Mountain West Football: Week 14 Winners and Losers
Who came out ahead and who left something to be desired in Week 14 of Mountain West football?
Some encouragement and some letdowns from the week that was.
College football’s regular season decided to go out with a bang over Thanksgiving weekend and the Mountain West, in particular, was no exception. Between unexpected twists in old rivalries and a slew of a close results, it made for one last healthy crop of heroes and goats.
Here’s how stepped up and who disappointed in the last full slate of Mountain West play this fall.
1. Boise State head coach Bryan Harsin. It isn’t a stretch to say that this is probably the best coaching that Harsin has done in his time on the blue. With three quarterbacks, a running back shuffle, offensive line troubles, and a few significant injuries on defense, the Broncos still went 8-0 in conference play and are now a break and a win away from the Cotton Bowl. If his name doesn’t come up in Power 5 coaching searches, I’d be genuinely surprised.
2. San Diego State cornerback Luq Barcoo. Curtis Weaver’s coronation as defensive player of the year may not be air-tight after all, especially after the Aztec senior broke up four more passes in their win over BYU. That may not seem especially meaningful by itself, but Barcoo now has the most passes defended (24) of any Mountain West player in the last decade and owns a strong case in what will surely be a heated conversation.
3. UNLV wide receiver Steve Jenkins. There may be no better time to score your first touchdown of the year than against your biggest rival, and Jenkins liked the idea enough to find the end zone twice against Nevada. A 75-yard catch-and-run and the game-winner in overtime were the highlights in a game where Jenkins had five catches for 140 yards, ensuring the Fremont Cannon would stay red for another year.
1. Nevada cornerback Austin Arnold. Obviously, it’s impossible to speculate what might have led to Arnold’s snap decision after the battle for the Fremont Cannon was decided. We also don’t know what UNLV quarterback Kenyon Oblad said to prompt Arnold to react. The brief melee that ensued, though, is a black eye on a rivalry that has been fun and hotly contested in recent years and Arnold must bear a healthy share of responsibility for how everything unfolded.
2. Colorado State head coach Mike Bobo. If Rams fans wonder why they’ve had “deja vu all over again” all season long, it’s been a hallmark of Bobo’s tenure that consistently winning close games has been elusive. In his five years at the helm, Bobo’s record in games decided by eight points or fewer is 8-14; that includes the seven-point loss on Friday afternoon to Boise State.
It’s difficult to say whether that just makes him the new Matt Wells or something more, but we’re all about to enter a waiting game in which athletic director Joe Parker decides that for himself.
3. Fresno State quarterback Jorge Reyna. Reyna was hardly the Bulldogs’ biggest concern this fall, but his up-and-down performances didn’t help matters and he didn’t give the offense nearly enough to help maintain a 14-point lead against rival San Jose State. The interception he threw didn’t do any lasting damage — the defense came up with a turnover on downs in the red zone — but between that, two fumbles, and a mediocre 15-22-151-1 TD stat line, it’ll be pretty easy for Fresno State fans to look back at 2019 and wonder what might have been with steadier quarterback play.