Mountain West rankings: Boise tops Seminoles to claim top spot in week 1
For the Nevada Appeal
The Nevada Appeal Mountain West Football rankings for the week of Sept. 2 . . .
1. BOISE STATE (1-0, 0-0). This week: vs. Marshall, Friday.
2. NEVADA (1-0, 0-0). This week: at Oregon, Saturday.
3. HAWAII (1-0, 0-0). This week: vs. Oregon State, Saturday.
4. WYOMING (1-0, 0-0). This week: at Texas State, Saturday.
5. FRESNO STATE (0-1, 0-0). This week: vs. Minnesota, Saturday.
6. UTAH STATE (0-1, 0-0). This week: vs. Stony Brook, Saturday.
7. AIR FORCE (1-0, 0-0). This week: Bye
8. UNLV (1-0, 0-0). This week: vs. Arkansas State, Saturday.
9. SAN DIEGO STATE (1-0, 0-0). This week: at UCLA, Saturday.
10. COLORADO STATE (0-1, 0-0). This week: vs. Western Illinois, Saturday.
11. NEW MEXICO (1-0, 0-0). This week: Bye
12. SAN JOSE STATE (1-0, 0-0). This week: vs. Tulsa, Saturday.
The Mountain West could not have asked for a better start to this college football season.
Mountain West football has won nine of its first 12 games, including four wins over teams from Power Five conferences. The 9-3 record is the third best in the nation right now among Division I-A conferences, behind just the Big 12 (10-0) and Big 10 (12-2).
The four Mountain West victories over Power Five teams this season have been by Nevada (34-31 over Purdue), Hawaii (45-38 over Arizona), Wyoming (37-31 over Missouri) and Boise State (36-31 over Florida State). The wins by Boise State, Wyoming and Nevada this past weekend (Hawaii’s win came on Aug. 24) are the most wins by the Mountain West over Power Five opponents in one weekend since Nevada beat Oregon State, San Diego State beat Arizona State and Fresno State beat UCLA last Sept. 15.
Boise State’s comeback victory at Tallahassee, Fla., has earned it the top spot in the first Nevada Appeal Mountain West Football Rankings of the season. The Broncos’ win is also the only Mountain West victory over a Power Five team this season on the road.
Nevada (No. 2), Hawaii (No. 3) and Wyoming (No. 4) round out the top four thanks to their victories over Power Five teams.
Boise State trailed Florida State 21-6 after one quarter and 31-19 at halftime. The Broncos then outscored the Seminoles 17-0 in the second half, allowing just 68 total yards and four first downs.
“In the second half there wasn’t anything crazy,” Boise State coach Bryan Harsin said. “It was just, ‘How badly do we want to go out there and win this game?’ Sometimes it just comes down to heart.”
The Broncos actually scored the final 23 points of the game. Boise also dominated the game, despite the close score. The Broncos had more first downs (38-19), more yards (621-426) and controlled the ball for 40:03. Boise State freshman quarterback Hank Bachmeier completed 30-of-51 passes for 407 yards and one touchdown. The 407 yards is a Boise State record for a season opener.
“The number one thing is toughness,” Harsin said. “I really do mean that.”
“We let one get away as a team,” Florida State coach Willie Taggart said. “But credit Boise for their grit.”
Grit was also the reason for Nevada’s 34-31 win over Purdue on a 56-yard field goal by freshman Brandon Talton as time expired. The Wolf Pack rallied from a 34-17 third-quarter deficit.
“I just kept telling the kids that if we just settled down and played good football, we’d have a chance,” said Wolf Pack coach Jay Norvell, who has won 12 of his last 20 games as Wolf Pack head coach after an 0-5 start. “It’s not smoke and mirrors. It’s blocking and tackling, it’s execution and it’s playing the game the way we practice it.”
The three Mountain West victories over Power Five teams this past weekend were all engineered by freshman quarterbacks: Boise’s Bachmeier, Nevada’s Carson Strong and Wyoming’s Sean Chambers.
Wyoming trailed 14-0 before rallying to beat Missouri. Chambers passed for just 92 yards on 6-of-16 passing but he did rush for 120 yards and a touchdown. Xazavian Valladay ran for 118 yards and a score for Wyoming as the Cowboys rushed for 297 yards and three touchdowns as a team.
Wyoming has now won three of its last four games against Power Five teams. It beat Mississippi in 2005 and Tennessee in 2008 before beating Missouri this weekend.
“I’ve told our team all along that there’s going to be defining games that you will remember and I think this is one of them,” Wyoming coach Craig Bohl said.
“Moments like this don’t always happen,” Wyoming linebacker Logan Wilson said.
“Anytime we can prove people wrong it puts a smile on my face,” said Chambers, who played four games a year ago before redshirting the season because of a season-ending injury.
Three Mountain West teams did lose to Power Five teams away from home. No. 5 Fresno State lost at USC (31-23), No. 10 Colorado State lost to Colorado (52-31) in Denver and No. 6 Utah State fell at Wake Forest (38-35).
Utah State quarterback Jordan Love passed for 416 yards and three touchdowns, though he was intercepted three times. Utah State outgained Wake Forest 596-579, despite having the ball for just 23:47.
Fresno State quarterback Jorge Reyna passed for 256 yards and two scores and also rushed for 88 yards. “I just wanted to show the Red Wave (Fresno’s fan base) that I could fight no matter what happens and lead,” Reyna said.
USC’s 31 points are the first time a Fresno State opponent has scored more than 30 points in the past 25 games.
Colorado State quarterback Collin Hill passed for 374 yards (31-of-47) and three touchdowns. The Rams led Colorado 21-17 in the second quarter.
“I thought Collin looked great,” Colorado State coach Mike Bobo said. “He was going to his second and third receivers and dumping the ball off to the backs.”
No. 7 Air Force (48-7 over Colgate), No. 8 UNLV (56-23 over Southern Utah), No. 9 San Diego State (6-0 over Weber State), No. 11 New Mexico (39-31 over Sam Houston State) and No. 12 San Jose State (35-18 over Northern Colorado) all beat Division I-AA schools last weekend at home.
San Jose State quarterback Josh Love passed for 224 yards and two touchdowns and UNLV quarterback Armani Rogers passed for 114 yards and rushed for 114. Rebel running back Charles Williams rushed for 143 yards and three touchdowns as UNLV gained 331 yards and scored seven touchdowns on the ground. The victory over Southern Utah opened the Rebels final season at Sam Boyd Stadium.
San Diego State could muster just two field goals by Matt Araiza in its victory over Weber State. Quarterback Ryan Agnew was just 16-of-30 for 108 yards. The Aztecs outgained Weber State 238-154 and held the Wildcats to just five first downs.
The six combined points in the game are the fewest in a San Diego State game since the Aztecs moved to Division I-A in 1969.