Mountain West Notebook: UNLV, Colorado State share similarities on, off field


unlv, colorado state share similarities on, off field

If UNLV had a twin brother in the Mountain Division, it would be Colorado State.

Like the Rebels, Colorado State was picked second to last in its division and endured tough-to-take losses in its first two games.

And like the resurgent Rebels, Colorado State rebounded to make a push for a bowl appearance. The Rams haven’t made the postseason since 2008.

UNLV and Colorado State each are at 5-5, one victory short of bowl eligibility. Both schools also have been working on plans to build an on-campus stadium, seen as a key to both programs, though in UNLV’s situation the case for a new facility goes well beyond football.

At Colorado State, second-year coach Jim McElwain has the program on the uptick after a 4-8 debut season. But the season began shakily with opening losses of 41-27 to Colorado and 30-27 to Tulsa, teams that are a combined 5-13.

Then after a 34-17 victory over Cal Poly, the Rams turned heads when they went to two-time defending champion and top-ranked Alabama and put in a respectable showing. They lost 31-6, but the score was 17-6 entering the fourth quarter.

Colorado State has won four of its past six games, throttling UNR 38-17 on Saturday. Kapri Bibbs rushed for 312 yards and four touchdowns to earn the Walter Camp Foundation national offensive player of the week.

But the Rams are far from a finished product, and McElwain didn’t sound ready to declare the turnaround complete.

“It’s hard for me to look at where we have been to be overconfident about anything. If that’s the case, we have real issues,” McElwain said, laughing. “If we’ve proven one thing, we’ve proven that we’re not able to sustain. Part of being great is being able to sustain. What sustaining is is understanding what you need to do and the level you need to do it at and not take shortcuts.”

AROUND THE LEAGUE

Hawaii is one of five winless teams nationally. … San Diego State has a mess at kicker, going with two players in Saturday’s 34-30 victory at San Jose State who combined to have two extra points blocked, a 35-yard field goal blocked and a 38-yarder missed. … UNR has lost five consecutive games, its longest skid since dropping seven in a row in 2000.

POWER RANKINGS

1. No. 16 Fresno State (9-0, 6-0 MW). Last game: Defeated Wyoming 48-10. Next game: vs. New Mexico, Nov. 23. Last meeting: Won 49-32 in 2012.

2. Boise State (6-3, 4-1). Last game: Defeated Colorado State 42-30. Next game: vs. Wyoming, Saturday. Won 45-14 in 2012.

3. Utah State (6-4, 5-1). Last game: Defeated UNLV 28-24. Next game: vs. Colorado State, Nov. 23. Last meeting: Won 31-19 in 2012.

4. San Diego State (5-4, 4-1). Last game: Defeated San Jose State 34-30. Next game: at Hawaii, Saturday. Last meeting: Won 52-14 in 2012.

5. San Jose State (5-4, 4-2). Last game: Lost to San Diego State 34-30. Next game: at UNR, Saturday. Last meeting: Lost 17-14 in 2011.

6. Colorado State (5-5, 3-2). Last game: Defeated UNR 38-17. Next game: at New Mexico, Saturday. Last meeting: Won 24-20 in 2012.

7. UNLV (5-5, 3-3). Last game: Lost to Utah State 28-24. Next game: at Air Force, Nov. 21. Last meeting: Won 38-35 in 2012.

8. Wyoming (4-5, 2-3). Last game: Lost to Fresno State 48-10. Next game: at Boise State, Saturday. Last meeting: Lost 45-14 in 2012.

9. UNR (3-7, 2-5). Last game: Lost to Colorado State 38-17. Next game: vs. San Jose State, Saturday. Last meeting: Won 17-14 in 2011.

10. New Mexico (3-6, 1-4). Last game: Defeated Air Force 45-37. Next game: vs. Colorado State, Saturday. Last meeting: Lost 24-20 in 2012.

11. Air Force (2-8, 0-6). Last game: Lost to New Mexico 45-37. Next game: vs. UNLV, Nov. 21. Last meeting: Lost 38-35 in 2012.

12. Hawaii (0-9, 0-6). Last game: Lost to Navy 42-28. Next game: vs. San Diego State, Saturday. Last meeting: Lost 52-14 in 2012.

GAME OF THE WEEK

Boise State (6-3, 4-1 MW) at Wyoming (4-5, 2-3). This is the best game in a lousy week. Four teams are off, and no matchup can be considered must-see.

MARK ANDERSON/LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL

 

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