The conference race has been decided. No, the season isn't over, but we know who'll win it: the team that makes the fewest mistakes. We also know that team isn't TCU. The Horned Frogs made crucial errors late against Air Force to lose their conference opener 20-17. At Laramie, TCU made their mistakes earlier, but they still made ‘em. Two fumbles, an interception and five penalties were too much to overcome.
The 300th game at War Memorial Stadium was a defensive struggle early, with the Cowboys eking out a 7-6 halftime lead, but Wyoming scored two touchdowns in the third quarter - the second coming on a drive that included three pass interference calls against TCU - to lead 21-6. A field goal halfway through the fourth quarter extended the lead to 24-6, but the Horned Frogs fought back, cutting the leading to 10 after scoring a touchdown and two-point conversion with 6:12 remaining.
The defense not only held Wyoming to a three-and-out, but handed the offense the ball on the Wyoming 15 when the Cowboys botched a punt attempt. It was 24-21 and TCU had a shot even after Chris Manfredini's onside kick trickled out of bounds. The Frog defense again forced a punt and TCU was 80 yards from glory with 1:11 left, needing only a field goal to force overtime. They made 42 of them, but a Manfredini field goal hit the upright and caromed out.
The Cowboys win their conference opener while TCU falls to 1-2 and is no longer in control of its own destiny.
The Utes put up 322 passing yards and 260 rushing yards, opening a 21-0 lead over the host Cardinals in a significant out-of-conference road win. It would have been even more impressive if Louisville weren't in freefall; the Cardinals have given up 465 yards at home to Syracuse (which now has a record of 1-5) and 554 yards to Middle Tennessee State (also 1-5) on their way to falling to 3-3 after being ranked in the top ten.
Quarterback Brian Johnson had his best game since going down two years ago, and if he has truly shaken the rust from his redshirt year, the Utes still have an outside shot at the conference crown. The loss of Matt Asiata may be forgotten, as Darrell Mack picked up 163 yards on 32 carries.
Next up: SDSU.
The misery continued in Ft. Collins. Aztec quarterback Kevin O'Connell scored three running touchdowns, the last coming with 43 seconds remaining, to lift the visitors to victory. Caleb Hanie was intercepted for the eighth time this year, this time in the end zone.
Next up: at Utah.
Air Force 31, UNLV 14
The Falcons blew hot and cold, mingling the big play with the big turnover, but UNLV had its own problems. Not with moving the ball, however, as they rolled up 26 first downs and 468 yards of offense. The Rebels turned it over on downs twice, once at the Air Force one-yard line, and also missed a field goal, and now fall to 2-4.
Next up: for UNLV, BYU. For Air Force, at Colorado State.
New Mexico did not play. Next up: at Wyoming.