Mountain West Football: First Look At The Oregon State Beavers

Both Boise State and Fresno State will square off with the resurgent Beavers in non-conference play this season.


Mountain West Football: First Look At The Oregon State Beavers


Both Boise State and Fresno State will square off with the resurgent Beavers in non-conference play this season.


Contact/Follow @MattK_FS and @MWCwire

We’ll find out how real Oregon State is.

After ending their 2021 season in the Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl against Utah State, the Oregon State Beavers will get a double dose of Mountain West football action in hosting Boise State to open 2022 and then hitting the road to face Fresno State a week later.

The Beavers were one of last year’s most feel-good stories, the culmination of a years-long rebuild in which they took down USC and Utah, among others. With the element of surprise behind them at this point, Oregon State will take the best shots from two of the Mountain West’s top contenders this fall.

Location: Corvallis, Oregon

Conference: Pac-12

Series History: Oregon State leads the all-time series against Boise State, 5-4, but they trail Fresno State in that series by a 8-5 margin.

2021 Record: 7-6 (5-4 Pac-12)

Head Coach: Jonathan Smith (fifth year, 16-28 overall). Oregon State isn’t the hardest job in college football, but it’s definitely not the easiest one, either. It’s to Smith’s credit, then, that he picked up the pieces left behind by Gary Andersen and went about the slow process of bringing the program back to respectability.

2021 marked the Beavers’ first winning campaign in eight years and they did it on the strength of a powerful offense that knew how to run the ball and a defense that knew how to protect its home turf. Now comes the hard part: Can the Beavers sustain their success in a wide-open division?

Key Players

Omar Speights, LB

Speights wasn’t a first-team all-conference pick last year like linebacker mate Andre Roberts, but he was still good enough to warrant an honorable mention after collecting 89 tackles and five tackles for loss. Now that Roberts has moved on, Speights will be counted upon as the main anchor in the middle of the Beavers defense.

Deshaun Fenwick, RB

Fenwick mostly played second fiddle to B.J. Baylor last year, but he had some opportunities to shine last year and proved he might have what it takes to step into a lead role. He ran for 127 yards in a close loss to Washington State and finished the year averaging 5.78 yards per carry with four touchdowns. Listed at 6-foot-2 and 231 pounds, at the very least he’ll be no fun to try and tackle.

Alex Austin, CB

Austin played his way into the starting lineup during the shortened 2020 season and improved enough to be considered Oregon State’s best cornerback by the end of last year. He had 47 tackles, seven passes defended and two interceptions in 2021 and is still just a redshirt sophomore, so big things could lie ahead for the Long Beach native.

Luke Musgrave, TE

The Beavers always seem to have unheralded tight ends with a knack for making timely catches and Musgrave is no exception. Playing alongside Teagan Quitoriano last season, he grabbed 22 balls for 304 yards and a touchdown; with a dearth of experienced hands around him this fall, he could be in line for more targets per game.

Isaac Hodgins, DE

If the surname sounds familiar, that’s because former Oregon State star Isaiah Hodgins is his brother. Isaac has been able to make a name for himself, too, though he missed all of 2021 after suffering a broken foot. With 30 career starts to his name and 9.5 tackles for loss and five sacks in that time, he can still be an impact player if he makes it back to 100%.

Overview:

Offense

The Beavers made their mark last year with an offense that led the Pac-12 in yards per play (6.43, which was also a program record) and finished in the top 25 nationally by points per drive and available yards percentage. The offensive line was a finalist for the Joe Moore Award and they could boast the Pac-12’s rushing champion. Things are fine, right?

Well, that rushing champion, B.J. Baylor, is gone along with two of last year’s starters on that line, Nathan Eldridge and Nous Keobounnam. They were also much more careless with the football away from the friendly confines of Reser Stadium, with six giveaways at home and twelve on the road. Starting quarterback Chance Nolan hasn’t yet be guaranteed he’ll continue on as QB1, either, with 2020 starter Tristan Gebbia and redshirt freshman Ben Gulbranson in the mix to compete into fall camp.

