A 21-point victory over San Jose State came at a hefty price for Air Force, which has lost starting quarterback Nate Romine to a torn ACL and MCL in his right knee.
Romine was sandwiched between three defenders while coming up just short of the goal line on a third-down run while trying to extend Air Force’s seven-point lead. The Falcons then converted on fourth down with a D.J. Johnson touchdown that Romine witnessed from the back of the small vehicle that was transporting him to the locker room.
Johnson, the Mountain West offensive player of the week, later added a third fourth-quarter touchdown as the Falcons outscored the Spartans 20-0 over the final 15 minutes.
Air Force coach Troy Calhoun still hasn’t confirmed the news of Romine’s injury – following what apparently is a new policy to not disclose injuries, though he has never announced such a policy – but Romine revealed it on Facebook, offensive coordinator Mike Thiessen has talked about judging new starter Karson Roberts "on the next 10 weeks" and receiver Jalen Robinette compared this to the situation two years ago when starter Kale Pearson was lost for the season to a knee injury suffered in the season opener.
"Prayers out to Nate, but we’ve got to keep moving on. Karson’s our guy now," Robinette said.
So, with Romine gone, this leaves Air Force to turn to Roberts, who aptly ran the option offense during a brief stint as starter in 2013. Roberts ran for 161 yards in his debut that season, a 45-42 loss at Nevada. He was soon after injured and Romine, then a freshman, took over for the remainder of the year.
Roberts hadn’t again seen playing time in anything but mop-up time until he was turned to late in the victory over San Jose State.
Despite a reputation as a strong runner who is lacking in the passing game, this is an intriguing time for the Falcons to have to make a switch. A trip to No. 4 Michigan State awaits Saturday, but the Spartans haven’t seen anything like Air Force’s triple option (which is really a quadruple option, as the Falcons have been known to show option, then pass). Running that offense with a quarterback who can zip around the edge better than anyone else on the roster might just play into the Falcons’ advantage.
"Instead of identifying who he is now, we’ll let his production over the next 10 weeks prove who he is at the end of the year," Thiessen said. "We’ll find out."
Next game: at Michigan State, 10 a.m. MT Saturday (ABC)
Notable: Air Force has lost 11 straight road games against ranked opponents. … The Falcons have defeated just one top-10 opponent since 1970 (No. 8 Notre Dame in 1995). … Michigan State defensive line coach Ron Burton spent 10 years at Air Force as the defensive line coach (2003-12). ... In addition to Johnson’s award from the Mountain West, safety Weston Steelhammer was named the league’s defensive player of the week after making three tackles for loss and adding an interception.
— Brent Briggeman, The Gazette
A mistake-filled fourth quarter ended Boise State's 10-game winning streak Saturday at BYU.
The Broncos led 24-14 going into the final quarter. They lost 35-24 after an interception that set up a touchdown, a fourth-down heave that was caught for a 35-yard touchdown and another interception that was returned for a touchdown.
The Broncos also committed 11 penalties, including four false starts.
"Losing is no fun, and nobody enjoys that," said coach Bryan Harsin, who dropped to 13-3 at Boise State. "At the same time, it also brings up a lot of little things that maybe when you’re winning don’t get heard as much. And when you lose, it’s nothing big, but it’s all the little things that add up. ... As disappointing as it is, it also ignites you a little bit because it’s a chance to go out there and prove that you can get it done when you didn’t the week before. That’s how I feel about it. When I’ve lost games, I didn’t sit there and cry about it. It was time to get back to work and, really, it lights a fire that you want to get back out there on the football field and prove it and get it done. That’s our mentality, and it needs to be."
Sophomore quarterback Ryan Finley threw three interceptions in his second career start, increasing his total to four. He racked up 297 passing yards — more than double his output from the opener — and his first touchdown pass of the season.
Coaches say they're sticking with Finley. They haven't committed publicly to a backup quarterback, but they've hinted that it's true freshman Brett Rypien. Harsin said the second quarterback into the game this year will depend on the circumstances.
"(Finley) is the starter," Harsin said. "There's always competition and that's real, for every position. We're only game two. We still have a lot of season ahead of us."
Other issues facing the team include a sluggish run game (1.87 yards per carry since halftime of the Washington game), too many penalties/too much trash talking (11 penalties vs. BYU) and a pass defense that allowed four receptions of 35-plus yards to the Cougars.
