Estimated read time: 11-12 minutes
WEEK 9 RECAPNew Mexico and Utah became the latest Mountain West Conference teams to gain bowl eligible status, defeating Air Force and Colorado State, respectively, in Week 9 football action. Meanwhile, Wyoming halted a two-game losing skid with a win over UNLV, while the BYU-San Diego State contest was postponed until December 1, due to the fires in San Diego.
On Thursday, New Mexico (6-2, 3-1 MWC) scored field goals on back-to-back possessions in the fourth quarter and held on for a 34-31 win over Air Force (6-3, 5-2 MWC) in Albuquerque. The Lobos, who moved into second place in the MWC standings, are off to their best start in 10 seasons under coach Rocky Long, and bowl-eligible for the seventh straight year.
On Saturday, Wyoming (5-3, 2-2 MWC) rallied for a 29-24 win over UNLV (2-7, 1-4 MWC) in Laramie. Trailing 24-23 late in the fourth quarter, the Cowboys scored on a three-yard touchdown pass with 5:42 left in the game to go up 29-24, then held on for the victory as the Rebels dropped their fifth straight decision.
In Fort Collins, Utah (6-3, 3-2 MWC) extended its win streak to five games with a 27-3 win over Colorado State (1-7, 1-4 MWC). The Utes scored on four offensive possessions in the first half, while the defensive unit recorded six sacks on the day.
LAST WEEK'S RESULTS (OCT. 25 & 27)
Thursday, October 25
New Mexico 34, Air Force 31 (Albuquerque, N.M.; Attendance - 26,087 )
Saturday, October 27
Wyoming 29, UNLV 24 (Laramie, Wyo.; Attendance - 16,940)
Utah 27, Colorado State 3 (Fort Collins, Colo.; Attendance - 16,718)
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK (OCT. 29, 2007)
Offensive Player of the Week
RODNEY FERGUSON, NEW MEXICO
Junior, TB, Albuquerque, N.M./Albuquerque Manzano
Rodney Ferguson had a career-high 41 carries for 146 yards and two touchdowns in New Mexico's 34-31 victory over Air Force. The 41 rushes set a Mountain West Conference record for carries by a junior and ranks as the second-most in league history overall. Ferguson rushed 24 times for 92 yards in the second half as the Lobos overcame a 21-10 first-half deficit. It is Ferguson's fourth 100-yard game of the season and the eighth of his career. He now has 2,155 yards rushing in his career, moving into seventh place all-time at UNM, passing Lobo head coach Rocky Long (2,071 yards).
Co-Defensive Players of the Week
BEAU BELL, UNLV
Senior, Linebacker, Tustin, Calif./Tustin
Beau Bell recorded 10 total tackles, including five solo stops and three tackles for loss, as well as a pass breakup and an interception return for a touchdown in UNLV's loss to Wyoming. Midway through the third quarter, Bell grabbed his third career interception and ran it back 11 yards to give the Rebels a 17-9 lead and their first defensive score of the season. Bell now has 288 career tackles, moving into fifth place all-time at UNLV and 10th in MWC history.
STEVE TATE, UTAH
Senior, Defensive Back, Salt Lake City, Utah/Utah State
Steve Tate registered 12 tackles, including 10 solo, one sack, two tackles for loss and an interception in Utah's win at Colorado State. Tate's effort led a Utah defense that allowed just three CSU points and held the Rams to 2-of-13 on third down conversion attempts.
Co-Special Teams Players of the Week
BILLY VINNEDGE, WYOMING
Senior, Kicker/Punter, Arroyo Grande, Calif./Allan Hancock CC
Billy Vinnedge scored all nine of Wyoming's first-half points, making field goals of 37, 33 and 44 yards as the Cowboys defeated UNLV, 29-24. Vinnedge also punted five times for a 41.8- yard average, placing all five of his punts inside the Rebels' 20-yard line.
