Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
AIR FORCE: Back in the saddle after an early break in the 2012 schedule, the Falcons are set to kick off their portion of the Mountain West Conference slate this weekend as they drop in on UNLV at Sam Boyd Stadium. Air Force owns a 13-4 edge in the all-time series, thanks in part to a 45-17 blowout victory in last year's meeting.
BOISE STATE: The Broncos took some time to shake off the rust from their lack of action, but in the third quarter against Miami-Ohio on Saturday the hosts rattled off three touchdowns, en route to a comfortable 39-12 victory. D.J. Harper, now in his sixth year thanks to a medical redshirt and an extra year of eligibility, ran for a career-high 162 yards and three touchdowns. Harper also caught a 21-yard TD pass from Joe Southwick and scored on a two-point conversion, his 26 points ranking as the third-most in school history. Southwick completed all but one of his final 17 pass attempts, leading to 304 yards and a couple of touchdowns as the Broncos won their 11th straight home opener. The Broncos, back in the national rankings at the 24th position, find themselves with a short week to prepare as they get ready for the arrival of BYU on Thursday night. The second of back-to-back home games, the Broncos have won both of their previous matchups with the Cougars, although the most recent one in 2004 was decided by just a single point 28-27.
COLORADO STATE: Quarterback Garrett Grayson played big on Saturday against San Jose State, but even accounting for three touchdowns was not enough as the Rams suffered the 40-20 road loss. Grayson converted 24-of-42 passes for 297 yards and two scores and added one TD on the ground as he led CSU in rushing with 40 yards on 11 carries. However, as has been the problem with the offensive line for a number of years now in Fort Collins, the group allowed Grayson to be taken down for five sacks. After three games the Rams are ranked 10th in the conference and 115th nationally with 4.0 sacks permitted per outing. Because of all those takedowns, CSU ranks just 113th in the country in scoring with a mere 16.3 ppg. Despite being a non-conference opponent, Utah State is a team that the Rams have seen plenty of times in the past and the schools are adding another chapter to their storied rivalry this weekend when the Aggies land in Fort Collins. Of the three wins CSU posted last season, one came against USU in a 35-34 overtime final which means the Rams now own a 36-30-2 edge in the all-time series.
FRESNO STATE: It was a record-setting night for Bulldogs football on Saturday as the team completely dominated the Colorado Buffaloes at home in an unsightly 69-14 final. Fresno State rolled up 35 points before the end of the first quarter and had 55 at intermission which set a new Mountain West Conference standard for points in a half. Robbie Rouse, who became the school's all-time leading rusher on a thrilling 94-yard jaunt, recorded a total of four TDs in the first frame all by himself. Rouse took a seat on the bench long before the end of the first half as he gained 144 yards on the ground to reach 3,519 yards for his career. Also having a huge game was Derek Carr who, in just 30 minutes of action, threw for 300 yards and five TDs, while defensive back Phillip Thomas intercepted three passes and returned two for touchdowns in the onslaught. Next up for the Bulldogs is a meeting with the Tulsa Golden Hurricane on the road this weekend. Fresno State lost the most recent meeting between the teams in 2005 by a score of 31-24, but still the Bulldogs own a 4-1 edge in the all-time series.
HAWAII: The Warriors opened the home portion of their 2012 schedule on Saturday night with a convincing 54-2 romp over Lamar at Aloha Stadium. Hawaii could have easily posted a shutout over the Cardinals, but after the final touchdown of the night for the hosts in the fourth quarter, a mishandled snap by holder Scott Harding was subsequently returned the length of the field for a two-point conversion. Quarterback Sean Schroeder threw for 150 yards and three touchdowns as the team generated 369 yards of total offense in the rout. Limiting Lamar to just 127 yards in the meeting, it was the most impressive defensive effort by Hawaii since 1987. The hosts forced three fumbles and did not turn the ball over the entire game, adding special teams touchdowns on both a punt and kickoff return. The Warriors jump into their first Mountain West game this coming weekend against a familiar foe in Nevada. Hawaii lost the most recent meeting last season, 42-28, when the schools were still competing as members of the Western Athletic Conference. The series is now tied at 8-8.
