Week 6 Mountain West Football: Best Bets

Week 6 of Mountain West play is here. There are some interesting lines this week, so where should you lose your money this time?

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Week 6 Mountain West Football: Best Bets


A look at the Mountain West betting odds for Week 6


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What are the oddsmakers saying about these match ups?

Late in the week we will look at odds and recent lines and make our best picks and bets. Odds courtesy of Vegas Insider and inputted at time of writing.

The Mountain West started conference play with a bang. We went 2-4 to begin conference play and are 24-27 on the year. Not great and we’re still underwater on the year, but last week was a great ride to watch depending on who you ask.

Colorado State @ Nevada (-3.5, O/U 44)

Colorado State has hit the under in every game they have played this season. And it doesn’t look like that is going to change anytime soon. Neither offense is good and the defenses aren’t great either. Nevada has been able to produce a number of turnovers this year. This one becomes a defensive battle and the under hits again.

Pick: Under

UNLV @ San Jose State (-7, O/U 52.5)

The swing on the line in this one is kind of crazy. It opened at UNLV -3.5 and has now swung to San Jose State -7. A 10.5 point swing seems insane to think about in the Mountain West. UNLV has been a suprise team this season and I don’t think that changes here, with the Rebels hanging onto first place in the West.

Pick: UNLV +7

AIR Force @ UTAH State (+10.5, O/U 54.5)

Air Force struggled against Navy, but that was mostly due to their own demise as they turned the ball over twice and couldn’t finish drives. Against Utah State, the Falcons will get back on track. The Aggies are giving up close to 200 yards rushing per game and that’s not going to get better here.

Pick: Air Force -10.5

Wyoming @ New Mexico (+3.5, O/U 36.5)

New Mexico’s defense has had a major turn around under DC Rocky Long. Their offense on the other hand, hasn’t been much to look at. New Mexico has managed to win the past two matchups between these two schools and with a home crowd on their side the Lobos have a chance to make it three in a row.

Pick: New Mexico SU (+137)

Fresno State @ Boise State (-7.5 O/U 45.5)

The Bulldogs are still going to be without starting quartback Jake Haener. The Broncos flipped a switch in the second half against San Diego State last week. Boise State is still the team to beat in the Mountain West and will prove it again this week against Fresno State.

Pick: Boise State -7.5

Hawai’i @ San Diego State (-22, O/U 48)

I know Hawai’i is a bad team, but the Aztecs haven’t exactly inspired confidence on offense either. And San Diego State will probably be down to their third string freshman quarterback if Braxton Burmeister can’t go. San Diego State will win, but I think Hawai’i will cover.

Pick: Hawai’i +22

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UNLV vs. San Jose State: Spartans Game Preview, How To Watch, Odds, Prediction

San Jose State plays host to UNLV in a crucial Mountain West showdown

UNLV vs. San Jose State: Spartans Game Preview, How To Watch, Odds, Prediction

 

San Jose State plays host to UNLV in a crucial Mountain West showdown

 

 

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Week 6:  UNLV Rebels (4-1, 2-0) @ San Jose State Spartans (3-1, 1-0)

When:  Friday, October 7th – 7:30 PST

Where:  CEFCU Stadium; San Jose, CA

TV:  CBS Sports Network 

Odds:  San Jose State  -7   Over/Under  53

 

 

Who would’ve thunk it?  First place on the line in a battle between UNLV and San Jose State?  It may not be bringing College Gameday to campus like the surprise showdown in Lawrence, Kansas, but don’t be fooled; what’s at stake Friday night at CEFCU Stadium is enormous – the inside track to a berth in the Mountain West Conference Championship game on December 3rd.  For the Spartans, it will require their most complete effort of the season against a Rebels squad brimming with confidence.  

The resumés of UNLV and San Jose State look remarkably similar, with the exception being an extra game played by the Rebels, who sit at 4-1 overall and 2-0 in conference, compared to a 3-1, 1-0 split for the Spartans.  They each own a win over an FBS team, their losses are on the road to middling Power 5 competition (UNLV at Cal, San Jose State at Auburn), and they both have an impressive road win in conference play.  Of all the similarities though, it would be foolish to look beyond the most important position on the field–quarterback. 

Both Doug Brumfield for the Rebels and Chevan Cordeiro of the Spartans have been at the top of their game leading the respective offenses.  They are also equally difficult to prepare for because they are dual threat QBs, able to evade an oncoming pass rush and scramble for a first down as easily as they can fire a dart 20 yards down the field to a streaking wide receiver.  San Jose State will need to contain Brumfield (he is playing too well to expect a complete shutdown), to put themselves in position for the W. 

