NCF Nation: New Mexico State Aggies

Considering its long history of Polynesian influence, it should come as no surprise that the Pac-12 led the way with 15 players named to the preseason watch list for the inaugural Polynesian College Football Player of the Year Award.

Headlining the list is Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, USC safety Su'a Cravens, Oregon State center Isaac Seumalo, Washington linebacker Hau'oli Kikaha and BYU linebacker Alani Fua.

The award was established by the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame, which inducted its first class of members in January. That group of seven included Kurt Gouveia (BYU), Olin Kreutz (Washington), Kevin Mawae (LSU), Junior Seau (USC), Jack Thompson (Washington State), Herman Wedemeyer (Saint Mary's College) and Ken Niumatalolo (Navy/Hawaii).

The full breakdown of players on the watch list by conference is as follows: Pac-12 (15), Mountain West (12), Independents (4), American Athletic (1), Big 12 (1) and Sun Belt (1).

Here is the complete list (34 total):
Five finalists will be announced on Nov. 20 with the winner set to be named on Dec. 9.

ACC weekend rewind: Week 11

November, 11, 2013
Florida State is now in full control of its championship destiny. Miami needs to get its act together. Duke is delaying interest in basketball season in Durham (OK, probably not) and several surprise teams are making their pushes toward the postseason. All that and more in our ACC weekend rewind:

The good: Let's face it: The ACC's surest path toward national respect is by winning it all, something it has not come close to doing in recent years. And, fair or unfair, the only way an ACC team was going to become a serious player in that title conversation this year was if Alabama or Oregon lost. So Stanford's Thursday night shellacking of the Ducks was surely celebrated by the folks of Tallahassee, Fla., who then watched their beloved Florida State Seminoles punctuate the weekend with a 59-3 stomping of Wake Forest. The formula is simple now for FSU: Just win, something the program has been doing with relative ease so far this season.

[+] EnlargeFlorida State Seminoles
Brian Westerholt/Four Seam Images/AP ImagesFlorida State's defense throttled Wake Forest as the Seminoles continued their BCS title run.
The good, pt. II: Play the way the Seminoles' defense did Saturday in Winston-Salem, N.C., and you get a second category in your honor. They held the Demon Deacons' quarterbacks to a total QBR of zero for the game, the first time that has happened for a team in a game this season. They forced seven turnovers, picking off six passes while returning turnovers for touchdowns on consecutive plays. Wake Forest's three quarterbacks combined to complete seven passes to their own players, which was just one more than they completed to FSU defenders. As our David Hale noted, from the 7:15 mark of the first quarter to the 10:31 mark of the second, FSU ran four offensive plays and scored 28 points.

The bad: Miami entered Tallahassee last weekend as a top-10 team looking to make some noise if it could manage a respectable showing against the rival Seminoles. Two games later, and the Hurricanes have seen their Coastal Division frontrunner status fly away after consecutive losses to FSU and Virginia Tech, which turned three key Miami special teams gaffes into 21 points, resurrecting their own chances at making the ACC title game. Kudos to Logan Thomas for putting consecutive forgettable outings behind him by completing 25 of 31 passes for 366 yards with two touchdowns and no picks.

The ugly: Virginia's 45-14 loss at North Carolina was its seventh straight loss, its most in a single-season since 1981. The Cavaliers had little margin for error to begin with, but did themselves no favors by surrendering a pick-six and a punt return for a score to the resurgent Tar Heels, who have now won three straight games and are knocking on the door of bowl eligibility at 4-5 after a 1-5 start. Craig Littlepage has voiced his support for Mike London so far this season, but you have to wonder how much that will change with each passing loss.

The clutch: Sure, ruining Notre Dame's national title hopes in South Bend, Ind., last year would have been sweeter. But Pittsburgh's 28-21 home upset of the No. 23 Fighting Irish was nonetheless a high mark for the program, which recorded a signature win for second-year coach Paul Chryst and delivered the Irish's BCS bowl hopes an early knockout blow. Ray Vinopal keyed a strong defensive performance for the Panthers, coming up with a pair of fourth-quarter interceptions and forcing a fumble early. Now Pitt is just one win away from bowl eligibility with three games remaining.

The hat trick: Andre Williams outdid himself in Boston College's 48-34 win at New Mexico State, as he broke the 200-yard mark for the third time this season. Williams set an Eagles single-game record with 295 yards rushing on 30 carries, including a go-ahead 80-yard score and a game-sealing 47-yard touchdown on the next possession. What more can you say about the senior? He now leads the nation in rushing yards with 1,471. His 163.4 rushing yards per game are also a national best, nearly 11 full yards per game clear of the No. 2 man, Arizona's Ka'Deem Carey. BC is now 5-4, three wins past last season's total and, more importantly, a victory away from bowl eligibility.

The hat trick, pt. II: Duke redshirt freshman DeVon Edwards had a day for the ages, recording two pick-sixes -- one of 25 yards, the other of 45 -- on back-to-back NC State plays within 16 seconds of each other and returning a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown in the Blue Devils' 38-20 win, their fifth straight victory. Edwards became the first Duke player with two pick-sixes in a game since Leon Wright against Army in 2009 and became the first Blue Devil to return a kickoff for a score since Jabari Marshall against UConn in 2007. Edwards was named the national defensive player of the week by the Walter Camp Football Foundation for his efforts. He added 10 tackles, too.

The brick wall: So, it's unlikely that anyone will confuse this year's Syracuse defense with 2011 Alabama, 2008 USC or any other greats of recent memory. But after losing to Georgia Tech 56-0 the Orange have been on a roll, pitching 113 straight minutes of shutout ball over the past two-plus games before Brad Craddock's 23-yard field goal got Maryland on the board with 1:10 left in the third quarter Saturday. That would be all the Terrapins could manage in a 20-3 loss to an Orange team now 3-2 in its first season of ACC play and 5-4 overall, just one win shy of bowl eligibility. Syracuse forced four turnovers and held Maryland to 292 yards of total offense, though the challenge gets amplified just a bit this weekend when it travels to Florida State.

The class act: Hats off to Marquise Williams, who became North Carolina's starting quarterback for the rest of the season after Bryn Renner underwent season-ending shoulder surgery this week. Williams, normally No. 12, wore Renner's No. 2 in honor of the injured senior, and he completed 15 of 28 passes for 185 yards with two touchdowns and one pick while adding 46 rushing yards and another touchdown in the Tar Heels' win over Virginia. Oh, and he caught a 29-yard touchdown pass for good measure, with Quinshad Davis it to make Williams the first North Carolina quarterback to catch a touchdown pass since 1984, when Kevin Anthony did the same against Virginia.

