2020 Mountain West Bowl Tie-Ins

2020 Mountain West Bowl Tie-Ins Where will MW teams go bowling? Contact/Follow @JeremyMauss & @MWCwire New bowl games in 2020 The Mountain West has a new set of bowl matchups and locations starting in 2020. The Las Vegas Bowl is no more as the top …

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2020 Mountain West Bowl Tie-Ins

Where will MW teams go bowling?

Contact/Follow @JeremyMauss & @MWCwire

New bowl games in 2020

The Mountain West has a new set of bowl matchups and locations starting in 2020. The Las Vegas Bowl is no more as the top bowl game for the conference and that is replaced by the new Los Angeles Bowl that will get the No. 1 pick as well as face the No. 7 Pac-12 team.

Mountain West Bowl Partners, 2020-2026

  • College Football Playoff/New Year’s Six Bowl
  • Los Angeles (Bowl name TBA) vs. Pac-12, Los Angeles
  • Famous Idaho Potato Bowl vs. MAC, Boise, Idaho
  • New Mexico Bowl vs. C-USA, Albuquerque, N.M.
  • NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl vs. MAC, Tucson, Ariz.
  • SoFi Hawai’i Bowl vs. AAC or C-USA, Honolulu
  • ESPN Events-operated bowl, likely in Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex
  • Cheez-It® Bowl vs. Big Ten or Big 12, Phoenix (MW is an alternate)

“We’re very pleased with our bowl lineup for the next cycle,” Commissioner Craig Thompson said. “We feel we have an exceptional group of bowl partners. We’re adding a game at the new, state-of-the-art stadium in Los Angeles, which is very exciting.

“Plus, we’ll be in some familiar locations with many long-time bowl partners. These partnerships are going to provide the Mountain West with attractive bowl destinations, exciting matchups and an improved financial situation for our members.”

The lineup is pretty similar compared to the past few years as are the opponents. Having a bowl in Dallas and Los Angeles is great for recruiting to have a presence in those areas.

It would be nice if there was one or two more games vs. a Power 5 opponent but that is the way things are with P5 teams wanting to face their own kind

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Mountain West Football: Bowl Season Winners and Losers

We look at the biggest winners and losers from the Mountain West’s seven bowl games.

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Mountain West Football: Bowl Season Winners and Losers

We look back to take stock of the biggest winners and losers from the Mountain West’s seven bowl games.

Contact/Follow @MattK_FS & @MWCwire

Some encouragement and some letdowns from the postseason that was.

Well, it had to end sometime.

The Mountain West wrapped up bowl season with a 4-3 record and certainly brought with it a great deal of excitement. While it’s naive to tease out a lot of meaning from what amounts to seven exhibitions, we can still look back one last time to see who stood out and who might be thinking a lot about what might have been in the long off-season.

Here are Mountain West bowl season’s winners and losers.


Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl – Utah State wide receiver Siaosi Mariner. He didn’t get all that much attention in the vacuum to replace all of last year’s pass-catching star power, but Mariner’s bowl performance — seven catches, 113 yards, two touchdowns — helped to put a bow on what was arguably the best season by an Aggie wide receiver in the last ten years.

New Mexico Bowl – San Diego State running back Jordan Byrd. The Aztecs thumping Central Michigan was easily the most surprising result of the Mountain West’s bowl season, but the most pleasant part of that surprise was the surge from a running game that often scuffled in 2019.

Byrd, making a return home to his native New Mexico, finally put up the kind of numbers (17 carries, 139 yards and a touchdown) we’d been accustomed to seeing from San Diego State in years past, providing a glimmer of encouragement that, along with a young receiving corp, the pieces are in place to make a leap forward next fall.

Mitsubishi Las Vegas Bowl – Boise State defensive end Chase Hatada.  A lot of things weren’t pretty in the desert, but the senior Hatada finished his collegiate career with perhaps his finest effort. While Curtis Weaver was relatively quiet against Washington, Hatada finished with six tackles, four tackles for loss and two sacks.

SoFi Hawaii Bowl – Hawaii quarterback Cole McDonald. Despite being briefly benched for some reason, McDonald put on an aerial show that rivaled some of the best performances of Hawaii quarterbacks past. In the process, he set the new Mountain West record for passing yards in a bowl game by throwing for 493 yards and four touchdowns on 28-of-46 pass attempts. It seems almost certain, then, that something will have to give in the Warriors’ ongoing quarterback shuffle, but we’ll probably have to wait until summer to learn more.

