Fresno State Football

Mountain West Review: Tough opening week starts with UNLV

There was a, 'Whoa, that's not good.' Then woe, which is never good. And now much of the Mountain West Conference including Fresno State and Utah State, last season's division champions, have some explaining to do after absorbing blowout losses to open the season.

Not quite as much as UNLV, though.

In an opening week in which Mountain West teams went 1-5 against Power Five opponents and 1-6 against bowl subdivision opponents -- the six losses by an average of 24.2 points -- no team was taken apart like the Rebels in what was one of the worst opening losses by a team in conference history.

UNLV gave up 32 first downs.

It gave up 21 plays of 10 or more yards and eight of 20 or more yards.

It allowed 787 yards of offense.

It lost 58-13.

And it could have been worse.

"We missed a few, too," Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez said of quarterback Anu Solomon. "He had 425 yards, but he could have had 700 if we didn't miss a few things."

The Rebels did at least make the Wildcats punt, three times -- which is more than Fresno State could do while getting drilled by USC in the worst season-opening loss in program history.

Fresno State gave up 37 first downs.

It gave up 26 plays or 10 or more yards and seven of 20 or more yards.

It allowed 701 yards of offense.

It lost 52-13.

And it could have been worse.

"I know there's a few things we'll want back," USC coach Steve Sarkisian said. "All in all, first game together in a new system, I couldn't have asked for more."

These are lists that no team wants to be anywhere near the top line, but here goes ...

Most points allowed by a Mountain West team in a season-opening game:









Most yards allowed by a Mountain West team in a season-opening game:







The fewest yards allowed by a Mountain West team in a season-opening game is 86 when Colorado State had the good fortune to open against Weber State in 2006.

The good thing for the Bulldogs and the Rebels is that they can bounce back, and they aren't likely to see anything like USC or Arizona in conference play.

UNLV has a lot of practice at it -- the loss at Arizona was its fifth in a row to open a season and it has allowed an average of 46.2 points in those games, giving up 50 or more three times.

For Fresno State, the track record is a bit different. Under coach Tim DeRuyter, the Bulldogs are 4-0 following a regular-season loss and have won those games by an average of 25 points.


San Diego State's Donny Hageman made a 48-yard field goal in the second quarter of a 38-7 victory against Northern Arizona, snapping a long streak of misses for the Aztecs that might have started to impact the way they navigated in and around the red zone.

That was their first make since Sept. 28, 2013, against New Mexico State. They went nine games without a made field goal, the only FBS team without at least one in that stretch. And it's not as if the misses were that tough. San Diego State kickers missed from 40, 39, 37, 40, 37, 35, 38 and 44 yards.

Toward the end of the middle to the end of last season, San Diego State lost possession on downs rather than attempt field goals from inside an opponent's 30-yard line 10 times, and the Aztecs finished the season ranked last in the Mountain West and 120th in the bowl subdivision with a red-zone conversion rate of 71.2% with 37 scores (31 touchdowns) in 52 attempts.


New Mexico

Boise State

Colorado State Dee Hart Treyous Jarrells

San Jose State

Fresno State Brian Burrell

Fresno State

Colorado State

Air Force


In a 38-7 loss at Tennessee, Utah State had a streak of 23 consecutive games with at least one turnover forced snapped. It was the fourth longest streak in the nation, now gone.

Nevada, which ranked 76th in the bowl subdivision in fumble recoveries last season with eight and 82nd in interceptions with 10 now has the longest turnover forced streak in the conference.

And the Aggies have a lot of company starting from zero ...


Boise State:

Fresno State:

San Diego State:

San Jose State:

Air Force:

Colorado State:


New Mexico:


Utah State: