NCF Nation: Reggie Rembert

Non-AQ Top 25 players: No. 19

February, 23, 2011
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If we ranked players on a toughness scale, no doubt this one would be right at the top of the list. He overcame a scary moment early in the season to return to his team and take his spot as one of its emotional leaders. Not that anyone should be surprised.

19. Reggie Rembert, CB, Air Force

[+] EnlargeAir Force's Reggie Rembert
Ron Chenoy/US PRESSWIREWhen given the opportunity, Air Force cornerback Reggie Rembert made big plays this season.
When Rembert was taken off the field on a stretcher against Northwestern State in the season opener, everyone expected the worst. He was immobilized and taken to the hospital for tests. Coach Troy Calhoun maintained the following week that Rembert was a long-shot to play. But lo and behold, there was Rembert playing against BYU the week after sustaining a concussion. To Rembert it was no big deal. But to his teammates, it showed his toughness and tenacity. Rembert may not have the gaudy stats -- 51 tackles and three interceptions -- but how many opportunities do you think he got as the team’s top shut-down corner? Rembert won All-Mountain West Conference first-team honors for the second straight season and was voted first team All-America by the American Football Coaches Association. It was the first time since 1992 that an Air Force player made a first-team All-America list.

No. 20 T.Y. Hilton, WR/KR, FIU

No. 21 Eric Page, WR/KR, Toledo

No. 22 Jake Kirkpatrick, C, TCU

No. 23 Muhammad Wilkerson, DT, Temple

No. 24 Bobby Rainey, RB, Western Kentucky

No. 25 Roosevelt Nix, DT, Kent State

Season wrap: Air Force

December, 28, 2010
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There is no question that coach Troy Calhoun has rejuvenated the program. Calhoun is the only coach to guide Air Force (9-4, 5-3 MWC) to four straight bowl games and four straight seasons of eight-plus wins. After its 14-7 win over Georgia Tech in the AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl, Air Force won consecutive bowl games for the first time since the 1990 and 1991 Liberty bowls. Air Force has now won nine games for the second time since Calhoun took over four seasons ago. But better than all of that, the Falcons won the Commander-In-Chief Trophy for the first time since 2002 after beating Army and Navy this season. It was a season full of triumphs. Air Force successfully replaced all five starters on its offensive line. Tim Jefferson flourished at quarterback. Rick Ricketts and Reggie Rembert finished their careers with outstanding seasons. Players stepped up when injuries knocked down starters Jared Tew, Kevin Fogler, Ken Lamendola, Patrick Hennessey, and Wylie Wikstrom. And Air Force beat a team from the ACC for the first time since 1998.

Offensive MVP: QB Tim Jefferson. The junior finished the season with career highs for passing yards (1,342), passing touchdowns (10), rushing yards (769) and rushing touchdowns (15). Jefferson needs two more wins to pass Dee Dowis (1986-89) as the winningest quarterback in Air Force history.

Defensive MVP: CB Reggie Rembert. The heart of the defense, Rembert was named first-team All-Mountain West Conference for the second straight year. Rembert is the first Falcon to earn first-team honors in back-to-back seasons since offensive lineman James Norman in 1998-99. He was the only Air Force player to win first-team honors this season.

What’s next: A fifth straight bowl appearance should be expected with Jefferson, Asher Clark and Jonathan Warzeka returning to the offense, along with Jon Davis and Anthony Wright on defense. There are plenty of big shoes to fill, including Rembert, Rickets, Tew and Fogler. The schedule also features Notre Dame, along with the addition of Boise State. But Calhoun has proved to be an effective leader and in complete command of the program.
Air Force beat Georgia Tech 14-7 in the AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl on Monday. Here is a quick instant analysis:

How the game was won: This ended up being a defensive struggle. The top two rushing teams in the country were held below their season averages on the ground. Air Force quarterback Tim Jefferson threw more than he normally does, recording his second-highest pass attempts of the season. He did have several costly drops that could have led to scoring opportunities early, but his passing helped Air Force get a field goal just before halftime to close the gap to 7-6. The ultimate difference were turnovers from Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets gave the ball away four times, and Air Force finally took advantage when Jared Tew ran up the middle for 3 yards with 13:24 to go in the fourth quarter. Jonathan Warzeka rushed for the 2-point conversion to make it 14-7. Zack Bell missed a 37-yard field goal that would have iced the game, and Air Force had to survive a frantic rally from Georgia Tech that started with 1:48 to go. Jon Davis made the interception with 11 seconds left to seal the game.

