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Mountain West News Blog

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Sep 2, 2008


The latest news, nuggets and information from the Mountain West.

Mountain West News Blog

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By JAMES R. RIFFEL

Air Force – The Falcons open league play at Wyoming this week after running for 433 yards in their 41-7 rout of Southern Utah. They allowed just 7 yards rushing. For the first time ever in the MWC, the Falcons recorded two safeties in one game. Senior quarterback Shea Smith ran for 91 yards and a touchdown and was 8-of-12 passing for 75 yards and another score. After coach Troy Calhoun suggested he might play three quarterbacks, Smith played nearly the entire game. Young tailbacks Kyle Lumpkin and Savier Stephens combined for 139 yards and Chad Hall’s replacement, Kyle Haldeman, picked up 87. Kicker Ryan Harrison has made 12 straight field goals.

BYU – The Cougars have come up with another big-time tight end for the Cougars as Dennis Pitta caught 11 passes for 213 yards in the 41-17 win over Northern Iowa. The yardage total for a TE is a conference record. Quarterback Max Hall threw for 486 yards and 2 touchdowns. Coach Bronco Mendenhall is concerned about 4 lost fumbles. Three came in the third quarter and helped the Panthers climb to within 27-17. His team also committed 8 penalties. Senior running back Fui Vakapuna might be available vs. Washington after becoming academically eligible last Friday. He didn’t play against UNI. The Cougars played seven true freshmen and nine redshirt freshmen. Some players were banged up, but none of the injuries were serious.

Colorado State – The Rams couldn’t keep up with Colorado in a 38-17 loss. Billy Farris completed 27-of-38 passes, but for only 189 yards. He also suffered 5 sacks and threw 2 interceptions. After a big preseason, tight end Kory Sperry caught just two passes for 11 yards. The Rams get a much needed breather Saturday against Sacramento State.

UNLV – Sophomore quarterback Omar Clayton had a fine opener, completing 17-of-29 passes for 192 yards and 3 touchdowns in the Rebels 27-17 conquest of Utah State. Freshman cornerback Will Chandler proved his worth by recovering a fumble that stalled an Aggies drive. They play at Utah on Saturday.

New Mexico – The Lobos are hoping quarterback Donovan Porterie will be available Saturday after missing the second half of last Saturday’s 26-3 loss to TCU. The injury appears to be a jammed neck, and his status vs. Texas A&M will be determined after more medical tests. The lone score against the Horned Frogs was set up by an 81-yard pass from backup passer Brad Gruner to receiver Chris Hernandez.

San Diego State – There were terribly few bright spots in the Aztecs 29-27 loss to Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo. One was the performance of redshirt freshman quarterback Ryan Lindley, who was 27-of-45 passing for a school freshman record 352 yards and 3 touchdowns. True freshman punter Brian Stahovich also had a fine game. The already injury weakened defensive line suffered even more losses to injury as DE Tony DeMartinis, DT Ernie Lawson and DT Jerome Long were knocked out of the game. DeMartinis might be out for the year with a wrecked knee. Despite the preseason reports, coach Chuck Long was not on the hot seat going into this season, but judging by fan reaction to another loss to an FCS team, his buns are now scalding. The Aztecs now head to South Bend for the long-awaited match vs. Notre Dame.

TCU – The Horned Frogs might have safety Tejay Johnson back for this week’s game against Stephen F. Austin. Incredibly enough, the Horned Frogs 26-3 win at New Mexico was their first in a MWC opener since 2005. The defensive effort was superb, limiting the Lobos to 186 yards of offense, 81 of which came on one pass play that resulted in the field goal. The offense was efficient with quarterback Any Dalton completing 16-of-25 passes and running for 2 touchdowns. Four running backs split 30 carries for 121 yards rushing. RB Aaron Brown was left home for violating a school rule and his status for this week is unknown

Utah – The Utes will be without defensive tackle Kenape Eliapo for six to eight weeks because of a foot injury. It’s questionable whether safety Robert Johnson (hamstring) or backup quarterback Corbin Louks (shoulder) will be available for this week’s MWC opener vs UNLV.  Louie Sakoda kicked 4 field goals,  two over 40 yards and one for 53 yards, averaged 47 yards on punts with three inside the 20-yard line. The defense allowed the Wolverines just 36 yards rushing, only 4 in the first half, and 203 total yards, matching strong performances in preseason scrimmages. On the other hand, the offense, efficient in the first half, gained just 28 yards in the second two quarters. Direct snaps to running back Matt Asiata will make opposing defensive coordinators sweat.

Wyoming – Sophomore transfer quarterback Dax Crum completed 14-of-22 passes in his debut for the Cowboys in a 21-20 win over Ohio, but for only 111 yards and two first-half interceptions. The most important of those yards were the 28 in a game-winning touchdown to Donate Morgan with 7:28 left in the fourth quarter. The heralded Cowboy defense allowed 17 points in the first half but only 3 in the final 30 minutes. Big assist to safety Quincy Rogers, who picked off a Bobcats pass at the Cowboys 9 with 4 minutes left. The Cowboys host Air Force on Saturday to open MWC play.

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