Mountain West Conference News and Notes

9:59 AM, Oct 14, 2013   |    comments
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Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -

AIR FORCE: The Falcons nearly pulled off a surprising win last Thursday night, even with their fourth different quarterback, but ended up suffering a late 27-20 home loss to San Diego State just the same. Nate Romine, who stepped in for an injured Karson Roberts, provided the Falcons with a 20-6 advantage in the fourth quarter, but then the Air Force defense bent too much, particularly in the last two minutes when the Aztecs scored the game-winning touchdown. Romine provided the Falcons with a decent aerial attack, consistently testing the SDSU secondary as he completed 5-of-11 passes for 111 yards and a score. Romine also scored once on the ground for the Falcons, yet the team generated just 169 yards on 49 rushing attempts overall. Antony LaCoste posted 109 yards on 22 carries, making him the fifth Air Force player to rush for at least 100 yards in a game this season, the only team in the nation to achieve the feat, while also tying a school record in that regard. The Falcons, losers of six straight since defeating Colgate in the season opener, take a break from the action this coming week before hosting Notre Dame in non-conference play on Oct. 26. Air Force bowed by a score of 59-33 in the most recent matchup two seasons ago, which means the all-time series now favors the Fighting Irish by a count of 22-5.

BOISE STATE: Considering Utah State was playing without its star quarterback last Saturday, the Broncos almost seemed lucky to get away with a 34-23 victory over the Aggies in Logan. Joe Southwick managed to throw for a career- high 335 yards and a pair of touchdowns, hitting on 30-of-44 passes for BSU as the team won a second straight outing and the fourth in the last five overall. Southwick was sacked twice and tossed a pair of interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown, so not all of his efforts were positive in the triumph. Shane Williams-Rhodes responded with a career-high 13 catches for 150 yards and a touchdown, while Jay Ajayi contributed another 109 yards and a score on the ground. The receptions total for Williams-Rhodes was the most for a BSU player since Tim Gilligan recorded 16 catches versus Louisiana Tech more than a decade ago. The Broncos make it back home this coming weekend to do battle with the Nevada Wolf Pack in Mountain West Conference play. Last season, BSU slipped by Nevada by a score of 27-21, which means the Broncos are ahead in the all-time series, 26-13.

COLORADO STATE: The Rams led 24-17 at the break versus San Jose State last Saturday, but the team then registered just a single field goal the rest of the way en route to a 34-27 setback at home. Garret Grayson converted 19-of-34 passes for 310 yards and three touchdowns, but also tossed a couple of interceptions as the team lost for the second time in the last three outings. Kivon Cartwright caught three passes for 91 yards and two scores, while Crockett Gillmore turned his team-best five receptions into 76 yards and a TD. Defensively, Cory James came up with a pair of sacks and a forced fumble on eight stops, while Max Morgan and Aaron Davis tallied 14 and 13 tackles, respectively. The Rams are set to hit the road this coming weekend, the first of back-to-back away dates, as they challenge the Wyoming Cowboys in Laramie. One of the longest running series in Colorado State football history, the Rams own a 54-44-5 edge over the Cowboys, but it was Wyoming that won last year's matchup, 45-31.

FRESNO STATE: The Bulldogs get back to playing football this coming weekend as they clash with the UNLV Rebels at home in Mountain West Conference play. The teams have not faced each other since 1997 when Fresno State captured a 46-28 win, pushing its lead in the all-time series to 11-4. Despite being idle last week the Bulldogs made significant advances in the AP rankings, jumping four spots to No. 17.

HAWAII: The Rainbow Warriors were back on the mainland last week, challenging the UNLV Rebels in MWC action and nearly completed an improbable comeback bid before falling at the end of regulation, 39-37. Trailing 36-17 early in the fourth quarter, Hawaii reeled off three straight touchdowns in a span of about seven minutes, but the visitors led by just one point late, giving the Rebels plenty of time to take the victory with a last-second field goal. Sean Schroeder converted 24-of-47 passes for 325 yards and four touchdowns, two of those scores going to Chris Gant who caught six balls for 102 yards. Steve Lakalaka, who scored a touchdown during the fourth-quarter rally, carried the ball 12 times for 48 yards as the Rainbow Warriors finished with just 129 yards on 26 attempts. The Rainbow Warriors, who are winless this season, head back to the islands for some time off before hosting the Colorado State Rams on Oct. 26. Hawaii lost the most recent meeting with CSU by a 42-27 score last season, which means the Rainbow Warriors trail the all-time series, 12-9.

NEVADA: The Wolf Pack is back on the road this coming weekend, heading to Idaho where it will clash with the Boise State Broncos in Mountain West Conference action on the blue turf. Nevada came up just short in the annual meeting last season, 27-21, which means the team trails in the all-time series by a count of 26-14. The Pack is in the midst of a stretch where it will play four of five games on the road, with the lone home date coming on Oct. 26 versus UNLV in a battle for the Fremont Cannon.

NEW MEXICO: Despite getting off to a slow start, scoring just three points in the first half, the Lobos made it rather exciting against Wyoming on the road this past Saturday, before bowing in a 38-31 final. Quarterback Cole Gautsche completed 11-of-21 passes for 156 yards and a score, and also led the team on the ground with 113 yards and a touchdown on 14 attempts, but the team still lost for the third time in the last four outings. Also picking up significant yardage on the ground for New Mexico was Casey Carrier who logged 104 yards on 25 attempts, the team coming away with 257 rushing yards in all. The UNM defense, which registered only a single sack, permitted 532 yards of total offense to the Cowboys. The Lobos head back to Albuquerque this weekend for a meeting against Utah State. The last matchup between the squads took place a decade ago, with UNM claiming a 34-7 victory in order to move to an 11-8 advantage in the all-time series.