Turning point: The third quarter. Georgia Tech lost three fumbles in the quarter, including two from muffed punts by Daniel McKayhan. Air Force failed to take advantage of the first two, but was able to convert the third into the decisive points to win the game.

Player of the game: Air Force may not have had the rushing day it is used to, but the dynamic duo of Jefferson and Tew get the nod here. Interestingly, Jefferson kept the Falcons in the game with his arm by completing 11 of 23 passes for 117 yards. Tew, playing in his first game since breaking his leg against San Diego State on Oct. 16, scored the decisive touchdown.

Unsung hero: How could you not go with Davis, whose interception saved the game for the Falcons.

Best call: Clinging to a 14-7 lead, Air Force got the ball back at its own 9 with 10:57 to play. The Falcons marched down the field, but faced a fourth-and-1 from the Georgia Tech 27 with just under 3 minutes to play. Coach Troy Calhoun had been going for it on fourth down all day, and decided to do it again. Jefferson got the first down. Air Force took more than 9 minutes off the clock, though the drive ended with a missed 37-yard field goal.

What it means: Air Force (9-4) finishes the season with its fourth straight season of eight wins or more, the first time that has happened since 1982-85. The Falcons lose nine starters, including some of its best players -- Tew, cornerback Reggie Rembert and defensive end Rick Ricketts. But Jefferson and Asher Clark return on offense. If this season is any indication, Jefferson is poised to be at his career best in 2011. But will that be enough to compete for a Mountain West title with Boise State joining a lineup that also includes TCU and a resurgent San Diego State?

ESPN.com Non-AQ all-conference team

December, 8, 2010
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Coming up with the all non-AQ team is never easy, because there are so many good players across all five conferences, Army and Navy. Unfortunately, many talented players get left off this list because there isn't room for everybody.

I tried to pick the players who had the most outstanding seasons at their respective positions. The toughest positions for me to pick were defensive line, receiver and linebacker, where I had 10 worthy candidates to whittle down.

It was also tough selecting a quarterback, so I went with two: Heisman Trophy finalist Kellen Moore of Boise State and record-setting Colin Kaepernick of Nevada. Both had incredible seasons worthy of recognition. My lone Sun Belt selection had the best player in the conference -- Western Kentucky running back Bobby Rainey, who ran for 1,649 yards on an astounding 340 carries, with 15 touchdowns.

My lone MAC selection was KR Eric Page, who led the nation with three kickoff returns for touchdowns.

Here is the complete list. Feel free to debate in the comments section.

OFFENSE

QB – Kellen Moore, Boise State; Colin Kaepernick, Nevada

RB – Bobby Rainey, Jr., Western Kentucky

RB – Vai Taua, Sr., Nevada

AP – Damaris Johnson, Jr., Tulsa

WR – Greg Salas, Sr., Hawaii

WR – Titus Young, Sr., Boise State

TE – Virgil Green, Sr., Nevada

OL -- Matt Reynolds, Jr., BYU

OL – Marcus Cannon, Sr., TCU

OL – Nate Potter, Jr., Boise State

OL – Rob McGill, Sr., Louisiana Tech

C -- Zane Taylor, Sr., Utah

DEFENSE

DL -- Chris Carter, Sr., Fresno State

DL – Vinny Curry, Jr., Marshall

DL – Dontay Moch, Sr., Nevada

DL – Shea McClellin, Jr., Boise State

LB – Tank Carder, Jr., TCU

LB – Corey Paredes, Jr., Hawaii

LB -- Mario Harvey, Sr., Marshall

DB – Reggie Rembert, Sr., Air Force

DB – Mana Silva, Sr., Hawaii

DB – Tejay Johnson, Sr., TCU

DB – George Iloka, Boise State

SPECIAL TEAMS

K – Danny Hrapmann, Jr., Southern Miss

P – Kyle Martens, Jr., Rice

KR – Eric Page, So., Toledo

PR – Shaky Smithson, Sr., Utah
Air Force Falcons (8-4) vs. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (6-6)