However, between Fenwick and Trey Lowe (363 rushing yards, 6.4 YPC), the running game should be in good shape. The offensive line still has plenty of experience, too: Left guard Marco Brewer only made five starts replacing an injured Jake Levengood down the stretch, but Pro Football Focus graded him as the third-best guard in the country (for the record, Levengood was 37th). Tackles Brandon Kipper and Joshua Gray also graded fifth and seventh, respectively, among Pac-12 players at the position.

The passing game’s biggest challenge will be replacing top receiver Trevon Bradford as well as tight end Quitoriano, but Musgrave, Tre’Shaun Harrison (29 catches, 401 yards, 3 TDs), and others should help pick up the slack. There may not be a 1,000-yard receiver in the bunch, but they didn’t need it to be successful last season.

Defense

While the offense performed at much the same level whether at home or on the road, the defensive splits were not so kind. On the aggregate, the Beavers ranked 111th in available yards percentage allowed and 99th in points allowed per drive, so their ability to hold on to last year’s gains may depend on how well they rectify last year’s shortcomings here.

Having nine starters back for 2022 will help, but this group struggled to get to the quarterback last year and managed a team sack rate of only 4%, which ranked 120th among FBS teams. A return to form by Hodgins could help, but it might well be a group effort involving everyone from Florida transfer Andrew Chatfield to junior linebacker Riley Sharp (three sacks, most among returners) to redshirt sophomore Cory Stover.

The secondary should improve, too, since it returns intact after finishing third in the Pac-12 with 64 total passes defended. Austin and Rejzohn Wright provide a reliable cornerback tandem; safety Kitan Oladipo (nine passes defended, six tackles for loss) earned an all-conference honorable mention while Alton Julian should be healthy after missing the second half of 2021 with a knee injury.

Early Predictions

After last year’s breakout, neither the Broncos nor the Bulldogs will take Oregon State lightly. The upside for both is that they should be well-equipped to take advantage of a Beavers defense with plenty of questions left to resolve, so while neither will run away from OSU, they should be able to come away with victories.

Boise State 31, Oregon State 23

Fresno State 34, Oregon State 28

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Boise State AD Jeremiah Dickey Comments On Latest Realignment

Boise State AD Jeremiah Dickey Comments On Latest Realignment What options do the Broncos have? Contact/Follow @JeremyMauss & @MWCwire Can Boise State make a move? Boise State football has been looking to move up and better its football situation …

Boise State AD Jeremiah Dickey Comments On Latest Realignment


What options do the Broncos have?


Contact/Follow @JeremyMauss & @MWCwire

Can Boise State make a move?

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Boise State football has been looking to move up and better its football situation for a while. There leaked letters and conversations with the AAC that ultimately turned into nothing.

The Broncos — like any non-power program — are looking at their options almost daily, but now with the Pac-12 in limbo, Boise State is surveying the landscape on what to do next.

If we are being realistic, the options are limited and there are more moves to be had, so being patient, yet also on alert, is the best idea for the time being.

A lot of schools have been releasing statements, and Boise State’s new-ish athletic director Jeremiah Dickey is no exception.

He released a threat on Twitter laying out what he and the university are doing during these times.

There is a lot of being positive and nothing specific because there is nothing specific to discuss right now. The last tweet does have an interesting comment about how “Boise State thrives on creativity and innovation.”

Remember, Boise State was in the Big East for football before it ultimately decided to stay in the Mountain West. Plus, they had some deep conversations with the AAC.

Bronco leadership is poised and ready to take athletics — specifically, football if we are being honest — to the best possible league even if it stretches to the Eastern time zone.

As Dickie said, this is a very fluid situation with things changing at the moment. Boise State is not likely to want to join the AAC with the members it just lost going to the Big 12.

The most realistic option, outside of just remaining in the Mountian West, is if the Pac-12 keeps Oregon and Washington, and then wants to add a sizable brand of teams to get back to 12. Perhaps, the Big 12 will come calling if they can’t get a few of the Big 12 schools.

Odds are that Boise State and others will remain in the Mountain West once the dust settles. This is not a bad thing at all but Dickie is out there reassuring his fanbase that they are looking at options.


