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October 18, 2007

Will's WAC Poll

(1) Boise State (2-0, 5-1) travels to perennial road bugaboo Louisiana Tech... Ian Johnson, the WAC's Offensive Player of the Week, rushed for 205 yards and 3 total touchdowns (2 rushing, 1 receiving) against Nevada in BSU's 4-overtime win... Taylor Tharp threw for a career-high 320 yards against the Wolf Pack, completing passes to 10 different receivers... holder Tanyon Bissell-- a wide receiver-- threw his first career TD pass, throwing a 33-yard score to Ryan Putnam on a fake field goal.


Player Watch: Sophomore WR Jeremy Childs continues to put the WAC on alert. Twelve receptions for 140 yards and a touchdown against Nevada moved him to 5th in the WAC in receptions per game (6.7), 6th in the WAC in receiving yards per game (89.3), and a tie for 3rd in the conference in touchdown receptions (6).


By the Numbers: How bad was Boise State defensively on Sunday night? They gave up 67 points to Nevada. They'd given up 61 points-- total-- in their first 5 games.


(2) Hawai'i (4-0, 7-0) gets the weekend off... their 42-35 overtime victory over San Jose State last weekend gave them a school-record 11th straight win... they've won 17 of their last 18 overall, including a school-best 7 straight away from the islands... senior Jason Rivers became the school's all-time leader in receptions (246) and receiving yards (3,370) in the game.


Player Watch: Colt Brennan may be dinged up, but he's not playing like the best player in the WAC, let alone a Heisman candidate. In his last 3 games played, he's thrown 8 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. He's still the WAC's passing efficiency leader-- barely-- ahead of BSU's Taylor Tharp.


By the Numbers: Rivers, Ryan Grice-Mullan, and Davone Bess combined to catch 38 passes for 453 yards in the win over San Jose State. Grice-Mullan tied the school's single-game record with 14 grabs.


(3) Fresno State (3-0, 4-2) home for key WAC game against San Jose State... sophomore running back Lonyae Miller rushed for 108 yards in Fresno's 37-24 win over Idaho... he and Ryan Matthews combined for 4 touchdown runs in the game... on the downside, Miller fumbled twice, losing both... Fresno has 6 touchdown receptions this year, 4 by Bear Pascoe and 1 by younger brother Vince Pascoe.


Player Watch: Quaadir Brown had a big game for the Bulldogs against the Vandals, posting 6 tackles (2 for loss) and forced a fumble. It comes on the heels of a 1-tackle performance last week against Nevada.


By the Numbers: Talk about all-or-nothing: Fresno is 2nd in the WAC in pass defense (185 yds/gm) but 8th against the run (210 yds/gm). No need to pass if you can just run up and down the field all game. Idaho rushed for 279 yards against the Bulldogs.


(4) Nevada (0-2, 2-4) at Utah State Saturday afternoon... lost Sunday night to Boise State, 69-67, in one of the wildest WAC games in recent memory... Luke Lippincott had no trouble running against BSU's tough rush defense, picking up a career-best 187 yards and 4 scores... Wolf Pack has over 1,300 yards of total offense in their last two games, both losses... despite giving up over 600 yards and nearly 70 points, Nevada still nominated LB Ezra Butler for WAC Defensive Player of the Week.


Player Watch: Kaepernick made a lot of believers in southern Idaho against the Broncos. A redshirt freshman torching one of the nation's top statistical defenses had to raise some eyebrows. The question for him becomes this: can he keep it up now that everyone has seen him and has seen his talents?


By the Numbers: The 67 points scored by Nevada on Sunday night were the most ever for a losing team in NCAA history.


(5) San Jose State (2-1, 3-4) travels down the road to Fresno State... gave Hawai'i a scare before folding late... fumbled in the 4th quarter against the Warriors, the first time they'd put the ball on the turf all year... James T. Callier had 30 yards rushing against Hawai'i, underscoring how bad SJSU's rushing attack has been... at 131 yards, he's just 1 yard from the team's rushing lead for the season... Jacob French leads the team with just 132 yards, an average of just 18.9 yards per game.


