Mountain West Football: One Month In, 12 Players We Should Be Talking More About
A month into the college football season, who in the Mountain West deserves more notice than they’re getting?
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One player from each team who deserves more love.
The 2021 college football season is now one month old, and plenty of new faces have played unheralded roles in how each Mountain West team has performed to this point. Beyond the stars we expected to show up, to whom should we pay more attention?
Wide receiver Micah Davis
One element of the Falcons offense which was often missing in 2020 was an explosive wide receiver who could attack the edges and stretch the field, which has made the sophomore’s emergence a tremendous difference maker. Though he has just 27 carries and eight catches so far this season, he’s earned 19 first downs and scored five touchdowns while averaging 12.5 yards of total offense per play. With Davis, fullback Brad Roberts, and quarterback Haaziq Daniels all playing well, the Falcons will be tough to handle as the season progresses.
WHAT A THROW! WHAT A CATCH! @AF_Football's Haaziq Daniels finds Micah Davis for a 54-yd touchdown pass. 🔥
📺: FS2#AtThePeak | #MWFB | #LetsFly pic.twitter.com/yGgNIFCZyv
— Mountain West (@MountainWest) September 19, 2021
Defensive tackle Scott Matlock
Who knew the 6-foot-4, 295-pound Matlock had such versatility? Considering the Broncos didn’t have the prettiest September on record, though, they’ve needed every bit of it. Through four games, he leads the defense with three sacks and has chipped in with a blocked field goal, a forced fumble, and a short-yardage passing touchdown on offense. While the rest of the defensive line battles injuries and inconsistency, Matlock’s steady presence will be counted upon even more as the season progresses.
BIG BOY TD
Defensive lineman Scott Matlock hauls in the TD 💪 pic.twitter.com/yesl8QqPw7
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) September 25, 2021
Swiss army knife Thomas Pannunzio
You could make a case that no player in the conference had a tougher individual transition than the one Pannunzio had to make in short order between the start of fall camp and the beginning of the season. He’s held his own, however, and found ways to make an impact on both special teams and defense after spending most of his Rams career on offense as a wide receiver.
Pannunzio could find himself back on that side of the ball at that point, but after collecting 16 tackles, averaging 23 yards per kick return, and returning a punt for a touchdown against Toledo, there probably isn’t any rush.
Wide receiver Josh Kelly
If Jalen Cropper is the Davante Adams in this year’s Bulldogs passing attack, then Kelly is doing one hell of an Isaiah Burse impression through five games. Among the 59 FBS pass catchers with at least 20 receptions, Kelly currently ranks 12th in averaging 17.43 yards per catch, providing crucial yards after the catch for an offense that hasn’t been shy about spreading the wealth through the air.
That's it. That's the tweet. #GoDogs | #PrideOfTheValley pic.twitter.com/WOJYINO9BR
— Fresno State Football (@FresnoStateFB) September 19, 2021
Safety Khoury Bethley
Bethley has continued on this fall as one of the Mountain West’s most well-rounded safeties, doing a little bit of everything for a defense that appears to be no worse for having taken some early lumps. Only Boise State’s JL Skinner has accounted for more tackles (28) among Mountain West safeties, but Bethley has also broken up four passes and accrued four tackles for loss, two sacks and a forced fumble in five games.
3Q- 05:02 | UH 17 NMSU 13
Khoury Bethley is a problem you don't want! FUMBLE!!!!!#WinEveryDay pic.twitter.com/zLxIjnuMDy
— Hawaii Football (@HawaiiFootball) September 26, 2021