Mountain West Football: Week 10 Winners and Losers
Who came out ahead and who left something to be desired in Week 10 of Mountain West football?
Some encouragement and some letdowns from the week that was.
After the first College Football Playoff rankings were released last Tuesday, Week 10 became a chance to make a much-needed statement for the teams at the top of the Mountain West. For those behind division-leading Utah State and Fresno State, there were opportunities to claim rivalry trophies, take a step toward bowl eligibility, and more.
It all added up to another wild Saturday of action. Let’s hand out some nods and headshakes to the latest round of Mountain West football winners and losers.
1. Wyoming running back Nico Evans. The Cowboys offense has retooled itself in the last few weeks, becoming one of the most run-heavy offenses in the country. Opponents know what’s coming but, as San Jose State found out on Saturday afternoon, knowing and stopping are two different things. Evans shouldered a heavy workload with a season-high 33 carries but ran for 187 yards and a touchdown, jumping to fourth among FBS running backs with 1,166 yards on the season.
2. Boise State cornerback Tyler Horton. The Broncos found themselves in another fistfight (proverbial, of course) against BYU, and they leaned hard on their defense to put the pesky Cougars away. Perhaps no one contributed more than the senior Horton, who forced and recovered a fumble in coverage against Matt Bushman that kept the Boise State lead at eight points.
3. San Diego State linebacker Kyahva Tezino. If you haven’t noticed, the Mountain West has a lot of really good linebackers. Saturday provided a pretty convincing argument that Tezino deserves all-conference consideration, He led the Aztecs with 12 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks in a close win over New Mexico.
1. Hawaii quarterback Cole McDonald. The Warriors needed a big performance from McDonald to have any chance at keeping up with Utah State. Instead, he finished 18-of-45 for 331 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Hawaii hadn’t struggled to throw the ball like that since a 2015 loss to Fresno State, putting the team’s chances of pulling out one last win for a bowl bid into serious question.
2. The Air Force front seven. The Falcons needed to find some way to create stops against an efficient Army ground game. Instead, the Black Knights came out with a 21-play, 75-yard touchdown drive on their first possession, one that took nearly 13 minutes off the clock, and the Falcons managed just two tackles for loss on 59 Army rushing attempts.
3. New Mexico offensive coordinator Calvin Magee. Did the quarterback switch pay off against San Diego State? Considering the Lobos had just 142 yards of total offense, couldn’t manage a play that gained more than 12 yards, and averaged just 2.49 yards per play… probably not. It’s hard to imagine that the Lobos will be able to pivot once again and save their season.