Around The MTN: Bulldogs Roll in the Desert
* Mountain West press release
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., -- Fresno State reportedly raked in more than $2 million in road wins over Power-5 programs Purdue and Arizona State.
The Sun Devils were feeling extra generous Saturday, handing the Bulldogs eight turnovers in a 29-0 skunking in the valley of the sun.
The defending Mountain West champions are now 3-0.
Here are some other notes and tidbits from around the conference:
- Two Mountain West league games kick off the Week 4 schedule in California on Friday, with Boise State visiting San Diego State and Air Force at San José State, both at 7:30 p.m. PT.
- Preseason MW favorite Boise State is seeking its ninth straight win in a Conference opener. The Broncos earned their first win of the season in Week 3, downing North Dakota 42-18. Sophomore wide receiver Eric McAlister had his first 100-yard receiving game at BSU, hauling in six catches for 143 yards and two touchdowns, while sophomore tailback Ashton Jeanty ran for 43 yards and three scores and is the only player in MW history to have 200+ rushing yards and 200+ receiving yards through his team’s first three games of a season. Jeanty is the seventh FBS player to do so over the last 25 seasons. Sophomore quarterback Taylen Green accounted for two touchdowns, throwing for 188 yards and a TD and rushing for 35 yards and a score. On the defensive side of the ball, sophomore linebacker Marco Notarainni had 13 tackles and a forced fumble.
- After dropping consecutive games to Pac-12 opponents, San Diego State will look to get back over .500 on the season when it faces the Broncos. The Aztecs fell 26-9 at No. 17/16 Oregon State in Week 3, getting a 52-yard field goal from senior Jack Browning 44 seconds before halftime to make it a 12-3 contest going into the break and adding a 6-yard Jaylen Armstead TD run with 9:01 remaining in the game. Senior safety Cedarious Barfield and senior cornerback Noah Tumblin each intercepted passes as SDSU handed Oregon State its first two turnovers of the season.
- Air Force opened MW play with a 39-21 win over Utah State in Week 3, moving its winning streak to eight games, tied for the fifth-longest active streak in the FBS. The Falcons seized control early, jumping out to a 29-0 second-quarter lead. Senior fullback Emmanuel Michel carried the ball a career-high 28 times for 106 yards and a career-best three TDs en route to earning MW Offensive Player of the Week honors. The Falcons outrushed the Aggies 344-54 on the evening and lead the FBS with an average of 320.7 rushing yards per game. Inside linebacker Alec Mock shared game-high honors with 11 tackles, including a pair of sacks, and forced a fumble. Air Force has won its last seven games by double figures. The only other FBS squad with an active streak of at least five straight double-digit wins is Penn State with eight.
- San José State, which dropped a 21-17 decision at Toledo in Week 3, returns to CEFCU Stadium looking to improve to 8-1 in its last nine home games. Against the Rockets, senior quarterback and Preseason MW Offensive Player of the Year Chevan Cordeiro went 24-for-41 for 228 yards and a touchdown, surpassing 10,000 passing yards for his career. Cordeiro sits sixth on the MW career list with 10,201 passing yards, just 113 shy of fifth-place Andy Dalton of TCU (2007-10). Junior linebacker Bryun Parham had a game-high 11 tackles at Toledo.
- New Mexico gets the Saturday action started at UMass with a 3:30 p.m. ET kick. The Loboso dropped a 27-17 decision to rival New Mexico State in Week 3 despite quarterback Dylan Hopkins going 20-for-39 for 247 yards and a touchdown and running back Jacory Croskey-Merritt rushing 16 times for 83 yards and a score. Croskey-Merritt has scored five rushing touchdowns this season, with at least one in each of New Mexico’s three games. The five TD runs are the most through three team games for the Lobos since Dontrell Moore also had five through three games in 2003.
