Mountain West Conference Week 3 Preview

Great news for the readers of the MWC Connection our site has teamed up with DirecTv to give our readers a discount of $10 off your bill when you sign up for DirecTv and call 866-770-6934. DirecTV is the only place to get The Mountain West Sports Network nation wide which is the exclusive home for Mountain West sports. Now, if you live outside the conference footprint you will need to subscribe to the sports pack, but that $10 discount will take care of nearly all of the cost of the sports package. Plus, this week the Utah/Utah State game is on the ESPN Game Plan package, so the only way to watch this game if you live outside of Utah is to order the ESPN Game Plan package, and you can order that as well by calling 866-770-6934 or click here to sign up.

Now on to week 3 games!!

(2-0) (1-1)

Amon Carter Stadium 12PM CT TV: Radio: 103.3 ESPN Radio

This game was moved up to a noon local start due to hurricane Ike that is moving its way to the Texas coast. The game itself is a return matchup with Stanford visiting the Horned Frogs and want revenge after losing to TCU last year 38-36. Stanford started out with a nice conference victory over Oregon State, but last week was pounded by ranked Arizona State 41-17. Stanford is only slightly better then last years team that won four games, but coach Jim Harbaugh is a huge motivator and has the Stanford players ready.

Players to watch on Stanford are in their running attack with Toby Gerhart who in two games has 214 yards, four touchdowns, but most impressively averages 6.1 yards per carry. This will be tested against a great TCU front defense that only allowed New Mexico running back Rodney Ferguson to 64 yards. This is a matchup that Stanford needs to at least be serviceable to be able to keep this game close.

The Stanford passing offense is to be nice, terrible in two games starting quarterback Tavita Pritchard has 188 yards, one score, and two picks. So, if Stanford has to rely on the passing game this could get ugly early. Look for TCU to stuff the box to slow down Gerhart and force Pritchard to beat them.

Their is still no word if TCU running back Aaron Brown will play this week, USA Today reports that Brown has suited up and practiced all week, but still no word if he will play. Brown has not played all year due to violation of university policy.

On offense TCU still has a potent running game without Brown, they just will give the ball to multiple backs to see what they can do. Quarterback Andy Dalton should have a good day passing against a Stanford defense that gave up 395 yards last week to Arizona States’s Rudy Carpenter.

TCU should be able to handle the Cardinal and improve to 3-0.

Final Score: TCU 27 Stanford 13

(2-0) (1-1)

War Memorial Stadium: 1PM MT TV: NONE Radio: 1240 KFBC

North Dakota is from the FCS division, and a good one in that. Wyoming looks to rebound over last weeks lose to Air Force. In breaking news on the Wyoming athletic website, coach Glenn says the first time will start the game. Hello Mr. Obvious of course that is the case, and it is assumed but never said in the article, but Dax Crum will be back at the starting quarterback position.

NDSU is a good FCS team and the location and any inclement should not matter to them, but Wyoming will be able to stop the Bison. Last year they did beat Central Michigan easily 44-14, but in this case Wyoming has a much better defense then Central Michigan especially in the run defense.

Look for Wyoming to stop the run, and on offense look for Devin Moore to run over the Bison. Not much preview, this is FCS team and well thats why.

Final Score: Wyoming 27 NDSU 13

(1-0) #15 (2-0)

LaVell Edwards Stadium 1:30PM MT TV: Radio: KSL Sports Radio

The big matchup of the week pits these teams together for the third time in a year and three different head coaches for UCLA. This is intriguing because in week one UCLA came out big and defeated Tennessee at home, and the Vols were ranked. Norm Chow should be able to have a scheme for former San Diego State and current UCLA starter Kevin Craft, but performing those plays will be tough. Last game Kraft had four picks in the first half before he exploded. Also, that first win by a very young team was all on emotion and they had the home crowd behind them.

Slick Rick will get the team pumped, but this is on the road to a team that does not lose at home very often. UCLA on offense is most likely go to to Raymond Carter and Chane Moline if Kahlil Bell can’t play, to add salt on the wound UCLA’s offensive line is beat up for this weeks game.

For all that is said for UCLA’s defense they only return four starters and defensive coordinator Walker believes that UCLA has the athletes to single cover BYU tight end Dennis Pita, who happens to lead the country in receiving yards, and that is for all receiving yards and not just for tight ends.

UCLA does have the athletes but running back Harvey Unga and quarteback Max Hall should have productive games, and this is the game that BYU needs to blow out a Pac-10 opponent so voters can put behind the close call against Washington.

Final Score: BYU 31 UCLA 20

(2-0) (1-1)

Gerald J. Ford Stadium, Dallas, TX 10AM CT TV: Radio: 740 KVOR

This game is moved to SMU’s stadium and away from Hurricane Ike, so it will be interesting to see how many fans are at this game in Dallas. Air Force has surprised us all again by just reloading their team, and refocusing their option to the run again. In Air Forces first two games they have rushed for 694 yards on 139 carries, so Houston will need to some how slow down the Air Force rushing attack.

