So, Colorado State running back Dee Hart scored six touchdowns in a rout of New Mexico, five rushing and one receiving, falling one short of the Mountain West Conference record set in 2012 by Nevada running back Stefphon Jefferson in a victory at Hawaii and tying the school record set last season by Kapri Bibbs, coincidentally enough, against the Lobos.
Hart scored from 2, 4, 6, 55 and 76 yards and caught a 20-yard scoring pass from Garrett Grayson, racking up 230 rushing yards on just 20 plays and 272 total yards on 22. He has now scored 11 touchdowns over the past three games (10 rushing, one receiving), which happens to be the same number that Southern Methodist has in its first 10 games this season.
And the Rams, well, that would be their ninth victory in a row, their longest winning streak in a single-season since 1997 and one that made them 10-1. They could finish 11-1, but not get a chance to represent the Mountain Division in the conference championship game or the Group of Five in a big-time bowl game as its highest-ranked conference champion.
Way back in Week 2, Colorado State lost at Boise State and heading into the final week of the regular season it is the Broncos that control their destiny in the Mountain Division.
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Boise State debuted in the College Football playoff rankings at No. 23 on Tuesday, one spot ahead of 11-0 Marshall, so the conference still is in line for that big money bowl spot — it is expected to be worth $4 million, plus $2 million for expenses, to the conference that sends its champion to the bowl.
But that could be one expensive loss for the Rams and coach Jim McElwain, who has a little riding on it as well, and we’ll get back to that later …
Every second counts
UNLV lost at Hawaii on a last-second touchdown heave from 20 yards out, Ikaika Woolsey to Marcus Kemp. But the timing got much worse for the Rebels.
On the previous play, which started with 5 seconds remaining, Woolsey scrambled out of the pocket, couldn’t find an open receiver and ended up throwing an incomplete pass. But when everyone looked up there still was 1 second on the game clock, which took the visiting sideline by surprise.
Coach Bobby Hauck reportedly watched a replay, stopwatch in hand.
“It may be an all-time hard (loss) just because I don’t feel really good about the result,” Hauck said, “and I don’t feel really good about how it transpired.”
One year after reaching a bowl for the first time in 13 years the Rebels are 2-10 and 1-6 in Mountain West play. That one conference win: They beat Fresno State 30-27 in overtime.
That up-down feeling
Fresno State has a chance to redefine the parameters of an up-and-down season and since Bee columnist Marek Warszawski asked, no team in the Mountain West has ever had a season where it has had two three-game winning streaks and two three-game losing streaks. Though …
• San Diego State last season started with three consecutive losses, then won three consecutive games, but then lost one and won the next four.
• San Jose State last season started and ended with victories, and in between had a three-game losing streak followed by a four-game winning streak followed by a three-game losing streak.
• New Mexico in 2005 opened with three wins, followed by three losses and followed that with two wins but was beaten by Colorado State in its next game.
• Air Force in 1999 had three two-game winning streaks and two two-game losing streaks.
Pass game turns Spartan
San Jose State got thumped at Utah State and had some issues with the forward pass, which is not a huge surprise with starter Joe Gray out with a shoulder injury and backup Blake Jurich going down on the first play of the game when inuring a knee as he took a sack.
Mitch Ravizza, a baseball player who had not played in a football game since 2011 when he was a senior in high school, came off the bench and hit 13 of 21 passes. But those passes gained only 61 yards with a long of 13 and another that went for 9 and another for 8.
They averaged 2.9 yards per pass play, which ranks toward the bottom but is not the bottom for any of these Mountain West teams going back through 2000. There have been 19 teams that have thrown 20 or more passes in a game and averaged 2.9 yards or less per play.
The bottom 10 …
• 2.4 — Wyoming at Air Force, 14 of 31 for 74 yards, in 2009
• 2.3 — UNLV at Boise State, 14 of 31 for 71 yards, in 2012
• 2.2 — San Diego State at Texas Christian, 11 of 25 for 56 yards in 2006
• 2.2 — UNLV at Nevada, 7 of 26 for 58 yards, in 2005
• 1.8 — UNLV at Texas Christian, 9 of 23 for 42 yards, in 2009
• 1.8 — Colorado State vs. Texas Christian, 6 of 28 for 50 yards, in 2002
• 1.7 — New Mexico vs. Texas-El Paso, 6 of 30 for 52 yards in 2001
• 1.6 — New Mexico vs. Texas Christian, 9 of 21 for 34 yards, in 2010
• 1.6 — New Mexico vs. Wyoming, 8 of 21 for 33 yards, in 2008
• 1.3 — New Mexico at Oregon State, 7 of 31 for 39 yards, in 2004
Cash on the table
Back to Colorado State, McElwain signed a five-year extension in August with a base salary of $1.5 million this season and there are some escalators in there that are tantalizingly close and yet a long way away given that the Rams are not in control of their destiny.
The base goes up gradually over the five years, to $1,623,648 in 2018.
But if Colorado State appears in two Mountain West Conference championship games in a four-year period, McElwain’s base salary goes up to $1.75 million.
If the Rams win the conference championship, the base rises to $2 million. And if they finish in the Top 25 among all FBS programs, based on the College Football Playoff ranking system, it becomes $2 million.
If Colorado State is one of the 12 teams to appear in a bowl game administered by the College Football Playoff (the Chick-Fil-A Bowl, Cotton Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, Orange Bowl, Sugar Bowl or Rose Bowl) then the base salary increases to $2.5 million.
And if it wins one of those College Football Playoff bowls, it increases to $2.75 million.
Colorado State closes the regular-season at the Air Force, Boise State against Utah State.
Utah State freshman Kent Myers improved to 4-0 as a starter in that victory over San Jose State and has completed 58 of 79 passes (73.4%) for 639 yards with five touchdowns and only one interception.
The Aggies, incredibly, are 10-1 over the past season-plus when starting a freshman quarterback.
Last season, Darell Garretson started the last seven games as a true freshman and went 6-1, with the only loss coming in the Mountain West Conference championship game at Fresno State.
Picks not aplenty
Boise State safety Darian Thompson had a 36-yard interception return for a touchdown in a victory over Wyoming, the Broncos’ third pick-6 this season.
There are five teams in the FBS that have three or fewer interceptions: Georgia State (3), Colorado (3), Buffalo (2), Wyoming (2) and Washington State (2).