The first six weeks of the football season, there wasn't a ton of suspense in the second half of games across the Mountain West Conference. The majority of the outcomes were by double digits and four MW teams ranked 100th or lower in second-half scoring -- San Diego State averaging just 8.6 points after halftime against its bowl subdivision opponents, Wyoming and San Jose State 6.8 and Utah State 6.2.
But then Hawaii, which had scored as many as 28 points in only nine of its 29 games since joining the conference in 2012, put up 28 second-half points in a comeback victory over Wyoming.
Fresno State scored 27 second-half points, a season-high against FBS competition, to take a lead before falling short in an overtime loss at UNLV.
Nevada lost a tying touchdown on a questionable offensive pass interference penalty with 3:45 remaining and after trailing Colorado State 31-3 ended up losing by seven.
And San Diego State managed to win at New Mexico despite turning over the football four times in the fourth quarter, the Aztecs losing two fumbles and two interceptions in the span of six offensive plays and 4:30 of game time.
And how weird is that one?
San Diego State has made a habit of the four-plus turnover game -- the Aztecs have had 16 going back 10 seasons, and only one team now in the conference has had more (Hawaii with 24).
The Aztecs have even had four turnovers in one quarter. In the 2012 Poinsettia Bowl against Brigham Young, they turned it over five times, four in the fourth quarter. But they lost, giving up 20 points in the final 15 minutes including a fumble return and a pick-6 to lose 23-6.
San Diego State has turned it over three times in one quarter, too. Four times. The Aztecs are 0-4 in those games.
This time, they won. After wide out Chase Favreau had a pass intercepted off a reverse at the New Mexico 14-yard line with 13:30 to go, and three plays from scrimmage later, Donnel Pumphrey fumbled away the football at the Lobos 31 with 10:45 to play. Quinn Kaehler had a deep ball intercepted at the New Mexico 19 on their next play from scrimmage with 9:19 remaining and Chase Price lost a fumble at the 24-yard line with 9:00 left, but the Aztecs still managed to pull out a win.
That takes some doing, no doubt.
"The defense doesn't even get to sit down and they're going back out there," coach Rocky Long said afterward.
New Mexico was on its side of the field after every turnover gained, but the Lobos likely could have been at the Aztecs 40 and still come away with not much of anything.
On the Lobos' first series off the first turnover they lost 6 yards and went three-and-out.
On their second series, they lost 13 yards and went three-and-out.
On their third series, they had a turnover of their own, throwing an interception.
On their fourth series, they gained 8 yards and ran five plays before punting again.
The only first down in there came in their fourth series on a face-mask penalty.
"I don't think I've ever been in a game where there were four turnovers created on four series in a row, but we could never really get anything going on offense to really take advantage of that," New Mexico coach Bob Davie said.
• New Mexico free safetyDavid Guthrie
had 10 tackles in the first 16 plays and 12:21 of a loss to San Diego State and finished with 13. Guthrie, a senior, never had as many as 10 tackles in a game and was coming off a victory at Texas-San Antonio in which he was in on only one tackle.
had 111 passing yards in that loss, while holding San Diego State to just 73. It is the first time in 31 games under Davie that New Mexico had passed for more yards than its opponent, and the second consecutive game the Aztecs have not passed for at least 100 yards.
• Utah State linebackerZach Vigil
had 22 tackles including four behind the line of scrimmage against Air Force and its triple-option, the most tackles in the FBS this season and the most by a Utah State player since Brent Passey had 23 against New Mexico in 1999.
won 31-24 at Nevada, its fourth victory in a row. That is the Rams' longest winning streak since taking down six in a row and a Mountain West championship in 2002. QuarterbackGarrett Grayson
threw for 326 yards against the Wolf Pack and now has 7,007 for his career, 136 shy of the school record set by Kelly Stouffer (1984-'86).
rallied from a 31-3 deficit to get close against Colorado State and had a touchdown pass with 3:45 remaining that would have tied the score at 31 wiped out by a questionable offensive pass interference penalty. Four of its seven losses in conference play the past season-plus have come by seven or fewer points. CoachBrian Polian
on the officiating: "I mean, it's obvious. Do you want me to get fined?"
•San Diego State
is 15-4 over its past 19 conference games. Three of the losses are to Fresno State, the other to UNLV last season.
ONE TEAM CAME TO PLAY, THE OTHER ...
Fresno State's and San Diego State's run games went in opposite directions last week matching up some similar opposition.
Fresno State was ranked third in the Mountain West and 42nd in the nation in rushing offense, churning out 4.7 yards per play and 191.7 yards per game. The Bulldogs went on the road at UNLV, which was ranked last in the conference and 124th in the nation in rushing defense, giving up 5.7 yards per play and 292.5 yards per game.
San Diego State was ranked fourth in the Mountain West and 49th in the FBS in rushing offense, gaining 5.0 yards per play and 182.8 yards per game. The Aztecs went on the road at New Mexico, which was ranked 11th of 12 in the conference and 123rd in the nation in rushing defense, yielding 6.0 yards per play and 264.8 yards per game.
Fresno State was able to muster 177 yards on 33 plays, with 82 of that coming on two 41-yard runs by Marteze Waller, and lost in overtime 30-27.
San Diego State ground out 397 yards on 46 plays, with Donnel Pumphrey rushing for 246 yards on 20 plays, and won 24-14.
Hawaii and Utah State have forced two or more turnovers in five consecutive games this season - the Rainbow Warriors have forced 11 turnovers in their streak while the Aggies have 19.
One more game with a couple of interceptions or fumble recovers or some combination of both and both will be working one of the longer streaks in the conference. Hawaii this week plays at San Diego State, which has 13 turnovers and is a minus-4 in turnover margin, and Utah State plays at Colorado State, which has turned it over nine times and is a minus-3.
The conference's longest turnovers gained streak going back through 2000:
• 10: Texas Christian in 2005, 35 total
• 10: San Diego State in 2005, 27 total
• 9: New Mexico in 2000, 25 total
• 7: Air Force in 2011, 19 total
• 6: Fresno State in 2012, 16 total
• 6: Boise State in 2011, 16 total
• 6: Texas Christian in 2009, 17 total
• 6: Air Force in 2008, 16 total
• 6: Brigham Young in 2006, 18 total
• 6: Wyoming in 2005, 16 total
• 6: Utah in 2004, 18 total
• 6: Wyoming in 2003, 15 total