Player Watch: All-American defensive back Dwight Lowery showed his skills to a national television audience against Hawai'i Friday night, returning an interception and a punt for touchdowns.


By the Numbers: WR Kevin Jurovich has exploded the last 4 games for the Spartans. Seven receptions against Utah State, 7 against UC Davis, 10 against Idaho, and 7 more against Hawai'i. That's 31 receptions for 506 yards and 5 scores-- in 4 weeks.


(6) Louisiana Tech (1-2, 2-4) hosts Boise State, a team they've had decent success against in Ruston... scored twice in the last 7 minutes to beat New Mexico State, 22-21... K Danny Horwedel made 3 field goals in the game, pushing his career total to 40, tops among active kickers in the WAC... LB Quin Harris was named WAC Defensive Player of the week, coming up especially big in the 4th quarter where he had 6 tackles and a sack in the 1-point win.


Player Watch: Zac Champion, benched in favor of Michael Moseley against NMSU, came off the bench to rally the Bulldogs to the win. He finished the game 22-of-35 for 219 yards and the last two touchdowns.


By the Numbers: Surprisingly, Tech leads the WAC in turnover differential (+7). The WAC's top 3 teams in turnover differential-- LaTech, San Jose State, and Idaho-- are a combined 6-14.


(7) New Mexico State (0-2, 3-4) hosts Idaho in a battle of teams searching for their first conference win... blew a 21-9 4th-quarter lead in a loss to Lousiana Tech... WR Chris Williams did his part, catching 11 passes for 170 yards and 2 scores... the Aggie defense produced exactly 1 tackle for loss, a sack by Rhyan Anderson.


Player Watch: After being harried into a nightmarish 57-yard, 2-interception passing night against Boise State, freshman J J McDermott rebounded against Louisiana Tech to complete 20-of-49 passes for 319 yards and 2 touchdowns. McDermott has been taking snaps at quarterback in place of injured Chase Holbrook.


By the Numbers: Against Tech, New Mexico State ran the ball 36 times and gained just 65 yards, a paltry 1.8 yards per carry. Tech only had 2 sacks (sack yardage is subtracted from rushing yards).


(8) Idaho (0-3, 1-6) goes to New Mexico State on Saturday... same ole story for Idaho as they dug a hole against Fresno that they were unable to climb out of in a 37-24 loss... freshman RB Deonte Jackson rushed for 108 yards, but the WAC lists Ian Johnson as the WAC's top rusher because he's got a higher per-game average, even though Jackson has more rushing yards (786-693) than Johnson... freshman WR Maurice Shaw is beginning to emerge, after totalling just 2 catches in the first 3 games, he has 16 in the past 4.


Player Watch: Sophomore DB Shiloh Keo is making a strong bid to be put on the All-WAC team. He leads the conference in punt return average (20.8), fumble recoveries (3), and is tied for the lead in interceptions (4). He's also in the top-20 in the conference in tackles per game at 7.4.


By the Numbers: Statistical oddity from Saturday's loss-- Deonte Jackson was credited with a 50-yard touchdown run, but his official long run of the year remains 32 yards. The reason is that the 50-yarder was a run off of a Brian Nooy fumble, so the yardage and touchdown count, but he doesn't get credit for a carry on the play.


(9) Utah State (0-2, 0-6) hosts Nevada in Logan on Saturday... coming off a bye week... for the season, Utah State has been outscored 218-112, including 72-35 in the 2nd quarter... WR/KR Kevin Robinson leads Utah State with 31 receptions... the next-highest total on the team is 11 receptions by Otis Nelson... Robinson has also returned 2 kickoffs for touchdowns.


Player Watch: If he played for anyone else, Robinson would probably be getting talk in the WAC Player of the Year race. He leads the WAC-- and nation-- at 212.3 all-purpose yards per game. That mark is nearly 60 yards per game ahead of the next best total in the conference, Ian Johnson's 156.7 yards per game.


By the Numbers: Utah State is converting just 26 percent (23/87) of their 3rd down tries. Their opponents are converting nearly 40 percent. Tough to win when you can't convert on 3rd and you struggle to stop the other team in the same situation.


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