The headaches: Good luck trying to sort out the potential scenarios for a Coastal Division winner after Virginia Tech's upset of Miami and Duke's win Saturday, which helped leave the division with four teams with two losses apiece. And good luck trying to sort out all of the possible bowl destinations for a number of ACC teams after a week in which conference newcomers Pitt and Syracuse inched their way closer to postseason play with upset wins to get to five victories apiece. Boston College got to five wins, too, while Maryland remains at five after the loss to the Orange. North Carolina is making a push at 4-5 and on a three-game winning streak, and there are already six bowl-eligible teams. So yes, there could be 11 teams bowling in the ACC this winter. Not bad.

Non-AQ Players of the Week

November, 14, 2011
Here are the non-AQ players of the week, as selected by each conference.


Offense: Charles Sims, RB, Houston. Sims rushed for a career-high 207 yards on only 10 carries with two touchdowns to lead Houston to a 73-17 win at Tulane. He had 252 all-purpose yards in the game.

Defense: Shawn Jackson, LB, Tulsa. Jackson had nine total tackles, including eight solos and three tackles for loss, and added one pass breakup in a 59-17 win against Marshall.

Special Teams: Danny Hrapmann, K, Southern Miss. Hrapmann tied his own school and Conference USA records by making five field goals in a 30-29 win against UCF.


Offense: Tommy Rees, QB, Notre Dame. Rees set a season high for completions with 30 in a 45-21 win against Maryland. Rees completed 30-of-38 pass attempts for 296 yards and two touchdowns, his 18th and 19th passing touchdowns of the season.

Co-Defense: Thomas Holloway, DB, Army. Jabaree Tuani, DE, Navy. Holloway set a career high with 14 tackles in a 27-12 loss to Rutgers. He also got his first career interception. Tuani had four tackles and a sack in a win against SMU.

Special teams: David Ruffer, PK, Notre Dame. Ruffer made a career-long 52-yard field goal against Maryland.


East Division

Offense: Matt Brown, RB, Temple. Brown made his first start of the season and rushed 24 times for 123 yards and a touchdown in a 24-21 win against Miami (Ohio).

Defense: Roosevelt Nix, DT, Kent State. Nix tied a career-high with six tackles in a 35-3 win against Akron. Nix helped his defense hold Akron to just 58 yards rushing on 27 attempts.

Special Teams: Paul Hershey, P, Ohio. Hershey had five punts for 205 yards, including a 51-yard punt in a win over Central Michigan. He had four go inside the 20.

West Division

Co-Offense: Alex Carder, QB, Jordan White, WR, Western Michigan. Carder threw for a program record 548 yards and seven touchdowns and rushed for another in a 66-63 loss at Toledo. The yardage total ranks second all-time in MAC history and his passing TD total is tied for the most in conference history. White had 238 yards receiving and became the school leader in career receiving yards leader (3,678), single-season receptions (111) and single-season receiving yards (1,402).

Defense: Brad Ohrman, DL, Eastern Michigan. Ohrman had eight tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and one sack in a 30-17 victory over Buffalo.

Special Teams: John Potter, K, Western Michigan. Potter made a career high nine extra points at Toledo. Potter became the MAC's record holder for consecutive PATs made with 114.

Mountain West

Offense: Casey Pachall, QB, TCU. Pachall went 24-of-37 for a career-high 473 yards and five touchdowns in a 36-35 win at Boise State. The five touchdown passes tied a TCU single-game record, while his 473 yards marked the second-highest single-game total in school history.

Co-Defense: Carmen Messina, LB, New Mexico. Nat Berhe, DB, San Diego State. Messina had his fifth straight double-digit tackle performance with 14 stops in a 21-14 victory against UNLV -- the first of the season for the Lobos. He also forced a fumble. Berhe tied a team-high with six tackles, forced a fumble and also had an interception in San Diego State’s 18-15 win at Colorado State.

Special teams: Anson Kelton, P, TCU. Kelton averaged 45.8 yards on four punts in a 36-35 win at Boise State.

Sun Belt

Offense: Derek Thompson, QB, North Texas. Thompson set a North Texas single-game record by completing 82 percent of his passes – going 31-of-38 -- to lead North Texas to its first win ever at Troy. He completed 17 consecutive passes in the game and threw for 331 yards.

Defense: Brandon Joiner, DL, Arkansas State. Joiner tied a school and conference record with four sacks, and he also tied his career high with a team-best eight tackles in a 30-21 victory against Louisiana-Lafayette.

Special teams: T.Y. Hilton, KR, FIU. Hilton returned a punt 97 yards for touchdown in a win over FAU. The punt return is the longest in FIU history.


Offense: Cody Fajardo, QB, Nevada. Fajardo accounted for 371 yards and four touchdowns in a 42-28 win against Hawaii. He completed 25-of-36 passes for 290 yards and a career-high three touchdowns with no interceptions. He also rushed 19 times for 81 yards including a 25-yard touchdown run in the second half.

Defense: IK Enemkpali, DE, Louisiana Tech. Had six tackles, including 3.5 for a loss of 18 yards, in the 27-7 win at Mississippi. Enemkpali had a sack for a loss of seven yards and also forced a fumble.

Special teams: Taveon Rogers, KR, New Mexico State. Rogers returned eight kickoffs for a career-best 246 yards -- including a 99-yard return for a touchdown -- in a 48-45 win against Fresno State. He had a school-record 412 all-purpose yards in the game.

Weekend Rewind: Non-AQs

November, 14, 2011
Let's take a look back at the non-AQs in Week 11:

[+] EnlargeCasey Pachall
Otto Kitsinger III/Getty ImagesQB Casey Pachall and TCU stopped Boise State's 65-game regular-season home win streak en route to a third straight Mountain West title.
Boise goes down. In all the debates about Boise State last week, the questions always surrounded what had to happen for the Broncos to get into the national championship game. But one thing was taken for granted: Boise had to win out. That was a given, right? Not in the world of college football, where excruciating heartbreak has replaced unbending optimism for the second straight season in Boise. The Broncos are not only beatable, they are beatable at home. TCU proved that Saturday in a 36-35 win on the blue turf, handing Boise State its first conference loss at home since 1998. TCU and Boise State always play tight games, and this was no exception. It was first-year TCU starting quarterback Casey Pachall who made the big plays for his team, throwing for 473 yards, five touchdowns and the game-winning 2-point conversion on a defense that was without its top three cornerbacks. Boise State had its chances to win, but missed them just like last season. In a loss to Nevada, Boise State blew a 24-7 halftime lead. In the loss to TCU, Boise State had a 35-28 lead in the fourth quarter and could not hold on. Championship teams find ways to win. For two years in a row now, Boise State failed. For all the problems TCU had early in the season, the Horned Frogs are now in control of the Mountain West in their final season in the league. TCU is now 4-1 in its last five games against top-5 opponents.

