The Ins and Outs of the Mountain West Conference (MWC)


 

Heading into week 3 of the 2010 NCAA Football Season and there are a few good games going on this weekend.  Before I get into that let me first get a recap of what happened in week 2. 

For the past 35 weeks there have been at least 2 schools from the MWC to be ranked in the Top 25 poll. Entering today TCU is ranked 5th and Utah is ranked 14th. With these ranks the MWC joins the Big 12, Big Ten, SEC as the only conferences to have at least 2 schools represented in the Top 25.  In 2010, the MWC is currently one of five conferences with multiple schools in both the associated press and the coaches’ poll. 

The Utah Utes currently hold a 19 game home winning streak with TCU winning 15 straight at Amon G. Carter Stadium.  By winning 19 straight the Utes have established a new MWC record, which was previously held by BYU back in 2008.  It is also the 3rd longest active home winning streak in the nation behind Boise State (26) and Oklahoma (32).

San Diego State University just snapped a 14 game non-conference road losing streak as well a 17 game losing streak on their initial road game with their road victory in week 2 against the New Mexico State Lobos. 

San Diego State has their first 2-0 start since 1994 and if what history says is true, past 10 of 11 seasons that they’ve started 2-0 the Aztecs have posted a winning record at seasons end.  The Aztecs have also scored 40 or more points in back to back games for the first time since 1996; if you’re counting it’s a span of 159 games.  While also putting up over 500 yards in back to back games, first time since 1995. Can we say this offense is rolling?

TCU’s Quarterback Andy Dalton leads the nation in career wins (31) which would be 4 more than Boise State’s quarterback Kellen Moore whose 2nd and VaTech’s Tyrod Taylor whose 3rd and 8 behind Dalton.  If and when Dalton gets 1 more victory he’ll tie with former BYU QB Max Hall as MWC’s most career victories by a starting Quarterback.  With that being said Dalton could also surpass Max Hall in total offensive yards as Dalton is only 2,492 yards away from breaking it. 

Here are some Week 2 standouts in the MWC

UTAH UTES

  • Chaz Walker (LB) tallied 16 total tackles vs UNLV
  • Matt Martinez (LB) came up with 12 total tackles vs UNLV

 

BYU COUGARS

  • Andrew Rich (DB) had a career high 14 tackles @ Air Force
  • Vic So’oto (DL) contributed with 11 tackles @ Air Force

 

WYOMING COWBOYS

  • Chris Prosinski (S) totaled 11 tackles (moved into 10th place all-time on Cowboys career tackles list) vs Texas Longhorns

 

TCU HORNED FROGS

  • Alex Ibiloye (S) had 3 forced fumbles (MWC record, and tied in the FBS record book currently held by 8 others)
  • Jason Teague (CB) Had his 3rd career int and his first ever pick-six

 

The freshman got game too and here are a few that stood out in week 2

San Diego State

  • Gavin Escobar (WR) – caught his 1st career TD on his 3rd career catch
  • Ronnie Hillman (RB) – rushed for 120 yards in the 2nd half to go along with 4 touchdowns (MWC freshmen single game high)

 

TCU

  • Josh Boyce (WR) – caught his 2nd career catch and his 1st career reception TD on a 24-yard reception
  • Wayman James (RB) – running for his 1st career TD on a 15 yard run

 

UNLV

  • Tim Hasson (DB) – returned a block punt 19 yards for a touchdown

 

Playing With Numbers

  • 7        TCU had 7 rushing touchdowns last week which tied for most in     a game in MWC history

 

  • 12      BYU has won its last 12 games when the game is decided by 8 points or less, and this is the longest active streak in the nation in one-possession games.

 

  • 17      TCU is 63-2 under Head Coach Patterson when holding opponents under 17 points

 

  • 33      TCU has won 33 consecutive games when they run for more yards than they do pass

 

  • 42      TCU has won 42 straight when rushing for at least 167 yards

 

  • 242     Colorado States Tony Drake finished last weeks game with 242 yards on kick-offs which set a new MWC record

 

And now for the week 3 match-ups for the MWC schools, and there are some good ones to watch this week. 

AIR FORCE @ (7) OKLAHOMA

Last meeting between these 2 schools happened back in 2001 and the Sooners dismantled the Falcons 44-3, lets hope for a closer outcome this time.  For the first time since 96’-98’ Air Force has beaten back to back ranked opponents and with its victory last week against BYU their getting some love on the AP and Coaches Poll.  Air Force plans to bring their nations leading rushing attack (423.0 yard per) with the motivation of them having shutting out their opponents in the 2nd half 55-0.  Under Coach Calhoun, Air Force is 20-1 when holding opponents under 20 points, can they do it this week? While the Sooners are 42-12 against non-conference opponents under Coach Stoops and have also won 32 straight games at home.  It’ll be a tough task for the Falcons as they try to beat a ranked opponent three straight weeks.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Air Force RB Asher Clark and Oklahoma RB DeMarco Murray

BYU @ FLORIDA STATE

BYU stood no chance in their meeting last year as the Seminoles romped the Cougars 54-28.  In this meeting BYU is hoping to change things around as they’ve fallen to 0-3 against the Seminoles and this will be their first ever trip to Tallahassee.  BYU has not allowed a sack in its first 2 games and has been a perfect 5 for 5 in the red zone.  On the Seminole side they enter a first year coach who’s spent the past 22 seasons as an assistant coach as well as the offensive coordinator, Coach Fisher is the legend Bowden’s successor.  Coming off an embarrassing lost to Oklahoma in week 2, the Seminoles will look a rebound behind their home field. 

