MW rankings: Nevada, Boise, Fresno get revenge
Special to the Nevada Appeal
Revenge was sweet for three Mountain West football teams this past weekend.
The Boise State Broncos avenged a loss at Wyoming two years ago by beating the Cowboys 34-14, the Nevada Wolf Pack won at Air Force for the first time in school history, 28-25, and the Fresno State Bulldogs got even for a blowout loss at Toledo two years ago by whipping the Rockets 49-27 in Fresno.
“I told myself you are a different player than you were in 2016 and this is a different team,” Boise State quarterback Brett Rypien said after beating Wyoming.
Rypien, who fumbled the ball out of the end zone for a safety with 1:25 to play at Wyoming in a 30-28 loss in 2016, passed for 342 yards and two touchdowns on Saturday to crush the Cowboys. The victory lifts the Broncos (3-1, 1-0) into first place in the latest Nevada Appeal Mountain West football rankings.
Fresno State (3-1, 0-0), which suffered a demoralizing 52-17 loss at Toledo in 2016, scored 42 unanswered points to beat Toledo on Saturday and move into second place in the rankings. San Diego State (3-1, 0-0), which learned this week starting running back Juwan Washington will be out six weeks with a broken collarbone, was idle this past weekend and dropped from first to third. Utah State (3-1, 1-0) had a bye last week and remained in the fourth spot in the rankings.
The last time Boise played at Wyoming the Broncos had to watch Wyoming defensive lineman Josiah Hall dance in the end zone after the game-deciding safety. Hall’s dance, which featured him putting his hands together over his head (like an official signaling a safety) and then shaking his hips, attracted a lot of attention on the internet two years ago. The dance has been branded as Wyoming’s “Safety Dance,” and is seen on numerous videos with the Men Without Hats song of the same name playing in the background.
“We’ve seen the video,” Rypien said this week.
Rypien and the Broncos jumped out to a 24-0 lead by halftime and never let the Cowboys dance on Saturday. The Broncos defense also had five sacks and held Wyoming to just 11 first downs. Rypien has now passed for 300 or more yards in four consecutive games and has 18 career 300-yard games.
“He’s as consistent week to week as I’ve been around,” Boise State coach Bryan Harsin said.
“He played about as good as I’ve seen in the last four years,” said Wyoming coach Craig Bohl.
Fresno State scored 42 consecutive points over the second and third quarters to destroy the Rockets. Toledo, which beat Nevada 63-44 the previous week at home, led 13-7 before the Bulldogs’ offense came alive.
“I’m a happy coach right now,” Fresno State coach Jeff Tedford said after the victory. “That was very satisfying.”
Fresno State quarterback Marcus McMaryion passed for 368 yards and four touchdowns and also scored on a 6-yard run. Fresno State led 49-13 going into the fourth quarter.
“Two years ago it didn’t turn out so well for the Bulldogs at their place,” said Tedford of the 35-point Fresno State loss at Toledo in 2016. “So we had a chip on our shoulder going into this game.”
Toledo’s last two opponents — Fresno State and Nevada — will play at Mackay Stadium this Saturday night (7:30 p.m.) in a key West Division matchup.
Utah State, which plays at BYU this Saturday, had a bye last week and remained ranked No. 4.
The Wolf Pack moved up a notch into fifth place in the rankings after beating Air Force on the road. The Pack jumped out to a 28-10 lead at Air Force and held onto win its conference opener despite scoring just seven points in the second half. The Wolf Pack defense held Air Force to just 154 yards rushing on 51 attempts and also stopped the Falcons from getting a first down on 11-of-14 third down plays.
Wolf Pack quarterback Ty Gangi passed for four touchdowns as Nevada outgained Air Force 436-250. Air Force, which is in the No. 8 spot in the rankings, had beaten Nevada three of four times in the rivalry (2-0 at Colorado Springs), scoring 42 or more points in every game.
“As a team we really followed the plan,” Wolf Pack coach Jay Norvell said. “And that was to play physical.”
