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Mountain West Conference News and Notes

10:39 AM, Sep 9, 2013   |    comments
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Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -

AIR FORCE: The Falcons opened up conference play over the weekend against Utah State, fell behind by two touchdowns less than four minutes in and were never able to recover as they suffered a 52-20 loss at home. The Falcons were paced by Jaleel Awini who, in his first career start at quarterback, threw for 61 yards and ran for a team-best 48 and a score before heading to the sidelines in the lopsided outing. Karson Roberts made an appearance under center, completing 2-of-4 passes for 47 yards and a score. Air Force generated just 162 yards on the ground, a far cry from their usual routine, finishing with only 270 yards of total offense while giving up a hefty 577 yards to the Aggies, one of the newest additions to the MWC. Next on the schedule for the Falcons is their first road game of the campaign, a trip to Boise State on Friday night. It will be just the second all-time meeting between the programs, with Air Force coming up a bit short in a 37-26 final two years ago.

BOISE STATE: After being embarrassed in the season opener at Washington, the Broncos returned the favor when they crushed visiting UT Martin over the weekend, 63-14. Although there were still moments when the offense appeared a bit shaky under his command, quarterback Joe Southwick carried the load for the Broncos as he threw for 234 yards and five touchdowns in the romp. Running back Jay Ajayi added a team-best 80 rushing yards and two more scores on the ground for Boise State as the team generated 220 net rushing yards and 472 yards overall in the onslaught. The defense did permit 362 yards to the Skyhawks, but the visitors balanced that out by burning themselves with 10 penalties which cost them 102 yards. Shane Williams-Rhodes accounted for 186 all-purpose yards, including 89 yards, leading to two touchdowns on seven receptions for the Broncos. The Broncos, who received three votes in the latest AP poll, are back at home this coming week and have one less day to prepare for their MWC opener versus Air Force. Boise State won the first and only meeting between the squads back in 2011 by a score of 37-26.

COLORADO STATE: The Rams went down to the wire against Tulsa on Saturday, watching a 10-point, fourth-quarter lead end up being a 30-27 setback when the Golden Hurricane knocked through a 34-yard field goal at the end of regulation. Garrett Grayson struggled at quarterback for CSU as he completed only 12 of his 29 pass attempts for 108 yards, 52 of those coming on one play, resulting in a pair of touchdowns and a couple of interceptions. Colorado State ran just 64 plays, generating only 286 yards, compared to 427 yards for Tulsa. Now 0-2 on the campaign, the Rams registered a mere nine first downs. For the first of back-to-back games against first-time opponents, the Rams host Cal Poly in their home opener this coming weekend before traveling to challenge the top program in the nation in Alabama on Sept. 21.

FRESNO STATE: After surviving an overtime thriller against visiting Rutgers in the opener, the Bulldogs made it easy on themselves on Saturday as they delivered a 41-25 win over Cal Poly which wasn't nearly as close as the final score might indicate. Isaiah Burse starred for Fresno State as he became just the second player in school history to return a pair of punts for touchdowns in one game, finding the end zone on returns of 61 and 58 yards in the first and second quarters, respectively. Burse was a huge reason why the Bulldogs led by a 34-0 score at the break and were able to take their foot off the gas in the second half. Derek Carr didn't finish the game, but he did play long enough to complete 22-of-31 passes for 205 yards and three touchdowns. The Bulldogs hit the road for the first time in 2013 this coming weekend as they drop in on the Colorado Buffaloes in Boulder. The teams met up last season in California and FSU devastated the visitors in a lopsided 69-14 final in the third game of the campaign.

HAWAII: For the second week in a row, the Rainbow Warriors were pitted against an opponent from the Pac-12 Conference and for the second time Hawaii took another loss as the Oregon State Beavers delivered a 33-14 victory on the mainland this past Saturday. The Warriors managed to have the game tied at intermission, 14-14, thanks to a 23-yard interception for a touchdown by Julian Gener and a 15-yard scoring pass from Taylor Graham to Clark Evans. Unfortunately, the offense for Hawaii was nowhere to be found after the break as the team punted three times, was caught for a safety and tossed an interception. Graham hit on 10-of-20 passes for 95 yards and a score, but was sacked three times, while backup Sean Schroeder went 8-of-12 for another 75 yards and a pick. The Rainbow Warriors catch an early break in the schedule and will be idle this week, giving them additional time to prepare for a meeting at Nevada on Sept. 21, the MWC opener.

NEVADA: The Wolf Pack matched up with a team from California for the second time in as many games and this time Nevada came out on top of a 36-7 final versus UC Davis at home in Reno. Quarterback Cody Fajardo led the way as he completed all but three of his 21 pass attempts, leading to 239 yards and two scores, while adding another TD on the ground. Kendall Brock picked up a game- high 116 yards on 27 rushing attempts, culminating with a pair of scores. Richy Turner caught six balls for a game-high 136 yards and a score as well for the Pack as they evened their record at 1-1. Nevada generated a hefty 535 yards of offense, while limiting the Aggies to just 296 yards and 39 fewer offensive plays. The Pack heads to the other side of the country this coming weekend to do battle with the Florida State Seminoles in the first-ever meeting between the schools on the football field.

