MWC Football Week No. 12 Notes

MWC Football Week No. 12 Notes



Estimated read time: 11-12 minutes

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WEEK 11 RECAP
Week 11 football action saw league-leading BYU run its win streak against MWC opponents to 13 games, while New Mexico won a thriller in Albuquerque. Utah pitched a shutout in Salt Lake City and San Diego State was victorious in Las Vegas. Meanwhile, Air Force rolled to an impressive non-conference win over Notre Dame. Last Thursday, BYU (7-2, 5-0 MWC) pushed its win streak to six games with a 27-22 win over TCU (5-5, 2-4 MWC). The Cougars have won 13 in a row over league opponents and 11 straight at home overall. Air Force (8-3) opened Saturday's slate of games on a winning note, handing Notre Dame (1-9) its school-record sixth consecutive home loss, 41-24. It was the largest margin of victory for the Falcons in six wins over the Fighting Irish and the biggest by a military academy since Navy beat Notre Dame, 35-14, in 1963. New Mexico (7-3, 4-2 MWC) kicked a 43-yard field goal as time expired to lift the Lobos to a 26-23 win over visiting Colorado State (1-9, 1-6 MWC). It marked the second straight year the Lobos defeated the Rams on the final play of the game. Last season in Fort Collins, Kenny Byrd booted a 33-yarder for the final margin in a 20-19 victory. Utah (7-3, 4-2 MWC) forced five turnovers and had six sacks en route to a 50-0 blanking of Wyoming (5-5, 2-4 MWC). The Utes won their sixth straight game while registering their first shutout of an MWC opponent since a 3-0 win over BYU in 2003. It marked the first time the Cowboys had been held scoreless since a 31-0 loss to Texas A&M in 2004. San Diego State (4-5, 3-2 MWC) jumped out to a 21-0 lead, then held off a late UNLV (2-8, 1-5 MWC) rally to collect a 38-30 victory Saturday in Las Vegas. The triumph gives the Aztecs back-to-back victories for the first time since the 2005 season. LAST WEEK'S RESULTS (NOV. 8 & 10)

Thursday, November 8
BYU 27, TCU 22 (Provo, Utah; Attendance - 64,241)

Saturday, November 10
Air Force 41, Notre Dame 24 (South Bend, Ind.; Attendance - 80,795)
New Mexico 26, Colorado State 23 (Albuquerque, N.M.; Attendance - 27,031)
Utah 50, Wyoming 0 (Salt Lake City, Utah; Attendance - 42,477)
San Diego State 38, UNLV 30 (Las Vegas, Nev.; Attendance - 18,837)

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK (NOV. 12, 2007)

Offensive Player of the Week
JOHNNY WALKER, COLORADO STATE
Senior, WR, Lancaster, Calif./Antelope Valley
Johnny Walker collected 177 receiving yards on seven catches (25.3 yards per catch) and scored two touchdowns in Colorado State's last-second 26-23 loss at New Mexico. Late in the first half, Walker made two key grabs to keep the Rams in the game. His 9-yard catch to convert a thirdand- 9, and a 31-yard touchdown to cap the drive knotted the game at 17 apiece. In the second half, he converted three third downs to help Colorado State tie the contest, 23-23. Walker's 177 yards and two touchdowns are both career-highs, and his 64-yard grab for a touchdown in the first quarter was the longest reception of his career. The 177 yards also mark the second-most receiving yards in the Mountain West this season.

Defensive Player of the Week
KELLY POPPINGA, BYU
Senior, Linebacker, Evanston, Wyo./Utah State
Kelly Poppinga recorded with a career-high 17 tackles and his first interception of the season in BYU's 27-22 victory over TCU. He was credited with seven solo and 10 assisted takedowns, a four-yard tackle for loss, a quarterback hurry and a 22-yard interception. Poppinga's performance marked the most tackles by a BYU defender in a single game since Rob Morris registered 17 tackles against San Diego State in 1998. Poppinga was most effective against the TCU rushing attack, recording 11 tackles on plays that had a net gain of five yards or less. His 22-yard interception return to the TCU 3-yard line came in the beginning of the third quarter with BYU leading 17-9. The Cougars scored on the next play after a Harvey Unga 3-yard run, extending BYU's lead to 27-9.

Co-Special Teams Players of the Week
JOHN SULLIVAN, NEW MEXICO
Senior, Place Kicker, Tehachapi, Calif./Tehachapi
John Sullivan tied a career-high for the second time this season with four field goals, including the game-winner from 43 yards as time expired to give New Mexico a 26-23 triumph over Colorado State. Sullivan also connected from 34, 39 and 46 yards, the latter being a career long. He has a nation-best 23 field goals in 2007, a new Lobo record, and it ties the Mountain West record set by Colorado State's Jeff Babcock in 2002.