Cheez-It Bowl – Air Force running back Kadin Remsberg. Tailbacks in the Falcons offense don’t often receive a typical RB1 workload, but if anyone doubted that Remsberg had played at an all-conference level for two straight years before Air Force’s win over Washington State, consider that doubt removed.

Remsberg’s 26 carries were both a career high and the most by a Falcons runner this year and he made them count, rushing for 178 yards and a late touchdown that sealed the deal against the Cougars.

Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl – Wyoming running back Xazavian Valladay. Well, this one is an easy call. Any time someone accounts for nearly 300 yards of total offense like Valladay did against Georgia State (204 yards rushing and 7.8 yards per attempt, 91 receiving yards on three receptions, and two touchdowns), that someone is definitely a winner.

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl – Nevada wide receiver Elijah Cooks. Like Mariner, Cooks quietly put together a strong 2019 and saved the best for last. While the Wolf Pack may have come up short against Ohio, you can’t place too much blame on the junior wide receiver, who finished with 14 catches, 197 yards and a touchdown on 17 targets.

Aztecs Rout Central Michigan Chippewas 48-11 in New Mexico Bowl

Aztecs Rout Central Michigan Chippewas 48-11 in New Mexico Bowl SDSU concludes 2019 with a 10-3 record, logging their fourth ten-win season in the past five years. Contact/Follow @tedmcgovern & @MWCwire With a top-5 defense in NCAA Division 1 …

Aztecs Rout Central Michigan Chippewas 48-11 in New Mexico Bowl

SDSU concludes 2019 with a 10-3 record, logging their fourth ten-win season in the past five years.

Contact/Follow @tedmcgovern & @MWCwire

With a top-5 defense in NCAA Division 1 football, the Aztecs might have deserved a better contest…

Albuquerque, NM-  San Diego State squashed the Central Michigan Chippewas 48-11 in the unsponsored New Mexico Bowl.  The Aztecs commanded the game from start to finish, at no time risking losing control.  The win was so pronounced, the game left many wondering what the SDSU elite defense would do against a truly formidable foe.

On Defense, the Aztecs picked the Chippewas not once- not twice but three times before halftime, as a part of the five turnovers that occurred in this game.

The rout over Central Michigan (8-6) gave SDSU (10-3) double-digit victories for the fourth time in five seasons. SDSU went 11-3 in both 2015 and 2016 and 10-3 in 2017. The Aztecs were 7-6 last season.

San Diego State offense made a surprising impact in this game.  A team that  ranked 119th in the nation in scoring offense produced its highest points tally in nearly three years. Redshirt freshman wide receiver Jesse Matthews (3 catches, 111 yards, 2 TDs) and sophomore running back Jordan Byrd (17 carries, 139 yards, TD), were the game’s co-Offensive MVPs, played well.  Senior quarterback Ryan Agnew had a great night going 18-for-31, 287 yards, 3 TDs/1 INT.

Redshirt freshman kicker Matt Araiza, who had a career-long 48-yard field goal as well as a 33-yarder, managed a single-season school-record 22 field goals on the season.

Aztecs mid-linebacker Kyahva Tezino was the game’s Defensive MVP.  “We set a goal and we followed through with it,” said Tezino. “That was the whole goal at the beginning of the year, was to be one of the top defenses in the nation.  We just came out and did our job. I’m not sure if this is the best defense, but it sure does feel like it, and I’m just happy to be a part of it.”

SDSU came into the game ranked fourth in the nation in scoring defense (12.8 ppg) and fifth in the nation in total defense.

On the third play of the game, Tezino tipped a pass at the line by Central Michigan quarterback Quinten Dormady, and made a diving interception.

SDSU safety Tariq Thompson added another interception near midfield midway through the second quarter.

The Aztecs converted the turnovers into touchdowns

Matthews opened the scoring with a diving 22-yard catch in the right corner of the end zone for his first career touchdown reception. One play after Thompson’s pick, Matthews added a 74-yard touchdown catch for SDSU’s longest scoring play of the season.

The third interception came with 61 seconds remaining in the half. Cornerback Luq Barcoo’s interception in the end zone preserving SDSU’s 20-3 halftime lead.

Barcoo’s interception was his ninth of the season, tying for the national lead while setting a single-season school record in the Division I era (since 1969).

SDSU opened the second half with a 29-yard carry by Byrd, an Albuquerque native. That one run matched the entire rushing production of Byrd in the season’s previous nine games.