The San Jose State defense has been up to the task all season, allowing an average of less than 16 points per game.  With the exception of the second half at Auburn, when a combination of the Tigers SEC depth and the southern humidity wore down the Spartans, they have gotten stronger as the games progress as well.  If there is one area they have struggled with though, it has been handling running quarterbacks.  Going all the way back to week 1 against FCS Portland State, Dante Chachere ran for 83 yards on 14 carries/scrambles.  Auburn’s mobile QB Robby Ashford gained 64 yards on just 7 carries while getting less than half the reps in the week 2 matchup.  On Saturday, Wyoming’s Andrew Peasley totaled 93 yards on 7 rushes, including a 61 yard scamper that led to a 3rd quarter touchdown.  Beyond the yards though, there were several plays in which Peasley was under pressure, but he kept the play alive with his feet before finding a receiver.  This is worrisome because Peasley is not known as a dual threat QB in the mold of Cordeiro or Brumfield.  The Spartans front seven will need to not only get pressure on Brumfield, but tackle well when they have him in their grasp.  Otherwise the tall, lanky 6’5” QB will be extending drives and keeping the defense on the field.  

That defense will be challenged up front as well, from a bruising Rebels running game spearheaded by Aidan Robbins, who averages over 100 yards a game.  Robbins has 8 rushing TD’s on the year to go along with one through the air, ranking 2nd in the country for running backs.  Brumfield’s primary target in the passing game is Ricky White, and while the Rebels 2nd and 3rd leading receivers both missed last week’s contest, others stepped up in their absence.  The Spartans back seven should be prepared for plenty of short and intermediate routes, which seems to be UNLV’s bread and butter as opposed to taking deep shots down the field.  This was super effective last week in the come-from-behind victory over New Mexico and is highlighted by Brumfield’s ridiculous 70.5 completion percentage.  Again, the tackling will need to be on point to prevent yards after the catch and make the Rebels dink and dunk their way down the field.  

When the Spartans have the ball, they will hope for the improved offensive line play to continue against a fairly stout UNLV run defense.  Kairee Robinson had his first career 100 yard game for San Jose State and had some room to run against a good Wyoming front seven.  However, while Cordeiro has also looked better each week, what makes the Spartans so dangerous on offense is an immensely talented receiving core that has multiple weapons and is proving difficult for any team in the conference to handle.  If the silky smooth QB continues to get better pass protection and have time in the pocket, there is no reason to think he won’t continue to pick apart mediocre secondaries.

Elijah Cooks is proving the NFL draft prospect chatter to be accurate and is coming off an 8 catch 177 yard game Saturday night.  He seems to have develop into Cordeiro’s security blanket when he needs a completion, mainly because Cooks has proven to be sure handed.  Don’t sleep on Justin Lockhart or Charles Ross though, each is over 200 yards receiving on the season.  At first glance, it may seem the Rebels will present a stiff challenge for Cordeiro and his targets as they have an incredible 11 interceptions thus far, 2nd in the nation to USC’s 12.  But a deeper look shows the UNLV secondary is in the bottom third in the country in passing yards allowed per game, and this is against a slate of opponents not exactly among college football’s elite throwing the football.  Also to note is that Cordeiro has not thrown an INT all year.  If he can keep a clean sheet for a 5th straight contest, this is the Spartans game to win.     

There are a few intangibles to keep an eye on.  Both teams rank in the top 20 in the country in red zone defense, but while the Rebels are fairly high in red zone offense, the Spartans are bottom 10 in the nation.  That gives a slight edge to UNLV.  And if indeed drives for both teams bog down near the end zone and it becomes a kicking contest, the Rebels look to have a much bigger edge here.  Daniel Gutierrez was just named MWC Special Teams player of the week, after booting field goals of 41, 47, and 50 yards in Friday’s win over New Mexico.  Meanwhile, the Spartans Taren Schive missed short kicks of 26 and 29 yards on Saturday.  San Jose State will need to capitalize on their opportunities and not leave points on the field.  

Then, there is the close relationship between the two head coaches.  Rebels head man Marcus Arroyo starred at QB for San Jose State from 1998-2002 and then began his coaching career with the Spartans, including multiple years on the same staff as current Spartans boss Brent Brennan.  The two remain good friends, though that will be set aside for 60 minutes on Friday night.  Still, each staff will be fully prepared for anything that comes their way due to the familiarity.  The only surprise will be if someone pulls a surprise. 

Recent history in the series favors San Jose State.  Since the formation of the current Mountain West Conference, the Spartans are 7-2 against UNLV, winning all four meetings at home.  They also defeated the Rebels 27-20 in Vegas last season.  As mentioned in the open, the winner will have a hammerlock on the West division due to owning the head-to-head tiebreaker.  Fresno State may have something to say about that once star QB Jake Haener returns from injury, but coming off a loss to woeful UConn, the Bulldogs have more pressing concerns.  For now, these are clearly the two most complete teams in their half of the conference.  

How is this one likely to play out?  The Spartans are trending the right way and have a good look about them.  UNLV almost got caught with their pants down last week, spotting an overmatched New Mexico team a 17-0 lead before rallying to pick up the win.  They will not get away with that type of start this week.  It’s also not likely to happen.  Both teams know the importance of this matchup, early October or not.  Expect an intense, hard hitting, 60 minute effort by each squad.  The Rebels have one other slight edge, an extra day of rest, having played Friday last week, and that just might cancel out the home field advantage of San Jose State.  There are playmakers all over the field, none more important than the quarterbacks.  Whoever is able to make more plays, either with their arm or their legs, is going to lead their team to victory.  And, while the red zone discrepancies and kicking game are edges for UNLV, the Spartans have more experience in big games–some from the 2020 season here in San Jose, and many others with various programs last year.  This is such a tough game to call, the only thing that would be shocking is if one team lays an egg and we have a non-competitive game.  After multiple flip-flops, it says here Cordeiro pulls the last rabbit out of his hat and leads the Spartans to a thrilling come-from-behind win.  