NEVADA: Running back Stefphon Jefferson erupted for a career-high 247 yards and scored twice as he helped guide the Wolf Pack to a 45-34 victory over Northwestern State on Saturday. Jefferson, who carried the ball 27 times and already has 91 attempts over the course of three games, is now second in the nation in rushing with 176.3 ypg. Cody Fajardo also caused significant damage as he hit 21-of-33 passes for 237 yards and a score, and also ran for 118 yards and three more TDs on 16 attempts as well for a Nevada squad that is currently ninth on the country in total offense with 551.3 ypg. Unfortunately, the Pack has been rather lazy on defense with 507.0 ypg allowed (114th in the nation). The competition gets a bit stiffer and more familiar for the Pack this coming weekend as they head to Honolulu to confront the Hawaii Warriors in a Mountain West Conference showdown. Last season, Nevada evened the all- time series at 8-8, thanks to a 42-28 win in Reno.
NEW MEXICO: Coming off their 45-0 loss to Texas a week earlier, the Lobos had hoped they would have better luck against Texas Tech on Saturday, but the team was still thoroughly beaten down in a 49-14 final on the road. New Mexico logged just eight first downs and 127 yards of total offense on 47 snaps, compared to 702 yards for the Red Raiders as the hosts cruised to the comfortable victory. Demarcus Rogers scored the only offensive touchdown for New Mexico on a two-yard run, while Chase Clayton landed in the end zone after a 98-yard kickoff return late in the second frame. Quarterback B.R. Holbrook completed 6-of-11 passes for a mere 43 yards and was sacked twice. Since scoring 66 points in the opener against Southern, the UNM offense has sputtered to the point where it is now ranked 118th in the nation with an average of just 261.7 ypg. The battle for state bragging rights is on the line this weekend in Las Cruces as the Lobos visit New Mexico State for their annual conflict on the football field. UNM owns a 66-31-5 advantage in the all-time series, but it was NMSU that delivered a 42-28 win on the road in Albuquerque last season.
SAN DIEGO STATE: Ryan Katz threw for 241 yards and three touchdowns on just 11 completions as the Aztecs slipped past North Dakota in a 49-41 final at home on Saturday. Gavin Escobar caught five passes for 117 yards and a score for SDSU, the team relying heavily on the running game which produced 292 yards and three TDs thanks to the efforts of Adam Muema who gained a game-high 124 yards and scored once on 13 attempts, followed by Walter Kazee with 18 carries for 105 yards and two TDs. Leon McFadden got the Aztecs off on the right foot just moments into the meeting when he returned an interception 28 yards for a score, but otherwise the SDSU pass defense was exploited to the tune of 434 yards and four touchdowns by the visitors. The final tilt of the three-game homestand for the Aztecs takes place this coming weekend as the team prepares for the arrival of San Jose State. The Spartans won the most recent meeting back in 2008 by a score of 35-10, which means SJSU is ahead in the all-time series as well, 18-15-2.
UNLV: Three straight 15-yard penalties assessed against the UNLV defense on the first three plays from scrimmage set the tone last Friday night as the Rebels suffered a 35-27 loss at home versus Washington State. Quarterback Nick Sherry, who picked himself off the field several times, finished the night 33- of-49 for 351 yards and three touchdowns, to go along with one interception and a couple of sacks. Marcus Sullivan was his favorite target with six catches for 136 yards and two scores, one of 12 players to register at least one catch in the game as the team fell to 0-3 on the campaign. The pass defense for UNLV managed to pick off a couple of passes, but also allowed several long plays as it gave up 378 yards and four TDs on the night. Back on a regular schedule this week, the next opponent for the Rebels is Air Force in the Mountain West Conference opener at Sam Boyd Stadium. The Academy captured a 45-17 win in last year's meeting, giving the Falcons a 13-4 edge in the all- time series.
WYOMING: Freshman running back Shaun Wick hit the end zone three times for the Cowboys on Saturday in Laramie, his first career start, but the defense for the Pokes failed to make that effort stand up as the team bowed to Cal Poly, 24-22, at War Memorial Stadium. Wyoming was playing without both quarterback Brett Smith (concussion) and wideout Robert Herron (foot), putting even more pressure on substitute signal-caller Colby Kirkegaard who finished 15-of-23 for 124 yards. Cal Poly was held to just 34 passing yards, but that's only because the running game for the Mustangs was just so potent (325 yards). The setback, the third in as many games to begin 2012, was the first ever for the Cowboys against a member of the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) dating back to 1978. The first opponent on the 2012 schedule against which the Cowboys have a winning record, Idaho is next up for Wyoming in Moscow on Saturday. The Cowboys, winners of four of the five previous encounters, posted a 28-13 triumph in the most recent meeting in 1999.