Top Mountain West Moments From 2017
A lot happened this year in the conference.
Find out what our staff and fans said about 2017
Another year is in the books but before we look ahead to 2018 where everyone commits to lose more weight, actually start a savings account or be adventurous let’s take a look back at 2017.
A lot of stuff happened within the Mountain West this past year and our staff and readers gave their most eventful items over the past year.
Jeremy Mauss: Well I will start with the biggest story line that started just days into 2017 and that was when Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller felt Allen was the best quarterback in last year’s NFL Draft.
Allen returned to school in 2017 and had a so-so season with mediocre stats and an injury, but even with that he is still considered a high first-round pick and gave up his senior year of eligibility.
I’ll go with two and this is a must add with Nevada coming back from 14 down with two minutes left.
Raja Prabhala: A local 8 vs 8 kid walks on to the Boise State Broncos and later earns a scholarship and starting position. In 2017, Leighton Vander Esch exploded and won the Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year.
‘LVE’ made huge plays in both the MWC Championship game and the Las Vegas Bowl to lead a young Bronco defense to an 11-3 record. Vander Esch represents the fifth straight year that the Broncos will have an early entry in the NFL Draft. Currently Vander Esch is being projected anywhere from the first to fourth round in the April NFL draft in various publications.
Matt Kenerly: Okay, here’s what I’ve got.
“I attended the regular season finale in 2016 and sat in a downpour, by myself, as the Fresno State Bulldogs flailed toward the end of a miserable season. Twelve months, though, and the atmosphere at Bulldog Stadium could not have been more different.
Hope is back in the Central Valley. Fresno State football is back, and nothing embodies this better than when Keesean Johnson got behind the Boise State secondary for a long fourth-quarter touchdown. You could feel an energy in that moment of sudden realization, and it had been lacking for years.
Just close your eyes and listen. And then be ready, because the ‘Dogs aren’t going away again anytime soon.”
Andy Roberts: I think the most noteworthy thing for the Runnin’ Rebels this year, was Marvin Menzies recruiting coup that he pulled off at the end of April, landing Brandon McCoy, Shakur Juiston and Amauri Hardy. Adding those three players not only changed the trajectory for the 2017-2018 season, but also the entire future of the program.
Ted McGovern: For San Diego State, the story of the season is undoubtedly the blatant snub of superstar running back Rashaad Penny’s stellar 2017 performance. While it was disappointing enough that he did not get an invite to the Heisman dinner, it is utterly astounding that he was not considered a finalist for Doak Walker — the award that goes to the nation’s best running back. So stunning was the snub that Stanford running back Bryce Love apparently went to social media and twitter to express support for Penny.
Some of Penny’s 2017 accomplishments:
- 2,248 yards rushed in 2017 (No. 5 on the all time single season NCAA rushing leaders list)
- 23 touchdowns scored in 2017, including 4 in Armed Forces Bowl
- Average 7.8 yards per rush in 2017
- 7 career kickoff returns for TD- tie for NCAA all time record
- Pre-season wins against Stanford and ASU during 2017
- Outproduced Bryce Love in all-purpose yardage in 2017 game against Stanford
- SDSU all-time single season record for rushing yards
- SDSU single game record passing Faulk at 429 rushing yards
Fans showed their disdain by sending pennies to both committees.
Jeff Lockhart falls short of apologizing, but suggests Penny was overlooked. As close to a concession as college football may provide.
I can’t imagine a more noteworthy event for San Diego State football (other than the Pac-12 jokingly listing San Diego State as 4-5 in their football rankings after defeating ASU and Stanford- and Cal last season).
Jesse Tachiquin: The night of November 12, 2017
Josh Allen Shoulder Injury and Colorado State collapse vs. Boise State end Wyoming’s chance for Mountain West Championship.
The Cowboys started their day at 6-3 (4-1 MW) and still in contention for a Mountain Division championship. In the moments before Josh Allen’s shoulder injury, Boise State were getting blown out at Colorado State and Wyoming looked like they would cruise to a comfortable win and tie the Broncos in the standings.
A few hours later, even though the Cowboys held on for the win against the Falcons, Wyoming’s title hopes were squashed by Allen’s regular season ending injury and an improbable and nearly impossible comeback from Boise State. A day that peaked with excitement about Wyoming’s potential season ended in complete disappointment.
Brandon Blake: Three simple words: “Shirtless Eric Musselman.”