"We’re going to let the past be a great teacher, but we’re not going to dwell on it," offensive coordinator Eliah Drinkwitz said. "Failure is never final, and it’s never fatal. That’s our motto this week. We failed — we didn’t win the game — but that’s not final, and it’s not fatal unless we sit here and dwell on it."
Next game: vs. Idaho State, 7 p.m. Friday (CBS Sports Network)
Notable: WR Shane Williams-Rhodes, who was strangely quiet for three straight games, made 11 catches for 107 yards against BYU. ... RB Jeremy McNichols has scored the Broncos' first five touchdowns. School records date to 1969 and he's the first to do that. ... CB Donte Deayon grabbed two interceptions against BYU and now has 15 in his career. That ties him with safety Darian Thompson, who snagged his 15th in the season opener. They're three off the Mountain West record set by Eric Weddle at Utah.
— Chadd Cripe, Idaho Statesman
Nick Stevens remains the starting quarterback for Colorado State’s football team.
Coach Mike Bobo made that clear Monday while also explaining that he’ll continue to give backup Coleman Key time in practice with the No. 1 offense every day and the opportunity to play in games, too.
Stevens, a sophomore, threw for 289 yards and five touchdowns in the Rams’ season-opening 65-13 win over Savannah State but was ineffective Saturday in a 23-20 overtime loss to Minnesota, completing just 8 of 19 passes for 51 yards with two interceptions.
Key, a redshirt freshman, fumbled twice and threw an interception in the season opener but was 8 of 13 for 91 yards and one touchdown against Minnesota. His pass in overtime to running back Dalyn Dawkins was officially ruled a catch and fumble, not the interception it appeared to be while watching replays.
"Nick Stevens is the starter," Bobo said at his weekly news conference. "… Like I told Nick when we named him the starter, it’s not going to be a short leash. We’ve got to learn, and we’ve got to grow through mistakes, and I meant it.
"And I didn’t think he was on a short leash Saturday. We just needed something. We needed a spark, something offensively. And I don’t know if Coleman gave us that, but him ripping that pass in there and Joe (Hansley) making a big play (for a 49-yard touchdown) did."
Bobo said he had a good talk with Stevens on Monday morning, and he’s confident he’s still the best man for the job as the Rams (1-1) prepare for Saturday’s Rocky Mountain Showdown in Denver against the University of Colorado (1-1).
"You know it’s a touchy situation when you take a guy out of a game, and another guy comes in and plays well," Bobo said. "But I think you’ve just got to reaffirm your belief in him, which I do believe in him, and our coaches believe in Nick. And he’s got to believe in himself and go out and perform.
"At the same time, we’ve got to get the backup ready because both are young. If something were to happen injury-wise (to Stevens), (Key) has got to play. So we’ve got to get both experience."
Stevens has completed 28 of 47 passes for 340 yards and five touchdowns, with two interceptions, through two games this season. Key is 15 of 21 for 183 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.
Next game: vs. Colorado (in Denver), 5 p.m. MT Saturday (CBS Sports Network)
Notable: Rashard Higgins, a consensus All-American and finalist for the Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s outstanding receiver a year ago, didn’t play against Minnesota because of an ankle sprain. Bobo said Monday he was "very hopeful" Higgins would be able to play this weekend, but won’t know for sure until later in the week. … Higgins’ backup, Jordon Vaden, injured his right hip early in the Minnesota game and did not return. His status for this week is uncertain. … The loss to Minnesota snapped a nine-game home winning streak for the Rams, who hadn’t lost at Hughes Stadium since Nov. 2, 2013, when they were beaten 42-30 by Boise State. … Punter Hayden Hunt was named the Ray Guy Award Player of the Week after averaging 49.8 yards on nine punts against Minnesota, and kicker Wyatt Bryan earned the MW Special Teams Player of the Week honor after making both field goals he attempted, the second a 37-yarder on the final play of regulation to send the game into overtime.
— Kelly Lyell, Fort Collins Coloradoan
When the New Mexico Lobos can't run between the tackles, chances are good — really, really good — that they won't win.
