Mountain West Football: Week 10 Winners And Losers
We take a look at the Mountain West’s winners and losers from Week 10 of college football.
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Encouragements and letdowns from the week that was.
In Week 10 of Mountain West football action, high drama ended up being the order of the day. A pair of rivalry games ended up be hotly contested while other teams took a crucial step toward bowl season, but not everyone could come out ahead on Saturday. Here’s a look at the day’s winners and losers.
1. Air Force
After some frustrating losses to Army in recent years, the Falcons finally exorcised a few demons against the Black Knights in Arlington on Saturday morning, reclaiming the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy for the first time since 2016.
They needed every contribution their stars could deliver to do it. Fullback Brad Roberts ran the ball 33 times for 135 yards while quarterback Haaziq Daniels put up 187 yards of total offense with his arm and legs and safety Camby Goff came down with a game-clinching interception to halt Army’s final rally.
The Falcons have had some hard luck in conference play, but securing a trip to the White House is far more than a consolation prize at the Academy.
2. San Diego State’s defense
While quarterback Jalen Mayden was involved in a back-and-forth battle with the UNLV defensive line all day, the Aztecs defense made all of the opportune plays you could ask for to help San Diego State hold off UNLV in a close 14-10 victory.
In all, Kurt Mattix’s unit created four takeaways for the second time in 2022. Dallas Branch and Dezjhon Malone each had an interception to spoil a UNLV red zone opportunity, but Branch also had a fumble recovery, as did linebacker Garrett Fountain. The Aztecs also managed to sack Doug Brumfield three times and pick up seven tackles for loss, helping the team take one more step toward bowl eligibility.
3. Utah State’s special teams
Despite the return of starting quarterback Cooper Legas, the Aggies offense struggled after a strong first drive. Thankfully, punter Stephen Kotsanlee and kicker Connor Coles used their legs in more ways than one to keep Utah State ahead of New Mexico in a 27-10 win.
Kotsanlee launched a 58-yard punt and ended the day with a respectable 44.5 yards per attempt, but he also helped extend a Utah State drive in the second quarter with a 10-yard run on a fake. Coles, meanwhile, connected on 2-of-3 field goal attempts, including a 49-yarder, and shocked everyone with a heads-up touchdown run in the third quarter to give the Aggies a 14-10 lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
1. Clay Millen’s health
Just when it seemed like Colorado State’s offensive line had turned a corner in pass protection, the Rams let their young quarterback take way too many hits on Saturday night against San Jose State.
The Spartans racked up nine sacks despite another valiant effort from Millen, who finished the game 15-of-24 for 262 yards with one interception, but the most egregious one of all was the final takedown… which came courtesy of one of his own offensive linemen and forced Jackson Stratton to come on in relief late in the game. The young gunslinger flashed lots of promise in leading CSU and had a handful of jaw-dropping throws throughout the night, but you have to figure that will definitely be a point of emphasis in next year’s recruiting class.
2. Boise State’s defense
In one of the more shocking developments of the weekend, the Broncos struggled to contain BYU quarterback Jaren Hall on the blue turf, which enabled the Cougars to rally three times throughout the contest and outlast the home team in a 31-28 decision.
It didn’t help that defensive end Demitri Washington and linebacker Ezekiel Noa got knocked out early in the game (though Noa did return for one play later) and that the unit also has to move forward without George Tarlas, who was lost for the year to injury last week, but Boise State had zero sacks and just one tackle for loss while Hall threw for 377 yards and ran for 89 more, putting up the best overall performance by a visiting quarterback since TCU’s Casey Pachall back in 2011. The path to another Mountain West championship game is still laid out neatly for the Broncos, but they’ll need to find some answers up front to avoid another letdown in the stretch run.
3. Road teams in conference play
One thing that hasn’t been discussed nearly enough is that just about every single team in the Mountain West has struggled away from their respective friendly confines. At the end of Week 10, just two teams in the conference, Boise State and Wyoming, are .500 on the road. Everyone else has a losing record.
That continued in conference play on Saturday as New Mexico, UNLV, Colorado State, and Hawaii all lost on the road. It might just be a weird quirk of so many teams reloading at once, but it may also be something to keep in mind as the run to the championship and bowl eligibility reaches its nadir in a few weeks.