JOHN SULLIVAN, NEW MEXICO
Junior, Kicker, Tehachapi, Calif./Tehachapi
John Sullivan kicked a career-high four field goals New Mexico's victory over Air Force. His final two field goals came in the fourth quarter and were the difference in the 34-31 victory. Sullivan connected from 43, 20, 32 and 38 yards, establishing a school record by making 18 consecutive field goals. The streak ended when he missed from 32 yards later in the fourth period. Sullivan now has 19 made field goals this season, which tie for the second-most in school history and fourth-most in MWC history.
|**WEEK #10 SCHEDULE**|
|**Colorado State (1-7, 1-4)**||**BYU (5-2, 3-0)**||Sat., Nov. 3/12 p.m. MT||The Mtn.|
|Army (3-5)||**Air Force (6-3, 5-2)**||Sat., Nov. 3/1:30 p.m. MT||CSTV/SIRIRUS|
|**New Mexico (6-2, 3-1)**||**TCU (4-4, 1-3)**||Sat., Nov. 3/4:30 p.m. CT||The Mtn.|
|**Wyoming (5-3, 2-2)**||**San Diego State (2-5, 1-2)**||Sat., Nov. 3/6 p.m. PT||The Mtn.|
WEEK 10 PREVIEW
Week 10 action on Saturday, November 3, features three conference tilts and a non-conference match-up between service academies. An MWC tripleheader on The Mtn.-MountainWest Sports Network opens with Colorado State at BYU in a 12 p.m. MT kickoff, followed by New Mexico at TCU at 4:30 p.m. CT, and Wyoming at San Diego State at 6 p.m. PT. Elsewhere, Air Force hosts Army in a 1:30 p.m. MT contest that will be televised on CSTV. UNLV and Utah are idle this week.
BYU and New Mexico have yet to allow a 100-yard rusher this season. BYU (10th-90.4), Wyoming (18th-106.2) and New Mexico (21st-109.4) are each ranked in the Top-25 nationally in rush defense. Only three teams in MWC history have finished the year allowing less than 100 yards rushing per game (2006-TCU-76.8; 2003-UNM-88.6; 2001-UNM 87.4).
BYU currently has a nine-game road win streak in MWC contests. The current streak breaks the old MWC mark of eight held by Utah from Nov. 16, 2002 through Nov. 13, 2004. BYU's streak started with a 27-24 win at New Mexico during the 2005 season.
BYU SETS CONSECUTIVE MWC WINS RECORD
BYU has set a Conference record for most consecutive wins in MWC games (11). The Cougars have not lost since dropping a 41-34 overtime decision to Utah on Nov. 19, 2005.
The Mountain West Conference is on pace to equal the league record of five 1,000-yard rushers set in 2001. Utah's Darrell Mack leads the league with 898 yards, followed by New Mexico's Rodney Ferguson with 873, Chad Hall of Air Force with 847, and Wyoming's Devin Moore with 791. BYU's Harvey Unga is fifth on the list with 684 yards and Frank Summers of UNLV is sixth with 678. Hall is the only senior among the Top 10 rushers in the league.
RECORD BOOK WATCH
* San Diego State's Kevin O'Connell (7,305 yards), Air Force's Shaun Carney (7,279 yards) and Colorado State's Caleb Hanie (5,654 yards) rank third, fourth and ninth, respectively, on the league's all-time list for total offense yardage.
* AFA's Carney moved into a tie for ninth place on the league's all-time list for touchdown passes (35). SDSU's O'Connell is tied for fourth on that same list with 38.
* Air Force's Carney moved into seventh place on the league's all-time list for rushing yardage (2,282 yards).
* SDSU's Garrett Palmer ranks fifth on the league's all-time list for points scored (226 points), while UNLV's Sergio Aguayo is in eighth place (211 points).
* UNLV's Aguayo remains in third place on the league's all-time list for field goals made (44), while SDSU's Palmer is tied for fourth on that same list (42).
* New Mexico's Travis Brown moved into a tie for seventh place on the league's all-time list for receptions (157). CSU's Johnny Walker ranks 10th on that same list with 155.
* TCU's Brian Bonner ranks sixth on the league's all-time list for punt return yardage (675 yards). Wyoming's Hoost Marsh is second on that same list with 892 yards. Marsh is also in a tie for first place on the league's all-time list for number of punt returns (91) with Colorado State's Dexter Wynn (2000-03). Marsh (892 yards) currently ranks second behind Wynn (1,329 yards) in career punt return yardage. Bonner is tied for 10th in punt returns with 51.
* Air Force's Carson Bird is tied for fifth place on the league's all-time list for interceptions (8). New Mexico's DeAndre Wright and Wyoming's Julius Stinson are tied for eighth on that same list with seven INT's apiece.
* UNLV's Beau Bell moved into 10th place on the league's all-time list for total tackles (288).