Byrd managed 100 yards just once previously when he gained 118 yards at New Mexico State.

SDSU running back Chase Jasmin added a 2-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter to make it 41-11.

The Aztecs defense still wasn’t done. Thompson forced a fumble with 5 1/2 minutes remaining. Darren Hall picked up the ball and scored, his 20-yard touchdown completing the scoring. Central Michigan fumbled again on a punt return with 2:06 remaining, but SDSU took a knee  rather than trying to score again.

Said Rocky Long, ”“I’m going to say that this is the best defense, obviously, that we’ve had at San Diego State for the last 10 years. There’s no doubt in my mind.”

Congratulations to the SDSU Aztecs for winning the 2019 New Mexico Bowl.


2019 New Mexico Bowl: How To Watch, Livestream San Diego State vs. Central Michigan

2019 New Mexico Bowl: How To Watch, Livestream San Diego State vs. Central Michigan When does San Diego State play? Contact/Follow @JeremyMauss & @MWCwire New Mexico Bowl is an early one San Diego State goes to a familiar stadium to take on Central …

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2019 New Mexico Bowl: How To Watch, Livestream San Diego State vs. Central Michigan

When does San Diego State play?

Contact/Follow @JeremyMauss & @MWCwire

New Mexico Bowl is an early one

San Diego State goes to a familiar stadium to take on Central Michigan of the MAC. The Aztecs are only favored by just three points in this game and all signs for it being a close one as the Chippewas nearly the MAC runner up.

The Aztecs are getting the services of starting quarterback Ryan Agnew as he is now healthy and expected to start. Agnew missed the season finale against BYU with a calf bruise. Running back Juwan Washington is going to suit up but he is not going to be 100 percent as his ankle is still bothering him.

Atecs head coach Rocky Long is making a homecoming as he played and coach at the University of New Mexico, so being back in this stadium will birng up some memories.

“I have a lot of old friends here and a lot of old teammates,” Long said on his local ties, laughing. “The old teammates have cost me some money because football players don’t think they have to buy tickets, and we’re all old guys, so I’m not taking care of just their families — I’m taking care of their family’s families. But it’s really, really fun to see my old teammates, especially, and some of the players I’ve coached.”

2019 NEW MEXICO BOWL: San Diego State Aztecs (9-3 Mountain West) vs. Central Michigan Chippewas(8-5 MAC)

WHEN: Saturday, November 21 — 2 PM ET

WHERE: Dreamstyle Stadium; Albuquerque, New Mexico


STREAMING: You can get a free seven-day trial of FuboTV by clicking here.

RADIO: San Diego State radio network

GAME NOTES (PDF): Central Michigan | San Diego State

ODDS (via OddsShark): San Diego State -3

SP+ PROJECTION: San Diego State by 4.2 points or 59 percent win probabolity.

FEI PROJECTION: San Diego State State by 3.5

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Bowl Season: Mountain West Conference Simulated Results

A simulation run using updated rosters for the EA Sports NCAA 14 Football game was done to see how the Mountain West did this Bowl Year.

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How did the MWC fair this Bowl Season?

Thanks to the NCAA 14 Football Game- We have all the Bowl Insights!

Contact/Follow @Sean or @MWCWire

Earlier this fall, we covered how the NCAA Football Game Dynasty by EA Sports was still alive and well, even after production of the game stopped in 2014. If you missed it, take a look here.

Using the newly updated rosters for every team on the game, we were able to create real simulation results based on these 2019 teams. We matched-up every team in the Mountain West with their 2019/2020 Bowl Opponent, using the actual locations and players. The games were completely simulated with no user interaction.

Let’s go Bowl by Bowl and see how things shook out!


If the simulation is any indicator, folks who take in the Frisco Bowl are in for a treat. Jordan Love pulls a George Costanza, and leaves the Aggies on a high note (both puns intended) racking up over 300 yards passing to edge Kent State by three, with a 31-28 victory.

The Utah State defense also came up big holding the Golden Flash to 40% in the Red Zone and forcing two turnovers.


Next up is the New Mexico Bowl which every Aztec fan would be thrilled to have the simulated results. The folks from Mt. Pleasant, Michigan may take umbrage with the notion of San Diego State racking up 41 points though.

I don’t question the Aztecs ability to pound the ball on the ground like the results reflect, behind a strong performance from Juwan Washington. But I do have to wonder what happened to ignite a 41 – 10 drubbing.