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PODCAST: What Does UCLA, USC Going To Big Ten Mean For Mountain West?

PODCAST: What Does UCLA, USC Going To Big Ten Mean For Mountain West? More realignment! Contact/Follow @MWCwire What happens to the Mountain West? Jeremy and Matt have an emergency podcast to discuss how the massive news about USC and UCLA packing …

PODCAST: What Does UCLA, USC Going To Big Ten Mean For Mountain West?


More realignment!


Contact/Follow @MWCwire

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What happens to the Mountain West?

Jeremy and Matt have an emergency podcast to discuss how the massive news about USC and UCLA packing up their bags and going to the Big Ten for the 2024 season. This clearly makes the Pac-12 lesser of a league with the biggest brand of USC leaving town and a big market team in UCLA. The Mountain West has options and it might be best to just stand pat and not be extremely aggressive.

If the conference is going to add teams, it likely would come from Pac-12 and/or Big 12 leftovers. Those two leagues are likely to be fighting it out for survival, so the Mountain West could see what is left over, or perhaps just not make a move.

This also has a shift in college football with super league coming together sooner than later as this is a big money grab for UCLA and USC.

You can find the Mountain West Wire podcast below or subscribe to the show via Stitcher RadioTuneInSpotifyiTunes, and more. Listen in, subscribe and rate it and let us know what you think!

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Will Pac-12 Add Mountain West Teams?

Will Pac-12 Add Mountain West Teams? What will happen to the Pac-12? Contact/Follow @JeremyMauss & @MWCwire Will Mountain West membership take a hit? The Big Ten pulled one of the biggest heists off in college football history by taking USC and UCLA …

Will Pac-12 Add Mountain West Teams?


What will happen to the Pac-12?


Contact/Follow @JeremyMauss & @MWCwire

Will Mountain West membership take a hit?

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The Big Ten pulled one of the biggest heists off in college football history by taking USC and UCLA from the Pac-12. This is going to cause some massive ripple effect with the Big Ten going to 16 teams, and possibly more.

This move seems more like shuffling at the top and not teams being able to climb the ladder.

If the Pac-12 were to add teams and they can’t raid the Big 12. Then they might turn to the Mountain West and try to keep that prestigious name of the conference.

The teams that would be mentioned are the usual suspects of Boise State and San Diego State as they have been winning the most within the Mountain West over the past five-plus years.

They are clearly no USC or UCLA, however, the Aztecs have won their fair share of games against the Pac-12 with wins over UCLA, Arizona, Utah, and others.

Also, the Aztecs have their brand new SnapDragon Stadium that is opening up this year and wouldn’t look out of place among the majority of the other Pac-12 teams.

The Broncos have the big brand name among non-power teams and even though they haven’t been in the running for a New Year’s Six game in a while, but they have been in conference title games.

The Pac-12 can’t be picky so they need to take quality teams and maybe take a step back with their academic requirements.

Colorado State is really invested in football with its new-ish stadium and they spent money on bringing in Jay Norvell to be the head coach. The big next step is to start winning at a high level and Norvell could be that guy.

An out-of-the-box move is UNLV as they play in the Las Vegas Raiders stadium which is world-class and they are a growing metropolis with high-quality high school programs in the area.

Could Mountain West and Pac-12 Teams?

On the flip side, could the Mountain West add any Pac-12 teams? Never say never, and anything can happen. Two names that could join the Mountain West would be some leftovers with Oregon State and Washington State to get the team to 14.

It makes a lot of sense as the four California schools could be in the Big Ten and/or Oregon and Washington. Those teams would fit in just fine.

Below is a list of some ideas of who could end up where and it makes a lot of sense, and it includes the Cougars and Beavers to the Mountain West.

Adding those two could make the Mountain West a touch better than where the league is right now and put them above the AAC. Who knows what the pecking order really is among the leagues but if we are still using Group of Five terms the Mountain West would be at the top.