 

Prediction:   San Jose State  30     UNLV  26   

     

 

 

 

 

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San Diego State Has A Problem At Quarterback

San Diego State is having trouble finding a permanent solution at quarterback.

San Diego State Has A Problem At Quarterback


Injuries and the transfer portal have impact the QB room


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Can the Aztecs find a permanent quarterback?

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When Braxton Burmeister transferred to San Diego State in January, the program believed that they found the right quarterback for the 2022 season. After five games, San Diego State’s quarterback room is far more uncertain than it was before Burmeister arrived in the offseason.

Burmeister, who played four seasons at Oregon and Virginia Tech, has not been able to stay healthy for the Aztecs in 2022. His playing time has been limited and he has left almost every game with some sort of an injury. When he has been healthy, he has not played at the level San Diego State expected him to.

On Friday, Burmeister left the game with a concussion from a helmet-to-helmet hit from Boise State safety JL Skinner. Burmeister did not return and the offense dissolved during Burmeister’s absence.

San Diego State had a 13-0 lead on Boise State at halftime and ended up losing the game 35-13. San Diego State surrendered 35 unanswered points and the quarterbacks failed to keep control of the game on the offensive side of the ball.

When Burmeister went down with the apparent concussion, backup quarterback Kyle Crum came in to play against Boise State. He attempted one pass and eventually left the game with a reported broken collarbone. In recent weeks, Crum became the team’s backup quarterback when former second-stringer Will Haskell entered the transfer portal three days after the Utah loss on Sept. 17. Haskell seemed dissatisfied with Brady Hoke’s decision to pull him from the Utah game for Crum.

Haskell’s departure enabled Crum to be next in line for the quarterback job behind Burmeister. Once Crum left the Boise State game, San Diego State called on third-string freshman quarterback Liu Aumavae to finish the loss to Boise State. At the start of the season, Aumavae was the fourth-string quarterback after Burmeister, Haskell, and Crum.

Aumavae was not expected to play at all this season and he was unexpectedly thrown into the Boise State game. With Aumavae in the mix, San Diego State has a problem on its hands. Time is running out to find a solution at quarterback and none of the quarterbacks have stood out as the offensive leader.

In addition to the quarterback by committee situation, San Diego State fired offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Jeff Hecklinski on Saturday. Hecklinski has been with the team since 2020 and had a disastrous third season in this role. Hoke is expected to appoint running backs coach Jeff Horton to the interim offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach role.

The lack of consistency with the four quarterbacks led to a 2-3 record for the Aztecs. The final seven games will determine the rest of the season for San Diego State.

Less than one year after getting San Diego State to the Mountain West Conference Championship Game, Hoke’s job could be in jeopardy if this slide continues. San Diego State will have to make a decision between Burmeister, Crum, and Aumavae.

If Burmeister and Crum’s injuries are as serious as they appeared to be on Friday, San Diego State could be forced to ride Aumavae for the rest of the season. Freshman Tobin O’Dell and sophomore DJ Ralph could become the second and third-string quarterbacks with Burmeister and Crum out of commission. Besides Aumavae, O’Dell and Ralph are the only available quarterbacks on the roster. There is a possibility that San Diego State will use every quarterback on the roster at some point this season.

The quarterback depth chart will be very thin if Burmeister and Crum are out for the foreseeable future. This could be a lost season for the Aztecs.

 

Is Marcus Arroyo The Frontrunner For Mountain West Coach of the Year?

A discussion on Marcus Arroyo’s MW COTY campaign.

Is Marcus Arroyo The Frontrunner For Mountain West Coach of the Year?


UNLV has emerged as one of the top Mountain West teams


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Can Arroyo win the Coach of the Year award?

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In five games, Marcus Arroyo has UNLV in a position to compete for a Mountain West Championship in 2022. If UNLV stays on the right path for the rest of the season, he could be in line to win the 2022 Mountain West Coach of the Year award.

Not many people expected the Rebels to be a conference contender in 2022. He outperformed expectations in the early part of the season and put his team at the top of the Mountain West.

In the most recent game, UNLV erased a 17-0 deficit and defeated New Mexico 31-20. That game showed UNLV’s resilience and ability to fight back.

UNLV is tied with Boise State for the most wins in the Mountain West in the season. With a 4-1 overall record and a 2-0 Mountain West record, UNLV sits atop the West Division.

The program already doubled its win total from last season. With two wins in the Mountain West, UNLV has the same number of wins in conference play from last year. The Rebels finished the 2021 season with a 2-10 record. The 2021 season began with an 0-8 start.

This season is off to a much better start and the Rebels are poised to have the program’s first winning season since 2013. The Rebels went 7-6 in 2013 and have not won more than five games in a single season since then.

Doug Brumfield has seemed to be the answer at quarterback. In the past, the quarterback position was a problem, but Brumfield has been a consistent presence for the team.

