Mountain West Conference Week 4 Preview

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Don’t miss this weeks games that are on The Mtn. first it’s BYU against Wyoming and see if BYU can climb the rankings even farther, and then the late game check out UNLV who just defeated nationally ranked Arizona State as they take on Big XII foe Iowa State.

(2-1)#11 (3-0)

LaVell Edwards Stadium 1PM MT TV: Radio: 1240 KFBC and KSL Sports Radio

Conference play begins for BYU, and we will see if BYU can keep its momentum from last weeks beat down against UCLA. This defense will be the best that the Cougars have faced so far this year. Wyoming so far has given up only 18 points per game, and only 292 total yards per game. In saying that Wyoming has yet to see this type of offense, and while Wyoming has a pretty good defense they will have trouble slowing down the BYU offense.

Wyoming has a chance if quarterback Dax Crum can have success against the BYU secondary when passing the ball. BYU should be able to counter their less then stellar secondary by applying pressure to Wyoming and make Crum throw the ball quickly. Devin Moore at running back must have success in the running game to keep the BYU defense honest to help Wyoming try to stay in the game.

The Cowboys do not have the overall offensive package to move the ball consistently against BYU, mainly because Wyoming has only been able to score 13 a game so far and that includes a win over FCS school North Dakota State last week.

The Wyoming defense is good, but even if the Pokes can slow down running back Harvey Unga the Cougars will be able to pass the ball to tight end Daniel Pita, or wide out Austin Collie. Wyoming will not be able to stop both the run and the pass, but if they can slow down one of the two and create some turnovers then Wyoming could make this interesting.

BYU needs to score and win by a lot to keep their name in the national headlines to help them move up in the polls.

Final Score: BYU 42 Wyoming 13

(1-2) . (1-1)

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

Colorado State returns to action after a week off, and now face Houston who brings a pretty good offense to town. Houston has been out of sync after Hurricane Ike made landfall last week and still has many thousands of still without power.

The Rams were off last week after defeating Sacramento State at home. Colorado State will have a tough time stopping or even slowing down the Houston high octane offense. The Cougars have quarterback Case Keenum who has 13 touchdowns to one interception and has completed 63 percent of his passes. Even though Houston ranks second nationally in passing yards, their running game is effective enough to make the opposing defense to respect the run as well.

The Ram offense on the other hand is ranked 82nd nationally and have yet to find much success throwing the ball. Their best offensive player is running back Gatrell Johnson III, but he only has 168 yards in two games, but does average over five yards per carry.

If Houston plays like they did in the second half against Air Force look for them to be able to run away with this game early and leave the Rams struggling to compete.

Colorado State’s best chance is to use the running game to eat the clock and keep the Cougars offense on the sideline.

Final Score: Houston 34 Colorado State 17

#20 (3-0)(3-0)

Falcon Stadium 2PM MT TV: Radio: KALL 700 Sports and 740 KVOR

This battle of unbeatens takes place at the home of the Air Force Falcons. Air Force is a different and much better team at home then they are on the road. The Falcons have won seven straight home games, and their lost home loss came against these same Utes on November 18, 2006 with a 17-14 loss.

These two teams always play each other very close, and part of it is because of the Falcons unique run option offense they implement. This year the Falcons had to replace multiple players but no matter who they plug in the team does well. The Falcons have ran the ball 71, 63, and 76 times in each of their first three games, the running game will be the key for Air Force this week.

The Falcons do not have a star player like Chad Hall who they had last year, but the players they put in are very effective. If the Falcons run 60 rushing plays then they will have a very good chance of defeating Utah, because of the time of possession will favor the Falcons quite a bit.

Also, a thing to keep an eye on is the dive play that the Falcons no doubtingly will run because of the rash of injuries that the Utes have at their two defensive tackle positions.

Utah will need to step up and score touchdowns in this game and not settle for field goals. Plus, the Utes will need to stabilize their return game, because last week against Utah State the Utes gave up or muffed four returns. Look for Brent Casteel or junior college transfer Aiona Key to get some looks. Key has finally arrived from junior college to join the Utes and could see a few plays at wide receiver in this game.

