Mountain West Players to Watch Blog
Posted Sep 2, 2008

The Mountain West players to watch and to look out for in each week's games.

Mountain West Players Blog

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By Matt Willens

Players To Watch in Week Two ...

Air Force- DT Ben Garland @ Wyoming

The junior nose tackle is one of the Mountain West Conferences’ most talented and physically imposing defensive lineman standing 6-5 275-pounds. Ben Garland is the biggest player on an undersized Falcon defense, and will need to play up to his size on Saturday to compete with an experienced Wyoming offensive line which triggers their solid run game.

BYU- TE Dennis Pitta @ Washington

Dennis Pitta led all MWC pass catchers in receiving yards in BYU’s week one victory over Northern Iowa with 213 yards on 11 receptions. The preseason All MWC TE was too much to handle for the N. Iowa secondary. The 6-5 250-pound junior will look to repeat his week one performance in a week two non-conference showdown in Seattle versus Washington.

Colorado St.- TE Kory Sperry Vs Sacramento St.

The CSU 2007 season might have been more successful if not for the torn ACL in the knee of big TE Kory Sperry. Sperry was a two time all state basketball star in high school, but chose football and now is considered a top tight end NFL prospect. Stopping the athletic senior TE should be handful for division two Sacramento St. come Saturday.

New Mexico- DB Ian Clark Vs Texas A&M

Clark plays the Lobo position (defensive back/linebacker hybrid spot) on the New Mexico defense. The New Mexico defense ranked 13th nationally in 2007 in large part of the play of the hometown boy Ian Clark. In the week one loss to TCU, the 6-0 210-pound junior had 11 total tackles and an interception to lead the Lobo defense.

San Diego St.- WR Darren Mougey @ Notre Dame

Being upset on your home field against a division two school to open your season is not what any head coach hopes for his team.  This all became reality for Chuck Long in week one versus Cal Poly. 6-6 senior receiver Darren Mougey can utilize his height and athleticism for the Aztec passing game to be successful against Notre Dame in their season opener in South Bend on Saturday.

TCU- DE Jerry Hughes Vs Stephen F. Austin

A major question mark for the Horned Frogs in 2008 was finding a replacement for three time first team all MWC DE Chase Ortiz. If the performance by Jerry Hughes in the week one win over New Mexico is an indication of the future, then TCU is in good hands. The 6-2 248-pound junior was named MWC Defensive Player of the Week in week one finishing with 6 tackles, a sack, an interception as well as a forced fumble and a recovered fumble.

UNLV- WR Casey Flair @ Utah

The former walk on from Alaska has the second longest active streak for receptions in a game in the nation (36 consecutive games with a catch). Casey Flair had four catches for 53 yards in last week’s victory over Utah St. The senior is one of the MWC top WR, and is in the top ten in most all UNLV receiving record books. The Rebels will need a major contribution from Flair on Saturday against Utah in Salt Lake City.

Utah- RB Matt Asiata Vs UNLV

It appears after Utah’s week one win in Michigan that there will be a two headed monster coming out of the backfield for the Ute’s in 2008. Matt Asiata along with Darrell Mack will be the monster that MWC defenses will have to face all year. The junior ran for 77 yards on 13 attempts against the Wolverine D last week. Asiata broke his leg in the first game in 2007, but is looking to bounce back with a big year for Utah in 2008.

Wyoming- DT John Fletcher Vs Air Force

The preseason All MWC defensive lineman selection was also added to the Lombardi Award (top interior lineman) watch list this past week. The 6-6 280-pound junior was a second team All MWC selection in his 2007 sophomore season where he tallied 11.5 sacks which ranked 11th in the country. John Fletcher and the Cowboys squeaked by Ohio last week and look to contain the always strong Air Force running attack on Saturday.