Dec. 27, 5 p.m. ET (ESPN2)

Air Force take by nation blogger Andrea Adelson: The Falcons took home the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy for the first time in eight years after beating Navy and Army this season, an incredible achievement considering the stranglehold Navy has had on the service academies. Perhaps even more than that, though, Air Force made headlines this season after jumping out to a 5-1 start and nearly upsetting Oklahoma on the road. Then the tough part of the schedule hit -- with back-to-back-to-back games against San Diego State, TCU and Utah. Still, the Falcons rebounded nicely and are headed to a bowl game against a team that might appear to be a mirror image of them.

But what has made Air Force so successful this season has been quarterback Tim Jefferson. Air Force ranks No. 2 in the nation in rushing and runs a version of the triple option, as all the service academies do. But Jefferson posted career highs for rushing yards (769), rushing touchdowns (15), yards per rush (5.4), passing yards (1,342) and touchdown passes (10). It is his passing that has added a different dimension to this offense. Asher Clark also had a 1,000 yard season on the ground. Meanwhile, the defense is anchored by cornerback Reggie Rembert, a first-team AFCA All-American and first-team Mountain West player. He is the heart of that unit.


Georgia Tech take by ACC blogger Heather Dinich: The defending ACC champs were missing too many pieces from last year’s title team to repeat, but Georgia Tech (6-6, 4-4 ACC) was still able to become bowl eligible for the 14th straight time. That’s the fourth-longest active streak in the FBS. The question now is whether the Jackets can find a way to end their five-game losing streak in bowl games.

It should be an interesting matchup considering coach Paul Johnson’s recent history against Air Force. As head coach at Navy, Johnson lost to the Falcons in 2002 and then beat them five straight times. Both run versions of the triple option offense, and Georgia Tech leads the nation in rushing with 327 yards per game. The Jackets’ rushing defense is No. 78 in the country, allowing 169.67 yards per game.

Georgia Tech’s biggest problem this year has been on defense under first-year coordinator Al Groh, former head coach at Virginia. The Jackets are No. 60 in the country in scoring defense, allowing 26.17 points per game. Air Force is averaging 32.25 points per game. Georgia Tech has lost four of its past five games, but one of the biggest losses of the season was quarterback Joshua Nesbitt, the heart and soul of the offense.

Newton leads coaches All-America team

November, 29, 2010
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Auburn quarterback Cam Newton and Oregon running back LaMichael James headline the 2010 American Football Coaches Association All-America team. The Big Ten led all conferences with six selections, followed by the ACC, SEC and Big 12 with four each. Three non-AQ players made the squad as well:

Offense

WR Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma St.

WR Alshon Jeffery, South Carolina

TE Lance Kendricks, Wisconsin

OL Lee Ziemba, Auburn

OL Rodney Hudson, Florida St.

C Chase Beeler, Stanford

OL Stefen Wisniewski, Penn St.

OL Gabe Carimi, Wisconsin

QB Cam Newton, Auburn

RB Kendall Hunter, Oklahoma St.

RB LaMichael James, Oregon

Defense

DL Da’Quan Bowers, Clemson

DL Adrian Clayborn, Iowa

DL Jabaal Sheard, Pittsburgh

DL Ryan Kerrigan, Purdue

LB Luke Kuechly, Boston College

LB Greg Jones, Michigan St.

LB Tank Carder, TCU

DB Reggie Rembert, Air Force

DB Patrick Peterson, LSU

DB Prince Amukamara, Nebraska

DB Quinton Carter, Oklahoma

Specialists

P Kyle Martens, Rice

PK Will Snyderwine, Duke

AP Owen Marecic, Stanford
It has been a while since anybody has been able to utter this sentence:

Air Force and Army play with bowl and Commander-In-Chief Trophy hopes on the line.