* TCU senior DE Chase Ortiz has taken over third place on the league's all-time list for total sacks (17.5). The record is 20.0, held by BYU's Brady Poppinga (2000-04). New Mexico's Michael Tuohy ranks fourth on that list (17.0), followed by TCU's Tommy Blake, who is tied for seventh (15.0).
* Colorado State's Damon Morton became the sixth MWC player to register 1,000 career kick return yards. He now ranks sixth on the league's all-time list (1,054 yards). New Mexico's Marcus Smith moved into seventh place on that same list (962 yards).
SINGLE-GAME RECORD UPDATES
* Wyoming's Hoost Marsh set a new MWC record for longest rush play by a senior with a 75- yard run against UNLV.
* New Mexico set a new MWC all-time record with five recovered fumbles against Air Force. The previous mark of four fumble recoveries was accomplished by several teams, most recently Utah against Utah State on Sept. 16, 2006.
* Air Force's five fumbles lost against New Mexico set a record for most fumbles lost in an MWC contest. They were the most by an MWC team overall since BYU lost six fumbles against Hawai`i in 2001.
* UNLV and Wyoming combined for 25 penalties in their game on Saturday, tying for the fifthmost in MWC history. The Rebels were called for 14 penalties, while the Cowboys were whistled for 11.
* San Diego State LB Russell Allen had 22 tackles at Utah, tying the league record for most tackles by a junior, and tying for the second-highest total in league history.
* The three longest field goals in MWC history have all been kicked at Air Force's Falcon Stadium. Wyoming's Billy Vinnedge kicked a 57-yard field goal at AFA on Oct. 20, matching the Falcons' Ryan Harrison, who kicked a 57-yarder earlier in the season in a home game against TCU on Sept. 13, 2007. The two 57-yard field goals are tied for the second-longest in MWC history behind Air Force's Joey Ashcroft, who kicked a 59-yarder at home against Army on Nov. 8, 2003.
* Air Force's Harrison registered an 81-yard punt against Wyoming, marking the season's longest punt for any MWC player, and the third-longest punt in MWC history overall.
* Air Force is 6-0 when out-rushing its opponents and when they have a player rush for over 100 yards. Air Force is 0-3 when they don't have a player run for over 100 yards.
* Air Force is 6-0 this season when holding its opponents to 21 or fewer points. In each of its three defeats, AFA has allowed 31 or more points.
* BYU's Harvey Unga is the first running back in school history to record four 100-yard rushing games during his freshman season after racking up 145 yards on 21 carries in the Cougars' 42-7 win over Eastern Washington.
* Colorado State LB Jeff Horinek tied his career best, with 13 total tackles against Utah. His final stop of the day marked career tackle number 200.
* New Mexico scored on its first drive for the fifth time this season in its last outing against Air Force. UNM is 5-0 when scoring on its opening possession.
* New Mexico has its best start under 10th-year head coach Rocky Long. The last time the Lobos started MWC play 3-1 was 2002.
* New Mexico PK John Sullivan made four field goals against Air Force, setting a new school record with 18 consecutive field goals made before missing his final attempt of the night. His 19 FGs tie for second-best in a single season at UNM. The school record is 21 by Colby Cason in 13 games in 1997.
* San Diego State QB Kevin O'Connell scored his 13th and 14th career rushing touchdowns and fifth and sixth of the year last time out against New Mexico. O'Connell equaled the Aztec career record for most rushing scores by a QB held by Matt Kofler, who also had 14 from 1980-81. O'Connell needs one more TD to equal Kofler's season record of seven, which Kofler posted in both of his years at SDSU.
* TCU recorded a season-high six sacks against Utah its last time out. The Frogs have 24 sacks in their last six games.
* TCU TB Aaron Brown has recorded five career 100-yard rushing games. The Frogs are 5-0 in those contests.
* UNLV WR Casey Flair recorded 10 catches for 121 yards at Wyoming. It was his second 100-yard receiving performance of the season.
* Utah QB Brian Johnson is 5-0 since returning to the starting lineup after an injury.
* Utah rushed for a season-high 322 yards at Colorado State. The Utes had 100-yard rushing games from both Darrell Mack (151) and Ray Stowers (123).
* Wyoming recorded a season-high seven sacks against UNLV. The Pokes also had nine pass breakups and two interceptions.
* Wyoming held UNLV to 266 yards of total offense. It was the third time this season the Cowboy defense has held its opponent to under 300 yards of total offense (Virginia-100, Utah State-280).