AROUND THE MOUNTAIN WEST
- Mountain West league play opens this week with Air Force hosting Utah State on Friday at 6 p.m. CT on CBS Sports Network. The other 10 MW squads are in action Saturday, with seven of them facing Autonomous 5 opponents, four of which are nationally ranked.
- Air Force will put its seven-game winning streak on the line when it welcomes the Aggies. Dating back to last season, the Falcons have held three of their last six opponents to just three points and are looking to win their league opener for the first time since 2016, when they coincidentally beat Utah State, 27-20. Air Force topped Sam Houston in Week 2, 13-3, holding the Bearkats to just 80 yards of total offense and six first downs. Inside linebacker Alec Mock totaled 11 tackles to earn MW Defensive Player of the Week honors and placekicker Matthew Dapore hit a pair of 42-yard field goals and kicked an extra point in being named the MW Special Teams Player of the Week.
- Utah State, whose only loss so far has come at the hands of a ranked Iowa squad, put on an offensive clinic in its 78-28 win over Idaho State in Week 2. The Aggies’ 78 points scored were the fourth-most in school history and most since a 136-0 win over Idaho State in 1919, while their 44 second-quarter points were program and MW records. Quarterbacks Cooper Legas and Levi Williams threw for two TDs apiece, while Davon Booth rushed for a pair of scores and Terrell Vaughn had two TD catches. Robert Briggs Jr. ran for 101 yards and a score, while Ike Larson (47 yards) and Jaiden Francois (75 yards) both returned interceptions for touchdowns. Utah State last won its MW opener in 2021, when it topped Air Force 49-45 on the road, and is 7-3 all-time in its MW season debut.
- Wyoming, which opened its season with a win over No. 24 Texas Tech, takes on another ranked foe from the Lone Star State when it visits No. 6/4 Texas on Saturday. The Cowboys moved to 2-0 on the season with their 31-17 win over Portland State in Week 2, with quarterback Andrew Peasley going 11-for-16 for 201 yards and a career-best three touchdowns through the air. Junior wide receiver Ayir Asante was on the receiving end of two of those TD passes, his first in a Cowboy uniform, and finished with 78 yards on two catches. Preseason All-American placekicker John Hoyland booted a 56-yard field goal for the second straight week, again tying for the third-longest kick in MW history. He has two of the six longest field goals in the FBS so far this season.
- Hawai‘i will face its third Autonomous 5 program of the season when it visits No. 13/13 Oregon on Saturday. The Rainbow Warriors, who opened their season with games against Vanderbilt and Stanford, earned their first win of the season with their 31-20 victory over Albany in Week 2. Junior quarterback Brayden Schager threw for 266 yards and a career-high four touchdown passes, extending his streak of games with at least one TD pass to 12 straight. Wide receiver Steven McBride had a game-high seven catches for 72 yards and two TDs, giving him scoring catches in each of his first three games for Hawai‘i. McBride has a MW-best five TD catches so far this season, which ranks second in the FBS.
- San Diego State will look to bounce back from its first loss of the season when it visits No. 17/16 Oregon State on Saturday. The Aztecs, who fell 35-10 to UCLA in Week 2, will hit the road for the first time this season when they take on their second straight Pac-12 opponent. The score was level at seven points apiece after the first quarter on Jalen Mayden’s 21-yard touchdown pass to Mekhi Shaw, but that was the last time the Aztecs would find the end zone on the day. Jack Browning added a 44-yard field goal in the second quarter in the setback. Linebacker Zyrus Fiaseu had a monster day on defense with 12 tackles, including eight solo stops, 2.5 tackles for loss, one sack, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.
- Colorado State was idle last week after opening its season with a 50-24 setback to Washington State in Week 1. The Rams face another Pac-12 squad this week when they head to Boulder for a showdown against No. 21/18 Colorado, with ESPN College GameDay and Fox’s Big Noon Kickoff both in town ahead of the contest. In CSU’s season-opener, Jordan Noyes kicked a 38-yard field goal in the first quarter and Kobe Johnson added a 98-yard kickoff return for a score early in the fourth quarter. Redshirt freshman quarterback Brayden Fowler-Nicolosi added TD passes of 75 and 20 yards later in the fourth and will get the start against the Buffaloes.
