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2008 WAC Lookbacks/Recaps
Boise State QB Kellen Moore
Boise State QB Kellen Moore
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Feb 11, 2009


Taking a look back at every WAC team's 2008 season.

2008 WAC Lookbacks/Recaps

2009 Pages
Boise State | Fresno State | Hawaii | Idaho | Louisiana Tech
Nevada | New Mexico St | San Jose State | Utah State

2008 Pages
Boise State | Fresno State | Hawaii | Idaho | Louisiana Tech
Nevada | New Mexico St | San Jose State | Utah State

- 2008 CFN All-WAC Team
| 2008 CFN Preseason All-WAC Team
- 2007 WAC Lookback/Recaps |
2008 WAC Early Lookaheads  

- 2009 WAC Early Lookaheads

Boise State
CFN Preseason Prediction: 9-3  Final Record: 12-1

Recap
: Another year, another WAC title and another double-digit win season. Boise State came up with a big 37-32 win at Oregon to set the tone for the season just before conference play kicked in, and then it was relatively smooth sailing the rest of the way as the defense allowed more than seven points in just six regular season games and was only pushed by Nevada, who came up with a late comeback, in conference play. There was talk of a possible BCS berth, but the Broncos were deep in the pecking order and ended up losing out to Ohio State in the process. With a chance to make a big splash, the offense went flat against TCU in the Poinsettia Bowl, and the perfect season was gone in a 17-16 loss.

Offensive Player of the Year: QB Kellen Moore
Defensive Player of the Year: DE Ryan Winterswyk

Biggest Surprise: Kellen Moore. The redshirt freshman emerged from the pack in the quarterback derby and was more than just a caretaker in his first year; he was a playmaker. The offense ended up revolving around him as he turned into one of the nation’s most efficient passers finishing with 3,486 yards and 25 touchdowns with ten interceptions. He proved to be the leader the offense can work around for the next three years.

Biggest Disappointment: The loss to TCU. Boise State had a mild beef about not being in the BCS fun considering it was so dominant throughout the regular season, was unbeaten, and had earned its stripes with the 2007 Fiesta Bowl win over Oklahoma. That all went out the window with the loss to the Horned Frogs. The team played well, but the offense couldn’t handle the TCU defense that held the Bronco running attack to 22 yards.

Looking Ahead: Boise State will once again finish with double-digit wins, will likely win the WAC, and will get a good bowl slot. The program has become that automatic. The defense that was so good, and so unnoticed throughout last year, has to come up with a few key replacements, but should be fantastic once again. Kellen Moore will be the leader once again  of a potent offense that should have few problems moving the ball.

Fresno State
CFN Preseason Prediction: 10-2   Final Record: 7-6

Recap
: What was supposed to be the big breakthrough year in the Pat Hill era turned out to fall way short of expectations. Everything started out well with a 24-7 win at Rutgers, and the 13-10 gut-wrenching home loss to Wisconsin was more than acceptable, but then came the ominous sign for the rest of the year. The run defense went bye-bye in a 55-54 double-overtime win over a horrible Toledo team, and the Bulldogs were able to slog through the new few games with tight wins over Idaho and Utah State to go along with a home loss to Hawaii. Back-to-back losses to Louisiana Tech and Nevada set back any hopes of going on a big second half run, and then wins over New Mexico State and San Jose State were undone by a 61-10 loss to Boise State. The 40-35 loss to Colorado State in the New Mexico Bowl ended the disappointing year.

Offensive Player of the Year: OT Bobby Lepori
Defensive Player of the Year: LB Ben Jacobs

Biggest Surprise: The lack of a run defense. The Bulldogs did a good job against Wisconsin, holding the pounding ground game to 154 yards, but they couldn’t handle Toledo, and they struggled the rest of the way against anyone who could run. Nevada tore off 472 yards and four touchdowns, and while that disaster was followed up by holding New Mexico State to -9 rushing yards and San Jose State to -5, Boise State ripped off 246 yards and four scores to follow. Time off to prepare didn’t matter, with Colorado State running for 362 yards and three scores.

