1) Broncos Broken as Boise State falls to Air Force
Coming into its last game, Boise State had one job: don’t trip up on itself during its matchup versus Air Force. Previously, the Broncos had lost their last two meetings versus the Falcons, but seemingly were set to take this game and cruise to the Mountain West championship game.
Even with Broncos quarterback Brett Ryipen throwing for 316 yards of passing and a touchdown, Air Force was able to keep pace with Boise State and squeeze out a 27-20 win. Notably, the Falcons scored 17 unanswered points to make it a three possession game by halftime, which helped seal out Boise’s chances to come back.
With the loss, the Broncos were knocked out of the running for the MWC championship game, as Wyoming was picked by the computers in the tiebreak among the three co-division winners. The team also fell from out of the Associated Press top 25 rankings after sitting at 20th the week before.
Considering all it would have taken for Boise State to reach the title game would have been that win, Broncos fans are now left to wonder what could have been (and hold contempt towards computer tiebreak systems.)
2) I guess the conference will be a war of attrition after all.
Two of the top teams in the conference saw their last games unexpectedly slip away as their path to the championship became much more complicated than it needed to be.
San Diego State fell to Colorado State 63-31, as Donnel Pumphrey was held to 53 yards of rushing on 18 carries on his least productive night of the season. Nick Stevens led the Rams with four passing touchdowns and 210 yards, working around a usually solid Aztec pass defense.
Wyoming could have easily sealed its conference championship bid with a win over New Mexico, but instead allowed the Lobos to jump out to a 21 point lead to start the game en route to a 56-35 win. Notably, the Cowboys gave up 568 rushing yards to the Lobos, a new school record.
For both teams, their losses knocked whatever hope of a New Year’s six bowl they had, which was honestly unlikely to begin with. Both also had their conference records brought closer to the mean of the other teams, and in the case of Wyoming the loss caused for a tiebreak scenario to play out between the three teams at the top of the mountain division.
In what was a tight year between the top teams in the conference, the last thing Wyoming and SDSU wanted was a loss going into the postseason to kill their respective momentums.
3) New Mexico is going to be an absolute nightmare for whoever plays them in a bowl game
In what has been an continued run of success from last season, New Mexico is now making a name for itself among the bowl eligible teams in the MWC.
Winners in six of their last seven games, much of the Lobos’ success has been due to a very potent rush attack led by Teriyon Gipson. Gipson is part of a running back unit that has averaged 360.9 yards per game, which leads all teams in the FBS.
While Gipson has run for 1,908 yards, 9.8 yards per carry and 12 touchdowns, he is not the only weapon in the backfield. Richard McQuarly leads the team with 16 rushing touchdowns, while Tyrone Owens has 1,084 yards and seven touchdowns.
Among all its backs, New Mexico has eight with at least a single rush touchdown and four with at least 500 yards. Head coach Bob Davie should be excited to get his team into a bowl game, as very few teams can predict how the Lobos will try to beat them on the ground.