Last week, UNM (1-1) lost 40-21 at home to Tulsa. That the Golden Hurricane scored 40 on the New Mexico defense came as no great surprise. The common wisdom entering the game, though, was that the UNM offense could match any number Tulsa might have hung up on the scoreboard.
That didn't happen, in great part because the basic play in UNM's triple-option offense — the dive — produced virtually nothing.
"I think our offensive line got exposed," New Mexico coach Bob Davie said after the game. "(Tulsa) basically lined up in one defense and covered our guards and whipped us in there."
The Lobos had some success on the edge, scoring on 75- and 63-yard drives on their first possession of each half. But, other than a 62-yard, first-quarter touchdown pass from Lamar Jordan to Dameon Gamblin, the offense sputtered. New Mexico was shut out the final 24 minutes, 54 seconds as Tulsa pulled away.
Davie and offensive line coach Jason Lenzmeier had made massive changes in the lineup between UNM's 66-0 opening-night victory over Mississippi Valley State and the Tulsa game — mostly in an attempt to thwart the defense they expected Tulsa to play.
The Golden Hurricane showed nothing Davie and Lenzmeier didn't anticipate. The UNM offensive line simply got stuffed.
"I think we're going to be OK (in the O-line), I really do," Davie said on Monday. "... But right now we're a little wobbly, no question."
Next game: at Arizona State, 8 p.m. MT Friday (Pac-12 Networks)
Notable: Gamblin, a junior, had a breakout game against Tulsa with eight catches for 131 yards and the touchdown reception. Entering that contest, these were his career statistics through two years and one game: seven catches for 77 yards, no touchdowns. ... This week's game at Arizona State is the fourth Friday game during Davie's tenure, which began in 2012. New Mexico is 1-2 on Friday, the victory coming against Air Force, 45-37, in 2013. This is UNM's first Friday road game during that span.
— Rick Wright, Albuquerque Journal
After showing some rust in the season opener, Utah State quarterback Chuckie Keeton played well in Friday’s 24-14 loss at Utah.
Going forward, that’s a good sign for the Aggies.
Keeton completed 22 of 35 passes for two touchdowns. He also rushed 12 times for 46 yards. He wasn’t nearly as effective in a 12-9 win over Southern Utah in the opener, when Utah State needed an 88-yard punt return for a touchdown with 4:54 left to rally past the Thunderbirds.
Impressively, Keeton persevered against Utah after a roughing-the-passer penalty in the first quarter left him looking a little gimpy the rest of the right.
On Utah State’s second possession, Keeton’s pass to Braelon Roberts was incomplete. But after he released the ball, the Utes’ Sunia Tauteoli rolled into Keeton’s knee.
Considering he was playing in his only 11th game since 2012 because of injuries, it was a hold-your-breath moment for Aggie Nation.
Keeton kept playing, though.
"We checked him after every series and he was cleared to go back in," coach Matt Wells said. "Of course, he said he wasn’t coming out."
Keeton ended up going the distance against the Utes and putting up nice numbers.
"It was one of the guttier performances that I’ve seen out of him," Wells said. "Just a warrior to the end. He gave us a chance to win."
Wells added: "To say that a kid continues to amaze you … I don’t know how you say that about a fifth-year kid. It’s not like he didn’t run after that, either. He ran on QB zone reads, a draw and scrambles. He’s a winner."
Presumably, Keeton will play against Washington. Wells does not comment on injuries unless they are season-ending and, after the loss to Utah, Keeton said, "I’m fine."
Next game: at Washington, 3 p.m. MT Saturday (Pac-12 Networks)
Notable: Utah State’s defense has not forced a turnover in two games, but Wells seems unconcerned. "As long as we continue to play with effort — as long as you keep seeing nine hats or 10 hats or 11 hats in the video — those things will come." … Utah State outgained Utah in the fourth quarter, 172-49. "Honestly, I feel like we ran out of time," Wells said. … Senior receiver Hunter Sharp returns from a two-game suspension this week. He had a team-high 66 receptions last season, including seven for touchdowns. Sharp was suspended for violating team rules. … Utah State hasn’t lost back-to-back games since 2013. … Under Wells, the Aggies are 8-1 after a loss. … With two touchdown passes against Utah, Keeton is tied with Jose Fuentes (1998-2002) for first place on the school’s all-time list with 60.
