Mountain West Football: Week 2 Winners and Losers
Who came out ahead and who left something to be desired in the last weekend of Mountain West football?
Some encouragement and some letdowns from the week that was.
Week 2 of Mountain West football action is officially behind us and a lot of fans have plenty to feel good about since the conference went 8-3 overall. It wasn’t all fun and games everywhere, however, which is why we look back like this every Sunday.
Here are the winners and losers from Week 2 of Mountain West football.
1. Air Force defensive coordinator John Rudzinski
When you beat a team so badly that they fire a coach in the immediate aftermath, that counts as a pretty big win in my book. Such is the case for the Falcons defense, which dominated the Navy Midshipmen from start to finish so hard that Middies offensive coordinator Ivin Jasper reportedly got the axe as a result. Navy ran 44 plays and earned 68 yards of total offense against Air Force, allowing five sacks and nine tackles for loss, a level of performance that Air Force hasn’t put together against an FBS opponent since at least 2000.
ＨＵＧＥ stop by the defense 😤 pic.twitter.com/Bp9iCqC4pc
— Air Force Football (@AF_Football) September 11, 2021
2. Utah State wide receiver Deven Thompkins
Just as we all expected two weeks into the season, the 5-foot-8 senior from Fort Myers, Florida is *checks notes* leading the Mountain West in receiving yards. Thompkins continued his hot start on Friday night against North Dakota with a game-changing 75-yard catch-and-run that gave the Aggies a lead it wouldn’t relinquish, finishing the day with eight catches and 172 yards on 11 targets against the Fighting Hawks.
Nothing like one-play touchdown drives 😏
— KSL Sports (@kslsports) September 11, 2021
3. San Diego State tight end Daniel Bellinger
We already know plenty about Trey McBride and Cole Turner, both of whom scored a touchdown on Saturday night, but it was Bellinger who played like the best tight end in the Mountain West this week. Though he only had three targets in the Aztecs’ blowout win over Arizona, he caught all three of them for 112 yards and a touchdown, boosting his stock as an underrated athlete who can definitely do a bit of everything at the position.
— San Diego State Football (@AztecFB) September 12, 2021
1. Hawaii quarterback Chevan Cordeiro
Cordeiro had a tough game against Oregon State on Saturday night but it seems increasingly apparent that it’s not totally his fault he ended up here today. Though the Beavers were credited with just three sacks, Cordeiro looked like he had to throw on the run nearly every time he dropped back to pass and that defense was credited with nine quarterback hurries. That goes a long way toward explaining why, despite throwing for 331 yards, Cordeiro finished with a completion rate under 50% (23-of-48) and threw two interceptions.
Offensive coordinator Bo Graham needs to get his quarterback some protection fast.
— Oregon State Football (@BeaverFootball) September 12, 2021
2. The Colorado State Rams
The Rams outgained the Vanderbilt Commodores by nearly two full yards per play on Saturday. They allowed zero sacks while collecting three on defense. They also made mistakes, mistakes, mistakes en route to another humiliating loss at home.
If it wasn’t the two missed field goals that did them in, perhaps it was the undisciplined defensive play that saw two different players get ejected for targeting. Maybe it was the dropped interception from Thomas Pannunzio early in the second half or the poor Todd Centeio decision that enabled Vanderbilt to tie the game in the third quarter. Whatever you want to try and pin the performance on, don’t be shocked if the Fort Collins faithful is already scheming ways to cover Steve Addazio’s buyout when it drops after December 1.
3. UNLV’s front seven (except for Jacoby Windmon)
Windmon, like Cordeiro, isn’t really here through any direct fault of his own. Like the Hawaii quarterback, UNLV’s budding defensive star is just in desperate need of more playmaking help in the front seven.
Though he led the way with nine tackles and a half-sack against Arizona State, the defense couldn’t hold up as the game wore on and Sun Devils quarterback Jayden Daniels got loose far too often, which turned a taut 14-10 struggle into a comfortable 37-10 ASU victory. Considering that UNLV, outside of Windmon, had a hard time getting to Eric Barriere in the season-opening loss to Eastern Washington, too, this could be an issue