Mountain West Conference News and Notes

11:01 AM, Oct 21, 2013   |    comments
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AIR FORCE: After taking last week off following their meeting with San Diego State on Oct. 10, the Falcons have a huge opponent waiting before them in Notre Dame. Air Force has the pleasure of hosting the Fighting Irish this time around in Colorado, marking the second of three straight home games for the Academy, but no matter where these teams play, history just doesn't seem to be on the side of the Falcons. Two years ago, UND crushed Air Force in a 59-33 final, which means the Irish now lead the all-time series by a count of 22-5.

BOISE STATE: The Broncos took their cues from running back Jay Ajayi on Saturday as he posted a career-high 222 yards and scored three touchdowns on 24 carries in the team's 34-17 victory against Nevada in Mountain West Conference action. Winners of three straight since losing by a single point to Fresno State back on Sept. 20, the Broncos were a little shaky on defense in the first half as they surrendered 246 yards, but they tightened up after intermission and allowed only 127 yards to the Wolf Pack. Starting quarterback Joe Southwick made an early exit with an injury, leaving Grant Hedrick to fill his shoes and the backup was more than adequate as he not only converted 18- of-21 passes for 150 yards, but he also become the first BSU quarterback in nearly a decade to run for at least 100 yards, churning out 115 net yards and a couple of touchdowns on just eight carries. The Broncos have another short week this time around as they prepare to battle BYU on Friday night in non- conference action in Provo. The good news is that Boise State has never lost to the Cougars, posting a third win in as many meetings last season, albeit by a score of just 7-6.

COLORADO STATE: The Border War between the Rams and Wyoming wasn't much of a battle on Saturday as Colorado State whipped up on the Cowboys, 52-22, in Laramie. In claiming the Bronze Boot, awarded to the winner of the annual rivalry game, the Rams scored the most points in a single game since delivering a 60-0 win on the road back in 1922. While putting up their largest margin of victory in the series since 1925, the Rams fed off Kapri Bibbs who ran for 201 yards and three touchdowns on 29 carries. Donnell Alexander accounted for another 77 yards and a TD on 15 attempts as well as the team generated 290 rushing yards on 54 carries. Garrett Grayson missed on just five of his 23 pass attempts, leading to 219 yards and three touchdowns as CSU won for the second time in the last three games. Back out on the road this week, the Rams find themselves taking on Hawaii at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu. Colorado State leads the all-time series by a count of 12-9, thanks in part to a 42-27 triumph in last year's encounter at home in late October.

FRESNO STATE: Derek Carr continued his assault on the Fresno State record books over weekend as he and the Bulldogs cruised to a 38-14 win over the UNLV Rebels in MWC play. Off to a 6-0 start for the first time since 2001 when the team reached as high as eighth in the AP rankings, the Bulldogs moved up two spots from No. 17 to No. 15 on Sunday after Carr extended his streak of consecutive games with at least one passing touchdown to 26 -- the longest active run in the nation. More than that, Carr also set the school record for most touchdown passes in a career with 86, as he completed 33-of-48 attempts for 412 yards and four TDs, all of the scores going to Davante Adams who caught eight balls for 221 yards. Carr, the owner of 15 school records and 17 MWC marks, is now the third player in FSU history to throw for at least 10,000 yards, even though he hasn't played a full 60 minutes in every start. While it counts as a road game, the Bulldogs at least remain inside of state borders this coming weekend as they tangle with the San Diego State Aztecs in conference play at Qualcomm Stadium. Fresno State managed to capture a 52-40 victory in the most recent clash last year, but still SDSU owns a 27-21-4 edge in the all-time series.

HAWAII: Following a week off, after starting the 2013 campaign 0-6, the Rainbow Warriors head back to the field this coming weekend to do battle with the Colorado State Rams in Honolulu. Hawaii lost to CSU last season, 42-27, which means the squad now trails the all-time series by a 12-9 count.

NEVADA: The Wolf Pack knocked Boise State's quarterback out of the game on the very first play from scrimmage for the Broncos, yet Nevada could not take advantage and eventually suffered the 34-17 loss on the blue turf. Nevada even led 10-0 midway through the second quarter, but in the second half the visitors saw their offensive production stymied by the Broncos. Cody Fajardo managed to convert 22-of-29 passes for 208 yards, but he failed to get a single pass into the end zone while being sacked six times. Kendall Brock and Don Jackson both scored on the ground for the Pack, but still the team lost for the second time in as many outings. The Battle for the Fremont Cannon takes center stage in Reno this coming weekend as the Wolf Pack entertains in- state rival UNLV. Last year, Nevada captured a 42-37 victory in Sin City, pushing the team's advantage in the all-time series to 23-15.