The upcoming schedule will dictate how the season ultimately plays out for UNLV, but regardless of the end result, the start of the season is an accomplishment for Arroyo and his program. The next five games for UNLV are against San Jose State, Air Force, Notre Dame, San Diego State, and Fresno State. San Jose State has been the only future opponent without a really bad loss in 2022. Air Force, Notre Dame, San Diego State, and Fresno State all stumbled at some point since the start of the season.

UNLV could have trouble in the next three games against San Jose State, Air Force, and Notre Dame. On the other side, the games against San Diego State and Fresno State are looking like winnable games for the Rebels with recent struggles from the two teams. The conference is up for grabs and UNLV can catch the college football world by surprise with a deep run in the second half of the season. Having a great start to the season turned out to be a great cushion for the rest of the way.

If Arroyo can lead the Rebels to a bowl game, he should be in the conversation for the Mountain West Coach of the Year. He is looking to join John Robinson as the only other UNLV head coach to win the award.

San Jose State Gains Huge Road Win in Wyoming

San Jose State impresses with big win at Wyoming, setting stage for huge showdown

San Jose State Gains Huge Road Win in Wyoming

 

Spartans sharp in tune-up for massive showdown

 

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For the second consecutive Saturday, the San Jose State football team showed up to work with clear objectives – better execution and play a full 60 minutes.  Mission accomplished, again.  With a resounding 33-16 road win at Wyoming (3-3, 1-1), the Spartans have established themselves as a major threat to replicate their 2020 feat of becoming Mountain West Conference champions.

After taking the first quarter to get used to the altitude (Wyoming’s War Memorial Stadium has the highest altitude of any FBS home field), the Spartans took control with a dominating middle two quarters, and then salted the game away with their best drive of the season, a 10 play 80 yard masterpiece that took six minutes off the clock, featured a beautiful run-pass mix, and was capped off by an 18-yard, Chevan Cordeiro touchdown run.

Making the finish even more impressive was the fact that it followed a very scary moment in the middle of the third quarter.  Senior DT, Noah Wright, was carted off on a stretcher after a collision left him down on the field for over 15 minutes and had his entire team huddled around him.  Wright was able to give two fingers up in a peace symbol as he was being loaded into the ambulance, and better yet was able to fly home with the Spartans after being evaluated at a local hospital, according to head coach, Brent Brennan.    

The shell-shocked San Jose State defense allowed a couple of big plays immediately following the injury, which was almost to be expected.  Watching your brother and teammate taken away under those circumstances shakes even the toughest of men.  An Andrew Peasley to Parker Christensen 13 yard TD pass three plays after the injury drew the Cowboys within 26-16.  The Spartans were able to deny the ensuing two-point conversion and were never seriously threatened again.  The resilience of the whole team, but the defense in particular in the aftermath of the injury, shows how bought in this 2022 Spartan squad is.  That’s bad news for the rest of the conference.  

From a statistical perspective the game was dominated by San Jose State.  25 first downs to 10, a 456 to 253 yard advantage and a huge time of possession edge tell much of the story.  Only two short missed field goals prevented a wider margin of victory.  It wasn’t all bad in the kicking game though, as Travis Benham was excellent punting the football.  5 punts, not a single return yard against, and a punt downed at the 1 that led to a safety–the Spartans first points of the game.  

Cordeiro had a monster night running the offense, completing 21-37 for 314 yards and a touchdown, and adding 45 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.  What’s becoming apparent is that the receiving core is virtually impossible to cover, there are simply too many weapons.  Elijah Cooks was the leader of the pack against the Cowboys with 8 grabs for 177 yards.  Running back Kairee Robinson enjoyed the first 100 yard game of his career and scored an early third quarter touchdown to give San Jose State a 26-10 lead.  Going back to the game- clinching fourth quarter drive referenced earlier, the Spartans did what good teams do:  they were able to run the ball even when the opponent knows it’s coming.  Not only that, but against an opponent whose strength is their front 7.  Well done by the Spartans and another positive moving forward.

Speaking of moving forward, who saw this coming in the summer months?  A monumental showdown is just 5 days away at CEFCU Stadium.  The 4-1 UNLV Runnin Rebels come to town for a Friday night game that will likely decide the West division of the conference.  Granted, there is still a lot of football to be played and things can change quickly, but the winner will be in an excellent position to play for a conference championship in early December.     

 

 

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Mountain West Football: Week 5 Winners And Losers

Who were the big winners and losers from Week 5 of Mountain West football play? We make our picks for who shined and who disappointed.

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Mountain West Football: Week 5 Winners And Losers


We take a look at the Mountain West’s winners and losers from Week 5 of college football.


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Encouragements and letdowns from the week that was.

You’d think that having only six games on the docket would make our weekly exercise of identifying winners and losers from Mountain West football a little easier. You’d be wrong. Impressive performances were few and far between in Week 5 while the disappointments that have littered the conference through the season’s first month showed few signs of relenting.

Winners

1. Boise State’s running game

Just when it looked like the Broncos would be stuck in the mud through a sixty-minute fist fight with San Diego State, something clicked in the new-look offense and Boise State would gash the Aztecs on the ground to run with a 22-point victory on Friday night. After averaging 3.3 yards per carry and falling behind 13-0 at halftime, quarterback Taylen Green and running backs George Holani and Ashton Jeanty would account for all five of Boise State’s second-half touchdowns and finish with a combined 318 rushing yards on 37 carries.

