Mountain West Football: Week 8 Winners and Losers
Who came out ahead and who left something to be desired in Week 8 of Mountain West football?
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Some encouragement and some letdowns from the week that was.
Filling in for Matt Kenerly who was off in Las Vegas this weekend so here is to this article being close to the great work he does every week.
Week 8 in Mountain West play saw plenty of surprises like the close win for San Diego State over San Jose State, Fresno State’s defense coming alive vs. UNLV and Air Force using a backup quarterback to quash Hawaii on the islands. There is a bunch more but we can only choose a trio of winners and losers.
Here’s who stepped up and disappointed in Week 8.
1. Air Force QB Mike Schmidt – Air Force’s backup quarterback came off the bench for starter Donald Hammond III and had a career night in his first-ever significant playing time. He was responsible for four touchdowns with three on the ground and one in the air.
Schmidt had just three carries for 28 yards and no pass attempts in five career games prior to Saturday. He ended the day by going 5 of 6 for 147 yards and 120 yards rushing on just 14 attempts.
2. Wyoming QB Sean Chambers – One of my bold predictions for the rest of the season was that Chambers would not even crack a 45 percent combined completion percentage for the year. He went 9 of 15 for 86 yards and a score, plus zero interceptions. The 60 percent mark in the win over New Mexico puts him in reach at 41.1 percent for the year.
All kidding aside, the Cowboys should want this type of percentage passing the ball from Chambers, maybe a touch more in yards per attempt. Chambers being more accurate will only help his own running game which saw him crack 100 yards for the third time this year.
3. Fresno State’s defense – The Bulldogs were in a tight game vs. UNLV up through the middle of the third quarter but the defense blew open this game. Fresno State scores all 28 points in the second half either off of turnovers or stopping the Rebels on a fourth-down attempt.
The key turnover was when the game was close with Fresno State up just 28-20, but then Justice Rice recovered a fumble for a touchdown. From that touchdown on, the Bulldogs outscored UNLV 28-7 en route to a 56-27 win.
Just because this play was so wild and there is no real spot for a winner and loser. More of just luck by playing a game with an oblong-shaped ball.
Hawaii was unlucky for the pick-six and Air Force lucky the ball never hit the ground and the player on the ground never had possession because he would have been marked down. The end result could be the play of the year in college football.
1. Boise State getting fooled trick plays – Normally it is Boise State that runs trick plays to perfection but on Saturday night it was BYU who outsmarted the Broncos. There was a 4th-and-1 fake fumble and then pass to the tight end for a touchdown.
Then on another score, the Cougars which was an end-around, reverse, flea-flicker back to the quarterback — who by the way was third-stringer Baylor Romney — for a long touchdown pass.
2. Hawaii’s West Division chances – With a pair of losses in league play it seems unlikely that the Warriors will be able to win the West, but there is a chance with who is left. They still have to play Fresno State and San Diego State and both are at home but that advantage on the island may not be there since they were just demolished by Air Force at home. Specifically, the defense is the real issue as to why the Warriors championship hopes are nearly up in smoke.
3. UNLV’s offense, again – The Rebels started Kenyon Oblad under center and he proceeded to throw three interceptions which led to 21 Fresno State points. He was under 50 percent for the night. The running game was not helpful either as starter Charles Williams had 82 yards and averaged just 3.3 yards per carry, and overall the unit rushed for 3.9 as a team and just one rush over 15 yards which was a 23 yard by wide receiver Tylek Collins.
This is a theme with the Rebels offense which has been bad, good and inconsistent all year long. After last week’s performance againast Vanderbilt which saw the offense put up 34 points and be much more efficient.