No. 16 Brigham Young has long been anticipating its game at No. 8 Utah on Nov. 22. But if the Cougars aren’t careful, they could get tripped up at Air Force on Saturday.
BYU (9-1, 5-1 Mountain West) is a 4-point favorite against the Falcons (8-2, 5-1), who have won five in a row.
Air Force freshman quarterback Tim Jefferson’s 5-0 record matches that streak. He has passed for 456 yards, rushed for 295 and is coming off a 171-yard passing performance in a 38-17 victory over Colorado State.
"I think one of the biggest differences is their play at quarterback," BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall said. "Once there (was) a quarterback change, I think their identity has shifted slightly."
• ‘TOO TRICKY’ — New Mexico coach Rocky Long didn’t say the Lobos would have won Saturday if not for a momentum-turning interception by UNLV cornerback Quinton Pointer in the second quarter.
But Long was not happy with the play call by offensive coordinator Dave Baldwin. For the second time on the drive, the Lobos called for receiver Michael Scarlett to pass.
On the first attempt he completed a 20-yarder to tailback Rodney Ferguson.
On the second attempt at UNLV’s 16-yard line, Scarlett’s pass to quarterback Brad Gruner was intercepted by Pointer, who returned it 77 yards. Instead of a 21-3 Lobos lead, UNLV cut the deficit to 14-6 and eventually won 27-20.
"I thought we got too tricky there," Long said. "I thought we had the ball in good field position, first-and-10. If we would have run the ball, I think we would’ve scored. … That’s easy to say now that it didn’t work."
• LONG ROAD — Wyoming faces a tough week. The Cowboys played Saturday at Tennessee, scoring a 13-7 victory, flew back to Laramie and will fly to Las Vegas today for Thursday’s game against UNLV.
Rebels coach Mike Sanford said Wyoming caught a bit of a break because the Tennessee game was during the day and UNLV played New Mexico on Saturday night.
"That’s fair," Wyoming coach Joe Glenn said. "(UNLV’s) staff is on the dead run, too. I can’t say it will work against us."
• NO EXPANSION YET — A look at the Bowl Championship Series standings seems to present a strong argument to add Boise State to the Mountain West.
The Broncos are ninth in the BCS, two spots behind Utah. BYU is 17th and Texas Christian 18th.
But Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson said expansion is not on the horizon and disputed the notion that Boise State would instantly help the conference’s case to become an automatic BCS qualifier.
"My personal opinion is they probably wouldn’t be 12-0," Thompson said. "Taking nothing away from Boise State, but I don’t know they would go undefeated against the top four teams that are vying for the conference championship at this point."
Contact reporter Mark Anderson at email@example.com or 702-387-2914.