But the status quo in college football has been turned on its ear this season, and the game between the two service academies in West Point on Saturday has major implications.

Both teams need one more win to become bowl eligible. If Air Force wins, the Falcons win the Commander-In-Chief Trophy for the first time since 2002, thanks to its win against Navy this season. If Army wins, the Black Knights go to their first bowl game since 1996 and would need to beat Navy on Dec. 11 to get the CIC Trophy for the first time since that season.

This actually has the potential to be a history-making year for the service academies. Navy is also one win away from bowl eligibility. Army, Navy and Air Force have never played in a bowl game in the same season.

Army only has four bowl appearances in its history: 1984, 1985, 1988 and 1996. Army and Navy made bowls in ’96. Army and Air Force made bowl games in 1984 and 1985. Only Army made it in 1988.

“Service academies, football–wise, don’t get much respect from America, and it’s nice to see every team is having pretty good success this year,” Air Force cornerback Reggie Rembert said. “Beating teams that aren’t going through what we’re going through, people have more respect for our football program.”

Air Force (5-4) has only won once since that 14-6 win against Navy on Oct. 2. The Falcons have hit a three-game slide, but two of those losses came to TCU and Utah. One weakness has been their inability to stop the run. Rembert says one of the big reasons is poor tackling.

Army (5-3) obviously runs a different offense, but does run with quarterback Trent Steelman and fullback Jared Hassin. So wrapping up on tackling is the No. 1 priority going into the game.

“If you can’t tackle people, you’re not going to win many games,” Rembert said. “The scoreboard shows it.”

Air Force also has struggled to force turnovers, and is at minus-1 in turnover margin. One of the big reasons why Army is having success this season is because it is getting turnovers, so that could be one of the keys to this game. Army is at plus-10, having given the ball up just eight times all year.

Army needs a win in its next three games against either Air Force, Kent State or Notre Dame to become bowl eligible. Its finale against Navy doesn’t count toward bowl eligibility because it is the week after the BCS standings and bowl pairings are announced.

“Everybody knows it’s a huge game and everybody knows what’s at stake and what’s on the line,” Steelman said. “We just try not to look at that type of stuff. It’s just another game, another win we have to stack up.”

Army has no automatic bowl tie-in this year, but is a backup for the Armed Forces and Military Bowls. Navy has a tie-in to the Poinsettia Bowl, and Air Force has tie-ins with the Mountain West. So for the Black Knights to make it, they would have to be an at-large selection.

First, they have to win a game. Air Force has won four straight in the series and six straight at West Point. Trash talking has also begun. Army cornerback Richard King told The Times Herald Record that Air Force had an “arrogance” about them. “Air Force is by far the team I probably most dislike," King said. “Out of all the teams I've ever played, they talked the most trash and I felt the most disrespected.”

No question emotions will be running high with so much at stake.
Air Force has put together an impressive run to start the season, but its next four games will determine how it finishes.

[+] EnlargeRonnie Hillman
Boyd Ivey/Icon SMIFreshman running back Ronnie Hillman has averaged 6.3 yards per carry.
The No. 23 Falcons (5-1) travel to San Diego State (3-2) to face a much improved Aztecs team still smarting from a disappointing loss to BYU. After this contest, the team travels to No. 4 TCU, then hosts No. 11 Utah and then travels to Army in an all-important game that could decide who wins the Commander-In-Chief Trophy.

Air Force already has a leg up in that competition, with its win over Navy earlier this season. But first, the Falcons are focused on the Aztecs. San Diego State is one of the most balanced teams on the Air Force schedule now that it has been able to establish a running game.

Although that ground attack struggled last week against BYU, Air Force is well aware of what Ronnie Hillman & Co. can do. Coach Troy Calhoun has placed a special emphasis on shoring up the run defense, which has struggled at times this season.

Last week against Colorado State, the Falcons gave up 285 yards on the ground. They also gave up over 200 yards to BYU, which is not typically known as a rushing team. Even Wyoming broke out of its rushing problems with 174 yards on the ground.