- Boise State gets Saturday’s schedule underway with a 10 a.m. MT kick against North Dakota. The Broncos suffered an 18-16 setback to UCF in Week 2. The Knights kicked a 40-yard field goal as time expired to rally for the win. BSU sophomore tailback Ashton Jeanty had a career-best 212 all-purpose yards, rushing 24 times for 115 yards and adding five catches for 97 yards and a TD. Redshirt freshman quarterback Maddux Madsen was 5-for-8 for 67 yards and a score in relief of Taylen Green, while senior placekicker Jonah Dalmas converted a 56-yard field goal in the second quarter, matching the program record set in 1985 and tying for the third-longest kick in MW history.
- After dropping a 35-7 decision at No. 2/2 Michigan in Week 2, UNLV returns home to host Vanderbilt this weekend. The last time the Rebels faced an SEC squad was in 2019, when UNLV downed Vanderbilt 34-10 on the road. Playing in front of 109,482 fans, the Rebels avoided the shutout in the Big House in Week 2 on Jordan Younge-Humphrey’s 20-yard TD scamper with 2:43 left in the game. Cameron Oliver and Marsel McDuffie shared game-high honors with nine tackles apiece, with Oliver picking up UNLV’s only tackle for loss.
- In front of a sellout crowd, Fresno State opened its home slate with a 34-31 double-overtime win over Eastern Washington in Week 2 to run its winning streak to 11 games. After the squads swapped touchdowns in the first overtime, Dylan Lynch hit a 25-yard field goal to put the Bulldogs on top in 2OT and linebacker Levelle Bailey ended the game by intercepting the Eagles’ first pass of their second extra possession. Fresno State, riding the longest winning streak in the Mountain West since San Diego State won 13 straight spanning the 2015 and 2016 campaigns, has the second-longest active winning streak in the FBS, trailing only Georgia’s current 19-game run. Fresno State’s streak will be put to the test Saturday at Arizona State. The Bulldogs won the last meeting between the squads, downing the Sun Devils in the 2018 Las Vegas Bowl, 31-20.
- Nevada welcomes Kansas, its second Autonomous 5 opponent of the 2023 campaign, for its first night game of the season Saturday. The Wolf Pack, which opened the season against No. 6/6 USC, dropped a 33-6 decision to Idaho in its home opener in Week 2 to see its current losing streak dip to 12 games. Placekicker Brandon Talton connected on field goals of 29 and 44 yards against the Vandals, extending his MW record 70 for his career and moving within three of Nevada’s career record.
- New Mexico rolled to a 56-10 win over Tennessee Tech in Week 2, with quarterback Dylan Hopkins going 13-for-17 for 273 yards and four touchdowns in just three quarters of work, earning MW Offensive Player of the Week honors. Running back Jacory Croskey-Merritt had a big game of his own with 162 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns, both of which were career highs. UNM rolled up 587 yards of total offense, splitting it nearly evenly with 291 through the air and 296 on the ground. The victory snapped a 10-game losing streak for the Lobos, who host New Mexico State on Saturday.
- San José State heads to Toledo on Saturday looking to even its record at 2-2 after earning its first win of the season with a 59-3 victory over Cal Poly in Week 2. The Spartans, who earned their first win by 50 or more points since 1988, turned in their largest victory margin since topping University of Mexico 103-0 in 1949. Quarterback Chevan Cordeiro was 15-for-21 for 205 yards and two touchdowns against the Mustangs and enters Saturday’s contest with 9,973 career passing yards, good for sixth in MW history. Wide receiver Matthew Coleman earned MW Special Teams Player of the Week honors after returning a punt 75 yards for a score and making three catches for 20 yards.
- Three Mountain West programs are receiving votes in the AFCA Coaches Poll: Fresno State (21 points), Wyoming (six) and Air Force (five). Fresno State (two) and Wyoming (one) also received votes in the Associated Press Top 25.
|Friday, Sept. 15||Time||Network|
|Utah State at Air Force*||6 p.m. MT||CBS Sports Network|
|Saturday, Sept. 16||Time||Network|
|North Dakota at Boise State||10 a.m. MT||FS1|
|San Diego State at No. 17/16 Oregon State||12:30 p.m. PT||FS1|
|Vanderbilt at UNLV||4 p.m. PT||CBS Sports Network|
|Hawai‘i at No. 13/13 Oregon||5 p.m. PT||Pac-12 Networks|
|San José State at Toledo||7 p.m. ET||ESPN+|
|New Mexico State at New Mexico||6 p.m. MT||Mountain West Network|
|Wyoming at No. 6/4 Texas||7 p.m. CT||Longhorn Network|
|Colorado State at No. 21/18 Colorado||8 p.m. MT||ESPN|
|Fresno State at Arizona State||7:30 p.m. MST||FS1|
|Kansas at Nevada||7:30 p.m. PT||CBS Sports Network|