MEKELL WESLEY, SAN DIEGO STATE
Sophomore, KR, Chandler, Ariz./Hamilton
Mekell Wesley had a career day returning five kickoffs for 178 yards (35.6 yards per return), including an 89-yard touchdown in San Diego State's 38-30 win at UNLV. The 178 yards rank second in SDSU single-game history. Wesley's 89-yard kickoff return for a touchdown is the first in the Mountain West this season and the first for the Aztecs since 1997. His five returns gave San Diego State an average starting field position of the 36-yard line, which is an Aztecs best since Oct. 29, 2005.

**WEEK #12 SCHEDULE**
**Sat., Nov. 17**
**Away****Home****Date/Time****TV/Radio**
**BYU (7-2, 5-0)****Wyoming (5-5, 2-4)**Sat., Nov. 17/12:00 p.m. MTThe Mtn.
**San Diego State (4-5, 3-2)****Air Force (8-3, 5-2)**Sat., Nov. 17/12:00 p.m. MT
Georgia Southern (7-3)**Colorado State (1-9, 1-6)**Sat., Nov. 17/12:00 p.m. MT
**New Mexico (7-3, 4-2)****Utah (7-3, 4-2)**Sat., Nov. 17/3:30 p.m. MTThe Mtn.
**UNLV (2-8, 1-5)****TCU (5-5, 2-4)**Sat., Nov. 17/6:30 p.m. CT

WEEK 12 PREVIEW

All nine teams will be in action in Week 12. On Saturday, BYU travels to Wyoming and New Mexico visits Utah in an MWC doubleheader on The Mtn. - MountainWest Sports Network, while Air Force closes out the regular season at home against San Diego State and TCU entertains UNLV. In a non-conference match-up, Colorado State hosts Football Championship Subdivision opponent Georgia Southern.

A CLOSER LOOK AT BYU'S WIN STREAKS

* BYU set a new MWC record for most consecutive home wins, recording its 11th straight victory at LaVell Edwards Stadium on Thursday against TCU. The Cougars, who have not lost in Provo since dropping their home finale to Utah on Nov. 19, 2005, set the original record with 10 straight wins from Oct. 26, 2000 to Oct. 19, 2002.

* BYU has also set a new MWC record for most consecutive MWC victories with 13. The Cougars have not lost to an MWC opponent since dropping their MWC finale to Utah on Nov. 19, 2005. The previous record of 10 consecutive MWC wins was shared by Utah (11/1/03-9/15/05) and Colorado State (10/23/99-11/11/00).

* 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.

TCU ONE OF THREE TEAMS WITH TWO SHUTOUTS THIS SEASON
TCU recorded its second shutout of the season with a 37-0 win over New Mexico on Nov. 3. The Horned Frogs also shut out Baylor, 27-0, to start the season. It was the third shutout in the Frogs' last seven home games, while also marking their first season with two shutouts since 2000 (Navy, Rice). TCU is the third team in MWC history to record two shutouts in the same season. In 2003, San Diego State won 34-0 at UTEP on Sept. 13, and 7-0 at UNLV on Nov. 8. Also in 2003, Utah won 3-0 at BYU on Nov. 22 and blanked Southern Miss, 17-0, on Dec. 31 in the Liberty Bowl. There have been 27 shutouts in the Football Bowl Subdivision this season. TCU, LSU and Boise State are the only three teams in the FBS with two shutouts at this point in the season. LSU's came on Aug. 30 (45-0 vs. Mississippi State) and Sept. 15 (44-0 vs. Middle Tennessee), while Boise State's came on Oct. 7 against New Mexico State (58-0) and last week against Utah State (52-0).

1,000-YARD RUSHERS
The Mountain West Conference is on pace to equal the league record of five 1,000-yard rushers set in 2001. Air Force's Chad Hall of Air Force leads the MWC with 1,264 yards, followed by New Mexico's Rodney Ferguson with 1,011 yards, Utah's Darrell Mack with 995 yards and Wyoming's Devin Moore with 874. Frank Summers of UNLV is fifth with 865 yards and BYU's Harvey Unga is sixth with 799. Hall is the only senior among the Top 10 rushers in the league.

AIR FORCE TANDEM RUSHES INTO MWC RECORD BOOK
Air Force WR/RB Chad Hall (2,392 yards) and QB Shaun Carney (2,376 yards) are currently ranked seventh and eighth, respectively, on the MWC's all-time list for rushing yardage. Carney and Hall are the second QB/WR-RB combo from one team to be listed among the league's all-time rushers, joining the Colorado State tandem of QB Brad Van Pelt (2001-03) and RB Cecil Sapp (1999-02).