If you like offense ... Houston is averaging a whopping 54.7 points a game and has scored more than 70 twice in the past three games. Is it an understatement to say the offense is really clicking with Case Keenum in charge? The thing is, the Cougars can actually run the ball, too. They showed that in a 73-17 win over Tulane, in which Charles Sims had 207 yards on the ground. Meanwhile, Toledo has been involved in back-to-back shootouts in games against Northern Illinois and Western Michigan. The Rockets have both scored and given up 60-plus points. Toledo went 1-1 in those games, which featured 252 points and 2,560 yards of total offense.

Game of the week. Southern Miss 30, UCF 29. The Golden Eagles played a wild fourth quarter against defending league champion UCF. After taking a 19-9 lead early in the fourth, Southern Miss watched as UCF backup quarterback Blake Bortles led an improbable rally. Bortles threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Ronnie Weaver to put the Knights up 23-22. Southern Miss answered when Austin Davis threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Chris Briggs to go up 30-23 with 5:52 remaining. But Bortles was not done, throwing a 25-yard touchdown pass to J.J. Worton with no time left. Coach George O'Leary made the same decision as Gary Patterson -- he elected to go for two. But Southern Miss safety Jacorious Cotton got a hand on the pass attempt and the Golden Eagles escaped with the win.

Conference race update. Here is where things stand for the five non-AQ conferences.

Conference USA: Southern Miss (9-1, 5-1) is in control of the East. One more win clinches the division for the Golden Eagles. Houston (10-0, 6-0) and Tulsa (7-3, 6-0) are tied atop the West, setting up a huge showdown in Tulsa in the regular-season finale. If both win this weekend (Houston vs. SMU, Tulsa at UTEP), the team that comes out on top next week goes to the C-USA title game.

MAC: If Ohio (7-3, 4-2) wins out, the Bobcats go to the MAC title game. They have games remaining at Bowling Green and Miami (Ohio). If Northern Illinois (7-3, 5-1) wins out, the Huskies go back to the title game. They have the head-to-head tiebreaker over Toledo (6-4, 5-1).

Mountain West: TCU (8-2, 5-0) wins out against Colorado State and UNLV and wins the conference.

Sun Belt: Arkansas State (8-2, 6-0) came from behind to beat ULL 30-21 to take control of the conference race. Win out, the Red Wolves are the league champions.

WAC: Nevada (6-3, 4-0) and Louisiana Tech (6-4, 4-1) play in Reno on Saturday with the conference championship on the line. The Wolf Pack win out and win their second straight WAC title, in their final year in the league.

Helmet stickers

Casey Pachall, QB, TCU. Pachall completed 24 of 37 passes for a career-high 473 yards and five touchdowns in a 36-35 win over Boise State, snapping the Broncos' 35-game home winning streak. It was the second-highest single-game passing total in school history.

Brandon Joiner, DL, Arkansas State. Joiner tied an Arkansas State and Sun Belt Conference record with four sacks, and he also tied his personal career high with a team-best eight tackles in a 30-21 victory over Louisiana-Lafayette.

Charles Sims, RB, Houston. Sims had 10 carries for 207 yards and two touchdowns in a win over Tulane.

Adonis Thomas, RB, Toledo. Thomas had 30 carries for 216 yards and two touchdowns in a 66-63 win over Western Michigan.

Taveon Rogers, WR, New Mexico State. Rogers had 10 catches for 166 yards and a touchdown in a 48-45 win over Fresno State as the Aggies beat the Bulldogs for the first time in 18 games.

Non-AQ Players of the Week

October, 3, 2011
Here are the non-AQ players of the week, as selected by each conference. The independent players are selected by a national media panel.

Conference USA

Offense: Darius Johnson, WR, SMU. Had a career-high-tying two receiving touchdowns, along with 12 catches and 152 yards as SMU defeated No. 20 TCU 40-33 in overtime. It was his third straight 100-yard game.

Defense: Tyson Gale, LB, Marshall. Had a team-high seven tackles against Louisville, including a tackle for loss and the biggest play of the game when he intercepted a pass with 4:32 left in a 17-13 win.

Special teams: Kase Whitehead, P, Marshall. Dropped four of his five punts inside the 20 in the 17-13 win at Louisville. On the season, 10 of his 30 have been downed inside the 20.


Co-offense: Riley Nelson, QB, BYU. Cierre Wood, RB, Notre Dame. Nelson came in in relief of starter Jake Heaps and accounted for 206 yards of total offense in four drives as BYU rallied from a 24-13 fourth-quarter deficit to beat Utah State. Nelson was 10-of-14 for 144 yards and two touchdowns, adding 62 rushing yards on 11 carries. Wood ran 20 times for a career-high 191 yards and a touchdown in a win against Purdue. His 55-yard scoring scamper was also a career-long run.

Defense: Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame. Had a team-high eight tackles unassisted, and a sack against Purdue.

Special teams: Alex Carlton, PK, Army. Made his first field goal of the season and made all six extra point attempts as the Black Knights beat Tulane. His six conversions moved him into sixth place on the Army career PAT made list.


East Division

Offense: Tyler Tettleton, QB, Ohio. Threw for over 250 yards for the third consecutive week as he finished with 276 yards passing and two touchdowns in a 17-10 victory over Kent State.

Defense: C.J. Malauulu, LB, Kent State. Had a game- and career-high 12 tackles in a 17-10 loss to Ohio. He also added three tackles for loss, a sack, a pass break-up and a forced fumble.

Special Teams: Boo Boo Gates, KR, Bowling Green. Had seven returns for 233 yards, including a career-best 77-yard return in the first quarter in a 55-10 setback at West Virginia. His seven returns are the second-most in school history, while the yards are the most ever in a game.

West Division

Offense: Alex Carder, QB, Western Michigan. Threw for a career high and school record 479 yards and five touchdowns, including three in the fourth quarter, in a 38-31 upset of UConn. His five touchdowns tied for second most in a game in school history.

Defense: Robert Bell, LB, Toledo. Had a career-high 12 tackles, including 2.5 tackles for loss and one recovered fumble in a 36-13 road win at Temple.

Special Teams: David Harman, K, Central Michigan. Was 6-of-6 on extra-point attempts and 2-of-2 on field goals for 12 total points in a 48-41 win over Northern Illinois.

Mountain West

Offense: Tim Jefferson, QB, Air Force. Went 9-of-10 for 136 yards and a touchdown, and rushed 18 times for 66 yards and two scores in a 35-34 overtime win at Navy. Jefferson, who scored the game-winning touchdown on a 1-yard run, led Air Force to its second-straight win over Navy and the first in Annapolis since 1997.

