Week 10 Mountain West Football Review
This game was not the best played by either team on offense, but the two defenses showed up to make this game exciting on the aspect of little points and that the one big play could make the difference.
TCU started off great by scoring 10 points early and gained just over 200 yards of offense. After that first quarter, defensive coordinator Andy Ludwig of Utah held TCU scoreless, with the help of two missed field goals by a Lou Groza semifinalist, and held TCU to 200 yards in the final three quarters.
Both defenses held up to their end of the bargain with two top 10 defenses with few big plays in this game. Utah actually could have had more points earlier on if not for offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig.
There were two specific times when Utah was driving well and then a random play got called. The first was an end-around to Jereme Brookes, who is not even the Utes' best wide receiver, and that was a 10-yard loss.
Then when Utah was in field goal range on first down, the Utes call a fumble-rooski play! Luckily there was a false start, and then the Utes were sacked to make it 2nd-and-21—just outside of Louie Sakoda’s range.
Even a football novice would realize to run a midrange route or even a run play that would put the Utes in field goal range and a manageable third down.
Instead the Utes go for a long touchdown pass that was nearly successful, which means it is now 3rd-and-21. Again the play calling is to try to get a first down instead of getting a few yards and kick a field goal. The Utes then have to punt and get no points on the board.
Later in the game on a 3rd-and-1, a halfback pass is called instead of trying for just the one yard to get the first down. Could Andy Ludwig be the first offensive coordinator to be fired after a team wins at least 11? Who knows?
The game changed when TCU’s kicker Ross Evans missed two field goals which could have put the game away. The game was decided when Utah got the ball with 2:48 left in the game on their own 20.
The last drive was similar to what Utah did against Oregon State on a last-minute drive. This TCU defense was ranked number one in the nation, and Utah was successful the whole drive down, which included a 4th-and-5 conversion and a pass interference call that went against TCU.
The game was not the best by the Utes, but they did pull it out, and Utah made the plays they needed. An article written in the Fort Worth Star-Telegraph says, “the polite thing for the Utes to do would be to send a postcard. And thank the Frogs.” Well, this was obviously a pro-TCU writer, but the writer is correct that the two missed field goals could have made the difference.
However, the writer does not include the facts that TCU gained as many yards in the first quarter as they did in the rest of the game, oh, and the little fact that Utah drove 80 yards on the number one defense with under three minutes. One last thing is that the Ute defense sacked TCU with another potential field goal.
This was a game between a team, Tennessee, that fired its coach and a bad team—one would figure that just on talent alone Tennessee would easily win this game.
Both schools played two quarterbacks because neither team has just one they can rely on, and in this case neither shined all that much. In fact, neither team played exceptionally well and neither team could move the ball all that well.
The play of the game was when Tennessee quarterback Nick Stephens threw a pick to Ward Dobbs, who returned the pick 26 yard for a touchdown, and that was the difference in the game.
In a broader perspective, this was a huge win for Wyoming and the league, because it proves the bottom feeders of all leagues are very bad. The SEC does not believe they have weak teams, but they do. Wyoming is one of the worst teams in all of football. This win does keep Wyoming in contention for a bowl game.
BYU won their 18th straight home win, and in similar fashion, by beating up a really bad team in San Diego State. Austin Collie had his eighth straight 100-yard receiving game and scored two scores, and quarterback Max Hall had 317 yards and three scores.
Too bad for BYU and their outside chance for a BCS bid, strength of schedule counts. The Cougars dropped a spot because of the computer rankings who take into account strength of schedule dropped in the BCS rankings.
This game was senior day for BYU and a special game for those players, but the game itself was what BYU does best—destroying bad teams.
Before we dive into the review of this game, most people do not realize that Air Force has only one conference loss and still a chance to win the MWC. Realistically they have a chance to share because Utah losing at San Diego State is a long shot, to be kind, and the last two games for Air Force are against BYU and at TCU, so not likely but still there.
This game Air Force did its usual by running for 284 yards, but the real surprise is that coach Troy Calhoun opened up the passing game. Before this game Air Force barely threw the ball. Quarterback Tim Jefferson only was 6 for 8 but had two passes for touchdowns and accumulated 171 yards passing.
Air Force brought this out of nowhere and the Rams were not prepared, because the average completion was 21 yards for the Falcons.
The two things that hurt the Rams were their running game that underachieved in this game and the two turnovers that helped the Falcons get points.
UNLV finally gets its first conference win of the year and is two wins away from becoming bowl eligible for the first time in eight seasons. Backup quarterback Mark Clausen of UNLV led the Rebels to the win by having an error-free game with no turnovers, and he passed for over 200 yards and had two touchdowns.
Besides that the UNLV offense was terrible. Running back Frank Summers only managed 35 yards, while New Mexico running back Rodney Ferguson had another stellar game with 121 yards and a score.
New Mexico was shaky at quarterback with Brad Gruner throwing a pick and only gaining 125 yards. The difference in the game was New Mexico going 3-13 on third downs, and the biggest play of the game was when UNLV defender Rodelin Anthony blocked a punt and returned it for a touchdown in the fourth quarter to give the Rebels a 10-point lead that secured the win.
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