Mountain West rankings: Colorado State goes hog wild
Special to the Appeal
There’s a sign of life in Fort Collins, Colorado, after all.
The Colorado State Rams, outscored 88-47 in losses to Hawaii and Colorado to open the season, turned in one of the most impressive performances in the Mountain West this season so far by upsetting Arkansas 34-27 on Saturday in Fort Collins. That performance against a Southeastern Conference team, allowed the Rams to jump three spots to No. 8 in this week’s Nevada Appeal Mountain West Football rankings.
The Rams, nearly a two-touchdown underdog, were down 27-9 to Arkansas in the third quarter before kicking the comeback into gear. Izzy Matthews’ 1-yard touchdown run with eight seconds to play gave the Rams their first victory of the season.
“Probably a lot of people out there didn’t think we’d get it done,” Colorado State coach Mike Bobo said.
Rams’ quarterback K.J. Carta Samuels passed for 389 yards. Arkansas, though, outgained the Rams on the ground 299-40.
“I think we can be in any game,” Samuels said.
Colorado State allowed 1,213 yards combined in its two losses to Hawaii and Colorado and held Arkansas to 437.
“We knew their backs were against the wall,” Arkansas coach Chad Morris said. “The longer we let them hang around the more confidence they got.”
There was no movement, however, in the rankings’ top five spots (in order, Boise State, San Diego State, Fresno State, Utah State and Hawaii).
Boise State destroyed Connecticut of the American Athletic Conference, 62-7, piling up a school-record 818 yards of offense.
“Eight hundred yards of offense is not going to happen in every single game,” said Boise State coach Bryan Harsin in the understatement of the year.
UConn coach Randy Edsall came away impressed with the Broncos. UConn’s defense was also torched by Central Florida to the tune of 652 yards in its season opener. “I think Boise is a little bit better (than UCF),” Edsall said. “Defensively, Boise is outstanding.”
San Diego State holds onto the No. 2 spot in the rankings despite struggling to beat Big Sky Conference foe Sacramento State just 28-14 at home. Sac State actually led 14-13 going into the fourth quarter.
The Aztecs, though, dominated the game everywhere but on the scoreboard, out-gaining Sac State 429-234, and had more first downs (25-10).
Fresno State nearly went on the road to beat a Big Ten school, falling just 21-14 at Minnesota. The Bulldogs led 14-13 with just eight minutes to play after a 45-yard touchdown pass from Marcus McMaryion to KeeSean Johnson.
Fresno State also had a chance to tie the game late but a trick pass from fullback Josh Hokit was intercepted in the end zone. The Bulldogs have pulled off a similar trick play in the past. Hokit tossed a 16-yard scoring pass to Johnson last year in a 41-21 win over Nevada.
“It’s a play we’ve run before and we’re comfortable running it,” Fresno State coach Jeff Tedford said.
Utah State obliterated New Mexico State 60-13 despite having to settle for six field goals by Dominik Eberle. Hawaii is now 3-0 for the first time since 2007 after outscoring Rice 43-29 in Honolulu. Hawaii quarterback Cole McDonald, operating out of a run-and-shoot attack, has now passed for 1,165 yards and 13 touchdowns already this season.
UNLV jumped over Nevada to the No. 6 spot after ripping UTEP 52-24. The Rebels outscored the Miners 24-0 in the second quarter.
The Wolf Pack, now ranked No. 7, was outscored 24-0 in the second half in a 41-10 loss at Vanderbilt. The Pack offense mustered just 250 yards after getting 600-plus against Portland State the previous week.
Wyoming (No. 9), Air Force (No. 10), New Mexico (No. 11) and San Jose State (No. 12) remain at the bottom of the rankings.
Air Force lost to Florida Atlantic and coach Lane Kiffin 33-27. Wyoming (45-13 to Missouri), New Mexico (45-14 to Wisconsin) and San Jose State (31-0 to Washington State), as expected, all lost one-sided games on the road to Power Five Conference teams.
This coming weekend could turn out to be the most difficult of the season for Mountain West teams. Boise State plays at Oklahoma State, San Diego State is home against Arizona State, Nevada hosts Oregon State, Fresno State plays at UCLA, Colorado State is at Florida while San Jose State is at Oregon.
The Nevada Appeal Mountain West Football Rankings for the week of Sept. 10-16 . . .
1. BOISE STATE (2-0, 0-0). Broncos quarterback Brett Rypien passed for 362 yards and three touchdowns against Connecticut. Last week: Boise State 62, Connecticut 7. This week: Boise State at Oklahoma State, Saturday.
2. SAN DIEGO STATE (1-1, 0-0). Aztecs running back Juwan Washington ran for 156 yards and three touchdowns on 36 carries against Sacramento State. Last week: San Diego State 28, Sacramento State 14. This week: Arizona State at San Diego State, Saturday.
3. FRESNO STATE (1-1, 0-0). Quarterback Marcus McMaryion passed for 205 yards and two touchdowns at Minnesota. Last week: Minnesota 21, Fresno State 14. This week: Fresno State at UCLA, Saturday.
4. UTAH STATE (1-1, 0-0). Savon Scarver returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown against New Mexico State. Last week: Utah State 60, New Mexico State 13. This week: Tennessee Tech at Utah State, Thursday.
5. HAWAII (3-0, 1-0). Running back Fred Holly had 100 yards on just 17 carries against Rice. Last week: Hawaii 43, Rice 29. This week: Hawaii at Army, Saturday.
6. UNLV (1-1, 0-0). UNLV quarterback Armani Rogers had three touchdown passes against UTEP despite completing just six passes in the game. Last week: UNLV 52, UTEP 24. This week: Prairie View at UNLV, Saturday.
7. NEVADA (1-1, 0-0). The Wolf Pack offense had just 14 first downs and controlled the ball for just 23:58 against Vanderbilt. Last week: Vanderbilt 41, Nevada 10. This week: Oregon State at Nevada, Saturday.
8. COLORADO STATE (1-2, 0-1). Colorado State wide receiver Preston Williams caught 12 passes for 154 yards and two scores against Arkansas. Last week: Colorado State 34, Arkansas 27. This week: Colorado State at Florida, Saturday.
9. WYOMING (1-2, 0-0). Wyoming has been outscored 52-16 in the second half in its two losses this season against Washington State and Missouri. Last week: Missouri 40, Wyoming 13. This week: Wofford at Wyoming, Saturday.
10. AIR FORCE (1-1, 0-0). Air Force rushed for 209 yards against Florida Atlantic on 56 carries. Last week: Florida Atlantic 33, Air Force 27. This week: Bye.
11. NEW MEXICO (1-1, 0-0). The Lobos went 87 yards on 17 plays to take a 7-0 lead against Wisconsin. Last week: Wisconsin 45, New Mexico 14. This week: New Mexico at New Mexico State, Saturday.
12. SAN JOSE STATE (0-2, 0-0). San Jose State allowed five sacks against Washington State and had just nine rushing yards total on 23 carries. Last week: Washington State 31, San Jose State 0. This week: San Jose State at Oregon, Saturday.