PLAYERS TO WATCH: BYU – QB – Riley Nelson and FSU – QB – Christian Pondexter

COLORADO STATE @ MIAMI (OH)

Their last meeting was back in 2003 lead by one man named Ben Roethlisberger, who led Miami (OH) to a 41-21 victory.  Entering this game the Rams have lost 11 consecutive games, on the postive side has won four of its last seven NON-CONFERENCE GAMES.  Does this mean they can snap their current losing streak? Sure, anything is possible and if kick returner Tony Drake puts up another 242 kick return yards again they should be in good field position each possession.  Even though they have a losing streak, under Coach Fairchild they’re amongst the nations best in protecting the ball; an example being in 26 games under Fairchild they only lost 7 fumbles total.  Those Rams fans are hoping the streak ends this weekend but being that they’re ranked 120th in scoring offense; they must put points on the board and take advantage of good field position that’s given by Drake.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: CSU – QB – Pete Thomas and MIA (OH) – QB – Zac Dysert

BAYLOR @ (5) TCU

With its 62-7 victory last week, TCU now has a 15 game home winning streak and is ranked 8th in the nation in total defense; allowing 202.5 yards per game.  In their last meeting back in 2007 TCU defeated Baylor 27-0 and look for more of the same outcome. With one more victory TCU QB Andy Dalton will be in a first place tie with former BYU QB Max Hall for most wins by a starting QB in MWC. Baylor is off to their own 2-0 start, first since 2005, and if the Baylor Bears want to keep this up they need to make sure they have the lead at halftime as they’ve lost 25 of 26 games when they’re down at the half.  Key for Baylor is to score more than 30 points as there 24-2 since 2001 and 10-71 when they’re held under 30 points, so with TCU’s 8th ranked defense it might be a daunting task. This should be an exciting game and look for Dalton and TCU to take care of business at home. 

PLAYERS TO WATCH: TCU –QB- Andy Dalton / BAYLOR – QB – ROBERT GRIFFIN III

(3) BOISE STATE @ WYOMING

After a bye-week Boise State comes into this game fresh off their victory over VaTech and will continue to strive for that BCS championship bid.  Wyoming could be playing with heavy hearts for the remainder of the season because tragedy struck on September 6th as teammate Ruben Narcisse died in a car accident and the Cowboys will honor Ruben by wearing a helmet decal for the remainder of the season.  Wyoming has its worked cut out for them as Boise State is riding a 26-game-regular-season-winning streak.  History says this game stays close as their last meeting resulted in only a 10 point lost but to be able to contain Kellen Moore and their offense would be asking too much of the Cowboys; the Broncos have their eye on the prize and their not going to let Wyoming stand in their way. 

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

BOISE STATE –QB- Kellen Moore / WYOMING –QB- Austyn Carta-Samuels

UNLV @ IDAHO

For the second time in UNLV history they’ve opened up their season playing ranked teams in back to back games.  UNLV QB Clayton just needs 55 more yards to move into 4th place on UNLV’s all-time career passing list and looks to lead the Rebels to victory.  Back in 2005 was their last meeting and UNLV defeated Idaho 34-31.  Fellow Rebel DB Will Chandler has created three turnovers in two games thus far and their defense had its first TD on a blocked punt since 2008.  UNLV is going to have their hands full with Idaho’s passing offense if they’re looking for their first victory of the 2010 season.  Since 2008, on a year-to-year basis Idaho is second best behind only SMU on their wins and losses.  Currently ranked 12th in the nation in passing offense and 49th in total offense as well being 1st in the WAC in pass efficiency defense could turn into a mismatch for the Rebels.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: UNLV –QB-Omar Clayton / IDAHO –QB-Nathan Enderle

SAN DIEGO STATE @ (25) MISSOURI

The Aztecs enter this game fresh on their first 2-0 start since 1994.  Aztec RB Ronnie Hillman will have his work cut out for him in this match up as the Tigers have yet to allow a rushing TD, and Hillman is coming off a 4 TD performance last week.  If they can’t get it going on the ground look for the 14th best passing offense to take over, although it could be tough as Missouri is 13th in the nation in pass defense.  Missouri is currently on a 19 game winning streak against non-conference opponents and they look for this streak to continue.  Last time these two teams met was way back in 1980, and times changed but look for Missouri to stay undefeated against the San Diego State Aztecs.  Aztecs own the 6th best total offense in the nation while Missouri is the 25th best total defense, if Lindley and the Aztecs can get their passing game going this could turn into a high scoring affair.

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

SDSU –QB- Ryan Lindley and –RB- Ronnie Hillman / MIZZ –QB- Blaine Gabbert

(14) UTAH @ NEW MEXICO

The Utah Utes has won three straight in this series with a 45-14 victory last year.  In order for New Mexico to have any chance they’d have to score more than 14 points, what they failed to do the past 3 meetings.  The Utes are off to another impressive 2-0 start and they’re posting a 7-of-8 (88%) red-zone efficiency while with QB Wynn they’re a combined 25 for 26 in the red zone.  UNM QB B.R Holbrook set career highs last week against Texas Tech in passing yards (323) attempts (50), which still resulted in a 52-17 losing effort the Lobos look to rebound against the Utes.  Look for the Utah Utes to continue on their journey to perfection as their offense would be too much for the Lobos to handle behing QB Jordan Wynn, if Wynn is not playing the back-up QB Terrance Cain; who filled in nicely last week against UNLV, would continue to move this offense in the right direction.  

PLAYERS TO WATCH: UTAH –RB- Eddie Wide / UNM –QB- B.R Holbrook

Written by Brandon “Bee” Salamat @trugentleman808 on Twitter

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