UW-Utah State football Q&A

WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi did a question-and-answer session with Wade Denniston, who covers Utah State football for the Logan Herald-Journal, about Friday’s

Wade Denniston

Wade Denniston

game with the University of Wyoming. Kickoff is at 6 p.m. at Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium in Laramie.

Follow on Twitter: @wdhiker

Look for Q&As with beat writers that cover UW football opponents every week throughout the season.

How does a team that loses its top three quarterbacks to injuries and be 6-3 overall, 3-1 in the Mountain West and in the hunt for a conference title? Who will play quarterback this week, and what does that say about the program in place there?

Kent Myers, a true freshman, will start at quarterback. He made his first career start last Saturday night against Hawaii and completed 14 of 15 passes for 186 yards and three touchdowns. Utah State took some major blows with injuries last season, and it suffered even more season-ending injuries to starters this year. The Aggies learned to handle adversity a year ago and it’s carried over into this season, as well, which says a lot about the program and how coach Matt Wells and his staff work through those type of things. Utah State has a saying, “next man up,” which has especially been the case at quarterback.

Nick Vigil has turned into a great two-way player as a linebacker and a running back. What was the decision to play him at running back earlier this season, and will we continue to see that — even though he’s been injured lately?

The Aggies weren’t getting any production out of the running back spot earlier this season, so Wells had to do something. This was in the works with Vigil during fall camp, but he was a little dinged up there, as well, so they shelved it until the bye week and broke it out for the Brigham Young game. During his high school career Vigil amassed 3,653 rushing yards, so him running the ball — and running it effectively — is nothing new. I’m sure if Wells thinks Vigil can continue to produce both ways, he will continue to use him that way.

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Mountain West football power rankings/picks – Week 8

WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi with his weekly installment of the Mountain West football power rankings and picks for Week 8 of the college football season. Look for this every week during the football season, and as always, your feedback is welcome.

1. Colorado State (5-1 overall, 1-1 MW): The Rams keep rolling. They have the league’s longest winning streak at four, and are coming off a nice road win at Nevada last week. Colorado State leads the MW in scoring (33.5 ppg) and is second in scoring defense (22.8 ppg). Right now, the most complete team in the conference. This week: vs. Utah State, 5 p.m. MT Saturday (CBSSN). The two best teams — at least this week — in the MW face off. Going with the home team in one of the better games this season. Colorado State 33, Utah State 28.

2. Utah State (4-2, 1-0): The Aggies seem to have their swagger back after the season-ending knee injury to senior quarterback Chuckie Keeton. Sophomore Darell Garretson is making fans forget about Keeton, and sophomore Nick Vigil continues to play both linebacker and running back — and is good at both. This week: at Colorado State, 5 p.m. MT Saturday (CBSSN). The Aggies are more than capable of winning, but I’m going with the hot team at home. Colorado State 33, Utah State 28.

3. Boise State (4-2, 2-1): The Broncos move up one spot despite being off last week. There isn’t much of a gap between the top four teams in this week’s power rankings. The team will have to do without senior wide receiver Matt Miller (ankle) the rest of the season, which is a big blow. This week: vs. Fresno State, 6 p.m. MT Friday (ESPN). This looked like one of the games of the year before the season started, but now it’s just one the Broncos win fairly easily. Boise State 38, Fresno State 21.

4. Air Force (4-2, 1-2): The loss at Utah State wasn’t a big surprise last week, but the 34-16 margin was a bit of an eye-opener. Still couldn’t drop the Falcons too far this week based on the inconsistent play of the teams in the West Division. This week: vs. New Mexico, 1:30 p.m. MT Saturday (ROOT). Air Force should rebound in a big way in a game where both teams want to run the ball. Air Force 40, New Mexico 23.

5. San Diego State (3-3, 2-1): The Aztecs allow a MW-low 20.2 points per game, and have the nation’s ninth-leading rusher in sophomore Donnel Pumphrey (134.5 ypg). If the team can stabilize its quarterback situation, look out. This week: vs. Hawaii, 8:30 p.m. MT Saturday (CBSSN). Look for the Aztecs to notch another win thanks to their defense and Pumphrey. San Diego State 27, Hawaii 13.

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Mountain West football power rankings/picks – Week 7

WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi with his weekly installment of the Mountain West football power rankings and picks for Week 7 of the college football season. Look for this every week during the football season, and as always, your feedback is welcome.

1. Colorado State (4-1 overall, 0-1 MW): The Rams are tied for the longest winning streak in the MW at three, and concluded their nonconference schedule with a 42-17 pasting of Tulsa last week. CSU is one of the more well-rounded teams so far in the league, and also does a good job of flipping field position — leading the MW in net punting (41.9 yards per punt). This week: at Nevada, 8:30 p.m. MT Saturday (CBSSN). It’s all MW play from here on out for the Rams, and a tricky road game at Nevada will see how well-rounded this team is. Going to go with the Rams in this one. Colorado State 34, Nevada 26.

2. Air Force (4-1, 1-1): The Falcons haven’t lost since at Sept. 6 setback at Wyoming, and also have won three straight. Air Force’s defense has been the biggest surprise this season, as it allows just 116 rushing yards per game, and has allowed the fewest points in the MW (106). This week: at Utah State, 8:15 p.m. MT Saturday (ESPNU). Air Force already owns a conference win over Boise State, but let’s see what it can do on the road against — all of a sudden — a much improved Utah State squad. I am going to go with the home team in this one. Utah State 27, Air Force 23.

3. Utah State (3-2, 0-0): A big jump up for the Aggies after they dismantled No. 18 BYU on the road last week. A game like that could be the one that starts a big run for the Aggies. And, how about going a little old school with sophomore Nick Vigil playing both ways at running back and linebacker? This week: vs. Air Force, 8:15 p.m. MT Saturday (ESPNU). Will the Aggies still be up after the big win over BYU or will there be an emotional letdown? Going with the first scenario. Utah State 27, Air Force 23.

4. Boise State (4-2, 2-1): A crazy 51-46 win at Nevada last week showed the Broncos are still formidable and dangerous. When the Broncos don’t turn it over they can beat anyone. Kind of a simplistic statement, but Boise State is just one of a handful of good and intriguing teams in the Mountain Division moving forward. This week: Off.

5. Fresno State (3-3, 2-0): After a rough start, the Bulldogs have won two straight and are 2-0 in league play. I don’t think they are as good as past years, but in a year like this you don’t have to be spectacular to be solid in the MW. This week: at UNLV, 8 p.m. MT Friday (CBSSN). Fresno State should make it three straight wins against the worst team in the conference. Fresno State 38, UNLV 13.

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