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Air Force Football: 2022 Quarterback Depth

Can Haaziq Daniels Earn All-MWC Team Recognition? What Does The Depth Chart Look Like At Quarterback? Contact/Follow @Sean or @MWCWire The 2022 Falcons boast a roster that has a lot of returning talent in critical positions. To the fortune of Air …

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Can Haaziq Daniels Earn All-MWC Team Recognition? 


What Does The Depth Chart Look Like At Quarterback?


Contact/Follow @Sean or @MWCWire

The 2022 Falcons boast a roster that has a lot of returning talent in critical positions. To the fortune of Air Force, they have a proven and experienced playmaker returning at the most important position on any teams roster, quarterback.

Haaziq Daniels figures to be under center this fall, which is great news for Air Force fans. However, history would strongly suggest that he won’t be the only player at the position to be counted to win games. While the Falcons have been fortunate to see multi-year starters lead them over the course of the past few seasons, that fortune has also been in conjunction with very capable and experienced depth behind them. We’re talking about the kind of depth that is depended on to sub, start and win games.

Necessary depth at the quarterback position isn’t unique to Air Force alone. But with the style of offense they play, it tends to be a preparation exercise for when needed, not if needed. Because of that, Troy Calhoun, Mike Thiessen and the rest of the staff have to ensure there is a quarterback room that is equal parts capable and expecting, when it comes to seeing the field.

Today, we are are going to examine that quarterback room.

QB1: Haaziq Daniels

Entering fall camp, Haaziq Daniels should be fully entrenched as the starting quarterback. This will be his third year as the lead signal caller, and if his rate of progression continues, this could be a spectacular senior season for Daniels.

Thrust into action in the COVID shortened 2020 year, Daniels was a relatively unknown commodity as a sophomore. As the season unfolded, he proved a capable engineer of the triple-option offense. When he was on, you could see a ton of potential. But there proved to be adversity as well. Much like that season was for the Falcons, so was Daniels performance.

Probably the most important thing in all of that crazy 2020 as it relates to Haaziq Daniels though, was he was obviously developing. There were critical blunders mixed with glimpses of brilliance. And there was certainly more good than bad.

All of that first year starting experience set the tone for a much more linear trajectory of improvement. While his completion percentage dipped slightly in 2021, his effectiveness and overall development as a passer was obvious. Just as Louisville, who Daniels carved up in a bowl game performance to remember.

His ability as a runner was never really in question. In fact, the only change in standing in that regard was the fact that he put defenses on notice that he has homerun speed to compliment good vision and decisiveness when carrying the ball. This was evident when he ripped off a 94 yard touchdown run against Florida Atlantic.

If his development continues at the current trajectory, Haaziq Daniels should be in the conversation as an All- Mountain West Conference Team selection. Accounting for 18 total touchdowns (11 rushing and seven passing) last year, Daniels looks to be a truly distinguished duel threat quarterback with plenty of weapons around him. If he fulfills his potential, this should be a special season for him and the Falcons.

The Two-Deep: Larrier/Jones/Brittain

It seems there is a sentiment that the departure of Warren Bryan leaves Air Force with a void at the backup spot under center. This is a bit misguided if you really look at who is still on the roster for the upcoming season, and consider that Bryan only saw the field in three games in 2021. Let’s be clear, Bryan was very effective when opportunities arose, but most of that playing time came in 2020, not in 2021.

When it comes to production and game experience, Mountain West Track Champion Zach Larrier is actually atop that list. Most of his damage game at the end of the year, and in a change of pace package. But the track star was very effective as a runner, gaining 106 yards on just 12 carries (nearly 9 yards per carry) along with a touchdown. While Larrier has yet to prove himself as a passer, the ability to operate the run game from triple-option is really what’s paramount for success at Air Force.

The name you don’t want to lose sight of looking at the depth chart this year, and essentially making his case to start next season (2023) is Jensen Jones. The Florida native has gotten a jersey and traveled with the team ever since he got on campus in 2020. Pretty impressive for a quarterback at a service academy. Jones has amassed 40 yards on just six carries (one touchdown) in his time thus far at the Academy. His ability to earn a place traveling with the team from day one tells a lot about how he is viewed by this coaching staff.

