Mountain West Football: Week 1 Winners and Losers
Who came out ahead and who left something to be desired in Week 1 of Mountain West football?
Some encouragement and some letdowns from the week that was.
Now that is how you start a college football season.
Just about every team in the Mountain West can take some positives away from the opening week of the 2019 campaign but, of course, we’re all about binaries in this particular column. As with every other weekend, for every big winner there must be an equal and opposite loser.
With that in mind, here are Mountain West football’s winners and losers in Week 1.
1. Freshman quarterbacks. For one weekend, at least, the present and future of the Mountain West looked incredibly bright at the game’s most important position.
Nevada’s Carson Strong just never stopped throwing in rallying the Wolf Pack to an epic win over Purdue, while Boise State’s Hank Bachmeier took a beating but did the same in a comeback victory over Florida State. Sean Chambers helped Wyoming stiff-arm the bejesus out of a shocked Missouri, and even UNLV’s Kenyan Oblad looked pretty sharp in relief duty. Even with some likely growing pains, there’s a lot for fans to be excited about.
2. Utah State linebacker David Woodward. The Aggies fell short in their upset bid against Wake Forest, but good luck trying to pin that on Woodward. He racked up 24 total tackles, including 16 solo tackles, as well as 3.5 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and a sack, proving that, yes, he will still be an absolute terror in the Mountain West this fall.
3. San Jose State linebacker Ethan Aguayo. Woodward wasn’t the only linebacker to make a big impact in the weekend’s slate. Aguayo, too, tallied 20 tackles for the second time in his last three games and also picked up two tackles for loss and a sack in an encouraging victory over Northern Colorado.
1. The new-look San Diego State offense. As you know, college football is celebrating its 150th anniversary this fall, so it was really touching of the Aztecs to put up a performance straight out of 1869. Make no mistake, it was cover-your-eyes bad: 3.6 yards per pass attempt, 3.3 yards per play overall, 5-of-20 on third downs, and just five drives out of 14 that got into Weber State territory. There’s a lot of work to do all around on that front.
2. The Colorado State defense. Same old Rams? The CSU offense didn’t really help matters by turning the ball over four times against Colorado, but the Rocky Mountain Showdown also dampened hopes that the defense might figure things out in 2019, allowing a conference-high 7.92 yards per play and tallying just three tackles for loss while the Buffaloes cruised to a three-score victory.
3. Utah State quarterback Jordan Love. It might seem strange to say that someone who threw for 416 yards and three touchdowns was one of the weekend’s biggest losers and, no, it’s not just because the Heisman campaign is basically toast before it ever really got started.
Love was tagged with three interceptions against Wake Forest, but he could’ve easily had two or three more. The jaw-dropping talent is still there, of course (look no further than his touchdown throw to Siaosi Mariner for evidence of that), but the Aggies will need him to play more disciplined football if they want to be a serious factor in the race to the conference crown.