Now 2-0 in Mountain West play, Boise State might have found something upon which they can lean as they look to reclaim the Mountain division crown and put their early offensive woes behind them for good.

2. San Jose State quarterback Chevan Cordeiro

There must be something about War Memorial Stadium that brings out the best in the Spartans quarterback. After torching Wyoming in Hawaii’s season finale last year, Cordeiro dropped the hammer on the Cowboys yet again in a 33-16 win on Saturday night, throwing for 314 yards and a touchdown on 21-of-37 passing while scoring two more times on the ground. Wyoming made him work for it with ten quarterback hurries, but SJSU has looked much improved week after week in large part to their veteran signal-caller.

3. Air Force wide receiver David Cormier

Who knew that Cormier’s 67-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter and run would end up being the difference in Air Force’s win over Navy? The Falcons came out firing on their first offensive possession and would be much more uneven after that, but the senior from Albuquerque posted the best game of his career with three catches for 120 yards, giving the home team just enough breathing room to be able to sing second when all was said and done.

Losers

1. Fresno State

The Bulldogs have had some heartbreaking losses over the last twenty years, but few as baffling as their complete no-show on Saturday in a 19-14 loss to the UConn Huskies. Even without several starters, Fresno State entered the day as heavy favorites and simply looked flat from the start: Logan Fife, starting at quarterback for the injured Jake Haener, had a couple of nice throws but could not stretch the field and threw two bad interceptions. The offense as a whole would finish 0-for-7 on third downs against a defense that had allowed a 52.3% conversion rate coming into the contest, while the defense had a handful of killer penalties and enabled the Huskies to convert on 8-of-17 third downs themselves, as well as both fourth-down tries.

It was an embarrassing result and, as was pointed out on Twitter, is now Jeff Tedford’s seventh straight loss as a head coach against an FBS opponent, dating back to the Bulldogs’ win over Hawaii in November 2019. He’ll need to find some answers fast to keep the team from sinking in conference play when it begins next week.

2. San Diego State’s offense

Once again, the Aztecs offense was DOA on Friday night against the Boise State, even as they built a 13-0 halftime lead against the Broncos. They couldn’t take advantage of two big red zone opportunities in the first quarter and would cross midfield just once for the rest of the game, then completely collapsed when starting quarterback Braxton Burmeister suffered a concussion and backup Kyle Crum broke his collarbone, forcing them to turn to true freshman Liu Aumavae, who wasn’t ready.

After mustering a meager 117 yards of total offense at 2.2 yards per play, offensive coordinator Jeff Hecklinski was finally fired. Given the state of things on the Mesa, whoever steps into the role will have a very tall order on their hands trying to turn this thing around.

3. New Mexico

The Lobos battled hard in Las Vegas on Friday night but couldn’t quite seal the deal against the surging UNLV Rebels in a 24-20 loss. After racing out to a 17-0 lead in the early second quarter, the UNM defense let the Rebels slowly chip away at the lead with five scoring drives in six total opportunities from there to the early fourth quarter. The offense, meanwhile, faltered after a strong start and saw a missed field goal and two interceptions turn into 17 UNLV points. They’ll be thinking about how this one got away for a while.

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New Mexico at UNLV: Keys to A Rebels Win , How to Watch, Odds, Prediction

Fresh off a win against defending Mountain West Conference Champion Utah State, the UNLV Rebels face the New Mexico Lobos aiming for the Rebels’ third win in a row Contact/Follow @MWCwire UNLV welcomes the Lobos to Allegiant Stadium WEEK 5: New …

Fresh off a win against defending Mountain West Conference Champion Utah State, the UNLV Rebels face the New Mexico Lobos aiming for the Rebels’ third win in a row



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UNLV welcomes the Lobos to Allegiant Stadium

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WEEK 5: New Mexico Lobos at UNLV Rebels

WHERE: Allegiant Stadium, Las Vegas, Nevada

WHEN: Friday, September 30, 2022 – 11:00pm EST (8:00pm PST)

TV: CBS Sports Network 

STREAMING: Fans can sign up to receive a free one-week trial of Fubo, by following this link.

RADIO: ESPN 1100AM & 100.9 FM

SERIES RECORD: This will be the 26th meeting between UNLV and Utah State. The Rebels have won 13 of the last 25 matchups. It will be Lobos’ first game in Allegiant Stadium.

WEBSITES: golobos.com/sports/football is the official University of New Mexico Football website | unlvrebels.com is the University of Nevada Las Vegas official website.

GAME NOTES (PDF): New Mexico | UNLV (not available at time of writing)

ODDS: UNLV Rebels -14.5

SP+ PROJECTION: UNLV Rebels by 13.2

FEI PROJECTION: 

PARKER FLEMING PROJECTION: UNLV Rebels by 15.63

UNLV will host the New Mexico Lobos this Friday night, in a Mountain West Conference game that both teams will look to build upon. For the Lobos, the game will be a chance to avenge last season’s 31-17 loss in Albuquerque as they resume conference play. And as the Rebels look for their third win in a row, this contest represents an opportunity to pick up their second conference win (matching last year’s total, in only their fifth game of the season) in front of their hometown fans.