The third person in this collection is Ben Brittain. Similar to Jones, Brittain earned a jersey and traveled with the team as a freshman in 2020, this was a year removed from his first season which was spent at the Academies Prep School. This means that Brittain has seen and operated this Falcon offense in some capacity for three years now, ahead of his Junior season.

In fact, all three of these Cadets are in their Junior year, so their competition for playing time won’t end anytime soon. Let’s hope a majority of their reps in 2022 come in mop-up duty from a few engineered blowouts.

Names to Know: Turner/Smith/Reasoner/Hodges

The previous section may come as no surprise to most Air Force fans, though there is probably a pretty substantial awareness gap when you move on from Haaziq Daniels. But if you were to look at the full landscape as it relates to quarterbacks currently at the Air Force Academy, there are a few other players that are worth getting to know.

How can you start anywhere but with a quarterback who’s first name is Cannon? Well in this case, we’re talking about 2020 commit Cannon Turner. Another in the dearth of Juniors, Turner has yet to get the opportunity to make an impact in a game situation. However, this high IQ Cadet has distinguished himself in the classroom being recognized on the All- Academic Team for the Mountain West Conference.

Did we mention there are a lot of Juniors at quarterback? Well the last one to get covered here is going to be Jake Smith. One of the players who took a semester away from the Academy during the COVID impacted season, in what we’ve come to know as a ‘turnback’. Smith probably get’s most commonly recognized for his high school distinction as the opposing quarterback who defeated former number one overall pick, Trevor Lawrence in their high school state championship game.

Out of the 2021 recruiting class, Ty Reasoner will be battling for position as a future Falcon signal caller as well. The Texas product was the definition of a duel threat quarterback in high school collecting over 6,100 yards of total offense with 70 combined touchdowns, rushing and passing.

It’s generally dangerous to invest too much in a current year recruiting class enrollee at a Service Academy. However, the Falcons have a 2022 three-star commit by the name of Kemper Hodges coming to the Springs. Part of a pretty exciting recruiting class overall, one can only hope that Hodges and company aren’t part of that massive turnover that inevitably happens in those first 12 months at a U.S. Military Academy. Hodges is the most highly rated quarterback prospect to commit to the Academy according to 247sports.com in the last decade. For perspective, that includes former Elite 11 prospect and eventual transfer departure, Ryan Brand (2014 commit Keenan Curran was the highest rated- but never entered the Academy at quarterback).

Outlook

While Haaziq Daniels isn’t getting quite the attention as a Falcon that former Mountain West Wire player of the year, Donald Hammond III did; he certainly could be on his way to the same credentials. Daniels truly could end the year as one of the most effective duel threat quarterbacks in the country. I know that may sound a stretch, but that’s probably because he’s in the same conference as Jake Haener that he’s so far under the radar. Don’t sleep on Ziq’.

As far as the insurance behind Daniels, it feels like the staff is more than comfortable with the guys in line. I’m not so sure Zach Larrier is the primary backup, because he is so versatile and talented, you can expect him to have packages that get ball in his hands a variety of ways. Larrier is going to be part of the offense I believe, and not purely in case of emergency.

The quarterback room may not match the proven depth and talent that the linebacker group brandishes. But that’s not a slight, because that linebacker room is as good as it gets. But the quarterbacks have plenty of talent, and unless you follow closely what’s gone on in Colorado Springs, your probably not going to recognize just how good this position group is until someone not wearing a number four jersey just engineers 10 minute scoring drive, tearing out the soul of the opposing defense.

The scenario described isn’t meant to be an exaggeration of what could happen, whilst being unlikely. This is probably going to happen, and to more than one team. No-one wants to see Haaziq Daniels get injured; but if he’s not able to go for whatever reason, don’t be too quick to weep for Air Force, they’re better prepared to thrive in this circumstance than most.

 

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Mountain West Football: Circa Sports Reveals 2022 Championship Odds

Who is the Vegas favorite to take home the Mountain West football crown this season?

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Mountain West Football: Circa Sports Reveals 2022 Championship Odds


Who is the Vegas favorite to take home the Mountain West football crown this season?