— Steve Luhm, Salt Lake Tribune
An 0-2 start wasn't expected, but that's reality as the Cowboys lost their second consecutive home game, 48-29 last Saturday to Eastern Michigan.
The good news for Wyoming is it gets redshirt senior quarterback Cameron Coffman back this week. Coffman missed the Eastern Michigan game with a slight MCL sprain to his right knee. Sophomore backup Josh Allen was good at the start of that game but was lost for the season on the second series with a shoulder injury after getting hit on a run up the middle of the field.
Third-string redshirt freshman Nick Smith played the rest of the game. He was 3 of 13 for zero yards.
Wyoming ran for 430 yards last week, its most in a game since 1988. But it threw for only 32 yards. Coach Craig Bohl expects more balance this week when the Cowboys play at Washington State.
Defensively, Wyoming has struggled in every area imaginable. It has only one quarterback sack, and its young and inexperienced back seven has given up a lot of big plays. Eastern Michigan scored on plays of 74 and 64 yards, and also had a pass play of 57 yards. FCS foe North Dakota scored on runs of 52 and 44 yards in the opener.
Out of 127 FBS teams, Wyoming is 121st in third-down conversion defense (55.2 percent), 113th in rushing defense 226 yards per game), 111th in scoring defense (36 points per game) and 106th in total defense (467.5 yards per game).
Wyoming has played 23 true or redshirt freshmen this season, which ranks among the most in the country.
"There's great promise in youth. There's frustration, but there's great promise," Bohl said.
Next game: at Washington State, 6:30 p.m. MT (Pac-12 Networks)
Notable: Sophomore running back Brian Hill ran for 242 yards and two touchdowns last week, his second 200-yard game of his career and the fourth-best single-game mark in school history. ... Wyoming will start true freshman Zach Wallace at right tackle this week after sophomore Taylor Knestis suffered a concussion against Eastern Michigan. ... The Cowboys hope to get a boost by inserting senior cornerback Tyran Finley in the starting lineup this week. Finley led the team with two interceptions last season, but he missed some time during the spring due to a suspension and was beat out in fall camp by redshirt freshman walk-on Anthony Makransky. ... Washington State defensive coordinator Alex Grinch was Wyoming's secondary coach from 2009 to 2011 under former coach Dave Christensen.
— Robert Gagliardi, Wyoming Tribune Eagle/WyoSports
Fresno State didn’t have much swagger in its secondary last season when plagued for a second year in a row by a flurry of explosive pass plays of 20 or more yards, the longest an 86-yard touchdown against San Jose State and a 77-yard touchdown against FCS Southern Utah.
But after giving up six long pass plays in a 73-21 loss at Ole Miss including 50- and 44-yard touchdown passes from Chad Kelly to Quincy Adeboyejo and four more pass plays of between 15 and 18 yards, Coach Tim DeRuyter said he didn’t’ see a lack of confidence this time, but correctable errors.
"Our guys, right now if you talk to them, on the board they know exactly what the technique is and they’ll line up where they’re supposed to," he said. "But you get in the heat of battle and sometimes guys tend to lose their minds and we did that too many times, especially early in the game. As we got settled in, the sanity returned, but early on we had some temporary insanity out there."
But knowing the root of the problem doesn’t solve it, and it’s worth noting that the Bulldogs started a fifth-year senior (Charles Washington) and a fourth-year junior (Jamal Ellis) at the cornerback spots and a senior (Edwards) and a fourth-year junior (Dalen Jones) at free and strong safety.
The Bulldogs’ coach found a positive in the way the Bulldogs fought back and didn’t crumble as they did a few times last season when they allowed 54 pass plays of 20 or more yards, which accounted for more than half of the 3,557 passing yards that allowed.
And, at least they know what has to be fixed.
"There were times," free safety Shannon Edwards said, "where they beat us because we weren’t disciplined in our techniques and not trusting what we were supposed to do."
"We have to play our technique better," DeRuyter said. "A couple of situations, our alignment and leverage was wrong and some of the times our eyes were wrong and I think quite frankly just our perception of how fast they were was wrong.