The kings of the (Mountain) West got reacquainted with their old coach, in most inhospitable fashion. Despite featuring the games most highly rated player in the MWC, Curtis Weaver, it wasn’t enough to knock off the Huskies.

I’m sure Jacob Eason of Washington would be very happy to showcase a near 400 yard passing performance in front of the scouts to increase his draft stock. Mountain West Wire’s resident Bronco, Raj may want to protest the results of this 13 point defeat.

PODCAST: Mountain West Bowl Preview Part 1

PODCAST: Mountain West Bowl Preview Part 1 Get ready for bowl season. Contact/Follow @MWCwire Also, a look at coaching hires. Jeremy and Matt are back to preview the first three Mountain West bowl games which include the Frisco Bowl between Utah …

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PODCAST: Mountain West Bowl Preview Part 1

Get ready for bowl season.

Contact/Follow @MWCwire

Also, a look at coaching hires.

Jeremy and Matt are back to preview the first three Mountain West bowl games which include the Frisco Bowl between Utah State and Kent State, Las Vegas Bowl which features Washington and Boise State, and the New Mexico Bowl which has San Diego State vs. Central Michigan.

They pick the games and ponder if the Mountain West could possibly go undefeated in the bowl slate. The duo also recap all the coaching hires within the league as well.

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

Here is our list of complete sponsors.

Or just help us out directly through our Patreon page through this link.

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Mountain West Bowl Picks and Prediction

Find out what the best picks are?

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Mountain West Bowl Picks and Predictions

Bowl season is close to being underway.

Contact/Follow @JeremyMauss & @MWCwire

Bowl picking time!

Don’t let anyone tell you that the college football bowl season has too many games. There is a finite number of these contests and we must cherish them all so more bowl games the better.

Plus, it gives us another opportunity to make some bowl picks for Mountain West games since odds for the bowl games have been updated after being out for a few weeks.

Frisco Bowl: Utah State vs. Kent State (+5)

This one is a bit interesting since Utah State had a few players get in trouble with law enforcement as Jordan Love, Gerold Bright and Sean L. Carter were charged with possession of marijuana. There is no work on them not playing this game on Friday but if they play the Aggies should be able to top Kent State since Utah State has the better overall talent on the field.

Pick against the spread: Utah State

New Mexico Bowl: San Diego State vs Central Michigan (+3.5)

San Diego State is going to be led by its defense, no surprise there, but the really good news is that quarterback Ryan Agnew is expected to be healthy and ready to go in the bowl game this weekend against Central Michigan.

This is going to be a battle of the strengths as the Aztecs are allowing just 12.8 points per game and the Chips are putting up 31.9 points per game. Usually, the Aztec defense can slow down any attack and look for that to be the same.

Pick against the spread: San Diego State

Las Vegas Bowl: Boise State vs. Washington (-3.5) 

Washington head coach Chris Petersen is not happy his final game is against his former team. The Huskies were a preseason top 20 team but now that distinction belongs to the Broncos. The big question for Boise State is who will play at quarterback. Redshirt senior Jaylon Henderson was the third quarterback to start the year but he is now the starter and is 4-0 as a starter.

This Huskies team might be the best Henderson has faced and the Washington defense just might be able to find a way to slow down Henderson with a few weeks to prepare. Even with that time, the Boise State defense should be able to slow down a Washington offense that is 61st in yards per play.

Pick against the spread: Boise State

Hawaii Bowl: Hawaii vs. BYU (-1.5)

This one could go a lot of different ways because Hawaii sometimes plays to the level of competition, and BYU has been up and down but mostly up as of late. The Warriors have won low-scoring games like the 14-11 victory over San Diego State and have won shootouts like the 42-40 shootout vs. San Jose State.

BYU recently played San Diego State and managed just three points but that was against a really good Aztecs defense. Expect this game to have a decent amount of points as the Cougar offense has shown this year to put together some solid drives.

Pick against the spread: Hawaii

Cheez-It Bowl: Air Force vs. Washington State (+3)

This game is going to be one of the most interesting of all of the bowl seasons. The contrast of styles makes it a must-watch with the Falcons run-option attack vs. Mike Leach’s “air raid” attack. The Air Force defense will give up points and yards but its offense will counter that behind QB Donald Hammond III by controlling the time of possession.

