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.