Mountain West Football: Week 5 Winners And Losers
We take a look at the Mountain West’s winners and losers from Week 5 of college football.
Encouragements and letdowns from the week that was.
You’d think that having only six games on the docket would make our weekly exercise of identifying winners and losers from Mountain West football a little easier. You’d be wrong. Impressive performances were few and far between in Week 5 while the disappointments that have littered the conference through the season’s first month showed few signs of relenting.
1. Boise State’s running game
Just when it looked like the Broncos would be stuck in the mud through a sixty-minute fist fight with San Diego State, something clicked in the new-look offense and Boise State would gash the Aztecs on the ground to run with a 22-point victory on Friday night. After averaging 3.3 yards per carry and falling behind 13-0 at halftime, quarterback Taylen Green and running backs George Holani and Ashton Jeanty would account for all five of Boise State’s second-half touchdowns and finish with a combined 318 rushing yards on 37 carries.
Now 2-0 in Mountain West play, Boise State might have found something upon which they can lean as they look to reclaim the Mountain division crown and put their early offensive woes behind them for good.
2. San Jose State quarterback Chevan Cordeiro
There must be something about War Memorial Stadium that brings out the best in the Spartans quarterback. After torching Wyoming in Hawaii’s season finale last year, Cordeiro dropped the hammer on the Cowboys yet again in a 33-16 win on Saturday night, throwing for 314 yards and a touchdown on 21-of-37 passing while scoring two more times on the ground. Wyoming made him work for it with ten quarterback hurries, but SJSU has looked much improved week after week in large part to their veteran signal-caller.
3. Air Force wide receiver David Cormier
Who knew that Cormier’s 67-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter and run would end up being the difference in Air Force’s win over Navy? The Falcons came out firing on their first offensive possession and would be much more uneven after that, but the senior from Albuquerque posted the best game of his career with three catches for 120 yards, giving the home team just enough breathing room to be able to sing second when all was said and done.
1. Fresno State
The Bulldogs have had some heartbreaking losses over the last twenty years, but few as baffling as their complete no-show on Saturday in a 19-14 loss to the UConn Huskies. Even without several starters, Fresno State entered the day as heavy favorites and simply looked flat from the start: Logan Fife, starting at quarterback for the injured Jake Haener, had a couple of nice throws but could not stretch the field and threw two bad interceptions. The offense as a whole would finish 0-for-7 on third downs against a defense that had allowed a 52.3% conversion rate coming into the contest, while the defense had a handful of killer penalties and enabled the Huskies to convert on 8-of-17 third downs themselves, as well as both fourth-down tries.
It was an embarrassing result and, as was pointed out on Twitter, is now Jeff Tedford’s seventh straight loss as a head coach against an FBS opponent, dating back to the Bulldogs’ win over Hawaii in November 2019. He’ll need to find some answers fast to keep the team from sinking in conference play when it begins next week.
2. San Diego State’s offense
Once again, the Aztecs offense was DOA on Friday night against the Boise State, even as they built a 13-0 halftime lead against the Broncos. They couldn’t take advantage of two big red zone opportunities in the first quarter and would cross midfield just once for the rest of the game, then completely collapsed when starting quarterback Braxton Burmeister suffered a concussion and backup Kyle Crum broke his collarbone, forcing them to turn to true freshman Liu Aumavae, who wasn’t ready.
After mustering a meager 117 yards of total offense at 2.2 yards per play, offensive coordinator Jeff Hecklinski was finally fired. Given the state of things on the Mesa, whoever steps into the role will have a very tall order on their hands trying to turn this thing around.
3. New Mexico
The Lobos battled hard in Las Vegas on Friday night but couldn’t quite seal the deal against the surging UNLV Rebels in a 31-20 loss. After racing out to a 17-0 lead in the early second quarter, the UNM defense let the Rebels slowly chip away at the lead with five scoring drives in six total opportunities from there to the early fourth quarter. The offense, meanwhile, faltered after a strong start and saw a missed field goal and two interceptions turn into 17 UNLV points. They’ll be thinking about how this one got away for a while.