Contact/Follow @MattK_FS and @MWCwire

Where would you put your money?

Mountain West football is still about two months away from kicking off, but Las Vegas never sleeps and one of the Strip’s hottest newcomers, Circa Sports, has unveiled its odds for each team’s chances to claim the conference championship this fall.

There are a clear group of favorites at the top led by Boise State, who are the odds-on favorites at +345. However, defending West division champions San Diego State are virtually neck-and-neck with the Broncos at +350 and the Fresno State Bulldogs aren’t too far behind at +370.

A pair of Mountain division teams, Air Force and Utah State, sit right behind that top trio at +410 and +460, respectively, and then there’s a substantial gap between them and the rest of the Mountain West. San Jose State had a down year after claiming the title in 2020 and comes in at +2500, but the rest are relative longshots down to New Mexico at +10000.

Things might change in the weeks to come, but it is noteworthy that the sportsbooks seem to expect the race to the top to be a much hotter one than in 2021. By comparison, Boise State was -115 at BetMGM last August while just one other team was better than +400.

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College Football News Predicts Mountain West Bowl Games

College Football News Predicts Mountain West Bowl Games Where does CFN predict for Mountain West bowl games? Contact/Follow @JeremyMauss & @MWCwire Bowl projection season is here It is now magazine and preview season which includes among many …

College Football News Predicts Mountain West Bowl Games


Where does CFN predict for Mountain West bowl games?


Contact/Follow @JeremyMauss & @MWCwire

Bowl projection season is here

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It is now magazine and preview season which includes among many things: bowl projections. So, before we get to our own preseason bowl guesses because in June that is what these really are, but fun regardless.

One of our USA TODAY partners is College Football News and we will go through their bowl projections for the Mountain West for this upcoming season.

2022 Mountain West Bowl Tie Ins, Lineup

The teams that are chosen for a bowl game are Air Force, Boise State, Utah State, Colorado State, Fresno State, and San Diego State.

It is a little bit shocking that Wyoming is left out of the bowl projections as they have always been a consistent team to go to the post season. They are losing some offense and a lot of players to the transfer portal this past offseason, plus a few defenders are now in the NFL.

Also, no San Jose State likely means in their thinking that Brent Brennan won’t have a bounce-back year to go bowling after a 2021 season that saw injuries to its quarterback and a defense that took a step back.

On the flip side, Jay Norvell is getting a lot of credit as Colorado State’s next head coach by coming over from Nevada would. be a nice surprise for Rams fans. Colorado State was actually close to a bowl game last year with a few bad hiccups under Steve Addazio.

Norvell is a coaching upgrade so combine that with the talent already in Fort Collins plus the Nevada players going West, this team has a good shot at going to a bowl game.

New Mexico Bowl

Saturday, December 17, 2022
2:15, ESPN
Dreamstyle Stadium, Albuquerque, NM
Last Year: Fresno State 31, UTEP 24
Bowl Ties: Mountain West vs AAC, C-USA, MAC or Sun Belt
Bowl Projection: Air Force vs UTSA

Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl

Saturday, December 17, 2022
3:30, ABC
SoFi Stadium, Inglewood, CA
Last Year; Utah State 24, Oregon State 13
Bowl Ties: Mountain West vs Pac-12
Bowl Projection: Boise State vs UCLA

Frisco Bowl

Saturday, December 17, 2022
9:15, ESPN
Toyota Stadium, Frisco, TX
Last Year: San Diego State 38, UTSA 24
Bowl Ties: Group of Five vs Group of Five or Army
Bowl Projection: Tulsa vs Utah State

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

Tuesday, December 20, 2022
3:30, ESPN
Albertsons Stadium, Boise, ID
Last Year: Wyoming 52, Kent State 38
Bowl Ties: MAC vs Mountain West
Bowl Projection: Colorado State vs Miami University

Easyport Hawaii Bowl

Saturday, December 24, 2022
8:00, ESPN
Clarence TC Ching Complex, Honolulu, HI
Last Year: Canceled
Bowl Ties: Conference USA vs Mountain West
Bowl Projection: Florida Atlantic vs Fresno State

Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl

Friday, December 30, 2022
4:30, Barstool
Arizona Stadium, Tucson, AZ
Last Year: Canceled
Bowl Ties: MAC vs Mountain West
Bowl Projection: Toledo vs San Diego State


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Boise State Football: Shane Irwin To Medically Retire

The Broncos defensive lineman is hanging it up after two seasons on the blue.