Pick against the spread: Air Force

Arizona Bowl: Wyoming vs. Georgia State (+7.5)

Wyoming has an issue at quarterback as they are down to only Levi Williams as starter Sean Chambers is out and Tyler Vander Waal announced his intention to transfer. The Cowboys defense will keep them in any game and will do so against Georgia State. The Panthers do have an offense that will make it tough on the Cowboys with QB Dan Ellingtion who has a modest 21 touchdowns to seven picks, and also its running back Tra Barnnett who has 12 rushing touchdowns on 1,389 yards.

Pick against the spread: Georgia State

Idaho Potato Bowl: Nevada vs. Ohio (-7.5)

The Nevada Wolf Pack have been all over the board this year with multiple major blowouts or close games. It seems there is no real in-between. What will make this game difficult to win is that the Wolf Pack are down four starters who were involved in the altercation vs. UNLV in the season finale.

The Mountain West determined that defensive backs Austin Arnold and Daniel Brown, defensive lineman Hausia Sekona, and linebacker Gabriel Sewell were all in violation of the conference’s sportsmanship rule.

Arnold earned a two-game suspension, Brown and Sekona were each handed one-game suspensions, and Sewell will be suspended for one half.

Pick against the spread: Ohio

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What Mountain West Bowl Games Provide A Betting Value?

What Mountain West Bowl Games Provide A Betting Value? Not all bowl games are created equal. Contact/Follow @JeremyMauss & @MWCwire What games earns your cash? The Mountain West bowl season is approaching quickly and the odds for the games have …

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What Mountain West Bowl Games Provide A Betting Value?

Not all bowl games are created equal.

Contact/Follow @JeremyMauss & @MWCwire

What games earns your cash?

The Mountain West bowl season is approaching quickly and the odds for the games have fluctuated and finally have settled and with the lines fairly stable we will provide the best value of games to put a few bucks down for some college football betting. Since the betting season has started, we believe that this will be helpful for many of our readers.

There are seven Mountain West bowl games and we will rank these from the worst value to the best betting value in our opinion.

7. Frisco Bowl: Utah State vs. Kent State (+5)

This one would be much higher but with the news that a trio of Aggie players have been charged with possession of marijuana. There is no word yet on if Jordan Love, Gerold Bright and Sean L. Carter will play this Friday. If they play the five-point line seems like a good bet for the Aggies but now anyone looking to toss a few bucks may want to steer clear of this game.

6. Hawaii Bowl: Hawaii vs. BYU (-1.5)

Former WAC rivals meet on Christmas Eve. This one could be tight but only if the BYU offense can make waves against a Warriors defense that is just so-so. This Warriors offense is arguably the best passing attack BYU has seen all year. However, the Hawaii offense can get placed in check against teams with decent to solid defenses.

Also, to consider is that BYU ended the season pretty good but the final game was poor performance against San Diego State where they scored three points. If that team shows up then Hawaii should win big but if the good BYU team that beat Boise State then this will be a close one.

5. Cheez-It Bowl: Air Force vs. Washington State (+3)

Talk about contrasting styles. The pass-happy Cougars attack against a Falcons ground game that is one of a kind. The Falcons being a favorite is a slight surprise but Air Force has 10 wins, a quarterback in Donald Hammond III that not only runs well but passes well. The Falcons defense does give up 7.5 yards per attempt and Washington State averages 8.0 yards per pass attempt. This game will come down to what defense makes a stop against the opposing teams strength.

4. Las Vegas Bowl: Boise State vs. Washington (-3.5) 

This will be an emotional game for Chris Petersen who is stepping down as the Huskies head coach and it might be a bit awkward for him to go up against his former team.

Nov 29, 2019; Fort Collins, CO, USA; Boise State Broncos quarterback Jaylon Henderson (9) and offensive lineman John Ojukwu (70) celebrate a score in the second quarter against the Boise State Broncos at Sonny Lubick Field at Canvas Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

There is no word on what quarterback will play for Boise State but Jaylon Henderson has been playing at a high level in his starts in the final third of the season. The Huskies were a preseason top 20 team so there is talent there but they have not met expectations.

3. Arizona Bowl: Wyoming vs. Georgia State (+7.5)

The confidence level is high on this one since the Wyoming defense is one of the best in the nation. The offense has been good running the ball but the quarterback position is not in good shape.

Sean Chambers is out with an injury and Tyler Vander Waal announced he is transferring. It may not matter too much in this game but the line is pretty big and the Cowboys are not a team that will blow out other teams so expect it to be within a touchdown.