“We have to play more technically sound and be aggressive, and read our keys,” Air Force cornerback Reggie Rembert said. “If we stick with our scheme, then we’ll be fine. We had a lot of busts in the last game and even against Wyoming and that leads to big plays.”

San Diego State already has some playmakers at receiver in Vincent Brown and DeMarco Sampson, making their matchup against Rembert and Anthony Wright one to watch. If the Aztecs can get their running game going again, they are dangerous in the play-action because Ryan Lindley is much improved and able to get the ball to Brown, Sampson or one of his other talented receivers.

Tim Jefferson
Dustin Bradford/Icon SMITim Jefferson has seven rushing touchdowns and five passing TDs in 2010.
Of course, the goal for San Diego State is also to stop the run. Air Force is running the triple option extremely efficiently this season behind Tim Jefferson, who also has become a threat to throw it when necessary.

BYU gouged San Diego State for 271 yards on the ground last week, but defensive coordinator Rocky Long said there is nothing that can be taken from those numbers because the run schemes are so different. He also pointed out that BYU carried the ball 62 times for a 4.4-yard average.

But what he does want to see is better tackling, which slipped against the Cougars. Coach Brady Hoke wants his team to be more physical at the point of attack, something that was also lacking against BYU.

“For you to execute as well as they do, which is probably impossible, but you have to execute good enough to keep them under control,” Long said. “Even the people who have kept the score close have given up unbelievable yards rushing. You just have to be assignment-sound and don’t give up big plays. That keeps the score in a position that gives your offense a chance to win.”

As for the road ahead, Air Force has traditionally been a “second-half team” under coach Troy Calhoun.

Air Force is 13-5 under Calhoun in the last six games of the past three seasons -- 4-2 in 2008 and 2009. and 5-1 in 2007. Before Calhoun arrived in 2007, the Falcons were 12-24 over the last six games of seasons going back to 2001.

The challenge awaits.

Non-AQ Players of the Week

October, 11, 2010
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Here are your players of the week from all the non-AQ conferences:

Conference USA

Offense: UTEP WR Kris Adams. Had five catches for 134 yards with three touchdowns in a 44-24 win over Rice. He tied his career high for touchdown catches and also extended his streak of games with a reception to 30.

Defense: UCF FS Kemal Ishmael. Made seven tackles, had an interception and forced a fumble to lead UCF’s defense to a 42-7 win over UAB.

Special teams: Southern Miss K Danny Hrapmann. Made a school-record five field goals (tying the C-USA mark), hitting them from 28, 39, 39, 49 and 49 yards in a loss to East Carolina. He has now converted 16-straight field goal attempts dating back to last season.

MAC

East Division

Offense: Ohio QB Phil Bates. Ran for 142 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries also completed a 47-yard pass to Donte Foster for 191 yards of total offense in a 49-25 win over Bowling Green.

Defense: Kent State DL Roosevelt Nix. The freshman had five tackles, 3.5 sacks, 3.5 tackles for loss, a forced fumble and a pair of hurries in a 28-17 win over Akron. His 6.5 sacks and 10.0 TFL on the year both rank in the top 10 in the nation.

Special Teams: Kent State P Matt Rinehart. Averaged 41.2 yards on nine punts in a 28-17 win over Akron. Six of the nine kicks were downed inside the 20 yard line, including a season-long 64-yarder.

West Division

Offense: Northern Illinois QB Chandler Harnish. Had 282 yards of total offense with 211 yards passing and 71 rushing in a 31-17 win over Temple. Harnish had a season-high 20 completions in 25 attempts and threw touchdown passes of 10 and 4 yards.

Defense: Western Michigan DB Lewis Toler. Intercepted Ball State QB Keith Wenning and ran 24 yards for the Broncos' second TD in the first minute of the game in a win over Ball State.Toler has three interceptions in the past three games.

Special Teams: Western Michigan K John Potter. Made five field goals, six extra points and scored a touchdown on a fake field goal in the win over Ball State.

Mountain West

Offense: Utah QB Jordan Wynn. Led Utah to its highest point total in 27 years in a 68-27 road win over Iowa State. In three quarters of play, Wynn went 23-of-31 for 325 yards and two touchdowns.

