Mountain West Football: Week 0 Winners and Losers
The opening weekend of Mountain West football was a wild one. Who among Hawaii, Colorado State and Wyoming won and lost big on the field?
Stock up or stock down? Here’s some thoughts.
Well, that was a Saturday of football.
The Mountain West came out firing and never let up, not even deep into the night, and it led to some very interesting surprises. Here at Mountain West Wire, we’ll keep track of the big individual winners from week to week, as well as those who left something to be desired.
1. Hawaii quarterback Cole McDonald. Many things indicated that the Warriors sophomore was likely to share snaps with true freshman Chevan Cordeiro, but McDonald took the field first and earned himself quiet a bit of leash. He set a UH record for most passing yards in a starter’s debut and finished with 514 yards of total offense against a Rams defense that looked wholly overmatched by the run-and-shoot for long stretches.
Oh, and he accounted for five total touchdowns, as well. Not a bad opener at all.
2. Wyoming running back Nico Evans. The Cowboys running game hindered the offense last fall, and the continued shuffling throughout fall camp must have made the Pokes faithful uneasy. Evans, however, went out and looked like vintage Brian Hill for 60 minutes, punishing New Mexico State for 204 rushing yards and two touchdowns, putting a lot of those concerns to bed for at least one week.
3. The Wyoming defensive line. We had a pretty good idea that these guys would be good, but the Cowboys got to show just how deep and dangerous they could be, much to the Aggies’ dismay. They — not just the notables like Carl Granderson and Youhanna Ghaifan, but Kevin Prosser and Garrett Crall and Sidney Malauulu and even Trey Woods — sacked quarterback Matt Romero three times and racked up 6.5 tackles for loss, holding NMSU to 16 yards (after adjusting for sacks) on the ground.
1. The Colorado State secondary. It seemed like John Ursua and Cedric Byrd got behind the defense at an alarming rate, so even though some nice individual plays were made — Anthony Hawkins breaking up a third-quarter pass to Ursua in the end zone comes to mind — the Rams gave up five plays of over 20 yards. For a unit that finished next-to-last in the Mountain West in that category, it’s not an encouraging sign.
2. Colorado State kicker Wyatt Bryan. Granted, field goal attempts from over 40 yards are never easy (MW kickers were a combined 46-of-82, 56%, last fall), but in a game that ultimately ended up as close as it did, it’s hard not to look at Bryan’s two misses from 45 and 48, neither of which were particularly close, as turning points in the outcome.
3. Anyone who didn’t watch college football on Saturday. You didn’t have to look too hard on social media early Saturday to find fans who were dismissive of the day’s slate.
As it happened, we had a fun evening of college football and you all missed out. Join us next time, you’ll like it.