- Fresno State remained unbeaten with its 29-0 win at Arizona State in Week 3. The Bulldogs forced eight turnovers, including three interceptions by MW Defensive Player of the Week Carlton Johnson, in shutting out an Autonomous 5 opponent for the first time since 1986. Fresno State’s win was the third-largest shutout victory by a Mountain West team at a nonconference opponent, behind only Utah’s 48-0 win at Utah State in 2006 and San Diego State’s 34-0 win at UTEP in 2003. Fresno State outgained the Sun Devils 350-230 and saw quarterback Mikey Keene go 32-for-49 for 281 yards and two touchdowns, including completing his first 15 passes of the day. The Bulldogs, who host Kent State on Saturday, have won 12 straight games, the second-longest active streak in the FBS behind only Georgia’s current 20-game run.
- Colorado State gave No. 21/18 Colorado all it could handle in Week 3, leading for much of the contest before falling 43-35 in double overtime. Behind redshirt freshman quarterback Brayden Fowler-Nicolosi, the Rams posted 397 passing yards against Colorado, the third-most ever by a Mountain West school against a ranked nonconference opponent. Fowler-Nicolosi was 34-for-47 for 367 yards and three touchdowns, while receiver Tory Horton had 16 catches for 133 yards and a TD as well as completing a 30-yard touchdown pass of his own. Horton became the third FBS player in the last 25 seasons to have a TD pass and at least 15 receptions in the same game. The Rams visit Middle Tennessee on Saturday.
- UNLV earned a 40-37 win over Vanderbilt in week three, scoring 30 straight points to rally from a 17-0 deficit before getting a 36-yard field goal from Jose Pizano with five seconds left to seal the win. Pizano, who earned MW Special Teams Player of the Week honors, matched the school record with 16 kicking points, as he was 4-for-5 on field goals and added four PATs in the winning effort. Redshirt freshman quarterback Jayden Maiava came on in relief of an injured Doug Brumfield in the first quarter and engineered the comeback, as he was 19-for-33 for 261 yards and a touchdown through the air and ran for 29 yards and a score en route to MW Freshman of the Week honors. Junior wide receiver Ricky White had 12 catches for 165 yards, becoming just the second UNLV player this century to have 150+ receiving yards and 12+ catches in the same game and the first since 2011. The Rebels visit UTEP on Saturday for the first time in 30 years.
- Wyoming hung tough with No. 6/4 Texas in Week 3, entering the fourth quarter tied at 10 with the Longhorns before falling 31-10. Junior running back Harrison Waylee ran 18 times for 110 yards and a touchdown as he topped the century mark for the first time in a Cowboy uniform and the ninth time in his career. Junior linebacker Easton Gibbs, the Preseason MW Defensive Player of the Year, had a game-high 10 tackles, while sophomore defensive end Sabastian Harsh had seven tackles, including a pair of tackles for loss and a sack, as the Pokes held Texas to 150 fewer yards than it accumulated in a win at Alabama the week prior. Sophomore quarterback Evan Svoboda made his first career start, going 17-for-28 for 136 yards. The Cowboys return home to face App State on Saturday.
- Nevada battled Kansas down to the wire in Week 3 before falling 31-24. Sophomore quarterback Brendon Lewis was 15-for-22 for 113 yards through the air and ran for 58 yards and two touchdowns in the setback. Senior defensive back Emany Johnson had a game-high 10 tackles for the Wolf Pack, while senior linebacker Tongiaki Mateialona and sophomore defensive lineman Dwight Togiola each forced a fumble. Nevada will visit Texas State on Saturday, hoping for a second straight win over the Bobcats. The 38-14 win over Texas State on Sept. 3, 2022, was the last victory for the Wolf Pack.
- Hawai‘i returns home to face New Mexico State on Saturday after dropping a 55-10 decision at No. 13/13 Oregon in Week 3. Senior Matthew Shipley’s 29-yard field goal to end the first half got the Rainbow Warriors on the board and junior quarterback Brayden Schager found redshirt freshman wide receiver Alex Perry for a 1-yard TD with 2:28 left in the contest. Schager went 27-for-43 for 131 yards and a touchdown, tossing a TD pass for the 13th straight game. The Rainbow Warriors’ three losses on the season have all come at the hands of Autonomous 5 teams in Vanderbilt, Stanford and Oregon.