In his press conference this week, Head Coach Marcus Arroyo talked about last week’s win and all the positives a win here can bring, and the momentum that would only grow in the excitement. “Our guys are feeding off this energy right now, home and away. Our guys fed off last week’s energy at their place (at Utah State), and I think getting our fans and our students and our community and everybody involved at Allegiant (Stadium) Friday night would be such an awesome thing,” Arroyo said. Arroyo and the Rebels clearly recognize what this type of success can mean, not only for this season, but for a city that so much wants to be a “sports town”. UNLV is seeing itself in the midst of a great start to the season, one that could mean so much more into the future, for the team and Las Vegas at large.

The Rebels are 2-0 at Allegiant Stadium so far this year, having defeated Idaho State and North Texas. The team has shown poise in not only embracing the role as a favorite in these games, games they were expected to win, but also in executing on the field and securing the victory. Across all phases, UNLV has made dramatic improvement and the results are clear in this early stage of the season.

How big is the improvement? Comparing last year to this year (thus far), the Rebels have gone from 111th in scoring offense to 25th (tied with Oregon). Total offense finished 119th; UNLV is currently 51st, gaining 439.2 yards per game. Defensively, the Rebels have risen from 88th in total defense to 69th. And UNLV was ranked 107th in scoring defense last year; they are now 58th, allowing 23.00 points per game. That kind of positive change, in just one offseason, is a credit to the UNLV coaches and players that now take their talents into Allegiant Stadium to face the New Mexico Lobos. And for the Rebels to continue their winning ways, there are a few keys to win:

UNLV’s Offense vs New Mexico’s Defense

New Mexico’s defense will be the most competitive one this Rebels offense will have faced this season. The Lobos enter this contest ranked 41st in total defense, allowing 330.5 yards per game. And while that defense will be coming in on a short week, after having faced the LSU Tigers for 80 plays in Baton Rouge on Saturday night, UNLV can expect a stout effort in Allegiant Stadium this Friday.

One of the many keys to success this season for the Rebels has been their success on first down. Aidan Robbins and Doug Brumfield have become the running force behind a solid offensive line that has opened up the rushing attack, which in turn sets up their passing game. Expect the Lobos will stack the box on the first and second downs, playing close to the line of scrimmage, in order to stifle that success. And from the Rebels’ perspective, expect UNLV to utilize more short passes or even take shots downfield, similar to how this offense played against North Texas in Week 3.

Although Jeff Weimer will be out for this game, and Kyle Williams is considered day-to-day, expect UNLV to remain aggressive in its passing game. Ricky White will be looking to add to his 317 receiving yards and three touchdowns. Nick Williams and Senika McKie should also see increased time on the field if Kyle Williams is unable to go.

Maintain the Defensive Momentum

Last week against Utah State, the Rebels played an outstanding defensive game, picking up six turnovers and stopping the Aggies offense on fourth down twice. Statistically the game may not have been impressive – UNLV still gave up more than 400 yards of offense – but much of the opponent’s success was after the game was well in hand for UNLV, as the Rebels were up by two scores since early in the second quarter and did not look back.

The Rebels will likely look to improve those results this Friday, against the 130th ranked total offense. Mountain West Defensive Player of the Week Austin Ajiake will lead an aggressive front seven, one that will need to remain disciplined against New Mexico’s option-based offense. The Lobos will look to establish the run and control the pace of the game through time of possession. And if the Rebels can force New Mexico into long conversions, something they have struggled with mightily, UNLV’s chances to win will rise exponentially.

Finish the 4th Quarter

Another point Coach Arroyo made in his press conference was a need to finish in the fourth quarter, to not let their opponents back into contention, especially when the Rebels have built significant leads in the first half. Last week against Utah State, UNLV relied once again on its physical running game and featured running back Aidan Robbins to maintain their lead in the second half. Robbins scored on a five-yard run early in the third quarter and then helped pick up a crucial first down late in the fourth quarter to take more time off the clock in the midst as Utah State tried in vain to draw closer.

It’s still early in the season, but thus far we have not seen the Rebels fade late in games or give up many big plays to their opponents. On the contrary, this team is proving it can play for 60 minutes, as the Rebels have given up only fifteen points in the fourth quarter through four games.

Prediction

UNLV is a significant favorite in this game, and rightfully so. UNLV is playing its best football in recent memory and from the coaches to the players, there is a measured expectation that none of the accomplishments thus far are to be taken for granted. By all indications, this Rebels team is focused and ready to match up with a determined New Mexico squad. Coach Arroyo, in his weekly press conference, added, “You’re the favorite…. When you know you’re going in and you’re expected to win, there’s a change there.” And it’s a change the Rebels community is welcoming with open arms.

Expect UNLV to be decisive on offense early, whether it be with their power running game or getting receivers in space to open up the Lobos defense and adjust quickly to emphasize what’s working early and take the lead. On defense, the Rebels will look to stop New Mexico’s option game and, on the heels of last week’s six takeaways, to be creative to force turnovers and leave the offense in good field position for much of the day.