2. Idaho Potato Bowl: Nevada vs. Ohio (-7.5)

This is a lot of points for Ohio to be favored. They score a lot of points and put up 34.7 points per game. The Wolf Pack are only averaging 21.3 per game but they have had five games of scoring 30 or more points. Expect this to be a shootout as Ohio gives up 27 points per game and Nevada allows 32.1 points per game. Expect points but not a blowout.

1.New Mexico Bowl: San Diego State vs Central Michigan (+3.5)

San Diego State’s defense is really, really good and can shutdown nearly any defense they face. The Aztecs also are getting back QB Ryan Agnew who is expected to be healthy but the big question is still running back Juwan Washington who has been hobbled by an ankle injury most of the year. Central Michigan puts up nearly 32 points per game but they have not seen a defense like the Aztecs and will struggle to score. 

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New Mexico Bowl: A Central Michigan Q&A With James Jimenez

We get to know SDSU’s New Mexico Bowl opponent, the Central Michigan Chippewas, with James Jimenez of SB Nation’s Hustle Belt.

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New Mexico Bowl: A Central Michigan Q&A with James Jimenez

We get to know SDSU’s New Mexico Bowl opponent, the Central Michigan Chippewas, with James Jimenez of SB Nation’s Hustle Belt.

Contact/Follow @MattK_FS & @MWCwire

A drastic turnaround, but not a fluke.

The kickoff to college football’s bowl season is mere days away and the Mountain West’s seven-game slate kicks off, in part, this weekend when the San Diego State Aztecs and Central Michigan Chippewas face off in the New Mexico Bowl on Saturday, December 21.

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The last time CMU played against a Mountain West opponent, it was in former Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen’s collegiate finale at the 2017 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. That game didn’t go particularly well for the Chips and neither did the entirety of 2018, when they had a case as the worst team in the country, but the arrival of a familiar coach, Jim McElwain, spurred one of college football’s biggest 180s this fall.

To learn more about the Chippewas, we reached out to our friends at SB Nation’s Hustle Belt and spoke with James Jimenez.

Mountain West Wire: It seems safe to say no one expected Central Michigan to be one failed Hail Mary away from winning the MAC title this fall, especially after bottoming out in 2018. Can you give us the short version of what spurred the drastic turnaround?

James Jimenez: The short version of what spurred the turnaround is a new coaching staff. Coach Bono (John Bonamego) was very well-beloved by players and fans alike (myself included), and was known to be someone who was very loyal to his guys. That’s not a terrible surprise, given he learned under Jim Caldwell while a member of the Lions and Sean Payton under the Saints before coming to Central. He was also an excellent recruiter, especially in-state. What he wasn’t was an X’s and O’s guy. He ran the wrong personnel and a bad scheme and stayed maybe a little too loyal to his guys until the very end, when it resulted in the worst season in program history.

What Jim McElwain brought to Mount Pleasant was a culture of accountability and a thorough understanding of the play-calling side of the sport. He brought in coaches from a lot of different backgrounds and experience levels on the staff to help build up the players who stayed, and he wasn’t afraid to mix things up when the situation called for it. That’s the mark of an excellent coach.

It also helps that the 2018 Chips were a very young squad, so that meant a lot of the players on the roster were motivated to prove a lot of their doubters wrong.

MWwire: What kind of a skill set has quarterback Quinten Dormady brought to the Chippewas offense?

Jimenez: Last year, the Chippewas rotated between Tony Poljan (now the starting tight end) and Tommy Lazzaro (the current Wildcat quarterback) and the result was one of the worst offenses in the FBS. Part of the reason it was so bad was because the QBs were abysmal whenit came to reading defenses; Lazzaro finished with twice as many interceptions as passing touchdowns, while Poljan was converted to a receiver halfway through the season. An inompatible offense is also to blame there.

With the addition of Dormady, the Chippewas get an extremely intelligent leader who understands how the defense is making adjustments and audibles into a look which gives the offense the best chance to succeed. His ability to read the defense before the play has helped sustain many of CMU’s drives on offense, especially once they get into rhythm. Dormady also gives CMU a pretty good arm on short-and-intermediate routes, with the ability to launch deep when necessary. He might check down a bit too much at times, but with the weapons CMU has at the skill position, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

MWwire: San Diego State’s secondary has been a tough nut to crack for many opponents this fall, but wide receivers Kalil Pimpleton and JaCorey Sullivan will certainly try. How do the two all-MAC pass catchers complement each other?

Jimenez: Kalil and JaCorey, besides being first-team All-MAC receivers, were former high school teammates at Michigan HS football powerhouse Muskegon. They’ve got an incredible chemistry which really helps the offense get moving.

