Mountain West Football Week 4 Overreactions
What a week it was in the Mountain West
Sounding the alarms?
The Mountain West is four weeks into the season and at this point things are starting to be known about the schools, players, and coaches. Meaning, last year’s narratives, and preseason expectations are either met or not at this point. Maybe a few teams can turn it around but it is to the point where teams are mostly who they are.
San Jose State’s offense is bad
San Jose State was one of the feel-good stories of 2020 as the Spartans went undefeated during the regular season en route to winning their first Mountain West football title and first title at all since 1990 when they won the Big West outright.
Going undefeated again was not in the cards but the drop-off is getting to the point of being much more than some thought. Bowl eligible was the floor with the ceiling being competing for a conference title.
The offense this year has taken a huge hit from being one of the best in the Mountain West to being near the bottom. The Spartans are last in points per game with 18, ninth in yards per play, 10th in QB rating with just six touchdowns to five interceptions, and the ground attack is 11th while rushing for just 3.22 yards per game.
This is a drastic change from last year. What makes this even worse is that quarterback Nick Starkel left the loss to Western Michigan with a left arm injury and was in a sling for the fourth quarter.
He is being evaluated on Monday for the severity. Backups Natano Woods and Walker Eget combined for 3 of 12 for just four yards. Starkel was not much better as he was running for his life and was just 6 of 14 for 55 yards.
“If that’s the situation we’re in, it’s obviously tremendously impactful, right?” San Jose State coach Brent Brennan said. “You’re talking about an all-conference player, an NFL quarterback, a team leader, a team captain. A really, really critical part of what we do schematically. So that’s a big challenge for us. If we’re in that situation, we’re going to have to get those young guys ready to go and we’re going to have to be creative about what we ask them to do and be creative in how we move the football.”
Colorado State is good-ish
Maybe we were a bit too harsh on Colorado State, maybe. This team is not a great team and is still has just one win on the season after topping Toledo 22-6 last week.
This week they went on the road to face top-5 Iowa and were multiple touchdown underdogs. What happened against the Hawkeyes was amazing as the Rams held a 14-7 halftime lead. The Colorado State defense for the second week in a row showed the promise that many felt should have been the norm heading into the season.
The offense still sputtered against a really good Iowa defense. The second half the Hawkeyes were just too much for Colorado State to handle, plus it doesn’t help that the Rams fumbled in their own territory early in that third quarter and Iowa had a long punt return after a three-and-out by the offense.
Things are looking better and if Colorado State can avoid the third quarter woes, they might be more competitive than previously thought after that 0-2 start.
Boise State won but there are running issues
Facts, the Boise State Broncos were not going to start 1-5, the Broncos won 27-3 in a blowout over Utah State, but also a fact, the Broncos didn’t play all that well when running the ball.
The ground game and offensive line is a huge issue. The Broncos leading rusher was George Holani but with just 46 yards on 13 carries with a long of 19. Quarterback Hank Bachmeier was second in rushing with 44 yards.
Overall, the ground game rushed for 148 yards on 42 carries for just 3.5 yards per carry. If Boise State is going to contend for the Mountain West title they need a better ground game for sure. The defense was very good against Utah State and the passing offense was solid but the rushing game has to improve.