It may be noteworthy that the home team in this series has lost the last five matchups, including UNLV’s win last year in New Mexico. Expect that trend to end and the Rebels to get the victory versus an opponent that will be unable to keep pace in Las Vegas. 

UNLV 47, New Mexico 13




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San Jose State vs. Wyoming: Keys To A Spartans Win, How To Watch, Odds, Prediction

The San Jose State Spartans look to open Mountain West play with a win in a suddenly critical matchup against the Cowboys.


San Jose State vs. Wyoming: Keys To A Spartans Win, How To Watch, Odds, Prediction


The San Jose State Spartans look to open Mountain West play with a win in a suddenly critical matchup against the Cowboys.


Contact/Follow @MattK_FS and @MWCwire

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Conference play begins in Laramie for the Spartans.

WEEK 5: San Jose State Spartans (2-1, 0-0 Mountain West) vs. Wyoming Cowboys (3-2, 1-0 MW)

WHEN: Saturday, October 1 — 4:30 PM PT/5:30 PM MT

WHERE: War Memorial Stadium; Laramie, WY

WEATHER: 70% chance of rain, high of 62 degrees

TV: CBS Sports Network

STREAMING: Fans can sign up to receive a free one-week trial of Fubo, which includes CBSSN, by following this link.

RADIO: The San Jose State Spartans broadcast can be found in the South Bay on 860 AM The Answer (KTRB). The Wyoming broadcast can be found on the affiliates of the Cowboy Radio Network, including flagship 1240 AM (KFBC) in Cheyenne.

SERIES RECORD: Wyoming leads the all-time series, 7-5. In the last meeting on October 30, 2021, the Spartans defeated the Cowboys, 27-21, in San Jose.

LAST WEEK: San Jose State defeated Western Michigan at home, 34-6, while Wyoming lost on the road against BYU, 38-24.

WEBSITES: SJSUSpartans.com, the official San Jose State athletics website | GoWyo.com, the official Wyoming athletics website

GAME NOTES (PDF): San Jose State | Wyoming

ODDS: San Jose State -2.5

SP+ PROJECTION: San Jose State by 0.2

FEI PROJECTION: Wyoming by 1.8

PARKER FLEMING PROJECTION: San Jose State 59.06% win probability (34.15-30.98)

San Jose State posted its most convincing win over the year to date last Saturday against Western Michigan, which sets up what is perhaps the most important game of Week 5 between the Spartans and the Wyoming Cowboys.

Craig Bohl’s Pokes have rebounded from a season-opening loss at Illinois and gotten back to being the same kind of defensive-minded team that has made his tenure so successful, most notably in a shocking home upset of Air Force two weeks ago. Here’s how San Jose State can avoid being the latest upset victim in Laradise.

Three Keys to a San Jose State Victory

1. Dominate in the trenches on defense.

There aren’t likely to be many surprises in Wyoming’s offensive game plan, which makes all the more important that San Jose State picks up where it left off last week against Western Michigan. In terms of generating havoc, last week’s performance against the Broncos was far and away the Spartans’ best of the year with three sacks and 11 tackles for loss.

It may not be easy, however, against a Cowboys offensive line that has played well in the early season. According to Pro Football Focus, guards Zach Watts and Emmanuel Pregnon rank second and third in the Mountain West, respectively, with overall grades of 80.1 and 77.7, while Eric Abojei ranks third among offensive tackles at 76.0 and center Nofoafia Tulafono sits at fifth among his peers with a grade of 65.2. This is a big opportunity for Cade Hall, Viliami Fehoko, and the rest of the Spartans defensive line to establish itself as a legitimate threat.

2. Win inside the 20-yard line.

One thing that both San Jose State and Wyoming have in common is that neither offense has been great about turning red zone opportunities into touchdowns. The Spartans have just five touchdowns in 14 trips, a 35.7% rate that ranks ahead of only Colorado State in the conference, while Wyoming, despite an overall conversion rate of 93.8% which ranks second in the Mountain West, has scored six points on just 43.8% of its red zone drives.

This is where quarterback Chevan Cordeiro could be a major player. His long-standing red zone struggles weren’t a secret coming into the year, but he’s completed just 6-of-19 throws inside the 20 with two touchdowns, so any course correction he and offensive coordinator Kevin McGiven can find could go a long way toward securing a victory.

3. Press the Wyoming secondary.

One potential advantage the Spartans may have in this game is among their wide receivers, where Elijah Cooks, Jermaine Braddock, Charles Ross, and Justin Lockhart have combined for 12 catches of 20 or more yards through their first three games. Wyoming, by contrast, has been pushed hard by a pair of strong passing attacks already, Tulsa and BYU, to the tune of a 65.8% completion rate allowed, 9.4 yards per attempt allowed, and seven touchdowns.

It would behoove San Jose State, then, to identify opportunities to push the ball downfield and see whether they have the same degree of success as the Golden Hurricane and Cougars. If Cordeiro is sharp enough, this could be the avenue through which the Spartans really take control of the game.

