The unexpected bye week helped. Austin Collie had eight catches for 111 yards and one score. Max Hall completed 22 of 30 for 355 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions before being given a rest in the fourth quarter. Fui Vakapuna had 11 carries after 15 last week, and is slowly regaining his form. Colorado State, seeking to shore up a porous run defense, brought another defender into the box, and it worked. BYU was held to just 106 net rushing yards, but the Cougars responded by going to the air for both quick strikes and sustained drives. Five receivers other than Collie caught at least two passes.
The Cougar defense was very good in spots, but inconsistent, allowing Colorado State to get out of several long-yardage situations. The Rams were able to move the ball, but came up short after several sustained drives, stopping themselves more than the Cougars stopped them. Between missing a field goal, throwing a pick and turning the ball over on downs at the Cougar 7, the Rams left 17 potential points on the field in the first half alone.
With the win, BYU became bowl eligible and remained undefeated in conference play at 4-0. Halfway through their conference schedule they're in first place, ahead of four teams tied with two conference losses each.
TCU 37, New Mexico 0
The biggest shock in the conference was TCU's domination of New Mexico. A good Lobo running game was held to 28 yards as the Horned Frogs shook off all the season's demons and finally put together a complete game. Chris Manfredini, who had missed several makeable field goals in close losses at Air Force and Wyoming, connected on all three attempts.
New Mexico had a chance to get back in it early in the fourth trailing 23-0, but a completed pass was fumbled and returned 10 yards for a touchdown to seal the Lobos' fate.
The loss was a bitter pill for the Lobos, as they are longer within a game of BYU. The Horned Frogs, meanwhile, moved to within a game of bowl eligibility.
Next up: for TCU, at BYU Thursday night. For New Mexico, Colorado State.
Air Force 30, Army 10
The Falcons had no trouble with the visiting Cadets, rolling up 437 rushing yards and 105 through the air, all while holding Army to just 17 on the ground and 164 in the air. With just one conference game remaining (San Diego State on November 17), Air Force can still win or share the league title, but would need help from nearly half the conference. A more likely finish is a tie for second, but a bowl game is assured.
San Diego State 27, Wyoming 24
The Cowboys' thin title hopes went up in the smoke at San Diego. After jumping out to a 21-0 lead with just 1:13 left in the first half, Wyoming appeared to be on track to stay in the conference race, but Kevin O'Connell hit six straight passes, and scrambled once for six yards, to put together a touchdown drive and give the Aztecs a lift going into halftime.
SDSU chipped away at the lead while allowing only a second-half field goal. A Billy Vinnedge punt was returned 27 yards to the Wyoming 38 with 3:40 left, but at 1:01 remaining it looked like the Cowboys had dodged a bullet. On third-and-thirteen at the Wyoming 27, however, Kevin O'Connell found Vincent Brown for the winning touchdown.
Cardiac Karsten Sween led the ‘Pokes back to midfield, but with 31 second left was intercepted for the first time all day, giving the Aztecs the victory.
At 5-4, Wyoming now needs to win its last three to have a good shot at postseason play.
UNLV and Utah did not play. Next up: for UNLV, SDSU. For Utah, Wyoming.
The Bowl Outlook
BYU advances to 6-2. TCU's thorough trouncing of New Mexico bodes well for an upset in Provo this week, while a BYU win over Wyoming in Laramie the following week looks more likely after the Cowboys have lost three of their last four. Las Vegas remains the Cougars' most likely postseason destination, but they could end up in San Diego should they lose two of their last four.
Air Force picked up a win over Army and is a bowl lock, but the Navy win over Notre Dame could bump the Falcons from the Poinsettia Bowl. Navy has a tie-in with the Poinsettia Bowl, and the bowl has the second pick from the MWC. It's unlikely bowl bigwigs would savor a Navy-Air Force rematch.
Utah would draw well in San Diego, and should the Utes finish strong they would be attractive there even if BYU can't be knocked off its perch.
New Mexico saw its bowl hopes dim, due in part to the fact that the Lobos can only play in the New Mexico Bowl once every three years. Even if the Lobos win out, a 9-3 New Mexico team will attract little interest outside Albuquerque.
TCU did the most of any MWC team this week to boost its bowl chances. After a trip to BYU this week, their remaining games are UNLV at home and a trip to SDSU, both likely wins. TCU will likely finish no worse than 7-5, but that may leave them in the Armed Forces (formerly Ft. Worth) Bowl again. That may be true even if they can manage to win out. Their hometown bowl game, which picks third from the MWC, would certainly take an 8-4 TCU over a Utah or New Mexico squad with a higher conference finish. At 7-5, it's not so clear. TCU could end up in Albuquerque.
Wyoming, after losing to San Diego State, now looks likely to finish 7-5. They will not be in a bowl.