NEW MEXICO: Falling behind by four touchdowns at the break, the Lobos put themselves in a deep hole against Utah State and were unable to climb out before suffering the lopsided 45-10 loss at home. New Mexico used three different quarterbacks in the lackluster effort, Cole Gautsche, Clayton Mitchem and David Vega, and no one really stood out above the others. The trio combined to convert 11-of-20 passes for 140 yards and suffered a collective six sacks, four being brought against Mitchem. The lone touchdown of the game for the Lobos, losers of two straight and four of the last five, came from Kasey Carrier who gained a team-best 69 yards on 14 rushing attempts. Ranked second in the nation entering the week in rushing, UNM was held to a season- low 160 yards on 43 attempts by the Aggies. The Lobos are due for another break in the schedule this week and will return to action on Nov. 2 when they challenge the San Diego State Aztecs in MWC play at Qualcomm Stadium.

SAN DIEGO STATE: The Aztecs head back to the football field this coming weekend to tangle with the Fresno State Bulldogs in Mountain West competition. Winners of three straight after opening the campaign with three consecutive setbacks, San Diego State actually controls the series versus the Bulldogs by a 27-21-4 margin, although the team did bow to Fresno State last season, 52-40, on the road.

SAN JOSE STATE: Shooting for their third win in a row, after dropping a trio of outings, the Spartans get back to business this coming weekend against the Wyoming Cowboys at home. This will be the first meeting between the teams since a 30-10 victory for the Cowboys back in 1997. With that setback, the Spartans fell to 1-6 in the all-time series.

UNLV: Enjoying unprecedented success over the last month, compared to what they've endured the last several seasons, the Rebels were bound to have their four-game win streak come to an end at some point and that's exactly what happened when they were crushed by 17th-ranked Fresno State in a 38-14 final. While giving up 641 yards of total offense to the Bulldogs, the Rebels generated a mere 294 yards, converting just 5-of-15 third downs and 1-of-4 on fourth down during the matchup. Quarterback Caleb Herring connected on 27- of-42 passes for 161 yards and a score, while being sacked three times. Shaquille Murray-Lawrence logged a game-high 79 yards rushing and a touchdown on just three carries, but were it not for his 73-yard score the final numbers would have been even more one-sided. The Rebels are out on the road for the second week in row, and while the meeting with Fresno State was certainly a high point of the campaign, perhaps no game on the schedule is more important than the one versus Nevada for the Fremont Cannon. UNLV suffered a 42-37 loss at home to the Wolf Pack last season, which means the team now trails in the all-time series by a 23-15 margin.

UTAH STATE: Life without Chuckie Keeton continued for the Aggies over the weekend as the team clashed with New Mexico in Albuquerque and, somewhat surprisingly, USU ended up blowing the doors off the Lobos in conference action, 45-10. Now the starting quarterback, freshman Darell Garretson converted 15-of-23 passes for 144 yards and a touchdown, the scoring strike going to Joey DeMartino who finished with three catches for 41 yards. On the ground, DeMartino assumed control as he ran for a career-best 144 yards and posted another three TDs. Defensively, the Aggies limited one of the strongest running teams in the nation to a season-low 160 yards on 43 attempts. The unit compiled 12 tackles for loss and five sacks between three different UNM quarterbacks. The Aggies take a break from football this coming week, giving them more time to prepare for the clash with Hawaii in Mountain West play at Romney Stadium on Nov. 2. USU won the most recent meeting two seasons ago by a score of 35-31, knotting up the all-time series at six games apiece.

WYOMING: In one of the most important games on the 2013 schedule, the Cowboys were man-handled by Colorado State at home in a 52-22 final over the weekend. Wyoming, which has now dropped two of the last three outings overall, hadn't been beaten that badly in the annual Border War matchup in close to 90 years, and found itself behind by a 31-7 score just moments into the second half. Quarterback Brett Smith connected on 21-of-36 passes for 246 yards and a score, but he was also sacked three times and tossed a couple of interceptions. The Wyoming defense didn't help matters either, allowing close to 300 yards rushing and more than 500 yards to the Rams overall. Hitting the road for the first time in nearly a month, Wyoming checks in at Spartan Stadium this coming weekend to battle the San Jose State Spartans in conference play. This is the first meeting between the programs since the Cowboys captured a 30-10 win back in 1997, pushing its advantage in the all- time series to 6-1 in the process.

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