Mountain West Football: Week 6 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.
Mountain West football had its leanest weekend of the year to date, with just five games on the schedule, but man, our teams really know how to pack in the drama, right? There were definitely a few wrinkles in the narrative that fit right in with what ultimately became one of the wildest Saturdays in recent memory.
Here are the winners and losers from Week 6 of Mountain West football.
1. Colorado State kicker Cayden Camper
Anytime you set a school record and match one from the Mountain West Conference at large, you make the winners list. Such is the case for the Rams kicker after he went six-for-six on field goal tries, the second time in three games he’s connected on at least five field goals, to help Colorado State handle business against reeling San Jose State and, at least for one week, claim sole possession of first place in the Mountain division. After a few lean years on special teams outside of punter Ryan Stonehouse, CSU seems to have figured things out in the kicking game.
Right now, life is good in Fort Collins.
🚨 𝐒𝐂𝐇𝐎𝐎𝐋 𝐑𝐄𝐂𝐎𝐑𝐃 🚨
— Colorado State Football (@CSUFootball) October 9, 2021
2. Boise State safety Alexander Teubner
The Broncos had to dig deep on their depth chart to outlast BYU in one of the day’s most unexpected results, which is how Teubner, a sophomore walk-on from Seaside, Oregon, found himself in the right place at the right time at some critical junctures on Saturday.
His first big play, a forced fumble on a kickoff to Lopini Katoa in the second quarter, helped Boise State secure a short field and what would become its first lead of the afternoon. Later in the third quarter, he recovered another Cougars fumble to stop a potential scoring drive in its tracks. While it wasn’t necessarily a perfect day for the Broncos, sometimes an unsung hero is all it takes to defy the odds.
3. Nevada quarterback Carson Strong
Strong and his legion of pass catchers found the end zone early and often in a big win over New Mexico State, rolling over the Aggies by completing 25-of-32 passes for 377 yards and six touchdowns with an interception. You can say, “But it happened against New Mexico State!”, though how much fun is that? As it stands, the list of quarterbacks to throw as many or more yards and touchdowns on so few attempts is an extremely fun one, putting Strong in the company of college greats like Justin Fields, Colt Brennan, and David Carr.
— Mountain West (@MountainWest) October 10, 2021
1. Wyoming quarterback Sean Chambers
Chambers wasn’t as bad as his overall line — 11-of-28 for 143 yards and a touchdown, plus 45 sack-adjusted rushing yards — might suggest, but despite his rugged running and just missing out on some potential big passing plays, there’s not much doubt this could’ve been a much different game had he been able to give them more. At a minimum, his two fumbles in this game, one late in the first quarter which set up a Falcons touchdown and another which ended Wyoming’s comeback hopes in the fourth, ended up being pivotal turning points for both teams. If the Cowboys want to prove their September was more than a mirage against weak competition, it’ll start under center.
Slight work by the defense 💪 pic.twitter.com/aSrPqY2YmZ
— Air Force Football (@AF_Football) October 10, 2021
2. The San Jose State offense
If the shine hadn’t completely worn off of last year’s breakthrough, it definitely did in a mistake-filled performance on the road against Colorado State. Perhaps unsurprisingly, quarterback Nick Nash didn’t look nearly as sharp against the Rams defense as he did against New Mexico State a week ago, turning the ball over twice while completing just 50% of his passes for 154 yards, but the Spartans offensive line didn’t do him any favors by allowing three sacks and six tackles for loss on only 52 offensive plays.
The line’s regression in pass protection has been one of the biggest culprits for the offense’s steps backwards, so while it’s tempting to say things will get easier next week against UNLV, hardly anything is a given for SJSU at this point.
3. New Mexico
The Lobos weren’t expected to compete for a division title or anything this year, but their hopes of climbing to bowl eligibility took a big hit when they became the first Mountain West team saddled with two conference losses in a rout against San Diego State.
In particular, the offense has spun its wheels for the better part of a month now and, against a strong Aztecs defense, managed just 3.2 yards per play, the lowest such average against a Mountain West opponent since November 2018, while turning the ball over twice. Like San Jose State, offensive line play has held the Lobos back, as evidenced by SDSU’s four sacks and ten tackles for loss on Saturday night, meaning that it’s hard to see much room for improvement until that gets fixed.