Mountain West Football: Week 3 Winners And Losers
We take a look at the Mountain West’s winners and losers from Week 3 of college football.
Encouragements and letdowns from the week that was.
Week 3 was definitely a mixed bag for the Mountain West at large, with just four non-conference victories among eight contests altogether, though it wasn’t without high drama of all kinds. What does that mean for who stands among the week’s biggest winners and losers from Friday and Saturday? Find out below.
If there was any doubt that the Cowboys had put their season-opening flop behind them, Craig Bohl’s men in brown and gold erased it on Friday night with a stunning 17-14 victory in Laramie over Air Force.
They did it, by and large, through limiting big plays that the Falcons had found so easily against Northern Iowa and Colorado, holding Air Force to five chunk plays totaling 120 yards. Tim Polasek’s much-criticized offense also had its best overall performance of the season to date, averaging 5.9 yards per play. Andrew Peasley had a couple of big throws in the fourth quarter, on what would prove to be the game-deciding drive, while Titus Swen put the ground game on his back with 102 yards and the decisive touchdown on 19 carries.
While next week’s contest at BYU won’t be an easy one, things all of a sudden line up for Wyoming to make a serious run at the division title, with San Jose State, New Mexico, Utah State, and Hawaii lined up for October.
2. UNLV quarterback Doug Brumfield
There’s a signal-caller blossoming right before our eyes out in the desert, as Brumfield put together another quality performance in the Rebels’ 58-27 win over North Texas on Saturday.
He became the first UNLV quarterback to run for at least 100 yards and throw for at least 200 since Armani Rogers in 2017 and, in addition, enabled the Rebels offense to put up its most points against a FBS opponent since the fabled triple-overtime contest against Wyoming in 2016. Has UNLV finally solved its long-standing quarterback concerns? After three games, it certainly looks like it.
3. Hawaii head coach Timmy Chang
It may have taken a little longer than he would’ve liked, but Chang finally notched his first win as a head coach with a 24-14 decision over Duquesne late on Saturday.
The Dukes made the Warriors work for it, outgaining the home team by nearly a two-to-one margin in terms of total offense, but running back Dedrick Parson paved the way with two first-half touchdowns while the defense shut the door late with three second-half interceptions, including a Penei Pavihi pick-six that sealed the win. It wasn’t perfect, but it’ll be a memory that Chang and his braddahhood can build upon.
That the Iowa Hawkeyes put the Wolf Pack in a proverbial sleeper hold on Saturday, winning handily by a 27-0 margin, wasn’t altogether surprising. That it took over seven hours to finish the game because of lightning delays adds at least a mild bit of insult to injury, though.
Nevada’s defense battled hard, compiling three sacks and five tackles for loss while allowing just 5.5 yards per play, but the offense also took a step backwards after last week’s showing against Incarnate Word, averaging a meager 2.4 yards per play. There may not be many huge takeaways from that against a very strong Iowa defense, but now that the book has been closed on non-conference play, no one can be quite sure of what to expect from the Pack going forward.
2. San Diego State’s quarterback situation
Are the Aztecs back to square one once again at football’s most important position? Three different plays threw a pass in San Diego State’s ugly 35-7 loss to Utah: Braxton Burmeister struggled before getting knocked out of the game with yet another injury, then Will Haskell only saw the field for one series before giving way to Kyle Crum, who played about as well as you’d expect a true freshman to play against that kind of defense.
In all, the trio combined to complete just 7-of-21 passes for 60 yards with one touchdown and one interception. It’s the third straight season the Aztecs have had at least one game with that few passing yards (perhaps not coincidentally, that includes last year’s game against the Utes, too), so it’s anyone’s guess what the offense looks like from here.
3. Boise State fans
Yes, the Broncos offense was mostly pedestrian in their 30-7 win over UT Martin on Saturday afternoon, but one of the more eyebrow-raising developments of the weekend revolved around the reaction to Hank Bachmeier being replaced by Taylen Green. The cheers were visceral enough to Bachmeier’s peers that at least one other player, safety JL Skinner, called out those in attendance for it, so it’s hard to argue that it didn’t mar what was otherwise a good day at the office for Andy Avalos’s team.