Mountain West Conference News and Notes

11:42 AM, Nov 26, 2012   |    comments
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Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -

AIR FORCE: With their 48-15 loss to Fresno State in the final regular season game of 2012, the Falcons closed with three defeats in the last four outings and a record of just 6-6, yet the program is still headed to the postseason after accepting a bid to the Armed Forces Bowl in late December. Against the Bulldogs, the Falcons churned out 254 yards and just a single touchdown on the ground, while a total of three players combined to convert 4-of-10 passes for one score and an interception. The defense, particularly the secondary, was picked apart by Fresno State as the hosts passed for 479 yards and five touchdowns, 603 yards of total offense overall as the Falcons finished with a 5-3 record in Mountain West Conference play and own the second-best running attack in the nation with 328.8 ypg.

BOISE STATE: Even without taking the field last week, the Broncos managed to break back into the AP Top-25, slipping into the last spot as they prepare to close out the regular season with a meeting against Nevada this Saturday in Reno. Again one of the top programs in the Mountain West, Boise State has won two straight outings (Hawaii and Colorado State) and nine of the last 10, not to mention all but one of their seven conference dates. Originally slated to join the Big East Conference beginning next season the Broncos, along with a number of other programs, are considering staying put in the MWC, but the situation remains quite fluid so stay tuned.

COLORADO STATE: The final game of the season for the Rams saw them score a pair of touchdowns in the first nine minutes against New Mexico over the weekend, eventually capturing a 24-20 home win. Conner Smith completed 19- of-26 passes for 254 yards and two touchdowns, while Donnell Alexander ran for a game-high 112 yards and a score on 24 carries as the team won for the second time in the last three games and finished with an overall record of 4-8, as well as 3-5 in league play. Joe Hansley was credited with five catches for a game-high 102 yards and two scores for a unit that was 100th in the nation in total offense (339.0 ypg) and 101st in scoring (21.2 ppg) when it was all said and done in the first year under new head coach Jim McElwain.

FRESNO STATE: Derek Carr was huge for the Bulldogs in their meeting against Air Force over the weekend, the signal-caller completing all but four of his 32 pass attempts for 452 yards and four touchdowns in the 48-15 romp. Fresno State finished the regular season on a five-game win streak and posted a mark of 9-3 overall and 7-1 in league play, which means the group managed to capture the Mountain West title in their first year under first-year head coach Tim DeRuyter, the school's first conference championship since 1999. Generating more than 600 yards of total offense, the Bulldogs saw Davante Adams and Isaiah Burse combine to make 16 catches for 299 yards and three touchdowns, while Robbie Rouse continued to add to his school rushing record with a game-high 106 yards on 25 attempts. Thanks to Rouse and Carr, the Bulldogs are ranked 14th in the country in total offense with 488.5 ypg, producing 40.3 ppg which is 13th in the nation this week as well.

HAWAII: One of the newest additions to the Mountain West Conference, the Hawaii Warriors managed to snap an eight-game slide on Saturday with a 48-10 romp over visiting UNLV. Now 2-9 on the season overall and 1-7 in conference play, the Warriors led by a 41-0 score in the fourth quarter before the Rebels finally made any noise on offense as Will Gregory, Joey Iosefa and Sterling Jackson all scored a rushing touchdown, and Sean Schroeder converted 13-of-24 passes for 201 yards and a score, while shaking off three sacks, in the victory as well. The season is not quite over for Hawaii and first-year head coach Norm Chow, still with a home date against South Alabama this coming weekend.

NEVADA: Despite watching the action from the sidelines this past weekend, the Wolf Pack already knows where it is heading after the regular-season finale against Boise State this coming weekend. With a record of 7-4, 4-3 in conference, Nevada accepted an invitation to the seventh annual New Mexico Bowl, its second appearance in the event. Shooting out to a 6-1 start, the Pack has had some trouble gaining control in the last month or so, losing three straight games before slipping by New Mexico on the road back on Nov. 17 in a 31-24 final. The team currently ranks third in the conference and seventh in the nation in rushing with 263.0 ypg, and it is 10th in total offense with 509.5 ypg, resulting in 38.5 ppg which is 16th-best in the country entering the final week of the regular season.

NEW MEXICO: The Lobos started off the 2012 campaign with quite a bit of promise, but the team folded in the second half of the year, losing six in a row under new head coach Bob Davie as the team bowed to Colorado State on the road this past weekend, 24-20. New Mexico fell behind early in Fort Collins and was never able to fully recover as the rushing attack managed a mere 137 yards, far below their average of now 301.2 ypg which ranks them second in the conference and fifth in the nation. Kasey Carrier finished with a team-best 59 yards and a score on 16 carries, while B.R. Holbrook converted 12-of-21 passes for 205 yards and a touchdown for a program that ranks last in the MWC and 119th in the nation with a mere 68.9 ypg through the air. Another area in which the Lobos were lacking this season was on pass defense where the unit permitted 269.2 ypg.

SAN DIEGO STATE: Riding a six-game win streak heading into last week, the Aztecs had their sights set on possibly capturing at least a share of the MWC title, and the team made that a reality on Saturday with a 42-28 victory over a pesky Wyoming bunch in Laramie. Now an impressive 7-1 in league play and 9-3 overall, the Aztecs were paced by Adam Muema who ran for a career-high 255 yards and four touchdowns. San Diego State ran for 400 yards overall, the team's highest output since gaining a school-record 430 versus Pacific back in 1991. The win also gave SDSU a seven-game win streak, the first time that's happened in a single season since 1981. Quarterback Adam Dingwell converted all but five of his 24 pass attempts for 164 yards and two touchdowns, along with one interception. Thanks to the huge effort on the ground in the regular- season finale, the Aztecs rank fourth in the conference and 16th nationally with 229.2 ypg, Muema posting 112.9 ypg himself to rank fourth in the MWC and 17th in the country.

UNLV: The Rebels closed out yet another dismal season on Saturday in almost the only way they know how these days, with a lopsided 48-10 loss at Hawaii. Losers of three straight and eight of the last nine, the Rebels finished with a record of only 2-11 and was 2-6 in conference. Nick Sherry was back under center for the program as he hit on a mere 17-of-43 passes for 166 yards and a score, but was sacked three times and had three passes intercepted, one of which was returned 38 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter as the Warriors proceeded to move out to a 41-0 lead and cruise to the win. This is the third season in a row that UNLV, a team that ranks 108th in the country in run defense with 207.1 ypg allowed, has finished with a total of only two wins.

WYOMING: In a down season for the Cowboys, the team had a three-game win streak snapped on Saturday with a 42-28 loss to San Diego State at home. Brett Smith finished the outing 19-of-35 for 260 yards and two touchdowns, as well as one interception, although he did manage to tally 35 net rushing yards and two scores in the contest. Smith, who was sacked six times, found Robert Herron 10 times for 187 yards and both scoring passes. Outside of a couple of fumble recoveries and an interception, the defense for Wyoming was hit hard as it allowed touchdowns on five straight possessions and a total of six over seven total possessions for the Aztecs. In fact, defense was an issue for Wyoming the entire season as it ranked 117th in the country when attempting to stop the run, giving up 232.3 ypg, and 108th in total defense (470.3 ypg) as the squad finished with a record of 4-8 overall and just 3-5 in league play.

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