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Mountain West notes: UNLV not only league team to flop in opener


UNLV not only league team to flop in opener

Maybe UNLV football fans shouldn’t feel so bad.

The Mountain West had a horrible start to the season, erasing for now any positive feelings about the quality of the conference.

San Diego State suffered the most egregious defeat, losing 40-19 at home to lower-level Eastern Illinois, the type of team scheduled to boost the win-loss record. Aztecs coach Rocky Long was so upset by the upset that he wouldn’t let his players speak to the media following the game.

“That’s as bad a performance as I’ve ever been around,” Long told the U-T San Diego.

Boise State suffered its most decisive loss since 2005 when Washington beat the then-No. 19 Broncos 38-6. That game also was the first time they failed to score a touchdown since 1997.

At the bottom of the league, New Mexico fell at home 21-13 to Texas-San Antonio, and Colorado State was beaten 41-27 by Colorado in Denver.

And in Pasadena, Calif., UNR was blown off the field in a 58-20 loss to UCLA in coach Brian Polian’s debut.

It all added up to a 3-9 opening week for the Mountain West. This wasn’t the type of expected beginning for a conference that added two 11-win teams in San Jose State and Utah State and was boosted by the return of Boise State and San Diego State.

Maybe the conference’s dismal first week isn’t much consolation to UNLV fans after the Rebels’ opening 51-23 loss at Minnesota, but they at least know they’re not alone in their misery.

AROUND THE league

Air Force quarterback Kale Pearson suffered a torn right anterior cruciate ligament and will be replaced by sophomore Jaleel Awini, who will make his first career start this weekend. … Boise State debuts its high-definition video board, which is about 37 feet by 59 feet. … Colorado State starting running back Donnell Alexander suffered an injured hand and might need surgery. … Fresno State allowed eight plays of at least 20 yards and 543 yards overall in its game against Rutgers. … Hawaii quarterback Taylor Graham, an Ohio State transfer making his first start, was intercepted four times and sacked seven times by Southern California. … New Mexico quarterback Cole Gautsche is out after experiencing concussion symptoms. Junior college transfer Clayton Mitchem takes over for the Lobos. … Wyoming had 602 yards against Nebraska, the eighth-highest total given up by the Cornhuskers at home.

POWER RANKINGS

1. Fresno State (1-0). Last game: Defeated Rutgers 52-51 (OT). Next game: Vs. Cal Poly, Saturday. Last meeting: Won 38-17 in 2010.

2. Boise State (0-1). Last game: Lost to Washington 38-6. Next game: Vs. Tennessee-Martin, Saturday. First meeting.

3. Utah State (0-1). Last game: Lost to Utah 30-26. Next game: At Air Force, Saturday. Last meeting: Lost 38-13 in 1969.

4. San Jose State (1-0). Last game: Defeated Sacramento State 24-0. Next game: At No. 5 Stanford, Saturday. Last meeting: Lost 20-17 in 2012.

5. Wyoming (0-1). Last game: Lost to Nebraska 37-34. Next game: Vs. Idaho, Saturday. Last meeting: Won 40-37 in 2012.

6. Air Force (1-0). Last game: Defeated Colgate 38-13. Next game: Vs. Utah State, Saturday. Last meeting: Won 38-13 in 1969.

7. UNR (0-1). Last game: Lost to UCLA 58-20. Next game: Vs. UC Davis, Saturday. Last meeting: Lost 24-17 in 1989.

8. UNLV (0-1). Last game: Lost to Minnesota 51-23. Next game: Vs. Arizona, Saturday. Last meeting: Lost 38-21 in 2001.

9. San Diego State (0-1). Last game: Lost to Eastern Illinois 40-19. Next game: At No. 3 Ohio State, Saturday. Last meeting: Lost 27-6 in 2005.

10. Hawaii (0-1). Last game: Lost to Southern California 30-13. Next game: At Oregon State, Saturday. Last meeting: Lost 45-7 in 2008.

11. New Mexico (0-1). Last game: Lost to Texas-San Antonio 21-13. Next game: At Texas-El Paso, Saturday. Last meeting: Lost 38-20 in 2010.

12. Colorado State (0-1). Last game: Lost to Colorado 41-27. Next game: At Tulsa, Saturday. Last meeting: Won 34-7 in 1998.

GAME OF THE WEEK

San Jose State (1-0) at No. 5 Stanford (0-0). This is the first true test of whether the Spartans, who went 11-2 last season, are for real in their first season in the Mountain West. A competitive game by San Jose State would send a major signal to the rest of the conference. The Spartans gave Stanford all it could handle last season before losing 20-17.

 

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