MWC: QBs Keeton, Smith Dominate
By Ken Pomponio
Eleven games, 12 game balls and 11 quick takeaways from the weekend that was in the Mountain West Conference:
Utah State 52, Air Force 20
Colorado Springs, Colo.
USU Game Ball: This may start getting repetitive, but it's Chuckie Keeton — again. How can it not be after the junior QB shredded the Falcons, completing 32-of-40 passes for 360 yards and five TDs while also leading the Aggies in rushing (77 yards on 8 carries) for the second straight week?
AFA Game Ball: Not much to choose from as the Falcons were overmatched, but we'll go with WR/scatback Ty MacArthur, who led Air Force in receiving (3-49) and chipped in 20 yards rushing.
Quick Take: The official MWC opener was no contest as the WAC newcomers dominated the Falcons and backup QB Jaleel Awini on scoreboard and stat sheet (577-270 advantage in total offense), while limiting the AFA option to 162 yards on 49 carries (3.3 ypc).
Wyoming 42, Idaho 10
UW Game Ball: It's QB Brett Smith again, after he threw for 295 yards and four TDs and was the team's second-leading rusher with 64 yards on six attempts.
Quick Take: Smith is playing as well as any QB in the country, having completed 51-of-81 passes for 678 yards and eight TDs in two games so far, while rushing for 156 yards on only 14 carries.
Boise State 63, Tennessee-Martin 14
BSU Game Ball: Wideout Shane Williams-Rhodes hauled in seven passes for 89 yards, including a pair of scoring strikes from QB Joe Southwick.
Quick Take: The FCS Skyhawks and QB Dylan Favre — yes, Brett's nephew — picked the wrong week to venture onto the blue turf as the Broncos were smarting from their worst loss in eight years.
Ohio State 42, San Diego State 7
SDSU Game Ball: Backup QB Quinn Kaehler replaced struggling starter Adam Dingwell on the Aztecs' third possession and finished with 22 completions in 36 attempts, 216 yards, a TD and a pick.
Quick Take: The Aztecs couldn't take advantage of a first-quarter injury to OSU QB Braxton Miller. Speaking of QBs, Dingwell (0 TDs, 5 interceptions so far in two games) may have lost his grip on the starting gig, but tailback Adam Murema — a 1,400-yard rusher last season who's gained all of 22 yards on 13 rushes in two games this year while trying to shake off an opening-game ankle injury — and the Aztecs' ground game have been just as disappointing.
Tulsa 30, Colorado State 27
CSU Game Ball: RB Chris Nwoke powered an effective Rams' ground effort with 97 yards and a TD on 22 rushes.
Quick Take: The Rams had designs on a 2-0 start, but they're now 0-2 after turning the ball over three times, accruing 123 penalty yards on nine flags and failing to get coach Jim McElwain his road win at CSU.
New Mexico 42, UTEP 35 (OT)
El Paso, Texas
UNM Game Ball: A week after being limited to 54 yards on 20 carries in a season-opening loss to UTSA, senior tailback Kasey Carrier rolled through the Miners to the tune of 291 yards and four TDs, including the game-winning 21-yard score in OT, on 41 carries.
Quick Take: Bob Davie continues to reverse the Lobos' fortunes. A year ago, in the coach's debut season, UNM snapped a 24-game road losing streak. On Saturday, the Lobos, with QB Clayton Mitchem at the helm, notched their first win in the state of Texas since 1997, ending an 0-for-15 skid.
Oregon State 33, Hawaii 14
UH Game Ball: Linebacker Julian Gener did his best to keep the Rainbow Warriors in it, notching 11 total tackles, including a sack, forcing a fumble and returning an interception 23 yards to get Hawaii on the scoreboard.
Quick Take: The Bows are dealing with issues on both sides of the ball, as captain/senior linebacker Brenden Daley went out with a concussion on a first-quarter kickoff, and 2012 starting QB Sean Schroeder replaced Taylor Graham (10-of-20, 95 yards, TD) but couldn't lead the team to any points.
Nevada 36, UC Davis 7
Nevada Game Ball: Kendall Brock ran for 116 yards and a pair of TDs to ensure a happy home opener for the Wolf Pack.
Quick Take: Sure it was an FCS foe, but given the lower division's success early this season, a win's a win. Brian Polian surely will take it, as it's his first as a head coach, and Nevada will too as this game was sandwiched between trips to UCLA and Florida State.
Fresno State 41, Cal Poly 25
FSU Game Ball: Wideout Isaiah Burse had a nice game with a receiving TD and a punt-return score, but this has to go to senior offensive tackle Austin Wentworth, who gets credit for a 7-yard TD reception after a well-executed hook-and-lateral play in second quarter.
Quick Take: Dispatching the FCS Mustangs was a little less dramatic than the Dogs' 52-51 OT win over Rutgers a week ago, but they'll take it even though Cal Poly scored the final 22 points to make the final tally somewhat respectable.
Stanford 34, San Jose State 13
SJSU Game Ball: QB David Fales hung in admirably despite taking a pounding, completing 29-of-43 passes for 216 yards, a TD and a pick.
Quick Take: To no one's surprise, the Cardinal was too physical (197-35 rushing yards advantage) in its season-opening win over the Spartans, who fell to 1-1 and saw an eight-game win streak come to an end.
Arizona 58, UNLV 13
UNLV Game Ball: WR Devante Davis' 3-catch, 84-yard night was highlighted by his 69-yard scoring reception in the second quarter.
Quick Take: Getting embarrassed on the road is one thing; getting beat even worse in your home opener is another as the punchless Rebels (three turnovers, 10 first downs) were never in it against the Wildcats. In a must-win season for coach Bobby Hauck, this isn't good.