Defense: Brady Amack, LB, Air Force. Had a career-high 23 tackles (11 solo), a sack and two tackles for loss in a 35-34 overtime victory at Navy. The tackle total ranks as the sixth-highest in school history and tied for the most in Mountain West history. It also tied for the most in a FBS game this season.

Special teams: Alex Means, LB, Air Force. Blocked Navy’s extra-point try in overtime. Means has blocked two kicks this season and also tied a career-high with 12 tackles and intercepted a pass.


Offense: Matt Christian, QB, New Mexico State. Went 16-of-27 for a career-high 296 yards and a career-high four touchdowns with no interceptions in a 42-28 win at New Mexico. Christian also rushed for a career-high 101 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries. He had 397 yards of total offense and accounted for five of the six Aggie touchdowns in the game.

Defense: Keith Smith, LB, San Jose State. Had a team-high 10 tackles and forced a fumble in a 38-31 win at Colorado State. The forced fumble occurred in the second quarter and was returned 20 yards for a touchdown to give the Spartans a 17-7 lead.

Special teams: Justin Hernandez, WR, Idaho. Blocked a punt that was returned for a touchdown with 3:11 left in Idaho’s game at Virginia. Idaho trailed 14-6 at the time and following the successful two-point conversion, the Vandals forced overtime. They lost 21-20 in the extra period.

Sun Belt

Offense: Ryan Aplin, QB, Arkansas State. Set a new school record for completions in a game when he completed 37 passes on 49 attempts in a 26-22 win at Western Kentucky. Aplin passed for a season-high 396 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions and also caught a touchdown pass against the Hilltoppers.

Defense: Lance Kelley, LB, Louisiana. Had eight tackles, a tackle-for-loss and an interception in a win over FAU. He currently leads the Cajuns and ranks fourth in the Sun Belt with 39 total tackles.

Special teams: Brett Baer, K/P, Louisiana. Scored 13 points in a 37-34 victory. He made field goals of 47 yards and 46 yards before hitting the game-winning 26-yard field goal as time expired. It was the first win for the Cajuns in the final 10 seconds of regulation since 2003.

Weekend Rewind: Non-AQs

October, 3, 2011
Taking a look at the week that was in the non-AQs ...

The good: Marshall and Western Michigan pulled upsets on their AQ opponents -- the Thundering Herd beat Louisville 17-13 and the Broncos beat UConn 38-31. ... Boise State got its run game going in a 30-10 win against Nevada as Doug Martin went over 100 yards for the first time this season. ... New Mexico State beat New Mexico 42-28 - the first time in over 40 years that the Aggies have won three straight in the series. ... San Jose State scored the go-ahead touchdown on a pass with 54 seconds remaining to beat Colorado State 38-31. The Spartans have won back-to-back games for the first time in three years. … Louisiana is 4-1 for the first time since 1988 after Brett Baer hit a 26-yard field goal with no time left to lift the Ragin’ Cajuns to a 37-34 win against FAU.

[+] EnlargeDarius Johnson
AP Photo/Matt StrasenReceiver Darius Johnson and SMU ripped TCU's pass defense in a 40-33 overtime victory.
The bad: The TCU pass defense continues to struggle. SMU beat TCU 40-33 in overtime, throwing for 349 yards in the victory. All of its offensive touchdowns came on passes. In all, TCU gave up more than 450 yards for the second time this season, and the Horned Frogs are out of the AP Top 25 for the first time in 47 weeks. ... Temple had a huge win against Maryland in Week 4, but the Owls fell flat at home against Toledo, dropping an important MAC game 36-13. All seven of their drives in the second half ended with a punt or turnover. ... Northern Illinois lost to Central Michigan 48-41 -- the third time this season the Huskies' defense has given up 40 points.

The heartbreak: Utah State is the poster child for broken hearts this season. For the third time, the Aggies lost a game in the closing minutes. This time, it happened against in-state rival BYU. Riley Nelson came off the bench to lead a comeback for the Cougars, engineering a 96-yard game-winnning drive with 11 seconds left for a 27-24 BYU win. His 13-yard touchdown pass to Marcus Matthews was tipped by Utah State defender Will Harris near the goal line. The Aggies blew a 24-13 lead, and were hoping for consecutive wins against BYU for the first time since 1973-74.

Meanwhile in Annapolis, a penalty flag helped decide one of the biggest rivalry games in college football. Navy erased an 18-point fourth quarter deficit behind quarterback Kriss Proctor, who had a 7-yard touchdown run and 5-yard touchdown pass to Gee Gee Greene with 19 seconds left in regulation. Alexander Teich ran in the 2-point conversion and the game went into overtime. Proctor put Navy up first in the extra period on a 1-yard touchdown run, but was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct for getting in the face of an Air Force player. The extra point was blocked. Air Force quarterback Tim Jefferson answered with a 1-yard touchdown run of his own and the Falcons made their extra point to win 35-34 and get a leg up in the competition for the Commander-In-Chief Trophy. Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo was incredulous after the game, "I would hope the referees would have said something like, 'Settle down,' in that situation," he said. "It's too critical a call to make. I hope those guys can sleep well tonight."

Idaho nearly pulled the upset at Virginia, but the Vandals failed on their 2-point attempt in overtime and lost 21-20. Coach Robb Akey decided to go for the win in the extra period, but Brian Reader had his pass batted down. "My only disappointment was that we didn’t make the play at the end of the game," Akey said.

Case Keenum watch: Keenum threw for 471 yards and two touchdowns in a 49-42 win against UTEP, the 15th time he has reached 400 yards in his career. He now ranks third on the NCAA career pasing list, and needs 1,482 yards to break the mark held by Timmy Chang. Keenum is averaging 401 yards passing a game. If he keeps that pace up, he will break the passing record at UAB on Nov. 5.

Helmet stickers

Alex Carder, QB, Western Michigan. Carder threw for a career-high and program record 479 yards and five touchdowns in a 38-31 win against UConn.

Harry Peoples, WR, Louisiana. Peoples had 12 catches for 176 yards in a win against FAU. His 12 receptions tied the mark Brandon Stokley set against Louisiana Tech in 1995 for most catches by a UL receiver at Cajun Field.

Brady Amack, LB, Air Force. Amack amassed a career-high 23 tackles (11 solo), a sack and two tackles for loss in the Falcons’ 35-34 overtime victory at Navy. Amack’s tackle total ranks as the sixth-highest in school history and tied for the most in Mountain West history.