Biggest Disappointment: The inactivity of the defensive line. The defense was supposed to be a strength, and while the run defense turned out to be the biggest problem, the front four couldn’t get into the backfield, either. The Bulldogs finished last in the WAC in tackles for loss and were 96th in the nation in sacks. While there weren’t many high-octane passing games in the WAC, the lack of a pass rush turned out to be an issue.

Looking Ahead: The expectations won’t be there like they were last season, but that doesn’t mean head coach Pat Hill isn’t going to demand big things out of his team. The experience will be there with almost everyone coming back on defense and enough key players coming back on offense to hope for another good season.

Hawaii
CFN Preseason Prediction: 5-8   Final Record: 7-7

Recap
: Early losses to Florida and Oregon State were expected, but a 20-17 home loss to San Jose State meant a 1-3 start on the way to a potentially disastrous season. And then came a stunning overtime win at Fresno State that changed everything around … almost. Wins over Louisiana Tech and Nevada helped put the Warriors in the hunt for a bowl game, and then came a 30-14 loss to a bad Utah State team. The team regrouped and rebounded on the way to a three-game winning streak, including a win over Washington State to secure a Hawaii Bowl win. A close loss to Cincinnati only gave Hawaii more respect going into the bowl season, and then Jimmy Clausen and Notre Dame rolled to a 49-21 win in the Hawaii Bowl.

Offensive Player of the Year: QB Greg Alexander
Defensive Player of the Year: LBs Solomon Elimimian & Adam Leonard

Biggest Surprise: The season. While the loss to Notre Dame might have ended the year with a thud, just getting to a bowl game was a bit of a stunner considering the turnover the program had to go through. Along with the loss of head coach June Jones to SMU, Hawaii had to replace QB Colt Brennan, WRs Ryan Grice-Mullen and Davone Bess, and all the other key pieces of the high-octane offense. The 7-7 campaign showed that things might not be slipping all that much.

Biggest Disappointment: The fourth quarter against Cincinnati. Notre Dame came into the Hawaii Bowl on a mission, and while the 49-21 loss was hardly a plus, it wasn’t completely unexpected. The bigger moment for Hawaii would’ve been a win over Cincinnati, the Big East champion who was off to the Orange Bowl. The Warriors had the game won with a 24-10 fourth quarter lead, but the Bearcats came up with 19 unanswered points including a 69-yard game-winning catch from Mardy Gilyard.

Looking Ahead: While the Warriors might not be back to the BCS days any time soon, they should be strong again on offense as long as the line can be patched up. QB Greg Alexander gets most of his targets back, including Malcolm Lane and Greg Salas. However, the defense has to undergo wholesale changes that’ll prevent any hopes of winning the WAC.

Idaho
CFN Preseason Prediction: 2-10   Final Record: 2-10

Recap
: Outside of a 20-14 win over New Mexico State, it was a disaster of a season. The team never lost its fight, but it simply couldn’t do much of anything right with blowout loss after blowout loss. Of the ten defeats, only one, 30-24 loss to San Jose State, was by less than double-digits. The defense couldn’t stop anyone early on, starting off with a 70-0 loss to Arizona, while the Vandals gave up 45 points or more in the first seven games against FBS teams. After two decent outings, the New Mexico State and San Jose State games, Idaho allowed 45 to Boise State and 49 to Hawaii.

Offensive Player of the Year: TE Eddie Williams
Defensive Player of the Year: FS Virdell Larkins

Biggest Surprise: The offensive woes. With ten starters back, there was supposed to be more consistency, more pop, and more overall production. It didn’t come. Even with the defense giving up points in bunches, the offense still couldn’t let It rip and struggled to score more than a few touchdowns per game.

Biggest Disappointment: That the team was so bad. No one was expecting a WAC championship, but the Vandals were barley competitive in most games. The production simply wasn’t there on either side of the ball, and everyone was able to stretch their offensive legs in what amounted to a week off. Nothing, outside of the punting game, worked.

Looking Ahead: After being among the nation’s worst teams, if not the worst, over the last several years, Idaho needs to come up with some signs of life this year or the Robb Akey era will be over. Just about everyone comes back on defense, for good and bad, and most of the top skill players return.

Louisiana Tech
CFN Preseason Prediction: 6-6   Final Record: 8-5

Recap
: The second year of the Derek Dooley era started off marred by inconsistency. After starting out with a big win over Mississippi State, nothing else worked over the first half of the season with losses to Kansas and Boise State by a combined score of 67-3. A loss at Hawaii was hardly a shock, and after a blowout win over a bad Idaho, a 14-7 loss to Army turned out to be the low point. And then everything turned around with a 38-35 win over Fresno State to lead the way to a four-game winning streak. Despite losing to Nevada in a tight battle in the regular season finale, the team had turned things around. A 17-10 win over Northern Illinois in the Independence Bowl closed out the year on a major high note.

Offensive Player of the Year: RB Daniel Porter
Defensive Player of the Year: DT D’Anthony Smith

Biggest Surprise: The run defense. The stats were strong mostly because the pass defense was abysmal, and everyone worked on throwing the ball, but the defensive front really did a decent job led by a solid front line. Army was the only team able to run for more than 200 yards, while the Bulldogs were able to hold the high-powered Nevada ground game to 103 yards.

Biggest Disappointment: The pass defense. Everyone got fat on the Louisiana Tech secondary. Despite a good pass rush to help out the cause, the secondary struggled throughout the year giving up 412 yards to Kansas, 486 yards to New Mexico State, and 397 to Nevada. The Bulldogs allowed 273 yards per game through the air.

Looking Ahead: The sky’s the limit for a program that’s been a solid player in the WAC race for years. The entire defensive line returns, while the offense comes back loaded with veterans. Boise State and Nevada will be the preseason favorites to win the conference title, but the Bulldogs will be every bit as dangerous. Dooley is destined for a bigger job down the road, but at the moment, he has things pointed in the right direction.

Nevada
CFN Preseason Prediction: 8-4   Final Record: 7-6

Recap
: Nevada came up with yet another big offensive season, and just enough wins to get to a bowl game, but it failed to come up with the truly huge win against a top team. A midseason home loss to New Mexico State was inexcusable, but losses to Texas Tech, Missouri, and Boise State were more than acceptable. When the Pack had to come up with a win, it did, beating Louisiana Tech in a 35-31 regular season finale to get to the Humanitarian Bowl. While Maryland won in Boise, Nevada played a strong game and showed once again that it’s one of the WAC’s better teams.

Offensive Player of the Year: QB Colin Kaepernick
Defensive Player of the Year: DE Kevin Basped

Biggest Surprise: Vai Tua. Luke Lippincott was the star running back who was expected to come up with a huge season, but he went down early on with a season-ending knee injury. Tua more than picked up the slack with eight 100-yard games highlighted by a 263-yard day in the win over Fresno State. He finished with 1,521 yards and 15 touchdown runs.

Biggest Disappointment: New Mexico State 48 – Nevada 45. It was a brain-cramp on the two-foot putt. Any dreams of winning the WAC title all but went bye-bye with three turnovers to offset 313 rushing yards in the stunning loss. The Aggies bombed away for 409 yards and three touchdowns as they exposed what would turn out to be the nation’s worst pass defense.

Looking Ahead: With QB Colin Kaepernick and RB Vai Tua back, the Wolf Pack has the stars to come up with another staggering year offensively. The defense needs to improve, but it’ll be loaded with veterans, and just enough all-star caliber players, to hope for an improvement. This will be one of the preseason favorites to be in the mix for the WAC title, but it’ll all come down to beating Boise State.

New Mexico State
CFN Preseason Prediction: 6-6   Final Record: 3-9

Recap
: The Aggies were supposed to come up with a breakthrough season, and it seemed like a winning season and a bowl game were possible after a 3-2 start highlighted by a 48-45 win at Nevada. And then the wheels fell off with losses to San Jose State and an inexcusable defeat to Idaho to kick off a seven-game losing streak to close out the year. The bottom fell out in the season finale with a 47-2 loss to Utah State. The ending proved to be the downfall of Hal Mumme, whose passing game wasn’t nearly consistent enough to keep up in shootouts.

Offensive Player of the Year: WR Chris Williams
Defensive Player of the Year: FS Derrick Richardson

Biggest Surprise: The 48-45 win over Nevada. The Wolf Pack turned out to be one of the WAC’s best teams, and ended with one of the nation’s best offenses, but the Aggies ended up bombing away for 409 passing yards and three touchdowns to come up with the high-point of the season. Everything fell apart after the win, but it was the one moment when it seemed like all was going right with the world.

Biggest Disappointment: The problems with the passing game. Chase Holbrook was in his third year as the starting quarterback, and he had all his weapons around him including Chris Williams, the first-team All-WAC star. While the passing attack led the WAC averaging 301 yards per game, it wasn’t consistent enough and it didn’t lead to enough points. Putting up 14 on Idaho and two against Utah State was inexcusable.

Looking Ahead: Mumme might be gone and the program might be starting from scratch, but being able to bring in a hot coach like UCLA defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker could mean last year was a step back to take a giant leap forward. However, there’s a ton of work to do on both sides of the ball needing to replace just about everyone of note.

San Jose State
CFN Preseason Prediction: 5-7   Final Record: 6-6

Recap
: All the Spartans had to do was win one of their final three games to go to a second bowl game in three years, but they couldn’t do it losing to Louisiana Tech, Nevada, and Fresno State by a combined score of 86-27. The defense was terrific all year long, but the offense failed to do much of anything, putting too much pressure on the D and failing time and again to keep up in key games. The Spartans beat the dregs on the schedule, along with Hawaii, to start out 6-3, but when it came time to beat anyone with a pulse, they couldn’t do it.

Offensive Player of the Year: WR David Richmond
Defensive Player of the Year: DT Jarron Gilbert

Biggest Surprise: The dominance of the defense. It was supposed to be good following a slightly disappointing 2007 effort, but it was tremendous considering it didn’t get any help from the offense. The front four, led by Jarron Gilbert, was camped out in opposing backfields, the secondary was solid throughout, and the run defense wasn’t all that bad allowing 141 yards per game. However, the D failed to come through with enough stops when its back was against the wall. Even so, there’s nothing wrong with finishing second in the conference to Boise State in total defense and scoring D.

Biggest Disappointment: The offense. If you can’t move the ball in the WAC, forget about hanging with the better teams. San Jose State managed to average a WAC-worst 283 yards and 18.67 points per game. The main culprit was an offensive line that almost got the quarterbacks killed and was only able to pave the way for 87 rushing yards per game.

Looking Ahead: Dick Tomey’s team might not have the killer defense of last year, but it’ll still be among the WAC’s best. The offense can’t be any worst, and if nothing else it’ll get back everyone on the offensive line along with QBs Kyle Reed and Myles Eden. Losing WR David Richmond will hurt; the team needs to find some more offensive production or there will be a hard ceiling on what it’ll be able to do.

Utah State
CFN Preseason Prediction: 1-11   Final Record: 3-9

Recap
: It might have been another losing season for Utah State, and head coach Brent Guy might have gotten fired, but the team was far more competitive throughout the season and it had some interesting moments of explosion. There were only three wins, but they were all blowouts beating Hawaii, Idaho, and New Mexico State by a combined score of 119 to 33. Of course, those three wins were wrapped around a slew of losses with a 1-7 start killing any hopes of a turnaround season. The 47-2 win over New Mexico State was a high point, but it came in the season finale.

Offensive Player of the Year: QB Dionde Borel
Defensive Player of the Year: LB Jake Hutton

Biggest Surprise: Diondre Borel. Originally seen as a third option in the quarterbacking mix, Borel turned out to be the one bright spot for the offense. The most athletic of the options, he ended up leading the team with 632 yards and five touchdowns while he threw for 1,705 yards and 11 scores. He was a playmaker for a team in desperate need of them.

Biggest Disappointment: The inability to come up with a clutch upset. The Aggies were blown up by most of the good teams, but they have chances against UNLV, Fresno State and Louisiana Tech to come up with wins. Winning one of those might not have done much for the season overall, but it would’ve provided a big moment for a program looking for any positives it can get.

Looking Ahead: New head coach Gary Andersen will try to inject some life into one of the nation’s worst programs. Utah State hasn’t had a winning season since 1996, back when it was in the Big West, and has had only two winning seasons since 1980. There are a few good players, like LB Paul Igboeli and QB Diondre Borel, to get excited about, but it’s going to take another few years before there’s any sort of a big change.