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September 21, 2009

MWC recap: Week three

The Mountain West Conference had another huge chance to make a statement over the weekend, but fell short in many of its marquee matches. In what was a disastrous week for the conference as a whole, the Mountain West went 4-5 in week three with three of its wins coming against lowly WAC and FCS teams. Utezone.com breaks down what happened in conference action over the weekend.

Mountain West Breakdown for Week Three
Air Force: 2-1 (Week three: W 37-13 at New Mexico)
Positives: Air Force welcomed a trip to New Mexico after dropping a heartbreaker to Minnesota last week. The Falcon offense clicked despite the fact that starting quarterback Tim Jefferson went down with an injury in the first quarter. Jon Davis was the star of the day, intercepting two passes and returning one for a touchdown.

Negatives: Air Force gets demerits for being the first defense to allow the Lobos to score an offensive touchdown this season.

Going forward: The Falcons return home to face San Diego State in another game that looks like an easy win.

BYU: 2-1 (Week three: L 54-28 vs. Florida State)
Positives: The Cougars are lucky they didn't give up 60 or more to the Seminoles. About the only thing that went right for BYU was the customary pregame prayer at Lavell Edwards Stadium.

Negatives: Where to start? The defense couldn't stop the run or the pass. The offense turned the ball over five times. The Cougars were punished and humiliated by the Seminoles from the opening kick. After that performance, any BCS aspirations BYU had have gone up in smoke.

Going forward: BYU hosts Colorado State on Saturday in their conference opener.

Colorado State: 3-0 (Week three: W 35-20 vs. Nevada)
Positives: The Rams are doing their job, beating the teams that they are supposed to beat. The defense came up huge for the Rams yet again, forcing five Nevada turnovers, including two in Colorado State territory. Quarterback Grant Stucker has continued to lead the offense with a steady hand, throwing for 165 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for 52 yards and a touchdown.

Negatives: The game could have been much closer than it was. Although the defense came up huge with five turnovers, they also allowed 420 yards of total offense and over 50% third down conversions.

Going forward: The Rams travel to BYU in what will easily be their first real test of the season. If Colorado State comes out of Provo with a win, the rest of the conference will need to pay attention.

New Mexico: 0-3 (Week two: L 37-13 vs. Air Force)
Positives: Sophomore running back James Wright was electric, rushing for 126 on only five carries and scoring the Lobos' first and only two offensive touchdown of the season.

Negatives: Despite Wright's performance, New Mexico still has major issues on offense. Quarterback Donovan Proterie was pulled after throwing a pick six in the first quarter. Backup B.R. Holbrook wasn't much better, throwing two interceptionsof his own.

Going forward: The Lobos host New Mexico State this week in what may be one of the few games this season they have a chance tp win.

San Diego State: 1-2 (Week three: L 34-20 @ Idaho)
Positives: There is nothing positive about being dominated by Idaho, a perrenial WAC doormat. If it wasn't for two long field goals by kicker Lane Yoshida, the score would have been even more lopsided.

Negatives: The Aztecs look like they're in a three way race with New Mexico and Wyoming to see who can be the worst team in the conference. The Vandals outrushed San Diego State 147-55.

Going forward: San Diego State travels to Colorado Springs on Saturday to get pummeled by Air Force.

TCU: 2-0 (Week three: W 56-21 vs. Texas State)
Positives: The Horned Frogs struggled early on, but still managed to destroy the FCS Bobcats. Jerry Hughes was awesome, recording three sacks on the day. On the offensive side of the ball, Joseph Turner scored three touchdowns and rushed for 129 yards.

Negatives: Texas State gave TCU more of a fight than what many expected. The 21 points allowed by the TCU defense mar what is otherwise a solid win.

Going forward: The Frogs travel to Clemson for a must-win game if the team has any BCS aspirations.

UNLV: 2-1 (Week three: W 34-33 vs. Hawaii)
Positives: The Rebels beat a scrappy Hawaii team in a shootout on a last-second touchdown catch by Phillip Payne. Quarterback Omar Clayton came up big when the Rebels needed him, throwing for 340 yards and three touchdowns.

Negatives: Defense may be the achilles heel of this squad. The UNLV pass defense was awful, giving up 477 passing yards to Hawaii quarterback Greg Alexander.

Going forward: UNLV travels to Wyoming in a very winnable conference opener.

Utah: 2-1 (Week three: L 31-24 @ Oregon)
Positives: The most positive aspect of the loss is that Utah didn't give up after falling behind 21-7 at the half. Safety Robert Johnson's fumble return for a touchdown and interception in the end zone were huge plays that kept the Utes in it until the end.

Negatives: Miscues, especially on the offense and special teams, cost the Utes in what was a very winnable game. Utah's offensive struggles are a concern that needs to be addressed quickly if the Utes want to contend for a conference title.

Going forward: Utah hosts Louisville from the Big East conference in a battle that could set the tone for the rest of the season.

Wyoming: 1-2 (Week three: L 24-0 @ Colorado)
Positives: Not much went right for the Cowboys, as they got blown out by a terrible Colorado team.

Negatives: Wyoming once again failed to move the ball, this time against a defense that had given up 77 points in its first two games. The Cowboys' offensive woes are going to make this a long season in Laramie.

Going forward: The Cowboys get no rest as they host upstart UNLV this Saturday.



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