Mountain West Football Week 2 Preview

#15 (1-0) (0-1)

Husky Stadium 12PM PT TV: Radio: KSL sports Radio

The question this week for BYU is not the BCS or by how much they may win by, but it is can BYU win a road non conference game. These games have given BYU trouble the past few years by losing to inferior teams and Tulsa comes to mind last year and Arizona in 2006. If BYU wins it will be their first non conference road win since beating Utah State by one in 2003 and their first road win outside of Utah since beating Cal in 2002. Current players are aware, but may not really care its been five years they will just know they have never won a road non conference game.

Last week Washington got hammered 44-10 at Oregon and looks to be a mediocre team at best. The player BYU needs to watch out for is quarterback Jake Locker aka ‘Tim Tebow lite,’ Locker had limited success last week by gaining 151 total yards passing and rushing. He is athletic and may be able to make plays against a green BYU secondary, but his running ability will be limited with the defensive line and line backers being the Cougars strength.

For BYU to win they need to get ahead early and remove the crowd from the game, because in Husky Stadium the 75,000 fans are very loud and can disrupt opponents and force offsides and false start penalties. Plus, with a coach on the hot seat and the home opener Washington will be primed and ready to go for this game against another ranked opponent.

Getting Austin Collie and Dennis Pitta the ball early to establish the passing game for big plays should be able to deflate the Huskies, and then BYU can just run it up the middle with Harvey Unga. BYU is the better team and should win, but in years past they have disappointed on these road games, but the offense is very mature and should be able to get everyone in line for this game and BYU will win by at least two touchdowns.

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Hughes Stadium 1:30PM MT TV: NONE Radio: KCOL 600

Exciting matchup with I-AA Sacramento State coming into Fort Collins. This game should give new Rams head coach Steve Fairchild his first win, and be able to work on some things against Sac State. The Hornets are coming off of an impressive 45-10 win in their opener, and were lead by two 100 yard rushers in Bryan Hilliard and Evander Wilkins who lead the way.

Colorado State will need to watch those two players and the entire rushing attack from Sacramento State, because the passing attack was non existent with just over 150 yards passing.

Colorado State should be able to win by 10 points or more, and getting quarterback Billy Farris more experience.

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Notre Dame Stadium 2:30 PM CT TV: Radio: XTRA Sports 1360

This game will be interesting, at least in my opinion, because last year Notre Dame was terrible going 3-9, but have a majority of returning players back with experience. This is the Irish season opener and they had the privilege of seeing San Diego State get embarrassed against Cal Poly, and the only excuse that can be mustered up is that the Aztecs were looking past Cal Poly to Notre Dame.

The positives for San Diego State is quarterback Ryan Lindley who threw for 354 yards last week. If San Diego State wants to be in this game he needs to have another strong weak, which is possible since last year Notre Dame’s defense was not very good.

The running game has to show up for the Aztecs to keep the Irish off guard, and last weak against the FCS team they only managed 27 yards. Brandon Sullivan will need to step up against Notre Dame and have about 75 yards on the ground to have Notre Dame respect the run.

This is a game that Notre Dame needs to show that it can dominate an opponent, Jimmy Clausen who had elbow surgery to help an injury that bothered him last year.  The main concern for Notre Dame is their offensive line that was terrible last year, so if the Irish offense is to have any success the offensive line must produce.

Look for Notre Dame to win this game, because San Diego State is not very good and they lost to I-AA Cal Poly at home last week.

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War Memorial Stadium 1:30PM MT TV: CBS PPV Radio: 740 KVOR or 1240 KFBC

This is an interesting early season conference match up, because Air Force is breaking in many new offensive players and Wyoming has a new quarterback Dax Crum.  Last week Air Force eased in the new players by destroying Southern Utah, and the running game looks to be their strength again by running the ball 76 times.  Expect Air Force to keep using the running game with new quarterback Shea Smith, but the Falcons will mix in some more play action passing to keep Wyoming offense.  Smith is the key to the Air Force offense as last week he had 91 rushing yards and 75 passing, and then also wide receiver Kyle Halderman who ran for 87 yards.