Hawaii (5-1, 2-0) dropped a spot to No. 6 after struggling to beat No. 12 San Jose State 44-41 in the longest game in Mountain West history (five overtimes). Hawaii kicker Ryan Meskell and San Jose State kicker Bryce Crawford combined to miss six field goals in the game, including four in overtime.
San Jose State (0-4, 0-1) actually led 31-24 in the second half and outgained the Rainbow Warriors 490-475 for the game. Almost all of San Jose’s offensive production came through the air as quarterback Josh Love passed for 451 yards and three touchdowns. Hawaii ran for 134 yards but gained just 3.2 yards per rush. Hawaii quarterback Cole McDonald passed for 341 yards and four scores.
UNLV (2-2, 0-0) also had a bye last week and stayed in the No. 7 slot. The final five spots in the rankings (Air Force at No. 8 followed by Colorado State, Wyoming, New Mexico and San Jose State) also remained the same.
Colorado State had a bye last week and will play at San Jose State this week.
New Mexico suffered a disappointing 52-43 loss at home to Liberty, a Division I-A independent. The Lobos turned the ball over four times and allowed Liberty quarterback Stephen Calvert to pass for 417 yards and three touchdowns. New Mexico, though, did outgain Liberty 580-568 as quarterback Sheriron Jones passed for 312 yards and four scores.
The Nevada Appeal Mountain West football rankings . . .
1. BOISE STATE (3-1, 1-0): The Broncos controlled the ball for 40:13 at Wyoming. Last week: Boise State 34, Wyoming 14. This week: San Diego State at Boise State, Saturday.
2. FRESNO STATE (3-1, 0-0): The Bulldogs have allowed the fewest points (75) in the Mountain West his season. Last week: Fresno State 49, Toledo 27. This week: Fresno State at Nevada, Saturday.
3. SAN DIEGO STATE (3-1, 0-0): The Aztecs lost at home to Boise State last year, 31-14. Last week: Bye. This week: San Diego State at Boise State, Saturday.
4. UTAH STATE (3-1, 1-0): Utah State. Which has won three games in a row, won at BYU last year, 40-24. Last week: Bye. This week: Utah State at BYU, Saturday.
5. NEVADA (3-2, 1-0): The Wolf Pack has won four games in a row at home. Last week: Nevada 28, Air Force 25. This week: Fresno State at Nevada, Saturday.
6. HAWAII (5-1, 2-0): The Rainbow Warriors beat Wyoming 38-28 in 2014 in the last meeting between the two teams in Honolulu. Last week: Hawaii 44, San Jose State 41 (5 OT). This week: Wyoming at Hawaii, Saturday.
7. UNLV (2-2, 0-0): The Rebels are hoping to be 3-2 on the season for the first time since 2013. Last week: Bye. This week: New Mexico at UNLV, Saturday.
8. AIR FORCE (1-3, 0-2): The home team has won the last four Air Force-Navy games (2014-17). Last week: Nevada 28, Air Force 25. This week: Navy at Air Force, Saturday.
9. COLORADO STATE (1-4, 0-1): The Rams have allowed the most points (198) in the Mountain West this season. Last week: Bye. This week: Colorado State at San Jose State, Saturday.
10. WYOMING (2-3, 0-1): The Cowboys have won seven of its last eight games against Hawaii, including two of three in Honolulu. Last week: Boise State 34, Wyoming 14. This week: Wyoming at Hawaii. Saturday.
11. NEW MEXICO (2-2, 0-0): The Lobos lost at home to UNLV last year 38-35 as UNLV quarterback Armani Rogers ran for 193 yards and assed for 211. Last week: Liberty 52, New Mexico 43. This week: New Mexico at UNLV, Saturday.
12. SAN JOSE STATE (0-4, 0-1): The Spartans are the only team in the West Division that has lost a home game this season. San Jose State is 0-2 at home while the other five teams are a combined 12-0 at home. Last week: Hawaii 44, San Jose State 41 (5 OT). This week: Colorado State at San Jose State, Saturday.