The running attack is not limited to one player, and in the two games 4 players have double digit carries. The passing offense has only garnered 90 total yards, by Shea Smith so far this season.

Houston on offense will still look similar even without former coach Art Briles, so expect the Cougars to throw a lot and get many people involved. Case Keenum the Cougars signal caller has thrown for 779 yards in two games and nine touchdowns. The Falcons secondary will surely be tested on Saturday after noon.

This is a tough game to call, because the Houston players may be distracted once Hurricane Ike hits landfall which should be over night. Hope all goes well for those players and their families who are back in Houston during the storm.

Final Score: Air Force 21 Houston 17

(2-0) (0-2)

University Stadium 6PM TV: Radio: 770 KKOB

New Mexico has had bad luck, but over all has looked terrible. The bad luck came down in week one when quarterback Donovan Porterie went out with a neck injury and left the game, and against Texas A&M did not look good. The Lobos have not found replacement receivers, and are relying on running back Rodney Ferguson.

While Ferguson is very good New Mexico can not run every play, because teams will stack the box and force the receivers to make a play. I do think New Mexico rebounds to play a good game, but they do not have the complete package to win.

Arizona will focus offensively on to continue their near 50/50 offensive output. In the passing game it is Willie Tuitama who has 471 yards in two games and then in the running game Nic Grisby is their leading rusher with 304 yards and five touchdowns.

The Wildcats score points, but this should be their toughest opponent so far with a solid defense. Look for Arizona to use their balance to keep the Lobo’s offense and then make the big play in the air. Arizona has a balance receiving corp, so even with New Mexico’s 3-3-5 defense the Cats should still put up passing yards.

Final Score: Arizona 31 New Mexico 20

#22 (2-0) (0-2)

Romney Stadium 6PM MT TV: Radio:KALL 700 Sports

Utah renews the rival against Utah State for the 107th time and Utah State has not won since 1997, and this year should be no different.

Utah should be able to get their back ups in the game early to help reduce injury and to get the back ups some real game experience.

The Utes do have injury concern at defensive line with their top two nose tackles out, so Utah will be inserting players along the line to see who will get the nod later on. Also, four star recruit David Kruger may burn his redshirt to shore up the defensive line.

In the game the Utah State will use two quarterbacks with Diondre Borel and Sean Setzer. These players will be used at different times to mix things up. Look for Utah State to get receiver Otis Nelson the ball often, because he is the teams play maker and he needs the touches.

Last week against Oregon Utah State did not turn the ball over which is encouraging for the Aggies.
However the Ags do not have enough against the Utes.

Final Score: Utah 44 Utah State 17

(0-2) (1-1)

Spartan Stadium 5PM PT TV: NONE Radio: XTRA Sports 1360

San Diego State made a good effort last week against an equally bad Notre Dame team on the road. The close loss may give the Aztec players some hope since they played a close game on the road.

The only good thing so far for the Aztecs is Ryan Lindley who is putting up very good numbers at Quarterback.

The problem is that SDSU has nothing else on offense, they are one dimensional and have no running game to support Lindley. San Jose State can bring the blitz until the Aztecs can prove they can run the ball.

SJSU is equally as bad as SDSU, because they nearly defeated FCS team Cal-Davis, and then last week was soundly defeated by Nebraska by 23. The Spartans are the opposite of the Aztecs in that they run the ball much better then their passing game, and their running game is not even that great.

This game will be similar to last weeks Notre Dame game, but look for San Diego State to pull this one out.

Final Score: San Diego State21 San Jose State 17

(1-1) #13 (2-0)

Sun Devil Stadium 7PM PT TV:

UNLV on the road? Not a good bet for them to win. Arizona State is ranked #13 and wants to keep moving up the rankings, and as bad as it is style points count, so ASU will want to put away UNLV.

The offense for ASU starts with quarterback Rudy Carpenter who in two games has 733 yards, and could be a Heisman candidate within a few weeks. So far the Sun Devil offense is dominated by the passing game, even though they have blown out both of their opponents.

It is too early to tell if their rushing offense is really good or not, so UNLV could focus on the passing game by blitzing to make the Sun Devils adjust to that. UNLV may have some success in that but ASU coach Dennis Erickson will adjust to the situation.

UNLV could have success if Omar Clayton can get the ball to Ryan Wolfe and Casey Flair, but look for the Sun Devils to provide extra help to those players. Frank Summers could be a key as well to keep the offense balanced in the running game, but if UNLV gets behind early then Summers could be taken away from the game similar to last weeks loss to Utah.

A quick fact about the Rebels have lost 21 of 22 on the road, and seven in a row against ranked foes.

Final Score: Arizona State 41 UNLV 13

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One Response

  1. Your assessment is correct. I like your analysis on UCLA having to defensively scheme to stop the run and short passes to the TE and long ones to the WR. UCLA will not be able to do that consistently. BYU by 10. Your call is correct!

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