Mountain West rankings: Bad night for football in Nevada
For the Nevada Appeal
College football in the state of Nevada had a weekend it would like to forget.
The Nevada Wolf Pack and UNLV Rebels were outscored by a combined 107-20 by the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors and Wyoming Cowboys this past Saturday night in the Mountain West openers for both teams.
The blowout losses dropped the Wolf Pack two spots to No. 8 in the latest Nevada Appeal Mountain West football rankings and kept the Rebels in the basement of the rankings at No. 12.
“I’m responsible for it,” Nevada coach Jay Norvell said after a 54-3 loss to Hawaii at home. “I’m responsible for how we responded.”
The Rebels, which have lost three in a row to fall to 1-3, 0-1, and Wolf Pack (3-2, 0-1) were outgained 1,010-543 combined by Hawaii and Wyoming. The two teams were also behind by a combined score of 64-13 at halftime last Saturday.
“It was just guys not doing their job all around in every phase,” Wolf Pack wide receiver Kaleb Fossum said.
“We had a horrible defensive display,” UNLV linebacker Javin White said. “Our tackling was atrocious.”
The Rebels and Wolf Pack also made quarterback changes late in the first half. UNLV went from junior starter Armani Rogers to freshman Kenyon Oblad and the Wolf Pack went from freshman starter Carson Strong to senior Cristian Solano.
The changes didn’t produce much success. Rogers was 6-of-13 for 87 yards with an interception and a touchdown and Oblad was 16-of-31 for 176 yards and two interceptions. Strong was 7-of-14 for 46 yards and an interception while Solano was 11-of-17 for 59 yards and an interception.
“We did very little on offense,” Norvell said.
“We’re kind of in a quandary there,” said UNLV coach Tony Sanchez of his quarterback situation. “Armani is a running quarterback. Kenyon is a drop-back passer. They are so different.”
Hawaii (4-1, 1-0) moved up two spots in the rankings to No. 3. Rainbow Warriors quarterback Cole McDonald shredded the Wolf Pack secondary all night long, completing 25-of-30 passes for 312 yards and four touchdowns. Three of the touchdown passes went to wide receiver Cedric Byrd.
“We didn’t challenge their receivers,” Norvell said. “You can’t play passive on the back end against a good passing team and expect to have much success.”
Wyoming (4-1, 1-0) moved up one spot to No. 6 after beating UNLV. Cowboys’ quarterback Sean Chambers ran for two touchdowns and also passed for two against the Rebels. The Cowboys also ran for 374 yards and five touchdowns as Titus Swen had 136 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries.
Boise State (4-0, 1-0) was idle last week and remained atop the rankings at No. 1. Utah State (3-1, 2-0) stayed at No. 2 after a 34-24 victory over No. 9 Colorado State (1-4, 0-1).
Utah State broke a 24-24 tie with a 48-yard field goal by Dominik Eberle and then put the game away as David Woodard forced a fumble by Colorado State’s Marvin Kinsey and returned it eight yards for a touchdown. Woodard had 14 tackles and forced two fumbles.
Gerold Bright led Utah State with 179 yards rushing on 36 carries. Bright had just 122 yards on 24 carries going into the game on the season.
Most of Colorado State’s points came on defense and special teams. Andre Neal returned an interception 44 yards for a touchdown and Savon Scarver returned a kickoff 100 yards for another score.
San Diego State (3-1, 0-1) was idle and fell one spot to No. 4.
No. 5 Air Force (3-1, 1-1) whipped No. 11 San Jose State 41-24. Taven Birdow ran for 124 yards and two touchdowns for the falcons as Air Force piled up 382 yards and five touchdowns on the ground.
San Jose State (2-2, 0-1) quarterback Josh Love was 19-of-35 for 198 yards while Spartans running back Nick Nash had 62 yards on 11 carries.
Fresno State (2-2, 0-0) jumped up one spot to No. 7 after beating New Mexico State, 30-17. Jalen Cropper rushed for 118 yards on just five carries, thanks to a 79-yard touchdown. “When I got the ball, I cut the corner and just saw green,” Cropper said.
Fresno State led 24-0 and 30-10. Wylan Free had two interceptions for the Bulldogs, returning one 91 yards for a touchdown.
“If you go on the road to play a hungry team (New Mexico State is now 0-5) you have to find a way to win,” Fresno State coach Jeff Tedford said. “We are fortunate to have done that.”
No. 10 New Mexico (2-2, 0-0) lost 17-10 to Liberty. Tevaka Tuioto struggled at quarterback for the Lobos, completing just 12-of-26 passes for 139 yards with to interceptions and a touchdown. The Lobos, though, did rush for 223 yards on 43 carries, led by Ahmari Davis’ 99 yards on 18 carries.
The Nevada Appeal Mountain West football rankings for the Week of Sept. 30:
1. BOISE STATE (4-0, 1-0) — This week: at UNLV, Saturday.
2. UTAH STATE (3-1, 2-0) — This week: at LSU, Saturday.
3. HAWAII (4-1, 1-0) — This week: Bye
4. SAN DIEGO STATE (3-1, 0-1) — This week: at Colorado State, Saturday.
5. AIR FORCE (3-1, 1-1) — This week: at Navy, Saturday.
6. WYOMING (4-1, 1-0) — This week: Bye
7. FRESNO STATE (2-2, 0-0) — This week: Bye
8. NEVADA (3-2, 0-1) — This week: Bye.
9. COLORADO STATE (1-4, 0-0) — This week: vs. San Diego State, Saturday.
10. NEW MEXICO (2-2, 0-0) — This week: at San Jose State, Friday.
11. SAN JOSE STATE (2-2, 0-1) — This week: vs. New Mexico, Friday.
12. UNLV (1-3, 0-1) — This week: vs. Boise, Saturday.