THIS WEEK’S GAMES TO WATCH FOR: The Mountain West gets things underway on Friday night with two teams hitting the field. Boise State, which leads the nation with a .959 win percentage at home in Albertsons Stadium, hosts Idaho State for a 7 p.m. contest on CBS Sports Network. New Mexico hits the road for the first time this season, taking on Arizona State of the Pac-12. The Sun Devils have struggled, losing their season opener to Texas A&M, and needing a huge fourth-quarter push to escape Cal Poly last week.
On Saturday, three MW programs take on the country’s top-25 as Air Force visits No. 4 Michigan State, Nevada heads to No. 17/18 Texas A&M, and No. 21 Utah invades Fresno State. The Bulldogs and Wolf Pack are facing their second straight ranked opponents. The historic Rocky Mountain Showdown resumes Saturday at Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium as Colorado State aims for back-to-back wins for the first time in the series since 1995.
For Conference USA, all action is slated for Saturday, including two league games. Rice will play at North Texas, having won three of the last four in the series. It’s the home opener for the Mean Green and they are 65-31-3 in home openers, having won three straight. Charlotte sees its first conference action, visiting Middle Tennessee. In non-conference play, Western Kentucky heads to Indiana, looking for its first 3-0 start since 2003 but has never beaten a Big Ten program (0-5). The long-running Interstate 10 battle between UTEP and New Mexico State is slated for Saturday night. The Miners have won six consective in the series, including three straight in Las Cruces. For a complete schedule with series notes, see page 1.
RECAPPING WEEK 2: It all started with a potential Conference USA championship game as media-predicted favorites Western Kentucky (East) and Louisiana Tech (West) kicked off league play Thursday night. The Hilltoppers used their home field advantage and the arm of quarterback Brandon Doughty to stave off the Bulldogs, 41-38. Charlotte, the league’s newest member, improved to 2-0 with a 24-point win over Presbyterian College. Old Dominion also remained perfect with a 24-10 victory over Norfolk State. The final winner for C-USA was Southern Miss, which put on a show in it’s home opener, tacking 52 points on Austin Peay.
The Mountain West also began conference play as Air Force topped San Jose State, 37-16. It was the only win for the league as the remaining members were outdone by extremely tough non-conference foes. The league faced seven institutions from the autonomous five conferences, including five nationally ranked in the top-25. Utah State matched the 24th-ranked Utes scores in the first half Friday night, but struggled to put points on the board in the second, falling 24-14. Colorado State took Minnesota to overtime on Saturday afternoon but one mistake in the first minute led to the Gophers’ game-winning field goal.
Complete C-USA and MW results for week 2 are available in the attached PDF above.