Matt Christian, QB, New Mexico State. Christian went 16-of-27 for a career-high 296 yards and a career-high four touchdowns in a 42-28 win at New Mexico. Christian also rushed for a career-high 101 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries. He had 397 yards of total offense and accounted for five of the six Aggie touchdowns in the game.

Non-AQ Players of the Week

September, 12, 2011
Here are the non-AQ players of the week, as selected by each league. The independent players are picked by a national panel.


Offense: Patrick Edwards, WR, Houston. Edwards had eight catches for a career-best 187 yards and a touchdown in a win against North Texas. He also extended his streak of consecutive games with a reception to 36.

Defense: Marshall's George Carpenter, LB, and SMU linebacker Ja’Gared Davis share the honors. Carpenter recorded a game-high 13 tackles in a 26-20 win against Southern Miss. He also posted two tackles for loss, including one sack, forced one fumble and recovered two fumbles. Davis had eight tackles, 1.5 sacks, 2.5 tackles for loss, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, one interception, three pass break-ups and one touchdown in a win against UTEP.

Special Teams:Kase Whitehead, P, Marshall. Averaged 42.5 yards on eight punts, and backed up the Golden Eagles offense inside the 8-yard line on five of those eight kicks.


Offense: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame. Had 13 receptions for 159 yards in a 35-31 loss at Michigan.

Defense: Matt Warrick, LB, Navy. Recorded a team-high 12 tackles, a fumble recovery and pass breakup in a 40-14 win at Western Kentucky.

Special teams: Justin Sorensen, PK, BYU. Made field goals of 30, 33 and 32 yards, while making his lone PAT attempt in a 17-16 loss at Texas.

East Division

Offense: Eugene Cooper, WR, Bowling Green. Had career-highs in catches (6), yards (134) and touchdowns (4) in the Falcons’ 58-13 win against Morgan State. His four receiving touchdowns tied a school record for touchdown catches in a single game.

Defense: Khalil Mack, LB, Buffalo. Had a team-best eight tackles (four solos), 3.5 tackles for loss, a sack, two forced fumbles, an interception and three quarterback hurries against Stony Brook.

Special Teams: Matt Weller, K, Ohio. Was 3-of-4 on field goals and a perfect 3-for-3 on extra points against Gardner-Webb.

West Division
Eric Page, WR, Toledo. Caught 12 passes for 145 yards and two touchdowns in Toledo's 27-22 loss at Ohio State. Page has now caught a touchdown pass in seven of the past eight games.

Defense: Marcus English, LB, Eastern Michigan. Posted a team-best 10 tackles in a 14-7 win against Alabama State. English added 3.5 tackles for a loss and one sack.

Special Teams: John Potter, K, Western Michigan. Made all five extra point attempts, extending his Western Michigan career record for consecutive PATs made streak to 78 straight.


Offense: Casey Pachall, QB, TCU. Completed 20-of-25 passes for 206 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions, leading No. 25 TCU to a 35-19 win against host Air Force.

Defense: Jerome Long, DT, San Diego State. Recorded the first double-digit tackle game of his career, finishing with 10 stops (seven solo) and a sack in a 23-20 win at Army.

Special teams: Brian Stahovich, P, San Diego State. Put four of his five punts inside the 20-yard line and recorded a pair of kicks exceeding 50 yards in the Aztecs’ 23-20 win at Army.

Sun Belt

Offense: T.Y. Hilton, WR, FIU. Had a school-record 201 receiving yards and a pair of touchdowns in a 24-17 win against Louisville. For his efforts, Hilton was named the Walter Camp National Offensive Player of the Week.

Defense: Winston Fraser, LB, FIU. Had eight tackles, six of them unassisted, and a 71-yard interception return for touchdown.

Special Teams: Brelan Chancellor, KR, North Texas. Broke two school records against Houston, setting the mark for all-purpose yardage and kickoff return yards. Chancellor had 286 yards on nine kickoff returns and 332 all-purpose yards.


Offense: Andrew Manley, QB, New Mexico State. Was 20-of-31 for 288 yards and three touchdowns in a 28-21 win at Minnesota.

Defense: Jonte Green, DB, New Mexico State. Led the Aggies with 10 solo tackles in the win against Minnesota. He also forced a fumble and broke up a pass while recording his second double-digit tackle game of his career.

Special teams: Devin Wylie, PR, Fresno State. Returned five punts for 110 yards, including a 67-yard return for a touchdown, in a loss at Nebraska. It was the first punt return for a touchdown against the Cornhuskers since 2001 and the first for the Bulldogs in almost two years.

Non-AQ Weekend Rewind

September, 12, 2011
The good: It was a weekend of big wins for non-AQs. FIU picked up the first win against an AQ team in school history when the Panthers upset Louisville 24-17. New Mexico State stunned Minnesota 28-21, picking up its first win against a Big Ten team, and first win against an AQ opponent since defeating Arizona State in 1999. The Aggies have been one of the worst teams in college football -- coach DeWayne Walker has won six games there in three seasons. Taveon Rogers had two touchdowns and 88 yards receiving.

[+] EnlargeGeorge O'Leary
AP Photo/Reinhold MatayCentral Florida and coach George O'Leary dominated Boston College.
Meanwhile, Conference USA pulled out two wins against AQ opponents: UCF handled Boston College 30-3 and Rice beat Purdue 24-22. Both were milestone wins. Though UCF has beaten AQ programs before, the Knights had never done so at home. They are off to their first 2-0 start since 1998, a season removed from making the Top 25 for the first time in program history. Rice had lost 22 consecutive games to AQ opponents. The win was the Owls' first against a Big Ten team since a 40-34 win at Northwestern in 1997.

TCU rebounded in a big way against Air Force, winning 35-19 in a game that was never close. In fact, the Horned Frogs led 35-9 in the fourth quarter, and played much better on defense, even without leading tackler Tanner Brock.

The heartbreak: The MAC easily had the most heartbreaking day. Central Michigan, Toledo and Northern Illinois had leads on their AQ opponents only to come up just short.

Central Michigan led the Wildcats 13-6 at halftime and had outgained them 227 yards to 94. But the turning point came midway through the third quarter, when coach Dan Enos elected to go for it on fourth-and-1 from his own 34. Tim Phillips ran for no gain. Kentucky scored on the next play to tie the game at 13, and Central Michigan never scored again in 27-13 loss.

Toledo had Ohio State on the ropes, but the Rockets killed themselves with one mistake after another: 14 penalties for 102 yards; a missed 45-yard field goal and botched hold on a 50-yard attempt; allowing a punt return for a score. A final interception from Terrance Owens on the Ohio State 17 with 48 seconds closed out a 27-22 loss.

