Week Five: Around the Mountain West Conference
* Mountain West Conference press release
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., -- Here is this week's Around the Mountain West as defending conference champion Utah State heads to Provo tonight to face No. 19 BYU in the Battle for the Old Wagon Wheel. This could be the last meeting between the in-state rivals after the Cougars join the Big XII Conference next season:
- Dating back to the 2019 season, the Mountain West has won 19 games against autonomous-5 opponents, including 16 against the Pac-12. This is the most wins in that time span amongst all non-autonomous-5 conferences.
- In the past 18 years, the Mountain West has been the top non-autonomous-5 conference 10 times and second five times.
- The Mountain West produced the first non-automatic-qualifying FBS team into a BCS bowl game (Utah - 2005 Fiesta Bowl) and into the College Football Playoff (Boise State - 2014 Fiesta Bowl).
- The Mountain West has had at least two teams nationally ranked in each of the last six seasons.
- After Wyoming’s double-overtime victory over Tulsa on Sept. 3, the Mountain West now has a 16-11 record against opponents from the American Athletic Conference.
- Fresno State senior QB Jake Haener, who was named 2022 MW Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, has thrown at least one touchdown pass in 22 consecutive games, beginning on Oct. 24, 2019. This is tied as the third-longest stretch in Conference history. Carson Strong (Nevada) and Derek Carr (Fresno State) hold the league record with a touchdown pass in 26 straight games, while Haener is tied with Andy Dalton (TCU).
- Rebels junior RB Aidan Robbins rushed for 227 yards against North Texas on Sept. 17, the second-most rushing yards in a single game in 2022. Since the beginning of the 2020 Mountain West season, there has been three 200-yard rushing performance, all by UNLV running backs - Charles Williams twice in 2021; Robbins in 2022.
- Over the last 18 seasons, the MW has captured the Bowl Challenge Cup five times and owns the third-best win percentage in bowl games among the 10 FBS conferences (.583), trailing only the SEC (.621) and Sun Belt (.593).
Air Force senior running back Brad Roberts has been tabbed the Mountain West Offensive Player of the Week, while UNLV senior linebacker Austin Ajiake was named MW Defensive Player of the Week. San Diego State senior place-kicker and punter Jack Browning earned MW Special Teams Player of the Week honors, while San José State linebacker Jordan Pollard was selected as MW Freshman of the Week.
It is the third career MW weekly honor for Roberts and first for Ajiake, Browning and Pollard.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
BRAD ROBERTS, AIR FORCE
Senior, Running Back, Arvada, Colorado / Ralston Valley HS
- Played in only the first half and the first three minutes of the third quarter of Air Force’s 48-20 victory vs. Nevada.
- Carried the ball 20 times for a game-high 123 yards, while tying a career-high with three rushing touchdowns.
- Averaged 6.2 yards per carry and nine of the 20 carries went for first downs or touchdowns.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
AUSTIN AJIAKE, UNLV
Senior, Linebacker, Fremont, California / Bellarmine Prep
- Helped lead UNLV to a 34-24 road victory over Utah State, leading the game with 11 total tackles.
- Seven of 11 tackles were solo, including one tackle for loss.
- Intercepted a second-quarter pass and returned it nine yards, setting up a UNLV field goal.
SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE WEEK
JACK BROWNING, SAN DIEGO STATE
Senior, Place-Kicker/Punter, San Diego, California / Grossmont College
- Helped San Diego State to a 17-14 win over Toledo, handling place-kicking, punting and kickoff duties for the Aztecs.
- Connected on his only field-goal attempt, a career-best 50-yarder late in the third quarter.
- Punted nine times with six landing inside the Toledo 20-yard line and three inside the 10.
- Averaged 40.4 yards per punt.
- Kicked off four times, with the Rockets average starting field position at the 22-yard line.
FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK
JORDAN POLLARD, SAN JOSÉ STATE
True Freshman, Linebacker, Los Angeles, California / Faith Lutheran HS
- Helped lead a San José State defense which limited Western Michigan to just six points in the Spartans 28-point victory (34-6).
- Tallied a career high eight tackles and first career interception.
- The eight tackles also tied a game high.
Just The Facts: Size Doesn't Matter For Wyoming's War Memorial Stadium
- Just The Facts: Size Doesn't Matter For Wyoming's War Memorial Stadium