (Oct. 2010), the only game the sides have previously played in Las Cruces, NM.

Wyoming (3-1, 1-0 MWC) moved to the top of the Mountain Division this past weekend after handing Air Force (1-3, 0-3 MWC) a 56-23 beat down. Quarterback Brett Smith continued his strong play, passing for 373 yards and four touchdowns and rushing for another 138 yards and a score. With 1,315 passing yards in four games, Smith leads the Mountain West.

The Falcons meanwhile lost a third straight conference game despite rushing for 346 yards. They’ll try to snap that streak this week with a trip to Nevada. Air Force won the first ever meeting between these schools last year, winning 48-31.

The Cowboys will travel to San Marcos, Texas, to face Texas State (2-1, 0-0 Sun Belt) in the first ever meeting between the schools.

Wrapping up Week 4 in the Mountain West, UNLV (2-2, 0-0 MWC) picked up a second straight win, dissecting Western Illinois (2-2, 0-0 MVC) of the FCS. The Rebels jumped out to a 31-0 lead before recording a 38-7 final. This week the Las Vegas-based school will travel to Albuquerque to face New Mexico (1-2, 0-0 MWC) in the conference-opener for both. The two schools are 10-10 all-time, but the Rebels have proven victorious in three of the last four. That being said, the Lobos – coming off a bye – have won three of four games played at University Stadium.

For a full list of Week 4’s Mountain West results and Week 5’s Mountain West fixtures, see below. Click the ‘matchup’ link for further odds and trends.

MOUNTAIN WEST RESULTS (Week 4)

Friday

Boise State 40, Fresno State 41

Saturday

San Jose State 24, Minnesota 43

Utah State 14, USC 17

Colorado State 6, No. 1 Alabama 31

Oregon State 34, San Diego State 30

Hawaii 9, Nevada 31

Western Illinois 7, UNLV 38

Wyoming 56, Air Force 23

Bye: New Mexico

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MOUNTAIN WEST SCHEDULE (Week 5)

(All times ET)

Friday, Sept. 27

9:00 Utah State (2-2, 1-0 MWC) at San Jose State (1-2, 0-0 MWC) (matchup)

Saturday, Sept. 28

3:30 UTEP (1-2, 0-1 C-USA) at Colorado State (1-3, 0-0 MWC) (matchup)

7:00 Wyoming (3-1, 1-0 MWC) at Texas State (2-1, 0-0 Sun Belt) (matchup)

8:00 San Diego State (0-3, 0-0 MWC) at New Mexico State (0-4) (matchup)

8:00 UNLV (2-2, 0-0 MWC) at New Mexico (1-2, 0-0 MWC) (matchup)

8:00 Air Force (1-3, 0-3 MWC) at Nevada (2-2, 1-0 MWC) (matchup)

10:15 Southern Miss (0-3, 0-0 C-USA) at Boise State (2-2, 1-1 MWC) (matchup)

Sunday, Sept. 29

12:00a.m. Fresno State (3-0, 1-0 MWC) at Hawaii (0-3, 0-1 MWC) (matchup)

For a comprehensive list of College Football odds, click here.

Up-to-date College Football Futures, courtesy of Bovada, can be found here.

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