- Utah State welcomes James Madison on Saturday in the first-ever meeting between the squads. After falling behind 29-0 in their MW opener at Air Force in Week 3, the Aggies outscored the Falcons 21-10 the rest of the way. Freshman quarterback McCae Hillstead came off the bench in the second quarter to go 18-for-27 for 202 yards and three touchdowns and will make his first career start against the Dukes on Saturday. Sophomore inside linebacker Cole Joyce and sophomore safety Ike Larsen shared game-high honors with 11 tackles apiece at Air Force.
- Fresno State (43 points), Air Force (nine) and Wyoming (three) are receiving votes in the AFCA Coaches Poll, while Fresno State (17) also received votes in the Associated Press Top 25.
Air Force senior fullback Emmanuel Michel has been tabbed the Mountain West Offensive Player of the Week, while Fresno State senior defensive back Carlton Johnson has been named MW Defensive Player of the Week. UNLV senior placekicker Jose Pizano earned MW Special Teams Player of the Week honors, while Rebels quarterback Jayden Maiava was selected as MW Freshman of the Week.
The weekly honors are the first in the careers of all four players.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
EMMANUEL MICHEL, AIR FORCE
Senior, Fullback, Lawrenceville, Ga. / Archer HS
- Rushed a career-high 28 times for 106 yards and a career-best three touchdowns in the Falcons’ 39-21 win over Utah State to open league play.
- Accounted for 20 of Air Force’s points on the evening.
- Gave Air Force a lead it would not relinquish with his first TD of the day, also scoring the two-point conversion after the touchdown.
- Nine of his carries went for first downs or touchdowns.
- Carried the ball eight straight times on the Falcons’ final drive, which took 8:43 off the clock.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
CARLTON JOHNSON, FRESNO STATE
Senior, Defensive Back, Moreno Valley, Calif. / Rancho Verde HS / Southern Utah / Riverside CC
- Had three of Fresno State’s eight takeaways in a 29-0 win at Arizona State, intercepting three different ASU quarterbacks.
- His three interceptions tied the program record and are tied for the most in a single game by an FBS player this season.
- Also added three tackles on the day.
- Helped Fresno State to its first shutout over an Autonomous 5 opponent since 1986.
- Helped Fresno State run its current winning streak to 12 games, the second-longest active streak in the FBS behind only Georgia’s 20-game run.
SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE WEEK
JOSE PIZANO, UNLV
Senior, Placekicker, Lehi, Utah / Lehi HS / Missouri State
- Accounted for 16 points in UNLV’s 40-37 win over Vanderbilt, tying the school record for kicking points.
- Went 4-for-5 on field-goal attempts, converting from 27, 31, 34 and 36 yards, with his last one coming with five seconds left in the contest to lift the Rebels to the win.
- His four made field goals tied for second-most in a game in program history.
- Also went 4-for-4 on point-after tries.
- Helped UNLV improve to 2-0 against Vanderbilt all-time.
FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK
JAYDEN MAIAVA, UNLV
Redshirt Freshman, Quarterback, Las Vegas, Nev. / Liberty HS
- Came on in relief of injured starter Doug Brumfield in the first quarter with UNLV trailing 10-0 and helped lead the Rebels to the 40-37 win over Vanderbilt.
- Went 19-for-33 for 261 yards and a touchdown through the air and rushed for 29 yards and a touchdown as UNLV stormed back from a 17-0 deficit for the win.
- Scored his first career rushing TD on a 24-yard run in the third quarter before adding a 48-yard passing touchdown to put UNLV up 37-30 in the fourth quarter.
- After Vanderbilt tied it at 37 late in the fourth, Maiava keyed a five-play, 62-yard drive with a 48-yard pass to the UNLV 34-yard line that set up the winning field goal with just five seconds left.
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