MW poll: Aztecs keep (barely) winning — and falling
The San Diego State Aztecs continue to win and fall in the Nevada Appeal Mountain West football rankings.
“We’ve got to start getting better here pretty quick,” San Diego State coach Rocky Long said late Saturday night after an uninspiring 16-13 victory at home against the winless (0-7) San Jose State Spartans.
The narrow victory on John Baron’s third field goal of the game dropped the Aztecs in the rankings from No. 2 to No. 4. The Aztecs, which were ranked No. 1 just two weeks ago, have survived upset scares from Air Force 21-17 and San Jose State in the last two weeks at home. Air Force is ranked No. 6 this week and San Jose State remains at the bottom of the rankings at No. 12.
The Aztecs, which will play at No. 5 Nevada on Saturday night (7:30 p.m.) in a key West Division matchup, have won six games in a row to improve to 6-1 overall and 3-0 in Mountain West play. Five of the victories, though, have come by seven points or less.
“I’m a little surprised we won all those games,” Long said.
San Jose State, which took a 6-0 lead against the Aztecs on a pair of Bryce Crawford field goals, outgained San Diego State 295-293 and had more first downs (18-16). An interception by the Aztecs’ Tariq Thompson, though, set up Baron’s game-winning 51-yarder with 4:36 to play.
“We didn’t play to our potential,” Thompson said.
Fresno State (6-1, 3-0) remained at No. 1 with a dominating 38-7 victory over New Mexico. Bulldogs quarterback Marcus McMaryion passed for 280 yards and three scores, two of which went to wide receiver KeeSean Johnson.
Fresno State controlled the ball for nearly 38 minutes, converted 9-of-16 third down plays and piled up 29 first downs and 433 yards. New Mexico remained at No. 9 in the rankings.
“Our inability to really ever stop them hurt,” New Mexico coach Bob Davie said. “We never felt like we were ever going to stop them.”
The Colorado State Rams also never really stopped the Boise State Broncos. Boise State, which moves from No. 3 to No. 2, led 35-7 at the half. Broncos quarterback Brett Rypien, picking up where he left off in the second half against Nevada the previous week, completed 22-of-26 passes for 308 yards and four touchdowns (two each to A.J. Richardson and Sean Modster).
The Rams, which remained at No. 8, did move the ball fairly easily against the struggling Boise State defense. Colorado State did have more total yards (489-472) and first downs (27-26) than Boise State.
Utah State, a 24-16 winner over No. 10 Wyoming, moved up from No. 4 to No. 3 despite the worst performance of the year from quarterback Jordan Love. Love was just 12-of-28 for 53 yards and an interception for the Aggies (6-1, 3-0).
Utah State was averaging 51.7 points and 478.7 yards of offense going into the game. Wyoming held Utah State to just 194 total yards and forced nine punts.
Utah State’s Darwin Thompson had 109 yards rushing and two touchdowns. His 56-yard touchdown run gave the Aggies a 7-0 lead. Savon Scarver also had a key 99-yard kickoff return for a Utah State touchdown and a 24-6 lead.
The Nevada Wolf Pack remained at No. 5 after an impressive 40-22 victory at Hawaii.
The Wolf Pack stopped Hawaii on 4-of-5 fourth down plays in the rout. Nevada quarterback Ty Gangi was extremely efficient, completing 21-of-29 passes for 247 yards and a touchdown without an interception. Nevada fell behind 14-10 after one quarter but then scored 30 of the next 38 points.
The 18-point victory is the Wolf Pack’s largest margin of victory over a Division I-A team this season. Nevada has now won eight of its last 10 against Hawaii.
Hawaii, which dropped from No. 6 to No. 7, remained one victory short of becoming bowl eligible.
“There’s not a lot to smile about,” Hawaii coach Nick Rolovich said. “They (Nevada) played hard and they played well. We did not on any side of the ball.”
Air Force moved up a spot to No. 6 with a 41-35 victory over UNLV.
UNLV, which remained at No. 11, led 21-20 at halftime but Air Force then scored 21 unanswered points to put the game away. Air Force quarterback Isaiah Sanders was 9-of-11 for 217 yards and a touchdown through the air and had 173 yards and three touchdowns on the ground on 21 carries. Air Force piled up 355 yards and four touchdowns rushing. Neither team’s defense played well as Air Force punted just once and UNLV twice.
UNLV will play at San Jose State on Saturday afternoon in a battle for the last spot in the Nevada Appeal rankings.
The Nevada Appeal Mountain West football rankings for the week of Oct. 22 . . .
1. FRESNO STATE (6-1, 3-0): Fresno State defense allowed just 280 yards against New Mexico. Last week: Fresno State 38, New Mexico 7. This week: Hawaii at Fresno State, Saturday.
2. BOISE STATE (5-2, 3-1): Running back Alexander Mattison had 85 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries against Colorado State. Last week: Boise State 56, Colorado State 28. This week: Boise State at Air Force, Saturday.
3. UTAH STATE (6-1, 3-0): Utah State had just 11 first downs against Wyoming. Last week: Utah State 24, Wyoming 16. This week: New Mexico at Utah State, Saturday.
4. SAN DIEGO STATE (6-1, 3-0): Aztecs quarterback Ryan Agnew was just 7-of-11 for 86 yards against San Jose State. Last week: San Diego State 16, San Jose State 13. This week: San Diego State at Nevada, Saturday.
5. NEVADA (4-4, 2-2): Toa Taua gained 126 yards rushing on 18 carries against Hawaii and also scored a touchdown. Last week: Nevada 40, Hawaii 22. This week: San Diego State at Nevada, Saturday.
6. AIR FORCE (3-4, 1-3): Falcons’ coach Troy Calhoun this past weekend became just the second coach in Mountain West history with at least 50 career conference victories along with San Diego State’s Rocky Long (84). Last week: Air Force 41, UNLV 35. This week: Boise State at Air Force, Saturday.
7. HAWAII (6-3, 3-1): Hawaii had just 16 first downs and was just 3-of-15 on third down against Nevada. Last week: Nevada 40, Hawaii 22. This week: Hawaii at Fresno State, Saturday.
8. COLORADO STATE (3-5, 2-2): The Rams used two quarterbacks against Boise State. K.J Carta Samuels was 19-of-30 for 238 yards (two touchdowns, two interceptions) and Collin Hill was 12-of-14 for 135 yards (one TD, no interceptions). Last week: Boise State 56, Colorado State 28. This week: Wyoming at Colorado State, Friday.
9. NEW MEXICO (3-4, 1-2): Running back Tyrone Owens had 83 yards rushing on 19 carries against Fresno State. Last week: Fresno State 38, New Mexico 7. This week: New Mexico at Utah State, Saturday.
10. WYOMING (2-6, 0-4): Freshman quarterback Sean Chambers replaced starter Tyler Vander Waal and completed 3-of-5 passes for 62 yards and rushed for 100 yards on 19 carries against Utah State. Last week: Utah State 24, Wyoming 16. This week: Wyoming at Colorado State, Friday.
11. UNLV (2-5, 0-3): Quarterback Max Gilliam was 26-of-38 for 261 yards and three touchdowns against Air Force. Last week: Air Force 41, UNLV 35. This week: UNLV at San Jose State, Saturday.
12. SAN JOSE STATE (0-7, 0-3): Spartans rushed for just 62 yards on 34 carries against San Diego State (60 by Tyler Nevens on 20 carries). Last week: San Diego State 16, San Jose State 13. This week: UNLV at San Jose State, Saturday