Air Force came to Provo out of sync and desperate to avoid a second straight losing season. Unfortunately for the Cadets, they went up against a Cougar offense at the top of its game offensively, rolling up 39 first downs, 383 passing yards, 300 rushing yards, and 62 points. It was the most points BYU had scored since laying 63 on the Falcons on October 20, 2001.
There were numerous positive signs for BYU, most importantly another outstanding running game. Curtis Brown had 25 carries for 219 yards and four touchdowns, both career highs. Fahu Tahi picked up 59 on only 10 carries. Both back ran strong, running over and through tacklers. John Beck looked sharp and consistent, racking up over 300 passing yards for the ninth time in his career.
There were also several problems areas. BYU allowed a punt to be blocked, got burned deep more than once by the same slow white guys Fisher DeBerry infamously complained about earlier in the week, allowed the Falcons to roll up 489 yards of offense, most of it with a backup quarterback, lost a fumble and an interception, and worst of all, had 11 penalties. With a bowl trip on and an outside shot at the conference title on the line, The foolish mistakes have got to stop right now. The Cougars can beat a weak Air Force or UNLV team with those kind of mistakes, but not necessarily Wyoming, and certainly not Utah.
Next up: for BYU, at UNLV, then at Wyoming, and Utah at home. For Air Force vs. Army.
It was a huge win for the Rams Friday night in Albuquerque and a devastating loss for the Lobos, eliminating them from any share of the conference crown and possibly from bowl consideration as well. Colorado State, however, vaulted itself back into the conference race and moved within one game of bowl eligibility with three contests remaining. Should the Rams win out they will at least share the conference crown.
New Mexico led by 17 midway through the second quarter, and by 13 at the half, but could do nothing in the second half, netting only 47 yards. The Rams, meanwhile, scored on five second half possessions. The Lobos' DonTrell Moore went over 1,000 yards on the season for the fourth time in his career, becoming only the sixth player in Division I-A history to do so. It was his fumble, however, in the fourth quarter that led to the Rams' clinching score.
Next up: Colorado State at TCU; New Mexico has a bye, then at Utah.
TCU 23, San Diego State 20.
Up again, down again San Diego State had an up week, but not enough to handle TCU. The Aztecs actually led at the half, 13-7, and stayed with the Horned Frogs throughout. The win was not sealed until coach Gary Patterson elected to go for it on fourth and one at the SDSU 35 with 44 seconds remaining. Robert Merrill picked up the first down and by the time they unpiled the Frogs did not need to run a play. TCU had been making a living off turnovers, but turned it over three times to help their hosts stay in this game.
Next up: For TCU vs. Colorado State. Should the Frogs win they will clinch the conference title outright. Should the Rams pull off the upset, TCU, CSU and BYU would all be in the running for a share of the title. For SDSU a bye, followed by Wyoming at home 11/12.
Utah did not play. Next up vs. Wyoming
. Wyoming did not play. Next up at Utah.
UNLV did not play. Next up vs. BYU.
TCU dodged a bullet at San Diego and stayed on track for a Liberty Bowl bid.
BYU stands at 4-4 with three remaining. Winning two would qualify the Cougars, and a 6-5 BYU stands a better chance than any other 6-5 Mountain West team of actually getting an invite. The Cougars still have a bit of luster to their name, and have a built-in fan base that other MWC schools lack.
Colorado State is 5-3 with three to play. They need win only one to be bowl eligible, but will likely win at least two more: SDSU and UNLV, both at home. With the big win at New Mexico Friday the Rams look like a bowl lock.
New Mexico falls to 5-4 with the loss to Colorado State and now must win one of its last two to qualify. A likely loss at Utah will mean the Lobos will have to beat Air Force at home on November 19 to even finish 6-5, but that will not be enough. The Lobos must win out to get in.
Wyoming's status is unchanged from last week. The ‘Pokes are 4-4, and in all likelihood must also win out to have a realistic shot at a bowl. This means beating Utah in Salt Lake City next week, then BYU in Laramie and San Diego State on the road.
Utah's status is also unchanged. At 4-4 the Utes also need to win at least two of three to qualify: Wyoming and New Mexico at home, then BYU in Provo. If the Utes win two of three they're probably in.