Northern Illinois lost to Kansas 45-42 with 9 seconds left when Jayhawks quarterback Jordan Webb threw a 6-yard touchdown pass on fourth down to B.J. Beshears. The Huskies had taken the lead with 5:03 remaining when Jasmin Hopkins scored on a 1-yard touchdown run. Kansas converted two fourth down opportunities on the winning drive. Chandler Harnish finished 27-of-33 for 315 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions, and added 89 yards and a career-high three touchdowns on the ground. Harnish has 11 total touchdowns in two games this season.

Not to be outdone, Fresno State and BYU each had halftime leads in their games before losing. The Bulldogs gave up a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown that turned the tide and lost to No. 10 Nebraska 42-29. ... BYU led Texas 13-3 but the Longhorns changed quarterbacks in the second half and that seemed to spark them to a 16-13 win. The BYU offense has not exactly gotten immediate results from new offensive coordinator Brandon Doman. The Cougars rank No. 108 in the nation in total offense (275.5 ypg), and No. 107 in scoring offense (15 ppg). Despite that, they could very easily be 2-0.

The ugly: The offense clearly was not invited to the Louisiana-Kent State game. The teams combined for 19 first downs, seven turnovers and 15 penalties in one of the ugliest games of the day. Louisiana had 159 total yards; Kent State 186. Louisiana quarterback Chris Masson threw for 18 yards.

Army was one of the best teams in the nation last season in turnover margin, but so far this season, turnovers have been a big problem in an 0-2 start. In a 23-20 loss to San Diego State, the Black Knights fumbled eight times -- losing three. In two games, Army has given the ball away six times and is at minus-4 in turnover ratio.

Record watch:

  • Ohio coach Frank Solich notched his 100th career win Saturday in a 30-3 win against Gardner-Webb.
  • Southern Miss quarterback Austin Davis broke Brett Favre's school passing yards mark of 7,695, in a 26-20 loss to Marshall.
  • Houston quarterback Case Keenum threw for 458 yards and five touchdowns in a 48-23 win against North Texas. He moved into fourth place on the FBS career list for passing yards (14,354) and tied Danny Wuerffel for sixth in career passing touchdowns with 114.
  • Pete Thomas became the first sophomore quarterback in Colorado State history to reach 3,000 yards passing. In a 33-14 win against Northern Colorado, Thomas was 28-for-42 for 259 yards and a touchdown -- but he also threw three interceptions.
Injury update: Colorado State linebacker Mychal Sisson broke his ankle in the second quarter against Northern Colorado and is out indefinitely. Coach Steve Fairchild said the hope is for Sisson to be able to return later this season. ... UTEP starting quarterback Nick Lamaison separated his shoulder in a loss to SMU. ... Air Force quarterback Tim Jefferson was pulled from the loss to TCU and got precautionary X-rays after the game for an undisclosed injury. Nose guard Ryan Gardner injured his knee.

Helmet stickers

Eugene Cooper, WR, Bowling Green. Had career-highs in catches (6), yards (134) and touchdowns (4) in the Falcons’ 58-13 win against Morgan State. Cooper’s four receiving touchdowns tied a school record for touchdown catches in a single game.

Jerome Long, DT, San Diego State. Had a career-high 10 tackles in a 23-20 win against Army, and his sack on a critical third-down on Army's last drive of the game took Army out of field goal range.

T.Y. Hilton, WR, FIU. Set a career-high and school record with 201 yards receiving and two touchdowns in a 24-17 upset win against Louisville.

Adrien Cole, LB, Louisiana Tech. Had 9 total tackles, 1.5 tackles for a loss, one sack and blocked Central Arkansas’ field goal in overtime, his second blocked field goal in as many games.

UCF defense. Held Boston College to three points and 84 yards passing in the 30-3 win. The Knights have yet to allow 100 passing yards in a game this season and have limited their first two opponents to three points and 260 total yards.

Non-AQ Players of the Week

September, 5, 2011
Here are the non-AQ players of the week, as selected by each conference. The independents are selected by a national panel of writers.

Case Keenum, QB, Houston. Threw for 310 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Cougars to a 38-34 win over UCLA in his first game since tearing his ACL last year.

Defense: Cordarro Law, DL, Southern Miss. Had eight tackles (two solos) and added two sacks and 3.5 tackles for loss in Southern Miss’ win over Louisiana Tech.

Special Teams: Robert Kelley, PR, Tulane. Set a school-record for kickoff return yards in his first game for the school, with 213 yards on seven returns.

Kriss Proctor, QB, Navy. Ran for 176 yards and three touchdowns, including a 75-yard scoring sprint on the third play from scrimmage, in a win over Delaware.

Offense: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame. Recorded a career-high 12 catches for 154 yards and two touchdowns in a loss to USF. Floyd set the school record for career receptions and now has 183.

Defense: Kyle Van Noy, LB, BYU. With his team trailing 13-6, Van Noy caused a fumble that he also recovered, taking it 3 yards into the end zone for the decisive score in a 14-13 win over Ole Miss.

Special teams: Jon Teague, K, Navy. Set a career and Navy record with a 54-yard field goal. Teague added a 36-yard field goal and was 4-of-5 on extra points.

East Division

Offense: Bernard Pierce, RB, Temple. Had 20 carries for 147 yards and tied a career-high with three touchdowns in a win over Villanova. Pierce became the third player in Temple history to record 10 games of 100 yards rushing.

Defense: Chris Jones, DT, Bowling Green. Had tackles, three tackles for loss, two sacks, a forced fumble and safety in a win over Idaho.

Special Teams: Travis Carrie, PR, Ohio. Had a 65-yard punt return for a touchdown in a 44-24 win at New Mexico State.

West Division

Offense: Chandler Harnish, QB, Northern Illinois. Threw a career-high five touchdowns and ran for 80 yards and a score in a 49-26 victory over Army on Saturday.

Defense: Nathan Ollie, DT, Ball State. Had four tackles, including two sacks, in a 27-20 win over Indiana.

Special Teams: Ryan Casano, PK, Toledo. Made all three field goals and seven extra points for 16 points in a 58-22 win over New Hampshire.

Mountain West
Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State. Completed 28-of-34 passes for 261 yards and three touchdowns to lead No. 5 Boise State to a 35-21 win over No. 19 Georgia.

Defense: Nordly Capi, DE, Colorado State. Set a new NCAA single-game record with four forced fumbles in a 14-10 victory at New Mexico. His fourth forced fumble of the contest helped the Rams preserve their first conference victory. He added seven tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks .

Special teams: Greg McCoy, KR, TCU. Set a new TCU single-game record with 229 kick return yards a 50-48 loss at Baylor. His total ranks fourth in Mountain West history.