"By the time we turned and ran we were losing that foot race. Utah has excellent players, too, but that might be the best receiving corps I’ve seen in coaching college football. Very impressed with them, and Kelly threw the ball on the money. There were a couple of throws that I thought, ‘Oh, Thank God he overthrew it’ and then I said, ‘Oh my God, the guy caught up to it.’ He threw it so far I thought there’s no way he was catching up, but he had that extra gear.
"I’m sure Utah will test us vertically and it’s something we’ll work at all week to get better at."
Next game: vs. Utah, 8:30 p.m. MT Saturday (CBS Sports Network)
Notable: Ole Miss rolled up 607 yards against the Bulldogs, the ninth time over the past 29 games an opponent has had 500 or more yards of total offense. … The Bulldogs could start a true freshman at quarterback in Chason Virgil this week against Utah. Virgil and third-year sophomore Zack Greenlee will compete this week in practice. But, statistically, the freshman has an edge. Greenlee has attempted 18 passes per game to this point, hitting 17 of 36 (47.2%) for 169 yards at 4.7 yards per pass play with three touchdowns and one interception. His passing efficiency rating is 108.60. Virgil has attempted 15.5 passes per game, hitting 20 of 31 (64.5%) for 201 yards at 6.5 yards per pass play with three touchdowns and three interceptions. His rating through two games is 131.57. … Virgil had a rating of 146.46 in the blowout loss at Ole Miss. That is the fourth-best mark for any Fresno State quarterback with 10 or more passing attempts in a game since Derek Carr moved on to the NFL, and points out plenty about the Bulldogs’ quarterback play of late. … Edwards returned an interception 56 yards for a touchdown at Ole Miss, the first pick six of his career and the 10th by a Bulldog under DeRuyter. … Fresno State ranked 11th of 12 in the Mountain West last season in red-zone scoring percentage at 74.6% (41 scores in 55 trips). Through two games, the Bulldogs have scored on just four of seven red-zone opportunities (57.1%) and have turned it over twice. … Ole Miss scored 28 points in the first quarter in its 73-21 victory over the Bulldogs, which is more than the Bulldogs have allowed in 21 of their past 41 games.
— Robert Kuwada, Fresno Bee
The Rainbow Warriors earned a big payday ($1.2 million) and some respect (they allowed two touchdowns through the first 50 minutes) in a 38-0 road loss to top-ranked Ohio State. But the outcome also might be costly.
Left tackle Ben Clarke, a co-captain and the Warriors’ best offensive lineman, might be unavailable for a while because of a foot injury. The Warriors have kept a rotation of nine offensive linemen with the hope of redshirting four first-year Warriors. Those plans might alter depending on Clarke’s availability.
Three other starters were ailing on Saturday night — strong safety Trayvon Henderson, tight end Tui Unga and inside linebacker Julian Gener. Gener participated in pregame warm-ups but then was taken to a hospital for precautionary tests because of bleeding. In Gener’s absence, Benetton Fonua produced a game-high 12 tackles.
The Warriors’ 3-4 defense played well against the Buckeyes, who were favored by 41 points but led 7-0 after one quarter, 14-0 at the intermission and 17-0 with 10 minutes remaining.
The offense struggled. Quarterback Ikaika Woolsey replaced Max Wittek in the final two series when the suspense already had ended. Wittek remains as the No. 1 quarterback, UH coach Norm Chow said. Chow said the offensive struggles were not blamed on the quarterback or receivers.
"Ohio State has a very good team," Chow said.
Next game: vs. UC Davis, 10 p.m. MT Saturday (Mountain West Digital Network)
Notable: After the UC Davis game, the Warriors will return to the Midwest to play Wisconsin on Sept. 26. For the Ohio State game, the Warriors departed on Wednesday afternoon on a commercial flight, stayed overnight in Los Angles, then arrived by charter flight in Columbus on Thursday evening. They did not practice on Thursday, but they had a modified workout on Friday. For the Wisconsin game, the Warriors will take a non-stop commercial flight to Chicago, then drive to Madison. … The Warriors only had five minutes’ notice that Gener would not play. But the Warriors, who rotate five players at the inside linebacker spots, were able to elevate Fonua without any transitional problems. Fonua was the state high school defensive player of the year as a senior in 2011. … With injuries to two key running backs — Diocemy Saint Juste and Steven Lakalaka — Melvin Davis, a 250-pound power back, made his NCAA debut. Davis accounted for 17 percent of the Warriors 12 first downs.
