Around the MWC

Oct 142003
Authors: Joshua Pilkington

All eight Mountain West teams face a conference opponent this

week, with Colorado State vs. Air Force, Thursday night on ESPN2

being pegged as the game of the week. With a win the Falcons would

move closer to a conference title, while a loss would make a tight

conference race, tighter.

Air Force (6-1, 3-0 Mountain West) at Colorado State (4-3, 1-1),

Thursday at 8 p.m. on ESPN2

Line: CSU by 5 1/2

Air Force rebounded from its first loss of the season – 28-25 to

Navy – with a convincing 24-7 win over UNLV in Colorado Springs.

The Falcons ride into Fort Collins leading the Mountain West in

interceptions with 10 and rushing offense (295.3 yards per game).

MWC tackle leader, Marchello Graddy with 75, garnered conference

defensive player of the week honors with 12 tackles and two sacks

against UNLV. His mission, along with the rest of the Falcons’

defense, will be to contain a Rams’ offense that ranks second in

the conference with 407.5 yards per game.

Brigham Young (3-4, 2-2) at Wyoming (2-4, 0-1) Saturday 4


Line: BYU by 1

After surrendering a record-high 58 points to the visiting CSU

Rams, the Cougars look to rebound against the MWC cellar-dwelling

Cowboys at War Memorial Stadium in Laramie, Wyo. Head coach Gary

Crowton said he plans to stick with freshman quarterback John Beck,

who has started the last four games in place of injured starter

Matt Berry. The Cougars lead the MWC in sacks with 19 meaning

Wyoming quarterback Casey Bramlet could spend a lot of time on his

back given the Cowboys’ pass-happy offense and poor passing


Wyoming head coach Joe Glenn led the Cowboys to a 48-21 victory

over Utah State in Logan, Utah and has confidence in team’s chances

against a confused Cougar team. Running back Derek Armah ran for a

career-high 123 yards in the win over Utah State, adding a ray of

hope to the conference’s worst rushing attack.

New Mexico Lobos (3-3, 0-1) at San Diego State (3-4, 0-2),

Saturday 6 p.m.

Line: New Mexico by 1

The Lobos come off their only bye week of the season ready to

face San Diego State at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. The Lobos

enter San Diego with the second best rushing attack in the

conference (171 yards per game) and should add to that total

against an Aztec defense allowing 190 rushing yards per game.

Lobos’ quarterback Casey Kelly, however, does not focus on the stat

sheet when evaluating the Aztecs’ defense.

“I think they run around on defense pretty well,” Kelly said. ”

They have some good athletes and they have always been a pretty

well coached team. Defensively, they look pretty tough and always

give us a close game.”

The Aztecs have experienced resurgence on offense with the

return of quarterback Adam Hall from an ankle sprain. Hall has

passed for 555 yards and three touchdowns in two games since

returning; that effort, however has not translated into conference


“One of the things we had hoped for is that we could stay fairly

free of injuries and that we’d be able to continue to improve,”

said head coach Tom Craft about the Aztecs’ inability to stay

healthy in his weekly press conference. “It’s not an excuse right

now-it’s just the situation we’re into.”

The Aztecs were blown out against Utah in Salt Lake City last

week 27-6, a game in which Craft said his team was


UNLV Rebels (4-2, 0-1) vs. Utah (5-1, 0-1), Saturday 12 p.m. on


Line: Utah by 2

The Rebels received their first loss of the season to Air Force

in Colorado Springs as the Falcons ran over UNLV’s defense with a

ground game the Rebels could not contain. Utah poses a similar

challenge with running back Brandon Warfield who leads the

conference in rushing with 733 yards on 164 carries. The Rebels

have lost their past seven games against Utah.

The Utes take their unblemished conference record to Las Vegas

looking to capitalize on a strong 27-6 over San Diego State last

week. Quarterback Alex Smith was named the MWC Offensive Player of

the Week after going 17-for-22 for 273 yards and three touchdowns

against the Aztecs. Smith has taken control of the Utes offense

since replacing injured starter Brett Elliott. In his four starts

Smith has led Utah to four victories, completing 77 of 108 passes

for 907 yards, seven touchdowns and no interceptions. His 71.2

completion percentage leads the conference.





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