Around the Mtn: San Diego State is for real
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., -- Did you doubt San Diego State?
The Aztecs rolled into the Air Force Academy last Saturday night and walked away with a 20-14 to remain the only unbeaten team in the Mountain West Conference. The win snapped a four-game winning streak for the Falcons, who were fresh off back-to-back victories over the preseason favorites in the Mountain Division, Boise State and Wyoming.
San Diego State took advantage of a pair of Air Force turnovers and held the home team to just 192 rushing yards. That is an average of four yards per carry. Chance Bell and Kaegun Williams both scored on the ground for the Aztecs and Matt Araiza was a perfect 2-for-2 on field goal attempts, including a 51-yarder.
Can San Diego State knock off Fresno State this weekend?
I'm a believer.
Here are some other news and notes from around the conference:
* In 2021, the Mountain West has five victories over autonomous-5 opponents, the most of any non-autonomous-5 conference. Including all 10 FBS conferences, the MW is tied for the third-most A5 victories with the ACC, and trails only the Big Ten and SEC.
* This season, the Mountain West has a pair of nonconference victories over nationally-ranked opponents, including Fresno State’s win over then-No. 13/13 UCLA and Boise State’s defeat over then-No. 10/10 BYU. The MW is tied for fourth nationally with two victories against top-25 nonconference opponents, trailing only the Big 12, Big Ten and SEC (3).
* The Mountain West is one of just two FBS conferences with at least two victories against top-15 opponents (SEC - 3).
* The league has a .500 record against opponents from the Pac-12 in 2021.
* In nonconference play, the Mountain West has compiled a 29-18 (.617) record, the fifth-best win percentage nationally and best among the non-autonomous-5 conferences.
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* San Diego State (7-0), which is one of just nine undefeated FBS programs nationally, is ranked No. 20 in the AFCA Coaches Poll and No. 21 in the Associated Press Top 25. With Fresno State earning a top-25 ranking earlier this season, 2021 is the sixth-consecutive season at least two Mountain West programs have been nationally ranked.
* San Diego State has opened the 2021 season with a 7-0 record, which includes a pair of victories over autonomous-5 opponents (Arizona and Utah). The Aztecs are the only non-autonomous-5 team with multiples wins over autonomous-5 opponents this season.
* The Aztecs, which are 7-0 for the first time since 1975, will put its seven-game win streak on the line when the Aztecs host Fresno State on Saturday. With a combined record of 13-2, it is the third-best FBS game of the weekend (Michigan -Michigan State: 14-0 and SMU-Houston: 13-1).
* On Oct. 16 against UNLV, Utah State senior Savon Scarver tied the NCAA and Mountain West record for career kickoff returns for a touchdown (7).
* Air Force (6-2), Fresno State (6-2) and San Diego State (7-0) are bowl eligible, while Utah State (5-2) and Nevada (5-2) can earn postseason spots with victories this week.
* Dating back to the 2019 season, the Mountain West has won 16 games against autonomous-5 opponents, including 14 against the Pac-12.
* In the past 17 years, the Mountain West has been the top nonautonomous 5 conference nine times and second five times.
* The Mountain West has been nationally-ranked in 21 of the last 28 College Football Playoff Rankings.
* The Mountain West produced the first non-automatic-qualifying FBS team into a BCS bowl game (Utah - 2005 Fiesta Bowl) and into the College Football Playoff (Boise State - 2014 Fiesta Bowl).