— Stephen Tsai, Honolulu Star-Advertiser
For the third time in his three years at Nevada, Brian Polian’s sideline behavior has become a big topic.
The first time came in 2013 when he was flagged for an unsportsmanlike conduct at San Diego State for cussing at an official. The second time came in 2014 after a loss to Colorado State following what Polian believed was a blown pass interference call. The third time came this week after Polian was given two 15-yard penalties for unsportsmanlike conduct in Nevada’s 44-20 loss to Arizona last Saturday.
"The easy story right now is, ‘I’m a hothead,’ and I guess I can understand that and tune it out," said Polian, who also drew a league reprimand for complaining about the officials following the 2014 game versus UNLV. "But I’m incredibly passionate about this job and incredibly passionate about our young people."
Polian said he apologized to his players and Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez after the game but was adamant that the officials missed a couple of calls that hurt his team. Nevada had one touchdown called back because of an illegal formation (the formation was good) and Arizona scored on a fourth-and-goal play after the refs missed a false start. Still, Polian said his tact with officials must improve.
"I don’t apologize for my passion or my energy," Polian said. "I have to do a better job of focusing it."
Next game: at Texas A&M, 10 a.m. MT Saturday (SEC Network)
Notable: Sophomore TE Matt Moen (undisclosed non-orthopedic injury, but not a concussion) is day-to-day and his status for the Texas A&M game is unknown, according to Polian … Nevada is 4-20 all-time against ranked teams in its FBS era (since 1992), including an 0-10 mark on the road against ranked teams. … Nevada is a 34-point underdog against Texas A&M, its largest underdog spread since being a 35.5-point underdog at Florida State in 2013 (the Seminoles won the national title that season).
— Chris Murray/Reno Gazette-Journal
SAN DIEGO STATE
It’s clear after Saturday’s 35-7 loss to Cal that San Diego State’s quarterback situation is still in flux.
Both graduate transfer Maxwell Smith and redshirt freshman Christian Chapman played, with head coach Rocky Long saying that was the pregame plan. But after Smith went 4-for-4 on the opening scoring drive, neither was very effective. Each threw an interception and there could have been more without Cal drops.
"I didn’t see much difference between the two of them," Long said. "They both threw interceptions. They both threw into coverage at times."
Smith was 10 of 19 for 136 yards and threw a 29-yard touchdown to tight end Daniel Brunskill on the opening drive. After that first effort, he was 6 of 15 with a poorly thrown interception while on the run. Chapman, who played the final series against USD in the opener, was 4 of 13 for 37 yards and a pick that he threw into heavy coverage.
"We wanted both of them to play about an equal amount, so that we could get an honest evaluation of the two of them," Long said, adding that winning Mountain West games is the priority.
Long said coaches will determine a starter for SDSU (1-1) in this week’s home game against South Alabama — still likely to be Smith — and stay with that player throughout the game.
"The only way the backup will play is if we need a momentum shift," Long said.
But then again, maybe they will rotate the quarterbacks.
"That’s a possibility, too," Long said. "Rotate them weekly depending on who has the hot hand. Rotate them in the first half and whoever has the hot hand, you play him the rest of the game.
"That’s how I’ve done it before. We put them both in a couple of series and whoever we thought looked the sharpest, he played the rest of the game."
Next game: vs. South Alabama, 6 p.m. MT Saturday (Mountain West Digital Network)
Notable: SDSU was flagged for 12 penalties against Cal — two more than in any game last season. Five of the penalties were for late hits or unsportsmanlike conduct — uncharacteristic for Long’s usually disciplined teams. "That’s an immature football team," Long said. "That’s a poorly coached football team. That’s my fault." … SDSU’s top tailback, D.J. Pumphrey, had a better day against Cal than in the opener. He ran for 94 yards and a 4.0 average. However, it was his second straight game held to fewer than 100 yards after having only three sub-100 games last season … The Aztecs’ kick-return game has been a bright spot. They averaged 30.5 yards against Cal, with Rashaad Penny returning three for 93 and Chase Price one for 29. According to ESPN’s Team Efficiency rating, SDSU has the 10th-best special teams unit in the nation.… Sixth-year linebacker Jake Fely, who has missed 29 games due to injury, reached double figures in tackles in a game (10) for the first time since November 2012.