Sun Belt
T.Y. Hilton, WR, FIU. Had 283 all-purpose yards, 12 shy of his own school record, in a win over North Texas. The 283 yards were the most by any player in the country in Week 1.

Defense: Eric Russell, DB, Middle Tennessee. Led the team with 13 tackles, including 11 solo, and got his first career sack in a loss at Purdue. He also had an interception and was the main kick and punt returner for the team.

Special Teams: Hendrix Brakefield, P, Western Kentucky. Averaged 44.6 yards per kick on eight punts in a loss to Kentucky. Of his eight punts, three went for over 50 yards -- including a 58 yarder. He also had two punts downed inside the 10.

Bryant Moniz, QB, Hawaii. Moniz completed 20-of-33 passes for 178 yards and a touchdown while adding a career-high 121 rushing yards on 14 carries with three more scores in a win over Colorado.

Defense: Paipai Falemalu, DL, Hawaii. Had six tackles (five solo), including three for a loss, in a win over Colorado.

Special teams: Taveon Rogers, KR, New Mexico State. Returned four kickoffs for 177 yards -- including a 97-yard touchdown -- in a loss to Ohio. Rogers had a total of 259 all-purpose yards.

Hawaii picked as WAC favorite

July, 28, 2011
Hawaii was picked by the coaches and media as the preseason favorite to win the WAC, while Fresno State was selected to finish second and Nevada third.

The Warriors return quarterback Bryant Moniz, who threw for over 5,000 yards last season, and six starters on defense, including linebacker Corey Paredes. But there are questions for the Warriors going into the season -- they have to replace their entire starting offensive line, running back Alex Green and receivers Greg Salas and Kealoha Pilares.

Fresno State has a new quarterback in Derek Carr and a young group of receivers as well. Nevada has to replace Colin Kaepernick and Vai Taua, along with Dontay Moch. All three teams have big question marks, but no doubt these three teams are expected to be in a tight race to the top with Boise State gone to the Mountain West. Nevada and Hawaii won a share of the WAC title with the Broncos last season.

The coaches and media voted the same order of finish in their respective polls:

1. Hawaii

2. Fresno State

3. Nevada

4. Louisiana Tech

5. Utah State

6. Idaho

7. San Jose State

8. New Mexico State
The WAC added Seattle University on Tuesday, but is holding off on inviting another football playing school until at least next season.

Commissioner Karl Benson acknowledged on a conference call that having seven football playing members for the 2012 season was less than ideal, but the league wanted to continue to explore all its options before adding another program. The WAC has been hurt with the departures of Boise State, Nevada, Hawaii and Fresno State to the Mountain West. The league has only added Texas State and UT-San Antonio, two schools that will move up from FCS to FBS to join the WAC.

Benson said the league has been in contact with 10 to 12 schools about future membership, but made a decision in April to hold off on football expansion. He said the economy precluded some of the FCS schools considering a move up from making a quick decision.

"We hope in the next year that the timing will be better," Benson said. "Hopefully a year from now there may be football playing schools ready to make a move to the WAC."

There are still those outside the WAC who wonder about the viability of the league without its premier members, but Benson believes the five members who will remain past 2011 -- Louisiana Tech, New Mexico State, Idaho, San Jose State and Utah State -- have the opportunity to become the next Boise State.

"It will be important this year for the five remaining WAC schools to show some success," Benson said. "It will be important for one of those five teams to contend for a WAC championship, to go to a bowl game, to carry the WAC umbrella into the postseason. I've been asked many times what the future holds and I think I've been consistent in saying there isn't any reason one of those schools or perhaps a Texas State or UT-San Antonio can't be the next Boise State.

"Ten years ago when Boise State joined the WAC, I don't think anybody expected Boise State to have the dominance it has had. Looking at the five remaining members of the WAC, I don't see a whole lot of difference between those five programs in 2011 than where Boise State was in 2001. It's very realistic that one of those five schools can indeed be the flag bearer and a national power coming out of the WAC."

As for bowl affiliations, the WAC will retain three tie-ins for 2011. In 2012, there would only be one -- the WAC champ would head to the Humanitarian Bowl in Boise, Idaho.

Lunchtime Links

May, 2, 2011
Here are your Monday links. ...

The debate over Kellen Moore's draft stock is now on the clock.

Did UCF coach George O'Leary jump the gun in saying the rivalry with USF was set to resume?

Vincent Brown is thrilled to stay in San Diego.

New Mexico State's offense made progress this spring.

Nick Lamaison is in the lead to replace Trevor Vittatoe as UTEP's starting quarterback.

Quarterbacks were productive in San Jose State's spring scrimmage.

NFL draft rewind

May, 2, 2011
Here is a final tally of where non-AQ players landed in the NFL draft. Thirty-nine players from non-AQ FBS teams were drafted. TCU had the most players taken with five. Here are the other schools with multiple players selected:

Boise State: 3

Hawaii: 3

Idaho: 3

Nevada: 3

Fresno State: 2

San Diego State: 2

Temple: 2

UCF: 2

Note: Fresno State receiver Jamel Hamler and Southern Miss receiver DeAndre Brown did not get drafted after opting to leave school early.

Mr. Irrelevant went to Rice defensive end Cheta Ozougwu.

First round

No. 30, Temple DE Muhammad Wilkerson, New York Jets says: Wilkerson is an unusual 3-4 DE because he is more than just a run stopper with his 9.5 sacks a year ago. He should start immediately in this front seven and fill a huge gap at DE, where they have struggled recently.

Second round
No. 35 TCU quarterback Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals says: Dalton is a guy the Bengals can build around, and he will fit in very well in Jay Gruden's West Coast offense.

No. 36 Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick, Nevada Wolf Pack says: Kaepernick has a great upside, although like Alex Smith, he has to make a huge transition from an unorthodox college offense to a pro-style offense. The 49ers will run a West Coast style, but the huge question is do they talk Alex Smith into coming back to develop Kaepernick or cut ties and throw the rookie into the fire?

No. 44 Boise State receiver Titus Young, Detroit Lions says: Young looks like the perfect guy to line up in the slot in the Lions' three-wide package, and his quickness and yards after the catch could give them added versatility.

No. 54 Temple safety Jaiquawn Jarrett, Philadelphia Eagles says: Jarrett is not necessarily a game-changer but could be a solid SS, good in run support and decent in zone coverages.

Third round
No. 66 Nevada linebacker Dontay Moch, Cincinnati Bengals says: Moch likely will line up at the SLB, and although the Bengals like their outside guys, he adds depth and versatility,

No. 69 FAU tight end Rob Housler, Arizona Cardinals says: Housler will bring them an H-back type pass-catcher who should really upgrade them on third down and in the red zone.