Kalil was one of, if not the best, receivers in the conference in 2019 after having to sit in 2018 due to transfer rules, picking up 79 receptions for 823 yards and six touchdowns. What makes him so good is his elite top speed; he’s a burner once he gets going, and has taken the top off of defenses several times throughout the season. CMU also employs him in a number of ways; he’s often in motion on jet sweeps, can alternate between the slot and the outside receiving positions and can even be a passing threat (given his background as a quarterback.) He’s a small, shifty slot receiver from Central, so the comparison for him is usually Antonio Brown, but I’d say he’s closer to Golden Tate III in the way he moves in the open field and can be used by the offense.

JaCorey took a bit to get going this season, but he still finished as a top 5 receiver in the MAC, with 54 receptions for 776 yards and three touchdowns. He’s a guy who lines up primarily on the outside and offers big-play ability, as he averages an astounding 14.3 yards per catch. He’s got decent size, standing at six-foot-two, 196 lbs., and allows CMU an outlet for deep passes without having to force the issue. He’s got reliable hands, and is a favorite receiver of Dormady’s to target when he needs a sure reception.

MWwire: Aztecs fans know all about their strong defensive line, but they may not know the Chippewas are actually number one in the FBS by defensive stuff rate. Who among linebacker Troy Brown and defensive linemen Sean Adesanya and LaQuan Johnson — all of whom finished in the top five of all MAC defenders in tackles for loss — has been the most valuable contributor, in your opinion?

Jimenez: All three of those players have been fantastic for the Chippewas in 2019, but Brown has been the heart and soul of this CMU defense for the most part at the outside backer position. Brown stands at 85 total tackles, 16 tackles-for-loss, a sack and three interceptions in 2019, and has proven to be one of the most versatile players on the CMU defense, as he uses his former background as a safety to diagnose passing plays and running plays alike. Unfortunately, he’ll miss the first half of the upcoming game due to a targeting call in the MAC Championship Game, which could leave the linebacking corps a little shallow to start.

I personally love what Sean Adesanya brings to the table. He’s an excellent run stuffer with a high motor who is also adept at getting to the quarterback; he’s got 15.5 tackles-for-loss and seven sacks on the season so far coming out of the end position, LaQuan Johnson is only a redshirt freshman, but he’s already shown a lot of promise coming from both the defensive tackle and defensive end spots; Johnson is probably CMU’s best pass-rusher, with 32 tackles and six sacks this season to go along with his 13 tackles-for-loss.

They’re all major contributors, and they help to man an aggressive front seven which has proven to be amonst the best rushing or short-distance defenses in the nation all season.

MWwire: It’s tempting to see this New Mexico Bowl as a classic “offense vs. defense” tilt, but it could also become a straight-up defensive showdown. How do you see the game unfolding and why?

Jimenez:It’s really hard to tell, mostly because I don’t really know which CMU team will show up. They’re 8-5, yes, but they’re also frustatingly inconsistent as soon as they leave Kelly/Shorts Stadium; they’re 2-5 in road/neutral games, with their average points per game diving double-digits from ~45 per game at home to ~28 on the road.

CMU got a little too cute against Miami in what was essentially a home game at Ford Field a couple weeks back, and that’s a problem which has plagued them a bit at times during the season. A couple things I think will happen: they’ll probably lean a bit more on the running game this time around after limiting themselves to 50 yards on 17 carries vs. Miami, and they’ll probably empty out the bag of tricks on offense and special teams when they think it’s appropriate.

I think they’re going to be hungry to take home hardware for the trophy case, after missing out on the Victory Cannon (vs. rival WMU) and the Michigan MAC trophy (retained by WMU), AND the MAC Championship trophy (vs. Miami). I think it’ll be a very streaky, very stop-and-start game, which ends up being won by the team who is more efficient with the ball in their hands.

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New Mexico Bowl: Three Players To Know On The Central Michigan Chippewas

The Aztecs face a respectable opponent in the middling New Mexico Bowl. Here are three standout Chippewas that all Aztecs fans should know.

New Mexico Bowl: 3 Players To Know On The CMU Chippewas

The Aztecs face Central Michigan University in the New Mexico Bowl.  Let’s get to know some of the Chippewas’ key athletes.

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The Aztecs head to their tenth straight bowl game against the Chippewas in pursuit of a fourth 10-win season in five years.

Albuquerque, NM-  Aztecs fans: it’s time to go bowling again!