— Tod Leonard, San Diego Union-Tribune
SAN JOSE STATE
After two games of using a rotating quarterback system, coach Ron Caragher made it known he'd like to narrow it down and go with one guy.
The problem: two games, a fall camp and spring practice haven't brought enough clarity for Caragher to make a decision.
Both quarterbacks were nearly perfect in the team's opening win over New Hampshire, but neither got into rhythm and thrived in a 37-16 loss to Air Force to open Mountain West Conference play.
Caragher acknowledged the situation isn't ideal, but the competition must continue and both quarterbacks will continue to play Saturday when the Spartans (1-1, 0-1 Mountain West) hit the road again to play Oregon State.
The irony of that game is SJSU will face a player who very well could've altered the Spartans' quarterback situation.
Beavers true freshman starter Seth Collins was San Jose bound until he made a last-minute change to head to Oregon State. SJSU even went as far as announcing Collins as a mid-year signee in December with plans for him to arrive for spring ball.
But former Spartans offensive coordinator Jimmie Dougherty accepted a job at Michigan around the time Oregon State offered. Michigan's offer to Dougherty was later rescinded by coach Jim Harbaugh and Dougherty stayed at SJSU as the wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator. By then it was too late and Collins, who had only signed financial aid paperwork and not a letter of intent, headed to Corvallis and won the job with a strong spring performance.
Now he'll face the same group of coaches who he had to inform of his de-commitment and players who hosted him on his recruiting trip.
Next game: at Oregon State, 6 p.m. MT Saturday (Pac-12 Networks)
Notable: The Spartans expect to have backup running back Thomas Tucker available this week after he missed the Air Force game with a sprained ankle. ... SJSU is playing Oregon State for the first time since 1997. The Spartans head coach for that game was Dave Baldwin, now the Beavers offensive coordinator and the man responsible for recruiting Collins. ... The Spartans have lost 11 straight to Pac-10/12 teams, with the last win coming against Stanford in 2006. The last road win over a Pac-10/12 team was in 2000, also against Stanford. The Spartans didn't play a team from their neighbor conference last season after having at least one scheduled every year from 1948 to 2013. Most of those were against Stanford, but differences between the schools have halted that series for now.
— Jimmy Durkin, San Jose Mercury News
UNLV prepares to play in one of college football’s most iconic venues, the Big House at Michigan.
But the Rebels (0-2) might have to take on the Wolverines (1-1) without starting quarterback Blake Decker. He injured his right hamstring in Saturday’s 37-3 loss to UCLA and is listed as day to day.
Kurt Palandech is the No. 1 quarterback for now, and he struggled against the Bruins, completing 4 of 15 passes for 4 yards. He also had an interception returned for a touchdown and lost a fumble.
Dalton Sneed moves up to No. 2, and coaches would prefer to redshirt the freshman. But he will be ready to go in case Decker is out for an extended period of time.
Coaches could opt to hold out Decker even if he’s cleared to play because UNLV will need him healthier for the rest of the season. The game at Michigan concludes a demanding, three-week season-opening stretch, and the competition becomes easier after that.
Especially in a down Mountain West season, the Rebels have the opportunity to pick up some victories, but they will need a healthy Decker.
Next game: at Michigan, 10 a.m. MT Saturday (Big Ten Network)
Notable: UNLV carries an eight-game losing streak into the game. The Rebels’ last victory occurred Oct. 10, a 30-27 overtime win over Fresno State at UNLV’s Sam Boyd Stadium. UNLV also has lost eight consecutive road games, last picking up an away win Nov. 21, 2013, at Air Force. The Rebels won 41-21. … UNLV players thought they had recovered a muffed punt by UCLA returner Randall Goforth, but officials said the Bruin didn’t touch the ball. UNLV coach Tony Sanchez was careful with his words after the game. "I don’t want to get fined my second week," he said. … The crowd of 31,262 that showed up for the game against UCLA was UNLV’s largest at home since 2008 against Nevada. … UNLV intercepted three Bruins passes, the most for the Rebels since picking off that many in 2011 at Nevada. The Rebels intercepted seven passes all of last season.
— Mark Anderson, Las Vegas Review-Journal