Defense: Air Force CB Reggie Rembert. Made a season-high seven tackles, had an interception, three pass breakups and a fumble recovery in a 49-27 win over Colorado State.

Special Teams: Utak PR/KR Shaky Smithson. Returned five punts for 145 yards and finished the game with 261 all-purpose yards. He had the longest punt return of his career, going 78 yards down to the Iowa State 2-yard line.

Sun Belt

Offense: Troy QB Corey Robinson. Went 26-of-37 for 259 yards and three touchdowns in a win over Middle Tennessee.

Defense: Troy LB Kanorris Davis. In his first collegiate start, Davis led the team with nine tackles, including three for losses. His first quarter sack and forced fumble led to the Trojans’ second TD of the game.

Special Teams: North Texas K Zach Olen. Made all five of his kicks against Arkansas State, going 4-of-4 on field goals and 1-for-1 on extra points. No North Texas kicker has been perfect in at least four attempts since North Texas returned to FBS in 1995.

WAC

Offense: Nevada RB Vai Taua. Ran for 196 yards and three touchdowns on 16 carries in a 35-13 win over San Jose State. It was his fifth straight 100-yard game.

Defense: New Mexico State DE Donte Savage. Had nine tackles, including two sacks, forced two fumbles and broke up two passes in a 16-14 win over rival New Mexico. His forced fumble late in the game set up the winning field goal.

Special teams: New Mexico State K Tyler Stampler. Made three field goals, including a 22-yarder with 1:56 left to win the game.

Non-AQ Weekend Rewind

October, 11, 2010
10/11/10
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Let's take a look at the good and the bad for the non-AQs in Week 6.

[+] EnlargeAndy Dalton
AP Photo/Jeffery WashingtonTCU quarterback Andy Dalton has been outstanding at home this season.
The good: The elite non-AQ teams have done their jobs midway through the season. TCU put together an impressive 45-0 win. Quarterback Andy Dalton, who has been up and down this season, was 14-of-17 for 270 yards with three touchdowns. In three home games this season, Dalton is 50-of-61 (82 percent) for 719 yards with six touchdowns and no interceptions. … Utah trailed Iowa State 14-10, but then the second quarter started. The Utes outscored the Cyclones 31-0 and have now outscored opponents an eye-popping 101-7 in the second quarter this season. … Bryant Moniz continues his incredible rise. He came to Hawaii as a walk-on last season, and now is leading the country with 2,245 passing yards – the only quarterback with more than 2,000 yards so far this season. Hawaii has the top ranked passing offense in the country. Greg Salas leads the country in receiving yards, and teammate Kealoha Pilares ranks third. … UTEP quarterback Trevor Vittatoe set new school career records for touchdown throws (89), passing yards (11,260) and total offensive yards (11,117).

The bad: Ball State coach Stan Parrish said his team played one of the worst games since he became head coach, in a 45-16 loss to Western Michigan. His team fumbled the opening kickoff, then had an interception returned for a touchdown on the second series. It was downhill from there, with three more turnovers erasing any chance to win. … Utah State had one of its best wins a week ago against BYU, beating its in-state rival 31-16. But the Aggies had their worst game of the season on Saturday in a 24-6 loss to Louisiana Tech. They had just 73 yards passing and 195 total yards of offense, a week after racking up 434 yards of total offense against the Cougars. Coach Gary Andersen said his team is much better at handling adversity than success.

The heartache: FAU fought back from a 12-0 deficit to take a 20-17 lead against ULM. But a fumbled snap gave ULM the ball at its own 45 with 4:51 remaining. Kolton Browning led the team down the field, and Jyruss Edwards ran for a 5-yard touchdown with 2:43 remaining, handing the Owls their fourth straight loss. … New Mexico clung to a 14-13 lead over in-state rival New Mexico State, but Stump Godfrey fumbled late, setting up Tyler Stamper’s 22-yard field goal to win it for the Aggies. New Mexico turned the ball over four times, and leads the nation with 20 turnovers this season. … San Jose State might have lost 35-13 to Nevada, but it was the first game all season where the Spartans didn’t lose a player to a season-ending injury. Those injuries have taken a toll, but so has the brutal start to the season, with games at Alabama, Wisconsin, Utah and Nevada.

