The past week brought a mix of both exhilarating moments and disappointing outcomes in Mountain West football. With conference play in full swing on Friday and Saturday, it turned out that college football and the spooky season had more in common than one might have expected. Across six intense Mountain West matchups, four games were decided by eight points or less, keeping fans and enthusiasts on the edge of their seats throughout the weekend.
There is more to come as the season looks to be unfolding. There will be wins and upsets, as football teams from different conferences try to outdo each other. It could be a good season for football betting, especially for those living in states where sports betting and gambling are legal. Michigan State is one of those states with legalized online casinos where residents can bet on football matches and enjoy full-length online casino games.
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So, who’s celebrating and who’s dealing with the post-game horrors? Let’s take a look at the winners and losers from Week 7 of Mountain West football.
Any doubts about the Falcons’ dominance in the Mountain West were put to rest last Saturday with their hard-fought 34-27 victory against Wyoming, their toughest opponent yet. Despite falling behind 14-0 in the first quarter, Air Force rallied with five consecutive scoring drives. A game-changing 58-yard touchdown by John Lee Eldridge III secured the lead with just two minutes remaining. As one of two undefeated teams in the Mountain West, Air Force controls its destiny heading into the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy round-robin next Saturday, marking an impressive ascent for Troy Calhoun’s cadets.
UNLV had a satisfying victory by defeating their rival, Nevada Wolf Pack, 45-27 on Saturday. This marked only the second time since 2005 that UNLV secured back-to-back wins in the Silver State clash. Donovyn Lester shone with remarkable touchdown runs, Jayden Maiava delivered a standout performance, and the defense played a pivotal role, resulting in a significant Fremont Cannon victory.
Colorado State celebrated a historic win, beating Boise State 31-30 with a dramatic comeback. Overcoming deficits of 17-0 and 30-10, the Rams’ defense stepped up, and the offense improved significantly. Whether it signifies a turning point under coach Jay Norvell is uncertain, but their effectiveness under pressure is evident, with a 2-1 record in close games this year. Fans in Fort Collins will remember this victory for a long time.
Conversely, the blue and orange faithful might have different views. The two-quarterback strategy didn’t yield the same results as it did against San Jose State in Week 6. Maddux Madsen and Taylen Green combined for 16-of-25 passing with 140 yards and two interceptions. While Ashton Jeanty had another outstanding performance with 254 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns, the Broncos’ offense seemed to lack consistently reliable options beyond him and Jonah Dalmas.
However, the defense was a different story. Despite holding Colorado State to five three-and-outs in their first six possessions, they struggled to contain Brayden Fowler-Nicolosi down the stretch. He completed 11 of his last 17 attempts, including four explosive pass plays totaling 116 yards and three touchdowns in the final six minutes. It was another sign of systemic issues we haven’t seen before in Boise, with ten missed tackles. Addressing these issues may be a challenge for the coaching staff as they aim to salvage the 2023 campaign.
Hawaii head coach Timmy Chang
In a tough spot, facing a ten-point deficit at the opponent’s 30-yard line with just one minute left, the choice is whether to go for a touchdown or settle for a field goal and hope for a fortunate bounce. Coach Chang opted for the latter, and while Matthew Shipley made a 47-yard field goal, Hawaii never regained possession and suffered a 41-34 home loss to San Diego State.
Chang expressed regret over his decision in the post-game press conference, but opinions on social media were divided. Some questioned the decision to kick on second down, especially after quarterback Brayden Schager completed consecutive 17- and 21-yard passes. This scenario highlights the challenging decisions a head coach often faces.
New Mexico defensive coordinator Troy Reffett
Replacing Rocky Long and the defensive talent lost through the transfer portal was always going to be a tough task. However, it appears that the Lobos are struggling to progress after a 52-24 defeat by San Jose State.
The Spartans averaged 10.8 yards per play, the highest by a New Mexico opponent since 2016, thanks to 15 explosive plays totaling a staggering 472 yards. Additionally, two defensive holding and two pass interference calls compounded their problems. Unless they find answers quickly, the bounceback anticipated by UNM supporters may not materialize this fall.