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Mountain West: Week 8 Recap

Derek Carr and the Fresno State Bulldogs remain undefeated.

Derek Carr and the Fresno State Bulldogs remain undefeated.

Amidst the pomp and ceremony of homecoming, No. 17 Fresno State (6-0, 3-0 MWC) kept its BCS busting dreams alive Saturday, defeating UNLV (4-3, 2-1 MWC) 38-14 at Bulldog Stadium.

Led by quarterback Derek Carr, who completed 33 of 48 passes for 412 yards and four touchdowns, the Bulldogs built an early 21-0 lead over the Rebels before racing away with the game.

The school’s 6-0 start to the season matches its best ever, achieved in 2001 when Carr’s brother, David – picked No. 1 overall in the 2002 NFL Draft – was signal-caller for the team. That season, Fresno State earned its best ever AP ranking, No. 8 on the coveted poll. After Saturday’s win, the Bulldogs sit at No. 15 on the AP poll and No. 17 in the BCS standings, premiering this week.

Now, with five regular season games left on the slate and a potential spot in the Mountain West Championship Game, the Bulldogs will look to improve that standing and stay ahead of the American Athletic Conference’s best team, a feat which could see the school earn a BCS berth.

Perhaps that’s looking a little too far ahead though. The Bulldogs still have to get through the rest of the regular season, starting with Saturday’s rivalry game against San Diego State (3-3, 2-0 MWC).

The Aztecs’ out-of-conference record ensures they’re well out of the BCS picture, but this is a team with Mountain West title aspirations. It’s safe to say that the Oil Can won’t be the only thing on the line when the two meet at Qualcomm Stadium on Saturday (10:30 p.m. ET).

San Diego State has had an additional week to prepare for the Bulldogs after being idle this weekend, something that could play a huge part in the game. Fresno State will expect Carr to play a big part too. With 2,276 yards passing and 23 touchdowns through six games, Carr is on pace to record a career-best season and break a bunch of conference records.

The Aztecs have historically owned this series, winning 14 of 21 games between the schools, but it was Fresno State that picked up the win last season, and will enter the game as winners of two of the last three. Still, San Diego State is favored going into this one.

Like the Aztecs, San Jose State (3-3, 2-1 MWC) also has its eyes on the West Division title and a trip to the conference championship game, and like the Aztecs, the Spartans were idle this past weekend. They’ll return to action with a visit from Wyoming (4-3, 2-1 MWC).

The Cowboys suffered their first conference loss of the season on Saturday, losing 52-22 to rivals Colorado State (3-4, 1-1 MWC). The Rams kept Wyoming’s high-scoring offense in check whilst harassing the defense all game long, eventually emerging with the Bronze Boot for the first time in five meetings between the schools.

The Spartans are favored over the Cowboys in what will be the first game between the schools since 1997. San Jose State owns a 6-1 all-time record against Wyoming.

Meanwhile, the Rams will follow up their success over the Cowboys with a trip to Honolulu to take on a winless Hawaii (0-6, 0-4 MWC) side that was happy to take this past weekend off. The law of averages suggests that the Rainbow Warriors will win a game eventually, but it doesn’t look likely this weekend coming; the Rams defeated the Warriors 42-27 a season ago, winning for the seventh time in eight games dating back to 1989.

Boise State (5-2, 3-1 MWC) stood pat at the top of the Mountain Division, picking up a 34-17 win over Nevada (3-4, 2-2 MWC).

Broncos quarterback Joe Southwick was injured on the first play from scrimmage and forced to leave the game. His backup, Grant Hedrick had 150 passing yards and 115 yards and two touchdowns on the ground, while running back Jay Ajayi compiled 222 yards rushing and three touchdowns as the Broncos crushed the Wolf Pack.

The Broncos will take a trip to Brigham Young (5-2) in this week’s Friday night game. Boise State is 3-0 all-time against BYU, including a 7-6 win when the two met in September 2012. The Cougars are favored by a touchdown going into the game though.

Nevada will look to bounce back from defeat with a return home to host in-state rivals UNLV. With the game taking place at Mackay Stadium in Reno, Nev., the Wolf Pack will be favorites to emerge victorious from this latest installment of the Battle for Nevada, taking the Fremont Cannon home as they do so.

Utah State (4-4, 3-1 MWC) picked up its first win since quarterback Chuckie Keeton went down with a season-ending knee injury two weeks ago, defeating New Mexico (2-5, 0-3 MWC) 45-10 on Saturday. Running back Joe DeMartino had a standout performance, rushing for a career-high 144 yards and crossing the goal line four times as the Aggies crushed the Lobos in Albuquerque, N.M.

Both teams will take this week off before resuming play in Week 10.

In Saturday’s final fixture on the Mountain West schedule, Air Force (1-6, 0-5 MWC) will host Notre Dame (5-2) at Falcon Stadium in Colorado Springs, Colo.

After six straight losses, the Falcons were relieved to have a week off. Now they’ll look to somehow upset a Fighting Irish side looking to win a third straight game.

The Irish have won 12 of the last 14 meetings between the schools, including the last six on Air Force turf. The Falcons have not picked up the win in Colorado Springs since October 5, 1985, and with a dismal record this season will unsurprisingly open as a heavy underdog.

MWC_standings_wk8MOUNTAIN WEST RESULTS (Week 8)


Colorado State 52, Wyoming 22

Nevada 17, Boise State 34

Utah State 45, New Mexico 10

UNLV 14, No. 17 Fresno State 38

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

* * * * *


(All times ET)

Friday, Oct. 25

8:00 Boise State (5-2, 3-1 MWC) at Brigham Young (5-2) (matchup)

Saturday, Oct. 26

5:00 Notre Dame (5-2) at Air Force (1-6, 0-5 MWC) (matchup)

6:05 UNLV (4-3, 2-1 MWC) at Nevada (3-4, 2-2 MWC) (matchup)

7:00 Wyoming (4-3, 2-1 MWC) at San Jose State (3-3, 2-1 MWC) (matchup)

10:30 No. 17 Fresno State (6-0, 3-0 MWC) (matchup)

11:59 Colorado St (3-4, 1-1 MWC) at Hawaii (0-6, 0-4 MWC) (matchup)

Bye: New Mexico, Utah State


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