This will be the Utes toughest test to date in the running game, and everyone knows Air Force will run and run a lot, so if Utah can create turnovers on defense and limit the Falcons to under 200 yards rushing they will win.

Final Score: Utah 24 Air Force 14

(1-2) (2-0)

Chapman Stadium 6PM MT TV: NONE Radio: 770 KKOB

This will be an interesting game, because for all the talk about East Carolina in C-USA Tulsa might actually be better. The Golden Hurricane will throw the ball a lot in this game, so far this season they have averaged 395 yards per game passing which is third in the nation and they also are third in total offense with 582 per game. Tulsa is 6th in the nation in scoring offense by averaging 50 points per game. Their opponents so far have been nothing great in UAB and North Texas, but Tulsa is expected to be a high scoring offense anyways.

New Mexico on the other hand has trouble stopping teams by allowing 27 per game. The Lobos will need to apply pressure and make Tulsa quarterback, David Johnson throw sooner then he would like to. Johnson on the year has 750 passing yards, nine touchdowns, zero picks, and a 78.9 completion percentage.

The Lobos gave up a lot of yards and points so far in the season, so if this game does get into the 30’s for either team then look for Tulsa to win. However, New Mexico has running back Rodney Ferguson can help the Lobos control the time of possession and give them a decent chance to stay in the game and maybe win.

Final Score: Tulsa 41 New Mexico 31

(3-0) (1-2)

Gerald J. Ford Stadium 6PM CT TV: Radio: 103.3 ESPN Radio

June Jones has yet to fully bring his high octane offense to Dallas from Hawai’i, but this will be the stiffest pass offense that TCU has seen this year. For the third straight game TCU is without star running back Aaron Brown for violating university policies.

TCU has the defense to slow down SMU, part of that falls on SMU since they have been one dimensional this year by running for only 44 yards per game which is 118th in all of college football.

For all the yards SMU puts up on offense they also throw a lot picks, eight so far, and TCU has a plus 10 margin in the turnover department this year.

SMU on defense is not very good this year, and even if you take away the Texas Tech game where SMU allowed 43 points the Mustangs gave up 56 in a loss to rice and then 36 in a win over FCS Texas State. TCU is by no means an offensive power, but the offense has had the luxury to work with short fields and make the most of those in the running game even without Aaron Brown.

This could be a trap game if TCU looks ahead to the Oklahoma game in Norman next week, but Coach Gary Patterson will do his best to keep the team focused on SMU.

Final Score: TCU 31 SMU 17

(2-1) (2-1)

Sam Boyd Stadium 6PM PT TV: Radio: 1100 ESPN Radio

UNLV is looking to get its third win of the season which would be the most by the program since the team went 6-6 in 2003. The Rebels also are on a high after defeating then #15 Arizona State on the road, so the home crowd should be pumped for this game.

The Cyclones have lost six straight road games dating back to the 2006 season. The Cyclones will have to rev up their defense to stop running back Frank Summers who is a power back and will wear down nearly any defense. Then they must find a way to cover wide receivers Casey Flair, Philip Payne and Ryan Wolfe both who are play makers once they catch the ball. These three account for 493 of the teams 590 passing yards.

Iowa State has not had a difficult schedule so far, they have beaten Kent State and FCS South Dakota State before losing on the road to instate rival Iowa 17-5. The only game where the Cyclones were impressive was against Kent State when they won 48-28, but that was mainly from their defense getting short fields for the offense by creating four turnovers. UNLV better take care of the ball then in this game and not give Iowa State short fields.

UNLV will need to watch the running back duo of Phillip Bates and Alexander Robinson these two have lead Iowa State in rushing and have averaged just over 5 yards per carry, but the Cyclones give the ball to multiple players near the goal line for the short scores.

Interceptions are a concern for Iowa State, so far this year they have three on the year to go along with only four touchdown passes. That could be a concern for Iowa State. I am going to take the plunge and jump on the UNLV band wagon for another win.

Final Score: UNLV 24 Iowa State 20

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