That’s WAC: Week Three

20 09 2010

WAC Record
Non-Conference: 4-3 record, 3-3 vs FBS, 0-0 vs top 25
Overall: 11-11 record, 7-11 vs FBS, 1-5 vs top 25

Fresno State  1-0  2-0
Nevada  0-0  3-0
Boise State  0-0  2-0
Idaho  0-0  2-1
Hawai’i  0-0  1-2
Louisiana Tech  0-0  1-2
San Jose State  0-0  1-2
New Mexico State  0-0  0-2
Utah State  0-1  1-2

Friday, September 17
California 31 at Nevada 52 – Final

Saturday, September 18
Hawai’i 13 at Colorado 31 – Final
Navy 37 at Louisiana Tech 23 – Final
Southern Utah 11 at San Jose State 16 – Final
Fresno State 41 at Utah State 24 – Final
Boise State 51 at Wyoming 6 – Final
New Mexico State 10 at UTEP -42 – Final
UNLV 7 at Idaho 30 – Final

1. Kellen Moore, JR (BSU): 20-30, 370 yds, 2 td, int vs Wyoming
2. Bryant Moniz, JR (UH): 27-41, 330 yds, 1 td, 1 int vs Colorado
3. Colby Cameron, SO (LT): 31-43, 251 yds, 1 td, 2 int vs Navy
4. Nathan Enderle, SR (UI): 15-27, 210 yds, td, int vs UNLV
5. Matt Christian, JR (NMSU): 21-40, 200 yds, int vs UTEP

1. A.J. Ellis, SO (FSU): 29 car, 165 yds, 2 td vs Utah State
2. Vai Taua, SR (NEV): 25 car, 151 yds, td vs California
3. Colin Kaepernick, SR (NEV): 17 car, 148 yds, 3 td vs California
4. Doug Martin, JR (BSU): 17 car, 105 yds, td vs Wyoming
5. Lennon Creer, JR (LT): 13 car, 90 yds vs Navy

1. Kealoha Pilares, SR (UH): 6 rec, 117 yds, 1 td vs Colorado
2. Greg Salas, SR (UH): 9 rec, 94 yds vs Colorado
3. Titus Young, SR (BSU): 4 rec, 94 yds, td vs Wyoming
4. Taukib Ikharo, JR (LT): 10 rec, 88 yds, td vs Navy
5. Austin Pettis, SR (BSU): 3 rec, 88 yds, td vs Wyoming

With Nevada taking the cake with a victory over Pac-10-foe California, the Western Athletic Conference climbed back to .500 against non-conference opponents this week.  Wolfpack senior quarterback Colin Kaepernick was a one-man wrecking crew against the Bears, lighting them up for five touchdowns (2 passing, 3 rushing) on national television.  Other than that, Boise State dominated Wyoming – as expected – while Idaho – maybe unexpectedly – put it to UNLV, thanks to a strong defensive effort.
As for New Mexico State and Louisiana Tech, both of their losses were to be expected.  The Aggies are just plain bad, while Navy (preseason ranked #25) clearly outmatched the Bulldogs.  I predicted (UH 31 – CU 23) a much better showing out of the Warriors against the Buffaloes (22.6 points per game ranks 66th in NCAA).  But surprise, surprise, their defense was nowhere to be found.
Finally, in the first conference matchup of the season, Utah State hung around as long as it could with perennial power Fresno State.  In the end, the Aggies simply ran out of gas as senior quarterback Diondre Borel struggled to throw the ball (11-of-23, 106 yds, td).  The Bulldogs seemingly found Ryan Mathews replacement at runningback, as sophomore A.J. Ellis ran for a career-high 165 yards (Last week, Ellis only carried the ball one time!  Once!).
STAT OF THE WEEK – WAC Backs Kicking It Into Gear
  • 100-yard rushing performances in weeks 1 and 2: 2
  • 100-yard rushing performances in week 3: 4

Noting the lack of production on the ground, Idaho head coach Robb Akey placed an emphasis on establishing the run this week.
“We need to get back to being able to run the ball,” Akey said.  “We need to be able to run and throw the football equally.”

  •  Games 1 & 2: Pass Plays – 87, Run Plays – 64
  • Game 3: Pass Plays – 27, Run Plays – 39

…sure it helped they had a big lead, but Akey showed his eagerness early by running the ball eight times on their opening drive that covered 69-yards on 14 plays, and chewed up 6:31 of game clock.

As for the others teams who were looking to do something similar apparently…

  • Boise State
    Games 1: 22 rush attempts
    Game 2:  55 rush attempts (ran on 15 of opening 26 plays)
  • Utah State
    Games 1 & 2: 19.5 rush attempt per game
    Game 3:  45 rush attempts (ran on 10 of opening 15 plays) 
  • Fresno State
    Game 1 – 30 rush attempts
    Game 2 – 44 rush attempts
  • San Jose State
    Games 1 & 2 – 24.5 rush attempt per game
    Game 3: 30  rush attempts
  • Nevada
    Games 1 & 2 – 45.0 rush attempt per game
    Game 3: 49 rush attempts (ran on 14 of opening 20 plays)

With all the realignment chaos over the last few months (and don’t assume it’s over), one has to wonder how much better the Mountain West Conference is than the Western Athletic Conference – if it is at all.  Both Boise State and Idaho had dominant performances against two MWC opponents on Saturday, outscoring them a combine 81-13.  Boise State racked up 635 total yards on offense in beating Wyoming 51-6, while Idaho didn’t allow UNLV inside the redzone until there was under two minutes left in the game, resulting in a 30-7 victory.
Sure San Diego State beat up on New Mexico State a week ago yesterday, but so will the rest of the WAC once conference play kicks off as the Aggies are one of the worst teams in the nation ( ranks them 115… out of 120!)
Next week figures to be A-BIG-ONE!  Idaho travels to Colorado State, Nevada goes to BYU, San Jose State heads to Utah, and Utah State will hit the road to play San Diego State.
The one obvious thing all those games have in common – the MWC will be the home team in each contest.
I think the Vandals and Wolfpack will pick up wins, while the Spartans stand little chance to even compete with the Utes.  The wildcard will be the Aggies and Aztecs.  An even matchup, both were preseason picks to finish sixth in their respective conferences and are looking to bounce back after losses over the weekend.
I know realignment has more to do with dollars than donuts (donuts = current caliber of play in each conference as a whole.  I know it doesn’t make much sense.  Sorry!  Best I could do…), and that many of the teams doing the damage are the ones jumping ship to the MWC, but as it stands right now, my money is on the WAC.