Prediction

Wyoming isn’t likely to suffer an emotional hangover after their hard-fought loss to BYU last week, but there’s little doubt the Cowboys are a little more beat up headed into this showdown against the Spartans, a fact about which Bohl is aware. What could hold the home team back is a lack of explosiveness on offense, especially since the Spartans are much closer to Tulsa and BYU on that front and have the defense to keep the Cowboys in check.

People haven’t really talked much about San Jose State to this point, but they will after this one.

San Jose State 31, Wyoming 17

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Mountain West Football: MWwire’s Players Of The Month For August/September

Our staff makes its picks for the Mountain West’s top performers in the first month of the 2022 football season.

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Mountain West Football: MWwire’s Players Of The Month For August/September


Our staff makes its picks for the Mountain West’s top performers in the first month of the 2022 season.


Contact/Follow @MWCwire

A cut above the rest.

Special Teams Player of August and September

5. Christian Washington, New Mexico (21 points)

The true freshman from San Diego generated a lot of buzz throughout fall camp and he’s brought that onto the field as part of the Lobos’ running back committee and as a kick returner. He averaged 37.4 yards per kick return in four games and returned one from his own end zone for a touchdown against Boise State.

4. Terrell Vaughn, Utah State (23 points)

Vaughn has started to make more noise as a pass catcher in recent weeks, but his biggest contribution to the Aggies in this early season was on special teams. Like Washington, he also hit the afterburners for a long touchdown against Weber State in Week 2 and averaged 35.4 yards on five total returns.

3. Aaron Rodriguez, New Mexico (29 points)

Still among the busiest punters in the country, Rodriguez has taken a step forward with that big workload. He currently ranks first in the Mountain West and 11th among FBS punters with an average of 46 yards per punt, including ten kicks of 50 or more yards and eight which were dropped inside the opponent’s 20-yard line.

2. John Hoyland, Wyoming (37 points)

Hoyland has put last year’s disappointing campaign behind him and, incredibly, connected on more field goals in the first five games of this season than he had in all of 2021. His 12 field goals on 13 tries are three more than any other kicker in the country and that includes a critical 55-yarder against Tulsa.

1. Jordan Byrd, San Diego State (40 points)

Our staff’s preseason pick to be the conference’s special teams player of the year hasn’t let us down and he certainly hasn’t let Aztecs fans down so far in 2022. Byrd had a punt return touchdown against Idaho State in Week 2 and averaged 24 yards per kick return on seven opportunities, doing a lot of heavy lifting to help San Diego State maintain the field position advantage which made last year so successful.

Week 5 Mountain West Football: Best Bets

Week 5 of Mountain West play starts and we head into conference play. Take a look at picks for the week and place your bets accordingly.

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Week 5 Mountain West Football: Best Bets


A look at the Mountain West betting odds for Week 5


Contact/Follow @J0shFr3d & @MWCwire

What are the oddsmakers saying about these match ups?

Late in the week we will look at odds and recent lines and make our best picks and bets. Odds courtesy of Vegas Insider and inputted at time of writing.

The Mountain West struggled in non-conference play, but now we’re heading towards conference play every week. We are 22-23 on picks for the year after going 6-3 in this past week. Going into conference play looks to have helped even us out a little bit.

Utah State @ #19 BYU (-24, O/U 60)

You can never really know what is going to happen in a rivalry matchup. But the over feels like a decent take right here. The over hasn’t hit in any of Utah State’s games so far this year, but it feels right for it to hit in this game. The Cougars are showing they’re a top team and probably will cover, but the Aggies might have a say in that.

Pick: Over

San Diego State @ Boise State (-6, O/U 39)

Besides the services academies and the Nevada @ Iowa game a couple weeks ago, I don’t think I’ve seen a total this low before. But it makes sense with two defensive teams facing off. And the under is very much in play for the game as well. Neither team has an effective offense, so the game may be won on a defensive score.

Pick: Under

New Mexico @ UNLV (-14.5, O/U 43)

UNLV has been the surprise team of the conference so far this year. The trunaround they’ve shown so far this year has been fantastic to watch. The Rebels are looking to go 2-0 to start conference play and they just might cover while they do it. The Lobos have struggled offensively and the Rebels will take advantage of that.

Pick: UNLV -14.5

Navy @ Air Force (-14, O/U 37.5)

Navy finally got a win this season after beating East Carolina in double overtime last week. Air Force recovered after stumbling against Wyoming with a dominating performance against Nevada. The Falcons have been on an incredible roll so far and they look to add a Commander-in-Chief trophy to their cabinet.

Pick: Air Force -14

Fresno State @ UCONN (-24 O/U 52.5)

Well isn’t this the Mountain West trap game of the week when it comes to betting. Fresno State has lost two in a row but is still managing close to 500 yards a game on offense. But they are giving up just over 400 yards a game on defense. The Huskies have their own struggles, but they should be able to put up enough points to help the over.

Pick: Over

San Jose State @ Wyoming (+3, O/U 42)

The under is absolutely in play here as well. But the Spartans have the momentum on their side after a 34-6 demolishing of Western Michigan last week. The Cowboys will look to recover after losing to BYU but it might not be enough this week. San Jose State is close to being 3-0 and will show why this week.

Pick: San Jose State -3

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