Mountain West Football: Ranking The 2022 Non-Conference Games, #49 to #40
The Mountain West has 49 non-conference games on the collective schedule this fall. We’re ranking every single one, starting at the bottom.
Every game is still a treasure… right?
If you’re like us, you’re already obsessing about the 2022 college football season.
We’re within 100 days of Week 0 at this point, which means that non-conference action is just over the horizon. These games? They may not be the most interesting tilts on Mountain West football’s overall docket but there are still some glimmers of intrigue that make them worth watching.
49. Duquesne Dukes vs. Hawaii Warriors
Why the game might be a drag: Duquesne has to replace four first-team all-Northeast Conference players, including their top pass catcher and offensive lineman, which could make it difficult to match Hawaii on the scoreboard if Timmy Chang’s attack comes out swinging.
Why the game might be more interesting than you think: The Dukes were very quietly a pretty solid FCS team in 2021, going so far as to knock off the Ohio Bobcats en route to a 7-3 campaign. If the Warriors struggle to put their offense together, Duquesne could put together an unexpected upset bid.
One player worth tuning in for: Duquesne RB Billy Lucas
— Duquesne Football (@DuqFB) November 8, 2021
48. Maine Black Bears vs. New Mexico Lobos
Why the game might be a drag: The Black Bears were merely okay in 2021, finishing 6-5 and slightly below the FCS average in both total offense and total defense. If the Lobos haven’t yet resolved last season’s quarterback woes, it could end up being a low-scoring slog.
Why the game might be more interesting than you think: Maine has a stout running game and offensive line, including second-team all-CAA pick Michael Gerace, that should provide a decent test for Rocky Long’s 3-3-5 defense.
One player worth tuning in for: Maine QB Derek Robertson
This week's @HammondLumber Play of the Week takes us back to Derek Robertson's 51-yard touchdown strike to Freddie Brock! The touchdown broke a 20-20 tie and eventually helped lift Maine to victory!#BlackBearNation | @BlackBearsFB pic.twitter.com/MGNa5sRuH4
— Maine Athletics (@BlackBearNation) September 23, 2021
47. Idaho State Bengals vs. UNLV Rebels
Why the game might be a drag: We don’t know how much better the Rebels will actually be after suffering some hard luck losses in 2021 and the Bengals are starting over with a new head coach after finishing 1-10 last year. At worst, it’s a struggle for both sides to run the ball; at best, UNLV runs away with a non-descript win as expected.
Why the game might be more interesting than you think: The Bengals offense might be young, but they’ll get every chance to grow together. Couple that with the reality that UNLV lost to FCS Eastern Washington last year, and Rebels fans will surely know better than to take any opponent for granted.
One player worth tuning in for: Idaho State C Terron Carey
Also, Terron Carey is my new favorite person to interview. The dude is a quote machine! pic.twitter.com/54wDJG7XTh
— Adrian Luevano 23ABC (@a_luevano) October 10, 2021
46. Idaho State Bengals vs. San Diego State Aztecs
Why the game might be a drag: If UNLV still has a degree of uncertainty around here, San Diego State definitely does not. Aztecs fans might enjoy an easy romp, but that may not draw much outside interest.
Why the game might be more interesting than you think: If San Diego State is sluggish on offense, the Bengals might be able to hang around a little longer than expected, especially if they can find answers of their own on that side of the ball.
Another player worth tuning in for: Idaho State QB Sagan Gronauer
Check out this touchdown throw from Sagan Gronauer to tight end Jared Scott in this week’s edition of Dropping Dimes, presented by Bank of Idaho! pic.twitter.com/sZA1dmYqsU
— Idaho State Athletics (@ISUBengals) November 9, 2021
45. Incarnate Word Cardinals vs. Nevada Wolf Pack
Why the game might be a drag: Both teams are rebuilding to a pretty drastic extent. UIW lost its star quarterback and its head coach to Washington State, so it definitely won’t be the same team that won ten games and the Southland Conference crown last year.
Why the game might be more interesting than you think: Given his track record of success coaching at Hawaii and UCF, new Cardinals head coach G.J. Kinne might be able to keep the attack humming after all. They weren’t known for playing a ton of defense even when they won, too, so this could be a track meet if Nevada can pull its own offense together.
One player worth tuning in for: Incarnate Word WR Taylor Grimes
— Southland Conference (@SouthlandSports) November 27, 2021
44. Sacramento State Hornets vs. Colorado State Rams
Why the game might be a drag: If the Rams’ revamped Air Raid comes out firing on all cylinders, it’s hard to imagine Sac State will have the firepower to keep up.
Why the game might be more interesting than you think: Well, we just saw the Rams get run over by another pretty good FCS team last season and, coincidentally enough, these Hornets played that South Dakota State squad a lot tougher in the playoffs.
One player worth tuning in for: Sacramento State TE Marshel Martin
43. Cal Poly Mustangs vs. Fresno State Bulldogs
Why the game might be a drag: Fresno State might be the best team in the Mountain West. Cal Poly might be the worst team in the Big Sky.
Why the game might be more interesting than you think: Mustangs head coach Beau Baldwin has a track record of building powerful offenses and he might finally have the pieces in place to take a big step forward this fall.
One player worth tuning in for: Cal Poly WR Chris Coleman
42. UT Martin Skyhawks vs. Boise State Broncos
Why the game might be a drag: The lone previous time these two teams played, it wasn’t close. Granted, next year’s Skyhawks should be markedly better than the 2013 edition, but the Broncos defense could stifle them early and often.
Why the game might be more interesting than you think: The defending Ohio Valley Conference probably won’t shy away from the challenge of playing on the blue and have a handful of intriguing young talents who could lead the charge.
One player worth tuning in for: UT Martin RB Zak Wallace
FB: Zak Wallace finds the endzone from 14 yards out for his 15th rushing touchdown of the 2021 campaign! @UTM_FOOTBALL takes a 26-24 lead near the end of the third quarter at Missouri State! pic.twitter.com/8tV28y5Jls
— UT Martin Athletics (@UTMSports) November 27, 2021
41. Northern Colorado Bears vs. Wyoming Cowboys
Why the game might be a drag: It’s not clear whether the Pokes will be reloading or rebuilding in 2022, but UNC has not had a very good off-season and may not put up much of a fight despite internal optimism.
Why the game might be more interesting than you think: Wyoming hasn’t exactly blown away FCS competition in recent years: The Cowboys haven’t beaten a team from that level by more than one score since 2017.
One player worth tuning in for: Northern Colorado LB David Hoage
— Northern Colorado FB (@UNC_BearsFB) November 6, 2021
40. San Jose Spartans vs. New Mexico State Aggies
Why the game might be a drag: The Aggies are starting over under a new head coach and the Spartans are motivated to prove that 2021 was an aberration. Despite turning over a few new leaves, NMSU may not offer much resistance.
Why the game might be more interesting than you think: These two teams battled in a back-and-forth affair that flew under the radar last year, so there’s always the possibility we could get another unexpected pointsplosion.
One player worth tuning in for: New Mexico State LB Chris Ojoh
Just getting started…🎬🎬 pic.twitter.com/N76RYmYFEw
— Mojo (@ChrisOjoh) November 30, 2021