AROUND THE MOUNTAIN WEST
- With two weeks to play in the regular season, five teams are within a game of first place in the Mountain West race.
- Four MW programs are bowl eligible and another four are still in contention to reach the threshold. Boise State and Utah State, both 5-5 overall, square off this Saturday, so one of them will join the ranks of bowl-eligible squads.
- Three MW squads are receiving votes in the national polls. UNLV and Fresno State are receiving votes in both the Associated Press and AFCA polls, while Air Force is receiving votes in the AFCA poll. Air Force and Fresno State have both appeared in the national rankings this year. The Falcons have been as high as No. 17 in both the AP and AFCA polls and were No. 25 in the initial College Football Playoff rankings. Fresno State has spent three weeks in the national rankings, topping out at No. 24.
- The MW has four wins over Autonomous 5 programs this season, the most of any G5 conference.
- The MW is one of six conferences (AAC, ACC, Big Ten, Pac-12, SEC) with at least three teams with two or fewer losses this season.
- The Mountain West has the No. 2 Schedule Strength Ranking among the Group of 5 conferences, according to SportSource.
- A first-place battle between Air Force and UNLV with major Mountain West Championship Game implications highlights the league’s Week 12 slate, which sees all 12 teams in action Saturday. The Falcons and Rebels are both 8-2 overall and 5-1 in MW play with two games to go in the regular season.
- San José State has won four straight games after an 0-2 MW start to keep its title-game hopes alive. The Spartans have outscored their last four opponents 171-63, handing Hawai‘i its first home shutout since 1998 and knocking off No. 25 Fresno State.
- Air Force Lieutenant General Richard M. Clark has been selected to succeed Bill Hancock as the executive director of the College Football Playoff.
- Boise State’s James Ferguson-Reynolds and San Diego State’s Jack Browning were both recently named semifinalists for the Ray Guy Award, which honors the nation’s top punter. Also last week, Fresno State’s Dylan Lynch, Hawai‘i’s Matthew Shipley and UNLV’s Jose Pizano were named semifinalists for the Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award, presented by the Orange Bowl.
- Two other MW players took steps closer to national postseason honors last week, with Colorado State tight end Dallin Holker named a semifinalist for the John Mackey Award (outstanding tight end) and UNLV receiver Ricky White III added to the Biletnikoff Award Watch List (outstanding receiver).
- Surging UNLV has won two straight and seven of its last eight. The Rebels continue to get solid play on offense and special teams. Quarterback Jayden Maiava earned his fourth MW Freshman of the Week citation Monday after accounting for three touchdowns in UNLV’s 34-14 win over Wyoming, while White had eight catches for 144 yards to push his season total to 1,028 yards. He is the first MW player to surpass 1,000 receiving yards this season and the first Rebel to do so since 2013. Pizano collected his third MW Special Teams Player of the Week honor after booting a pair of field goals and four extra points for a 10-point outing. Pizano is riding a streak of 17 consecutive field-goal makes and is tied for the UNLV program record with 21 overall this season. Maiava and Pizano have been honored by the MW in the same week on three occasions this season.
- At 8-2 overall, UNLV has reached eight wins for the first time since the 2000 squad went 8-5. The Rebels have not won nine games in a season since going 11-2 in 1984.
- Hawai‘i defeated league-leading Air Force by a 27-13 count in Week 11, holding the top rushing unit in the FBS to more than 80 yards below its seasonal average. Sophomore defensive back Peter Manuma played a big part in that effort, logging a career-high 12 tackles and his third interception of the season to pace the Rainbow Warriors and earn MW Defensive Player of the Week honors.
- Currently 8-2 overall, Air Force is aiming for a third straight 10-win season after going 10-3 in each of the previous two. The Falcons boast one of the top defenses in the FBS, ranking seventh in scoring defense (15.7 ppg), third in total defense (245.30), fifth in passing defense (159.30) and seventh in rushing defense (86.00).
- San José State earned a 42-18 win over No. 25 Fresno State in Week 11, with senior running back Kairee Robinson rushing 19 times for a career-high 200 yards and two touchdowns. Robinson, the reigning MW Offensive Player of the Week, has scored in a program-record nine straight games and has 15 rushing TDs on the season, matching the Spartans’ single-season record. With 17 total TDs and 33 for his career, he is two back of the program records for both single-season and career TDs. The Spartans wrap up their home slate Saturday against San Diego State as they look for their fifth straight win and bowl eligibility.
- With 13,102 total offense yards in his career, San José State senior quarterback Chevan Cordeiro is just 382 back of MW career leader Brett Rypein of Boise State, who logged 13,484 in his career from 2015-18.
- New Mexico’s Jacory Croskey-Merritt ran for a pair of TDs in a 42-14 loss to Boise State in Week 11, pushing his season total to 14, which ranks fourth in the FBS.
- Nevada senior Brandon Talton hit a 38-yard field goal in a 41-24 setback to Utah State in Week 11, extending his MW record to 79 career makes.
- Boise State senior Jonah Dalmas connected twice in the Broncos’ 42-14 win over New Mexico to push his career total to 71, good for second in MW history. Dalmas is the league’s career leader with an 87.7 career field-goal percentage.
- With a sack in Colorado State’s 22-19 win over San Diego State, CSU defensive end Mohamed Kamara moved into second in MW history with 29.0 for his career. He is five back of MW career leader Curtis Weaver of Boise State (2017-19).
- On Monday, San Diego State head coach Brady Hoke announced his retirement, effective at the end of the season.
- Boise State enters Saturday’s game against Utah State under the leadership of interim head coach Spencer Danielson, the Broncos’ defensive coordinator.
|Saturday, Nov. 18||Time||Network|
|Hawai‘i at Wyoming*||12 p.m. MT||Spectrum|
|Nevada at Colorado State*||1 p.m. MT||Mountain West Network|
|UNLV at Air Force*||1:30 p.m. MT||CBS Sports Network|
|Boise State at Utah State*||5 p.m. MT||CBS Sports Network|
|San Diego State at San José State*||7:30 p.m. PT||CBS Sports Network|
|New Mexico at Fresno State*||7:30 p.m. PT||FS1|