No. 78 Boise State receiver Austin Pettis, St. Louis Rams says: Pettis will give them a tall presence in the red zone and on third down and he can be the go-to guy in key situations.

No. 82 San Diego State receiver Vincent Brown, San Diego Chargers says: While Brown might not be elite, Philip Rivers will like him because he'll run good routes and be a nice target. But he's not explosive.

No. 83 Troy receiver Jerrel Jernigan, New York Giants says: Jernigan is not necessarily a big-play guy but he can work out of the slot, create yards after the catch and give them some return ability.

No. 85 UCF offensive lineman Jah Reid, Baltimore Ravens says: With this pick, look for the Ravens to try to develop him as their RT and leave Oher on the left side.

No. 90 Utah State cornerback Curtis Marsh, Philadelphia Eagles says: The No. 1 need for this team was CB and Marsh is a perfect fit in the style of defense they play.

No. 96 Hawaii running back Alex Green, Green Bay Packers says: This is a great offense without a consistent run game and Green is a versatile back who can catch well and be another target for Aaron Rodgers.

Fourth round
No. 112 Hawaii receiver Greg Salas, St. Louis Rams says: Much like their third-round pick Austin Pettis, Salas is a good route runner and he really works well in the middle of the field.

No. 121 Wyoming safety Chris Prosinski, Jacksonville Jaguars says: The Jags could use two new guys and more depth and Prosinski is a step in the right direction.

No. 131 New Mexico State cornerback Davon House, Green Bay Packers says: Although not a major need, House fits nicely into the Packers' defensive scheme as a press corner who will play a lot of man coverages.

Fifth round
No. 132 Hawaii receiver Kealoha Pilares, Carolina Panthers
No. 138 TCU offensive lineman Marcus Cannon, New England Patriots
No. 143 Buffalo cornerback Josh Thomas, Dallas Cowboys
No. 144 Idaho safety Shiloh Keo, Houston Texans
No. 147 Middle Tennessee cornerback Rod Issac, Jacksonville Jaguars
No. 153 TCU receiver Jeremy Kerley, New York Jets
No. 159 Marshall tight end Lee Smith, New England Patriots
No. 160 Idaho quarterback Nate Enderle, Chicago Bears
No. 162 Fresno State linebacker Chris Carter, Pittsburgh Steelers

Sixth round
No. 174 Tulsa fullback Charles Clay, Miami Dolphins
No. 176 East Carolina receiver Dwayne Harris, Dallas Cowboys
No. 178 SMU receiver Aldrick Robinson, Washington Redskins
No. 190 TCU safety Colin Jones, San Francisco 49ers

Seventh round
No. 204 Nevada tight end Virgil Green, Denver Broncos
No. 210 Fresno State offensive lineman Andrew Jackson, Atlanta Falcons
No. 211 UCF defensive end Bruce Miller, San Francisco 49ers
No. 213 Boise State cornerback Brandyn Thompson, Washington Redskins
No. 214 Arkansas State offensive lineman Derek Newton, Houston Texans
No. 219 TCU defensive back Malcolm Williams, New England Patriots
No. 222 FIU cornerback Anthony Gaitor, Tampa Bay Bucs
No. 238 Idaho tight end Daniel Hardy, Tampa Bay Bucs
No. 249 San Diego State receiver DeMarco Sampson, Arizona Cardinals
No. 254 Rice defensive end Cheta Ozougwu, Houston Texans

Lunchtime Links

April, 26, 2011
Getting closer to the big day for lots of former college football players. Still wondering whether Andy Dalton is going to go in first round. We have two more days to wait. Now on to some links:

Chadd Cripe of the Idaho Statesman checks in with Austin Pettis, Titus Young and Jeron Johnson as they prepare for the NFL draft.

Here is Part 2 in The Deseret News' look at BYU: Cougars hoping changes pay dividends.

Southern Miss receiver DeAndre Brown has been sworn to secrecy when it comes to the teams that have worked him out before the draft.

TCU speedster Jeremy Kerley worked out for 11 teams.

New Mexico State cornerback Davon House could go in the second round.

A vote on Sun Belt expansion is growing less likely.

UNLV coach Bobby Hauck has to compete for local talent with BCS schools.

Chuck Landon of the Herald-Dispatch calls Marshall's spring "the most insignificant spring practice I've ever witnessed."

Returning starters: WAC

January, 31, 2011
We will continue our look at returning starters in each conference this week. Last week, I started with the Mountain West. Today, we look at the WAC.

With Boise State headed to the Mountain West, the league is as wide open as it has been in years. Another big reason why is the two teams that shared the WAC title with Boise State in 2010 – Nevada and Hawaii – have lost many of their starters. Fresno State could be poised to sneak to the top, but there are big holes to fill on offense and defense.

San Jose State: 20 (seven offense, 11 defense, two special teams)

Key returnees: LB Keith Smith, LB Vince Buhagiar, RB Brandon Rutley

Key losses: QB Jordan La Secla, WR Jalal Beauchman.

New Mexico State: 16 (seven offense, seven defense, two special teams)

Key returnees: AP Taveon Rogers, RB Kenny Turner, QB Matt Christian

Key losses: DB Davon House, WR Marcus Allen.

Idaho: 15 (five offense, eight defense, two special teams)

Key returnees: LB Robert Siavii, LB Tre’Shawn Robinson, RB Princeton McCarty.

Key losses: QB Nathan Enderle, FS Shiloh Keo, DE Aaron Lavarias.

Louisiana Tech: 15 (six offense, seven defense, two special teams)

Key returnees: RB Lennon Creer, DL Matt Broha, LB Adrien Cole.

Key losses: KR/PR Phillip Livas, QB Ross Jenkins, LT Rob McGill.

Fresno State: 14 (seven offense, five defense, two special teams)

Key returnees: DT Logan Harrell, RB Robbie Rouse, LB Travis Brown.

Key losses: QB Ryan Colburn, DE Chris Carter, WR Jamel Hamler.

Utah State: 14 (eight offense, five defense, one special teams)

Key returnees: LB Bobby Wagner, LB Kyle Gallagher, AP Kerwynn Williams

Key losses: QB Diondre Borel, DB Curtis Marsh, RB Derrvin Speight

Nevada: 13 (five offense, seven defense one special teams)

Key returnees: WR Rishard Matthews, LB James-Michael Johnson, DB Isaiah Frey

Key losses: QB Colin Kaepernick, RB Vai Taua, DE Dontay Moch

Hawaii: 10 (three offense, six defense, one special teams)

Key returnees: QB Bryant Moniz, LB Corey Paredes, DL Kaniela Tuipulotu

Key losses: WR Greg Salas, WR Kealoha Pilares, S Mana Silva