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Boise State Football: Shane Irwin To Medically Retire


The Broncos defensive lineman is hanging it up after two seasons on the blue.


Contact/Follow @MWCwire

A big loss.

The Boise State Broncos will head into the 2022 football season without one of its most reliable defenders after Shane Irwin announced a medical retirement on Thursday afternoon.

Irwin arrived at Boise State along a circuitous route, committing to San Diego State out of high school before transferring to Long Beach City College and spending 2019 with the Vikings. When he arrived on the blue ahead of the 2020 season, he made an instant impact as part of the defensive line, starting the last five games of the year while collecting six sacks and seven tackles for loss.

He proved similarly difficult to block in 2021, as well, picking up another four sacks and six TFLs while recording a 70.0 overall grade from Pro Football Focus, the best figure among qualifying Boise State defensive linemen.

Broncos head coach Andy Avalos had nothing but praise in a statement released shortly after the announcement, noting that “[Irwin] truly embraces what it means to be a Bronco and embodies the culture and brotherhood within our program.”

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Kellen Moore, Terance Mathis, Darryl Rogers Named To 2023 College Football Hall Of Fame Ballot

Can Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore, New Mexico wide receiver Terance Mathis, and former head coach Darryl Rogers make it to Atlanta?

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Kellen Moore, Terance Mathis, Darryl Rogers Nominated to 2023 College Football Hall of Fame Ballot


Can the Boise State quarterback, New Mexico wide receiver, or former head coach make it to Atlanta?


Contact/Follow @MattK_FS and @MWCwire

The absolute best of the best ever.

The College Football Hall of Fame revealed the list of potential entrants for its 2023 class this morning and, among the 80 nominees from FBS programs, three have ties to current Mountain West schools.

The trio is headlined by former Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore, a three-time offensive player of the year from 2009 to 2011 that spanned the Broncos’ transition from the WAC to the Mountain West. Still the winningest signal-caller in college football history, Moore racked up a 50-3 record in four seasons as a starter, earned a fourth-place finish in voting for the 2010 Heisman Trophy, and is surpassed by only Case Keenum with 142 career passing touchdowns.

New Mexico wide receiver Terance Mathis, meanwhile, was a consensus All-American for the Lobos back in 1989 and left the program with 263 career catches and 4,254 receiving yards,
both of which were FBS records. That enabled him to become a sixth-round pick in the 1990 NFL Draft, which kicked off a 12-year NFL career.

Darryl Rogers, a former Fresno State defensive back who played for the Bulldogs in 1955 and 1956, is on the ballot for his work as a coach. He led Fresno State from 1966 to 1972 and San Jose State from 1973 to 1975, though he is best known for later stints at Michigan State and Arizona State. In all, he compiled a record of 129-84-7 in college, including a 1978 Big Ten championship and a 10-2 campaign with the Sun Devils in 1982.

The 2023 class is slated to be announced in January 2023 and will be inducted on December 5 next year.

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Air Force Football: 2022 Breakout Players

The Falcons are Deep and Experienced Who Will Be 2022’s Surprise Performers? Contact/Follow @Sean or @MWCWire Air Force will have the benefit of returning a lot of experience and equal parts production in 2022. This isn’t always the case in Colorado …

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The Falcons are Deep and Experienced


Who Will Be 2022’s Surprise Performers?


Contact/Follow @Sean or @MWCWire

Air Force will have the benefit of returning a lot of experience and equal parts production in 2022. This isn’t always the case in Colorado Springs, so they will take it.

There certainly were some key departures from last years squad between the NFL and graduation, so there will inevitably be holes to fill. However, those gaps are opportunities for some of the Falcon’s returning members. While maybe not previous starters, there are plenty of experienced contributors returning to the fold.