HALL CONTINUES RECORD-BREAKING SEASON
Air Force senior WR Chad Hall rushed for 142 yards at Notre Dame to record his eighth-career 100- yard rushing performance. The 100-yard effort is his second straight and fifth in the last six weeks. Hall has rushed for 1,106 yards on 164 carries and scored nine touchdowns over the last six weeks, which is an average of 184.3 per game. Only Matt Forte of Tulane has rushed for more yards over the last six weeks than Hall. Forte has rushed for 1,305 yards on 210 carries and scored 11 touchdowns. Hall has 1,264 rushing yards in 2007 which ranks sixth in Air Force history for a single season. He set a school single-game rushing record with 275 yards versus Army on Nov. 3 and became the third player in Air Force history to record multiple 200-yard rushing games. Hall's 275 rushing yards are the second-most in MWC history. SDSU's Larry Ned holds the MWC record for rushing yards in a game with 285 vs. Eastern Illinois in 2001. Hall is the first player in the league to top the 200-yard rushing mark twice in the same season since SDSU's Lynell Hamilton did it in 2003.

HALL LEADS FALCONS IN RUSHING, RECEIVING AND ALL-PURPOSE YARDS
Air Force WR Chad Hall is the only player in the FBS this season that leads his team not only in rushing (1,264 yards) and receiving (457 yards), but also in all-purpose yardage (2,233 yards).

SINGLE-GAME RECORD UPDATES

* Utah scored 30 points in the second quarter of its shutout win over Wyoming on Saturday, setting a new MWC record for most points scored in a single quarter of a conference game. It also marked the third-highest single-quarter scoring effort in MWC history overall.

* The Utes' 50-point win over the Cowboys marked the fifth-largest margin of victory in MWC history, falling short of the league record for a conference game by two points [TCU (52) vs. San Diego State (0), 11/18/06].

MWC NOTABLES

* Air Force is 8-0 this season when holding its opponents to 24 or fewer points. In each of its three defeats, AFA has allowed 31 or more points.

* The 2007 season marks the first winning season for Air Force since 2003 when the Falcons were 7-5 overall. The Falcons' five wins in conference play are the most in Mountain West play, matching the 2000 team that finished 5-2. A win against San Diego State would put Air Force at 6-2, which would be its best league mark since the 1998 team finished 7-1 in the WAC.

* BYU WR Austin Collie led all receivers with 109 yards against TCU. It was Collie's third 100-yard game this season.

* In five starts, Colorado State RB Gartrell Johnson has 644 yards on 117 carries (5.5 avg.) and three TDs, including three 100-yard efforts and one 95- yard game.

* Colorado State had a 100-yard rusher (Gartrell Johnson) and a 100-yard receiver (Johnny Walker) for the fourth time this season in the loss at New Mexico. The Rams also did it against Colorado (Kyle Bell, Kory Sperry), vs. Cal (Bell, Damon Morton) and at UNLV (Gartrell Johnson, Morton).

* New Mexico is 6-0 this season when scoring on its opening possession.

* New Mexico has won four home games in a season for the first time since 2003 when they went 5-2.

* The Lobos had five sacks against Colorado State after going the previous four games without a sack.

* San Diego State is 2-1 in its last three road games after losing the previous nine road/neutral games.

* SDSU QB Kevin O'Connell has 15 career rushing touchdown and seven on the year. O'Connell owns the school career record for most rushing scores by a QB, which he previously shared with Matt Kofler, who had 14 from 1980-81. O'Connell tied Kofler's season record of seven rushing TDs, which Kofler posted in both 1980 and 1981.

* TCU TB Aaron Brown has recorded five career 100-yard rushing games. The Frogs are 5-0 in those contests.

* TCU has blocked six punts in its last 13 games and four in eight games this season.

* UNLV has lost six consecutive games and 13 in a row overall in MWC road contests heading into this week's contest at TCU.

* Utah QB Brian Johnson is 6-0 since returning to the starting lineup after an injury.

* Utah has 23 tackles for loss in the last two games, including 13 against Colorado State and 11 versus Wyoming. The Utes also had 13 sacks in those two contests (CSU-7 and WYO-6).

* Wyoming collected just two tackles for loss against Utah after averaging 6.8 through its first nine games.

* Wyoming had a season-low 85 yards passing and the second-lowest rushing total of the season with 37 yards on the ground at Utah.

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