Joe Glenn's Cowboys are substantially improved from last season with wins over Ole’ Miss and San Diego State, although their 4-1 record is a bit misleading with wins over I-AA Appalachian State and Louisiana-Monroe.
In addition, they limited Texas A&M to only 156 rushing yards on 52 attempts in their only road game -- and only loss – prior to Saturday.
The Cowboys' zone defense gave John Beck trouble. He completed only 10 of 24 for 139 yards. The Cougars turned to the run and the offensive line and running backs responding against the nation's No. 32 run defense. Curtis Brown alone ran for 159 yards, and Naufahu Tahi for 70, as the team rolled up 237 net rushing yards.
The Cougar defense, despite being on the field for 32 minutes, held the visitors to 17 first downs and a total of 322 yards, 103 on the ground.
BYU also won the turnover battle 4-3, but Bryce Mahuika and Brown each gave up a careless fumble. On the bright side, the Cougars were flagged only three times for 30 yards in penalties.
Next up: BYU plays its first day-game of the year on Oct. 23 at Air Force. Wyoming travels to arch-rival Colorado State on Oct. 22.
Colorado State 21, San Diego State 17
Both teams lost their quarterbacks to ankle injuries early in the game and both were replaced by freshmen. Justin Holland is out for the season with a broken bone, while Matt Dlugolecki sustained a sprain and will return.
Both offenses suffered the consequences as they combined for only 29 first downs. The Rams won the game after an assist by the officials gave them the ball at the Aztecs' doorstep. Replays showed that SDSU's Michael Franklin was down when a Ram defender rolled over on him and pulled the ball away after the play was clearly dead.
The resulting touchdown gave Colorado State a 21-17 lead with only 1:10 left, not enough for a rookie quarterback to overcome. Both teams are now 2-4.
Next up: Colorado State plays Oct. 22 vs. Wyoming. San Diego State plays Oct. 23 at New Mexico.
New Mexico 24, UNLV 20
The John Robinson feel-good farewell tour came to an ignominious end at home. Leading 17-10 at the half after trailing 0-7 early on, the Rebels committed six turnovers to give the game away to their guests. While the Lobos improved to 3-4, UNLV fell to 2-5, virtually guaranteeing a losing season.
Next up: New Mexico plays Oct. 23 vs. San Diego State. UNLV plays Oct. 23 at Utah.
Utah 46, North Carolina 10
The Utes were impressive, scoring at least nine points in each quarter and rolling up 669 yards of total offense. Some may wonder what Utah starting quarterback Alex Smith was doing in the game with a 21 point lead in the fourth quarter, but Urban Meyer is looking to challenge the BCS and move up in the polls.
Smith threw a 15-yard pass to John Madsen to move the score to 44-16, but it wasn't enough as some pollsters are now beginning to leapfrog teams over the Utes, who remained at No. 10 in the coaches poll while Wisconsin and Texas jumped over them into the top 10.
Look for Michigan to do the same if it beats Purdue this week. Utah's unexpectedly weak non-conference schedule is an albatross, as these foes are now a combined 9-15 against Div. 1 opponents.
Next up: Utah plays Oct. 23 vs. UNLV. North Carolina is idle, then hosts Miami on Oct. 30.
Air Force did not play. Next up Oct. 23 vs. BYU.
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