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Mountain West football underachieves in opening weekend
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Logan • As the Aggies prepare for the program's first-ever Mountain West game, the Mountain West took a bit of a hit in college football's opening weekend.

The conference went 3-9, with Fresno State's 54-51 overtime win over Rutgers as the league-wide highlight. David Carr threw for 456 yards and five touchdowns to get the Bulldogs a victory. Air Force and San Jose State took care of business in openers against FCS schools, Colgate and Sacramento State.

Every other team fell a little short. Utah State's four-point loss to Utah looked better in comparison to UNLV getting crushed by Minnesota, New Mexico falling to UT San Antonio, San Diego State's pummeling by Eastern Illinois and Nevada getting outscored nearly three-to-one against UCLA. Shockingly, conference flagship Boise State was drubbed in a 38-6 loss to Washington as well.

Some schools fared bit better: Wyoming looked offensively explosive in a 37-34 loss to No. 18 Nebraska. Hawaii fought the good fight in a 30-13 loss to USC, which was progress for a team that didn't win much last year.

Even USU coach Matt Wells acknowledged the league didn't perform up to snuff.

"We started off wrong Thursday night," Wells said. "I don't think anything different of the league, but yeah, on paper it wasn't a good week for the Mountain West."

That doesn't mean Utah State is taking Air Force, or its conference chances, lightly. The Aggies still were high on playing their first Mountain West game on Saturday.

"The Mountain West is a bigger conference with more competition, so I feel we're stepping up, we're moving up the ranks as a college team," linebacker Jake Doughty said. "So it's a way that we can go and prove ourselves and show the nation that we're here to compete and do our best week in and week out."

The Mountain West has some opportunities to prove itself coming up, particularly against the Pac-12. This week, Hawaii plays Oregon State, UNLV hosts Arizona, and San Jose State plays Stanford. San Diego State also faces Ohio State on Saturday.

Though wins in those game should be tough to come by, the Mountain West could use a little more out-of-conference success, especially against BCS competition.

"We'll bounce back and represent in bowl games," Wells said. "You had a Mountain West team beat a BCS team Thursday night. It's still a strong league. This weekend doesn't change my impressions of the league."

Kyle Goon

kgoon@sltrib.com

Twitter: @kylegoon

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