Mountain West: Week 7 Recap

Joe Southwick led Boise State to a victory over Utah State.

Joe Southwick led Boise State to a victory over Utah State.

Boise State (4-2, 2-1 MWC) took a solid step forward in its bid to win the Mountain West’s first ever Mountain Division title Saturday, defeating Utah State (3-4,2-1 MWC) in Logan, Utah.

The Aggies were predicted to offer the stiffest competition to the Broncos within the division, but last week’s season-ending knee injury to quarterback Chuckie Keeton has thrown the school’s title aspirations up in the air.

Keeton’s replacement Craig Harrison completed 7 of 17 passes for 105 yards before being replaced by Darell Garretson in the third quarter. Garretson was 9 of 14 with a touchdown strike to Travis Van Leeuween in the dying seconds of the fourth quarter, but two interceptions proved costly.

Boise State quarterback Joe Southwick threw for a career-high 335 yards, completing 30 of 44 passes. His two touchdown strikes helped the Broncos build a 34-10 lead in the third quarter, while his two interceptions – including one that was returned 65 yards for a score by Nevin Lawson – proved not to be costly.

Boise State ultimately emerged with a 34-23 win to move to 2-1 within the Mountain West.

The Broncos will host Nevada (3-3-, 2-1 MWC) this coming Saturday (8:00 p.m. ET). The Wolf Pack was idle this past weekend after losing an overtime game against San Diego State in Week 6. Had the Pack bested the Aztecs it would have been considered a huge upset. The same would be same of a victory over Boise State.

The Broncos have dominated this rivalry series, winning two straight and 12 of the last 13. Nevada has not won at Boise State since November 1997. The home team therefore opens as a 21.5-point favorite.

If Boise State is to win a Mountain West title this year, it’s likely the school will need to defeat Fresno State (5-2, 2-0 MWC) in the conference championship game, a rematch of the Week 4 fixture that saw the Bulldogs come out on top.

The Bulldogs were idle this past weekend but managed to climb the AP Poll from No. 21 to No. 17, thanks to some costly losses for the likes of Michigan, Northwestern and Washington.

Fresno State will host UNLV (4-2, 2-0 MWC) this Saturday (10:00 p.m. ET). The Rebels squandered a 36-17 fourth quarter lead over Hawaii (0-6, 0-4 MWC) on Saturday, but managed to squeak by the winless Rainbow Warriors 39-37 thanks to a 44-yard Nolan Kohorst field goal as time expired. A trip to Bulldog Stadium looks to be a much tougher prospect.

The Bulldogs lead the all-time head-to-head 11-4-0 and haven’t dropped a game to the Rebels since November 1984, a stretch of nine straight wins. They open as the favorite, with the spread – which opened at 21 – stretching to 25 at the time of publication.

Having started the season 0-3, San Diego State (3-3, 2-0 MWC) continued its ascent with a 27-20 in over Air Force (1-6, 0-5 MWC) on Friday night. The Falcons, winless in conference play, put up a fight though.

Air Force held a 20-6 lead going into the fourth quarter, thanks in part to Aztecs kickers missing a field goal and two extra point conversions. The Aztecs fought back though scoring three unanswered touchdowns in the final period to emerge with the victory and remain unbeaten in conference play.

The Aztecs will take this weekend off before hosting Fresno State on October 26. That game could ultimately decide which team wins the West Division.

Air Force will also be idle this weekend, before hosting Notre Dame in Week 8. With just three conference games left, the Falcons face a very real prospect of going winless in Mountain West play this season.

Like San Diego State, San Jose State (3-3, 2-1 MWC) still has aspirations of a place in the Mountain West championship game. The Spartans earned a 34-27 win over Colorado State (2-4, 0-1 MWC) in Week 7.

The two schools were tied 27-27 early in the fourth quarter but a 62-yard touchdown pass from David Fales to Tyler Winston with a little over five minutes left on the clock would ultimate prove the difference. With both the Aztecs and Bulldogs on the schedule, the Spartans still have a genuine shot at the division title.

After taking this week off, San Jose State will host Wyoming on October 26. Wyoming (4-2, 2-0 MWC) bounced back from a Week 6 loss to Texas State with a 38-31 defeat of New Mexico (2-4, 0-2 MWC) this past Saturday.

The Cowboys will host Colorado State on Saturday (2:00 p.m. ET), with the Bronze Boot up for grabs. Wyoming has won four straight against the Rams and open as a 6.5-point favorite ahead of this one.

New Mexico meanwhile will host Utah State on Saturday (9:00 p.m. ET). The Lobos have won four of the last five meetings between the schools and four of the last five at University Stadium in Albuquerque, NM.

With questions concerning which quarterback will start for the Aggies, odds makers have yet to release lines for this fixture.

MWC_wk7 MOUNTAIN WEST RESULTS (Week 7)

Thursday

San Diego State 27, Air Force 20

Saturday

San Jose State 34, Colorado State 27

New Mexico 31, Wyoming 38

Boise State 34, Utah State 23

Hawaii 37, UNLV 39

Bye: No. 21 Fresno State, Nevada

* * * * *

MOUNTAIN WEST SCHEDULE (Week 8)

(All times ET)

Saturday, Oct. 15

2:00 Colorado State (2-4, 0-1 MWC) at Wyoming (4-2, 2-0 MWC) (matchup)

8:00 Nevada (3-3, 2-1 MWC) at Boise State (4-2, 2-1 MWC) (matchup)

9:00 Utah State (3-4, 2-1 MWC) at New Mexico (2-4, 0-2 MWC) (matchup)

10:00 UNLV (4-2, 2-0 MWC) at No. 17 Fresno State (5-0, 2-0 MWC) (matchup)

Bye: Air Force, Hawaii, San Diego State, San Jose State

 

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