NEW MEXICO: A dramatic defensive stand in overtime, limiting Texas-El Paso from gaining a first down by barely an inch, preserved a 42-35 win for New Mexico on Saturday. The Lobos had lost 15 straight games played in the Lone Star State, but Kasey Carrier made sure that wouldn't happen again as he ran for 291 yards and four touchdowns on 41 attempts. The yardage total for Carrier was second only to the 338 he logged versus Air Force last season when he averaged 122.4 ypg to rank 12th in the nation. UNM finished with 395 yards and a total of six scores on the ground, the other two coming from quarterback Clayton Mitchem who hit on 4-of-7 passes for 88 yards through the air. Despite keeping the ball on the ground almost exclusively, the Lobos managed to run just 64 plays and converted only 3-of-9 on third down in the matchup. For the second time in three weeks, the Lobos are set to clash with a first-time foe on Saturday as they pay a visit to the Keystone State in order to battle the Pittsburgh Panthers.

SAN DIEGO STATE: Playing in front of nearly 105,000 in Columbus, the Aztecs stood little chance of shaking up third-ranked Ohio State and ended up with an unsightly 42-7 setback. San Diego State, which generated just 280 yards of total offense and gave up 445 yards, even while sending star OSU quarterback Braxton Miller out of the game early with an injury, has now opened 2013 with back-to-back defeats in which it has been outscored by a combined 82-26. Quarterback Quinn Kaehler came off the bench for the Aztecs and converted 22- of-36 passes for 216 yards and a score, but he was also intercepted once after coming in for Adam Dingwell who missed on all five of his pass attempts and tossed a pick. The Aztecs finished the meeting with a mere 64 net rushing yards on 27 attempts. After traveling almost across the country for their meeting with Ohio State, the Aztecs have earned themselves a little time off and won't be back in action until Sept. 21 when they host Oregon State.

SAN JOSE STATE: Against fifth-ranked Stanford in a game that pays tribute to former coach Bill Walsh, the Spartans more than had their hands full as they suffered a 34-13 setback on the road this past Saturday. The loss for SJSU snapped its eight-game win streak, one of the longest runs in college football. Quarterback David Fales had his troubles in the pocket as he completed 29-of-43 passes for 216 yards and a score, but he was picked off once and sacked four times. A more pressing issue for the Spartans was a complete lack of a ground attack, the team netting only 35 yards on 23 rushing attempts. While SJSU was able to convert just 3-of-12 on third down, Stanford failed on just three of 15 such attempts as it generated 404 yards of total offense in the meeting. With their first road game behind them, the Spartans now take some time off before really putting on the miles during their visit to Minnesota on Sept. 21.

UNLV: Quarterback Nick Sherry had three of his passes go for touchdowns on Saturday, unfortunately two of those were interceptions returned by Arizona in a 58-13 rout at Sam Boyd Stadium. Sherry completed just 6-of-22 passes for 111 yards and was pulled at the half in favor of Caleb Herring who converted just 3-of-5 for another 14 yards and was sacked once during the onslaught. Sherry did have a 69-yard TD pass to Devante Davis in the opening moments of the second quarter, but the PAT never got off the ground, a sign of things to come for a UNLV squad that trailed 45-6 at the break. On a more positive note, Tim Cornett's 62 rushing yards on 15 attempts gives him 2,591 yards for his career which moves him to fourth on the school's all-time rushing list. Cornett is also seventh in all-purpose yards at UNLV with 3,442. For the second of three straight home games, the Rebels settle in to host Central Michigan this weekend. UNLV leads the all-time series by a count of 2-1, thanks in part to a massive 52-24 blowout win in the most recent encounter back in 1994.

UTAH STATE: Chuckie Keeton tied his own school record with five passing touchdowns as the Aggies made quick work of the Air Force Falcons, 52-20, in Mountain West Conference action at Falcon Stadium over the weekend. Keeton finished the outing 32-of-40 for 360 yards, setting a new personal high for completed passes in the process. Travis Van Leeuwen reeled in six of those passes for a game-high 70 yards and a score for the Aggies, as they gave new head coach Matt Wells his first victory. Utah State generated 577 yards of total offense, averaging 6.7 yards on 86 plays, while limiting the Falcons to just 270 yards. With the victory, the Aggies extended their school record of consecutive conference wins to 12. The Aggies have been challenged to play four of their first five games of the season on the road, but this coming weekend they finally get to play in front of the hometown fans as they host in-state rival Weber State. USU has won all but one of the 13 meetings between the squads, whipping up on the Wildcats in the most recent matchup two season ago, 54-17.

WYOMING: The Cowboys rebounded from a heart-breaking loss in the first week of the 2013 campaign with a resounding 42-10 stomping of Idaho in the home opener on Saturday. After a scoreless first quarter, Wyoming quarterback Brett Smith put the Pokes on track for 42 unanswered points over the next two periods, eventually finishing the meeting 22-of-38 for 295 yards and four touchdowns through the air, as well as another 64 yards rushing in order to offset an interception and two sacks along the way. Wyoming generated 564 yards of total offense and held the Vandals to just 344 yards, even though the visitors ran one more offensive play (79) than the Cowboys. Smith, now responsible for 72 touchdowns in his 25 career games with Wyoming, continues to move up the all- time career charts in Laramie. The Cowboys are heading out on the highway again this weekend as they take on Northern Colorado. According to Wyoming sources, the Pokes own a record of 17-5-3 in the relationship, but the teams have not played each other since the Cowboys delivered a historic beating, 103-0, back in 1949.

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