SAN DIEGO STATE: The Aztecs pulled off a rare feat last Thursday night when they battled back from a sizeable deficit in the fourth quarter to defeat the Air Force Falcons in Colorado, 27-20. San Diego State entered the final period of the meeting trailing by 14 points, which means the program now has a record of just 2-151-1 when trailing by as many as two touchdowns in the fourth frame. Running back Donnel Pumphrey scored the game-winning TD on a 10-yard run with just 1:39 remaining in regulation, finishing the night with a game- high 117 yards on 17 carries. Quarterback Quinn Kaehler had a bit of a slow start, but ended up hitting 15-of-26 passes for 249 yards and three scores in the comeback victory, although the favorable outcome almost didn't happen after kicker Wes Feer missed a 37-yard field goal in the first quarter and also missed a PAT. Fellow kicker Seamus McMorrow had a PAT blocked in the fourth, a conversion that would have knotted the score at 20-20. After a busy couple of weeks the Aztecs are off until Oct. 26 when they host the Fresno State Bulldogs. San Diego State leads the all-time series, 27-21-4, but it was Fresno State that claimed a 52-40 win in the most recent meeting last season.

SAN JOSE STATE: David Fales threw for 431 yards and three touchdowns to lead the San Jose State Spartans over the Colorado State Rams, 34-27, in a Mountain West Conference showdown at Hughes Stadium over the weekend. Fales converted 28-of-35 pass attempts, was sacked twice and had one pass picked off in the victory. Tyler Winston caught eight passes for 151 yards and a score for the Spartans. Chandler Jones pulled in five balls for 96 yards and a touchdown, while Jarrod Lawson added three catches for 104 yards and a score. Lawson also led the rushing attack, carrying the ball 18 times for 98 yards and a TD as the Spartans won for the second time in as many games. San Jose State converted 11-of-18 third downs while holding CSU to just 3-of-10 in that department. The Spartans also dominated the time of possession, controlling the ball for nearly 37 minutes, compared to just 23 minutes for the Rams. Having been out on the road for four of their first six games, the Spartans have earned themselves a break and will be idle until Oct. 26 when they clash with Wyoming at home. SJSU trails in the all-time series by a count of 6-1, last facing the Cowboys in 1997 in a game that went to Wyoming in a 30-10 final.

UNLV: For the first time in more than a decade, the Rebels are enjoying a four-game win streak, thanks in part to their narrow 39-37 victory over Hawaii at Sam Boyd Stadium. UNLV owned a 36-17 advantage early in the fourth quarter before the defense surrendered three touchdowns in a span of just seven minutes, but all that did was set the stage for Nolan Kohorst's game-winning, 44-yard field goal as time expired. For Kohorst, who connected on all four of his field goal attempts, it was the first game-winning kick of his career as the team moved to 4-2 on the campaign. Caleb Herring connected on 34-of-57 passes for 385 yards and a score, surviving three sacks and an interception, as Marcus Sullivan reeled in 11 balls for 113 yards and Devante Davis generated 141 yards on eight receptions. Before tossing that one pick, Herring broke UNLV's record of consecutive pass attempts without an interception (183), tying the MWC mark as well. Running back Tim Cornett tacked on a game- high 162 yards and two touchdowns on 29 carries. The Rebels head to the Golden State this coming weekend to tangle with the Fresno State Bulldogs. The teams have not faced each other since 1997 when FSU delivered a 46-28 win over UNLV, which means the all-time series now numbers 11-4 in favor of the Bulldogs.

UTAH STATE: Without an injured Chuckie Keeton, the Aggies were bound to struggle against Boise State at home over the weekend, but still Utah State gave it a good effort as it bowed in a 34-23 decision. The setback was the second in a row and the third in the last four outings for an Aggies squad that also saw its conference winning streak snapped at a school-record 13 in a row. Craig Harrison made the start at quarterback and converted 7-of-17 passes for 105 yards, while being sacked twice. Backup Dare Garretson stepped in and hit on 9-of-14 passes for 116 yards and a score, but he too was sacked twice and had two attempts picked off. Travis Reynolds had a career-high 142 yards on five catches, and Jake Doughty registered a career-high 19 tackles. Also on defense, Nevin Lawson logged two interceptions, one of which he returned 65 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. The Aggies hit the road this coming week to battle the New Mexico Lobos in Albuquerque. The teams have not played each other since 2003 when the Lobos scored a 34-7 win to take an 11-8 advantage in the all-time series.

WYOMING: A pair of Cowboys ran for more than 100 yards this past Saturday, as Wyoming registered a 38-31 win over the New Mexico Lobos in the 500th home game in program history. Quarterback Brett Smith produced a game-high 138 yards and scored twice on 14 rushing attempts, while Shaun Wick tacked on 116 yards and two more TDs on 17 carries as the Pokes powered their way to a fourth win in five tries. Smith also converted 19-of-33 passes for another 247 yards and a score for a team that logged 285 rushing yards and 532 yards of total offense. Despite being listed as questionable with a shoulder injury heading into the game, wideout Dominic Rufran caught six balls for 43 yards for the hosts. The Cowboys play the second of back-to-back home games this coming week against Colorado State. Last season, the Pokes claimed a 45-31 win over the Rams, but still it is CSU that maintains a 55-44-5 advantage in the long-running series.

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