A lot of these players who were counted on last year due to injuries, depth or change of pace, are going to be counted on to fill larger roles this year. These are probably names most Falcon fans are familiar with. Think Dane Kinamon, Bo Richter or Eian Castonguay.

What we want to do today, is take a look at some guys that may be under the radar now, only to surface as contributors or more in the coming season. Let’s call them wildcards.

WILDCARDS: SKILLED POSITIONS

The Falcons saw their gamebreaker, Brandon Lewis head to Tennessee to continue his career in the NFL this spring. Historically, Air Force has had a big play threat like Lewis during some of their more memorable seasons. Replacing Lewis will be tough. But the near 30 yards-a-pop that he brought to the table doesn’t have to be matched, for yard. The threat of a capable playmaker does though.

This is where track star Zach Larrier should find a considerable workload increase in 2022. With the quarterback position on lock, Larrier is too skilled, with such explosive speed to keep off the field. Look for a position switch, special packages to feature him under center and a litany of other attempts to get the ball in his hands.

With the Mountain West’s rushing champion, Brad Roberts gutting teams inside at fullback, Air Force gets more opportunities on the edge for slotbacks (wide receivers) like Micah Davis to do damage on the ground. But what about the more conventional “Halfback/Tailback” to compliment Roberts in the backfield?

John Lee Eldgridge III is likely to be a consumer of carriers this fall. The deep rotation of fullbacks will demand a lot of carries, but there will be more to go around, and Eldridge should find himself in the thick of competing for carries.

A couple other names to keep an eye on as the season draws near might be Ben Jefferson (WR), Jacob Trach (RB), Conner Carey (WR) or Owen Burke (RB).

WILDCARDS: THE FRONT SEVEN

Jordan Jackson was a staple on the Falcon’s defensive front for years, but the time to execute their succession plan is now. Jackson was drafted by the New Orleans Saints this spring, leaving a vacancy. Plenty of players rotated along the line gaining experience, and even started along side the recent NFL draftee.

A couple players who didn’t necessarily emerge last year that could factor in this fall are Alesandro Maxwell and Andrew Bois D’Enghien. There will be plenty of competition along the line, thankfully there are a lot of experienced bodies to rotate through.

The linebacker position is a group that is probably the deepest on the team, if not the entire Mountain West Conference. Replacing someone in an NFL mini camp as well as a former All-Conference performer isn’t supposed to be easy.

However, in addition to a handful of proven commodities, players like Mathew Malloy, Nasir Rashid and Jace Waters could also factor into the equation, and it shouldn’t surprise anyone. Air Force should be quite comfortably two to three deep at their linebacker spots.

WILDCARDS: THE SECONDARY

While returning one of the Mountain West’s premiere safeties in Trey Taylor, they are replacing a very experienced one in Corvan Taylor. Similarly, another NFL talent in Tre Bugg III leaves a spot open at corner. While there are a lot of guys who have gotten reps throughout the secondary that are left on the roster, the group as a whole will look a little different.

One of the players that should be in the mix at safety would be Jalen Mergerson. After a spot fill in for Trey Taylor early in the season, Mergerson didn’t see regular playing time after. That could certainly change in 2022.

Mason Bugg is in his third year now with Air Force, and that’s equal to the amount of time he’s been playing defensive back since transitioning from a high school quarterback. Don’t be surprised to see his jersey dirty come this fall.

Both Mergerson and Bugg are going to be Juniors, and it’s not uncommon for Falcon upperclassmen to make their move, and their mark during Junior year. Another Junior, Patrick Dahlen has been listed at Corner and Safety may also find his way onto the field as well.

Similar to the linebackers, there are a lot of experienced guys in the secondary, both starters and contributors. This should make for some very interesting jockeying as we move into fall camp.

CONCLUSION

There are going to be players that surface who were inevitably missed here, just as they were probably overlooked in the recruiting process. It’s hard to really anticipate what an Air Force roster will comprehensively look like week to week during the season, much less so far ahead of fall camp. Add the truest wildcard of Prep School players coming to the Academy, and it makes for some exciting speculation around a team that should be competing for a Conference title.

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