Mountain West Football: Week 0 Winners And Losers
We take a look at the Mountain West’s winners and losers from the first weekend of college football.
Encouragements and letdowns from the off-season that was.
College football is back and it feels so good. Week 0 wasn’t so kind to every Mountain West team that played, however, so who came out ahead and who disappointed in the first Saturday of the season?
1. UNLV quarterback Doug Brumfield
You can say “it was only Idaho State” all you like, but the fact remains it’s been a good long time since any Rebels quarterback looked as sharp as Brumfield did on Saturday afternoon.
In one half of play, Brumfield completed 21-of-25 passes for 356 yards and four touchdowns, the first UNLV player to throw for that many yards since Max Gilliam in 2018. It was impressive enough that head coach Marcus Arroyo cemented him as the starter going forward, so while tougher assignments lie ahead, there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic right now that the Rebels have at least figured a few things out.
2. Nevada co-defensive coordinators Kwame Agyeman and Mike Bethea
While the Nevada Wolf Pack have plenty of kinks to work out following their road win over New Mexico State, the rebuilt defense led the way on Saturday night.
Though the Pack was actually outgained by NMSU in terms of total yardage, 303 to 273, they allowed a respectable 5.1 yards per play, allowed only 5-of-12 third down conversions, and created five turnovers that turned into 17 crucial points. The secondary, in particular, made life miserable for Aggies quarterbacks Diego Pavia and Gavin Frakes with four interceptions, including two by Isaiah Essissima, so Agyeman and Bethea should feel good that the early returns on what was expected to be a strength look promising.
3. Utah State running back Calvin Tyler Jr.
The Aggies’ victory over UConn had more than a few shades of many of their early wins in 2021, namely that it took them a while to get going, but Tyler Jr. made sure that Utah State wouldn’t suffer a shocking fate. He handled a career-high 33 carries and ran for 162 yards, chipping in two receptions for 33 yards, as well, with a first-half fumble being the only real blemish in his overall performance. Maybe it was an up-and-down performance, but USU may have figured out they can win in more than one way this year.
1. Wyoming quarterback Andrew Peasley
Illinois looked like a team that could be much improved in the Big Ten West division after their romp over the Cowboys, but Wyoming looked similarly overmatched because Peasley never came close to getting on track. He overthrew a handful of receivers early, wouldn’t complete his first pass until early in the second quarter, and finished just 5-of-20 for 30 yards with an interception.
Things don’t get much easier for the Pokes from here, so they’ll have to figure out what’s wrong under center yet again if they hope to surprise some people later in the fall.
2. Hawaii’s defense
The braddahhood took one on the chin to start the Timmy Chang era, allowing Vanderbilt to rack up 601 yards of total offense at 8.3 yards per play in the Warriors’ most lopsided loss since 2016. What looked particularly troubling is that the Commodores often had little trouble creating explosive plays with its ground game — four different players had at least one run of 30 yards, but 12 explosive running plays added up to a whopping 302 yards — and Hawaii, in turn, offered little resistance with zero tackles for loss.
3. The clarity of Nevada’s quarterback situation
For as well as the defense played, neither of Shane Illingworth and Nate Cox offered much to suggest they deserved a longer look as Nevada’s starting quarterback. Illingworth got the start and finished 7-of-12 for 51 yards, while Cox came on in relief and completed 7-of-11 passes for 27 yards. The upside, at least, is that neither had any turnovers, but it’d be a shock if next week’s home opener against Texas State wasn’t utilized as another proving ground for both.