Wyoming is ready for this game, after having to come from to defeat Ohio in game one.  Wyoming has a very good rush defense, so the matchup between the Falcons option against the Pokes deffense will be one to watch.  Air Force most likely will get its yards, so Wyoming will need to limit the big running plays.

Wyoming on offense will be lead by running back Devin Moore 82 rushing yards with a score.  Moore is small in size but is a speed back who can break for a big play if he can make it outside.  The Cowboys also have new quarterback Dax Crum who played fairly well in week one by completing 64% of his passes, but also had two scores and two picks and lead the final drive for victory over Ohio.

Wyoming should be able to win this game, because they are at home and have a good rush defense which will limit what the Falcons can do.

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University Stadium 3PM MT TV: Radio: 770 KKOB

Both teams showed nothing last week, by rolling over to their respective opponents.  Texas A&M’s loss was worse by losing at home to Arkansas State.   New Mexico lost in week one to TCU 26-3 in a game that most thought could have been the best game last week in Mountain West play.

Quarterback Donovan Porterie did suffer a neck injury early in last weeks game and is going to start game two against the Aggies, but sometimes there is the after effect of such injury for players to play ancy.   Protection will be a key for the Lobos, also running back Rodney Ferguson will need to help control the ball in the running game.   Last week Ferguson was not as effective since New Mexico was down 16-0 in first nine minutes.

The Aggies have talent at quarterback with Stephen McGee who is a very capable dual threat quarterback, but in the new offense under MIke Sherman has McGee throwing first and running second in a more traditional offense.  Then at running back Texas A&M has Mike Goodson who ran for for 124 yards and two scores.  The Aggies look to be more of a run first offense with Goodson in the backfield who has the big play capabilities as he averaged 5.2 per carry last week.

This game should be an even matchup, but the edge has to be given to New Mexico because they are at home and will be up again to face a Big XII opponent in Texas A&M.

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Amon Carter Stadium 6PM CT TV: NONE Radio: 103.3 ESPN Radio

This in state matchup features a pretty solid FCS team in Stephen F. Austin who defeated Langston 56-19.  SFA is capable of scoring, but TCU is a much, much better defensive team then Langston.  The SFA Lumberjacks did nothing special in their opener they were just given good field position because of their special teams.

TCU will roll past SFA with Andy Dalton at quarterback and then star running back Aaron Brown both who should have a dominant game.  The one thing TCU needs to do is find a go to receiver to make this team more complete then it all ready is.

(1-0) #22 (1-0)

Rice Eccles Stadium 6PM MT TV: Radio:KALL 700 Sports

This game has the chance to get ugly.  Last year Utah was in disaray with quarterback Brian Johnson not at full health and tried to save the day in an ugly 27-0 loss to a UNLV team that won only 2 games last year.  Some ‘experts’ are saying Utah could still be living off the high for defeating Michigan last week on the road, but coaches have the team preparing just as they did against Michigan plus the fact that the Utes were embarassed last year.

UNLV has players, but they snuck by lowly Utah State last week and only played a vanilla offense against the Aggies.   UNLV has possibly the best receiving corp in the league with Ryan Wolfe and Casey Flair and the matcup between Ute defensive back Sean Smith and either of these receivers will be something to watch out for.  Then there is Frank Summers who bulldozed his way to over 100 yards last year, and toss in the fact that UNLV head coach came out saying that Utah was affraid to tackle Summers and only dived at his ankles adds fuel to this game.

UNLV has players on offense, but has yet to have a game where everything runs smoothly.  If Utah plays defense this week like last week then UNLV has very little chance to score or gain any yards.

Utah will be ready, because of last years embarassing loss and this is the first week Utah has been ranked in the top 25 since they finished the 2004 season ranked fifth in the coaches poll so the crowd will be rocking with a projected sell out at Rice-Eccless Stadium.  This game could resemble last years Wyoming game, when coach Whittingham heard that coach Joe Glenn guaranteed a win ove Utah.

Utes should win comfortably by two touchdowns or more.

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