San Diego State (9-3, 5-3 MW) had a respectable season.  They once again flirted with greatness before losing the West Division to Hawaii.  The Rainbow Warriors went on to play in the Mountain West Championship before getting flogged by the Boise State Broncos. Would the Aztecs have fared better?  Probably.  Instead, though, the Aztecs followed up Hawaii’s disappointing loss with a meaningful win over one-time nemesis BYU.

What matters now is another 10-win season for San Diego State.

Standing between the Aztecs and a middling New Mexico Bowl victory is Central Michigan University (8-5, 6-2 MAC).  Located undoubtedly somewhere between Eastern Michigan University and Western Michigan University, is… you guessed it: CMU, the home of the Chippewas.

If you’re like most Aztecs fans who don’t know much about Central Michigan University, let’s take a look at some of their top talent.


1. Quinten Dormady, QB

Dormady, a 6’5″ 219-lb. fifth year senior, was recently a Houston transfer who started his career at Tennessee.  His journey has spanned five years, three schools, 22 games and an improbable ascent at a school that went 1-11 during 2018.

Dormady transferred to CMU on Dec. 11, 2018, just weeks after the Chippewas finished 1-11 and replaced coach John Bonamego with Jim McElwain.  With McElwain and Dormady, CMU rebounded with an 8-4 record this season going 6-2 in the MAC.

One of the issues Dormady had at Tennessee was throwing interceptions at inopportune times.  It ultimately moved him down on the depth chart.

Dormady has been plagued with injuries, including a shoulder problem that required season ending surgery at Tennessee.  He then transferred to Houston, but before he was healthy, another quarterback, D’Eriq King was put in his place and threw for just under 3000 yards that season

Eligible for a medical redshirt — and another transfer, to Central Michgian,  Dormady has helped CMU transform itself.  Nonetheless he did sustain  injury this season as well.

On the first drive against Wisconsin, Dormady was sacked on third down. Three drives later, he was intercepted and limped off the field.  He didn’t return in the 61-0 loss to the Badgers because of a knee injury that held him out four weeks.

CMU went 2-2 in Dormady’s absence.

He became the starter again upon his return against New Mexico State and won five of six games after reclaiming the starting role.  He capped it off by completing 70% of his passes against Northern Illinois (75%), Ball State (71.1%) and Toledo (78.9%). He threw for five touchdowns and one interception in that span.

2. Kalil Pimpleton, WR

Pimpleton, is a 5’9″, 175-lb. sophomore wide receiver and special teams punt returner.  He had a major breakout season this year.

His style is fast and explosive.  Pimpleton was named to the MAC All Conference First Team at BOTH receiver and punt returner.

The West Michigan native played football at Muskegon High School and graduated from the Big Reds in 2016.

He was a three-star prospect and wound up accepting an offer to Virginia Tech in early May of 2016. As a freshman, the wide receiver recorded just five games played ,and after one season with the Hokies, Pimpleton felt his best option for football would be to transfer schools.

He elected to become a Chippewa.

Now, Pimpleton is one of the key offensive factors in CMU’s historic turnaround.

Pimpleton led the conference in both receptions (73) and receiving yards (771) and also caught six touchdown passes. His 9.0-yard punt return average ranked second in the league.

3. Jonathan Ward, RB

Ward is a 6’0″ 202-lb senior running back.  He is on the Mid America Third All-Conference Team for offense.  Coaches and players both agree he should have made Second Team- if not First Team.

Ward missed two games due to a shoulder injury suffered against Wisconsin in Week 2. Despite missing the pair of games against Akron (Sept. 14) and Miami (Sept. 21), he still broke the 1,000-yard threshold by totaling 1,056 yards and 15 touchdowns in 164 carries.

Ward has versatility in catching passes.  In the 10 games Ward played, he caught 28 passes for 284 yards and a touchdown, a 64-yarder against Eastern Michigan (Oct. 5).

Not only has Ward been one of the best in the conference, but he has also done it in fewer games and splitting carries with junior Kobe Lewis. Ward has been imperative to the Chippewas’ success this season.

He has led the Chippewas to the biggest turnaround in the country from last year to this year. Ward, too, had one of the biggest turnarounds after finishing 2018 with just 212 yards rushing in nine games.

A fourth notable player is mid-linebacker Michael Oliver, who made the All-MAC Conference Second Team.

If the Aztecs defense can keep the pressure on the Chippewas offense, San Diego State will have the edge in this game.

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