A few more helmet stickers: Nevada defensive end Dontay Moch and running back Vai Taua have had excellent back-to-back games. Moch has a combined 18 tackles, eight tackles for loss, one sack and one forced fumble in the past two games, and Taua has 35 carries for 382 yards and eight total touchdowns (seven rushing, one receiving). … Air Force cornerback Reggie Rembert had a season-high seven tackles, an interception, three pass breakups and a fumble recovery in a 49-27 win against Colorado State. … In his first college game, North Texas kicker Zach Olen was perfect on all five of his kicks against Arkansas State, making 4-0f-4 field goals and his only extra-point attempt.

A few injury items to note: Toledo quarterback Austin Dantin is questionable after being carted off the field in a loss to Boise State last week. Dantin took a hard hit following a run in the fourth quarter and was motionless on the field, but coach Tim Beckman said his quarterback was coherent and he was put on a stretcher as a precautionary measure. Terrance Owens would get the nod if Dantin can’t play. … Temple offensive lineman Steve Caputo (leg) is out for the season. Ohio has lost its two best players -- receiver LaVon Brazill (leg) is out for the season, and linebacker Noah Keller (foot) is doubtful to return this season. North Texas quarterback Riley Dodge (wrist) will have a pin inserted in his broken wrist, and the team is hoping he can return as early as Oct. 30 against Western Kentucky.

Week 7 look ahead: There are some really interesting games in the Mountain West and WAC. Nevada is at Hawaii in a matchup of contrasting offenses. The Wolf Pack love to run, the Warriors love to pass. This is going to be a very big test for Nevada, no question. Air Force plays at San Diego State to start a brutal four-game stretch. Following that game, the Falcons are at TCU, home to Utah then at Army. BYU is at TCU, and there might not be any love lost here. TCU coach Gary Patterson was critical of the Cougars’ move to go independent before the season started.
There is nothing scarier in a football game than watching a player get knocked out, strapped to a stretcher and carted off the field.

Luckily for Air Force cornerback Reggie Rembert, he says what happened to him was not scary at all. Perhaps it was because he was knocked unconscious and totally unaware of the scene around him. Perhaps it was because he ended up with a mild concussion and no neck injury.

Rembert says the tackle that knocked him out in the season opener against Northwestern State was simply a freak accident.

“I’m sure my mom was having a heart attack, but with me, I wasn’t really scared,” he said.

Reggie Rembert
J. Neil Prather/Icon SMIReggie Rembert knows he'll need to be at the top of his game when Air Force meets Oklahoma on Saturday.
No, he wanted to go back into the game. That was never going to happen, of course, so he set his sights on getting cleared to play against BYU. He got medical clearance late in the week, a triumph for a player who wanted not only to play against a team he had never beaten before, but take the field on Sept. 11.

After taking a few hits in pregame, he was ready to return to the field, an incredible one-week turnaround for one of the best cornerbacks in the Mountain West.

When asked about the toughness Rembert showed in coming back so quickly, coach Troy Calhoun said, “Well, he’s at the right school.”

Rembert is going to be a big key this weekend against Oklahoma, a pass-happy team that is expected to try to take advantage of an undersized secondary.

For Rembert, it would be tough keeping him off the field no matter the injury. After he got carted off and put into the ambulance, he came to and started remembering what happened.

“In the ambulance, I said, ‘You’re going to get me back by halftime, right?’” he recalled.

Not exactly. But Rembert was determined not to let what happened to him keep him out for very long.

“I knew as long as they cleared me I would play pretty much until I pulled myself out, which would probably be never,” he said.

Of course, his mother had a different opinion.

“She had strong feelings,” he said. “She texted me [the] day of [the] game and was like, 'Your mom would like for you to wait one more week and not play this game,' but I didn’t text her back.”

Wouldn’t you know it, Rembert ended up with five tackles and an interception in the big 35-14 win over the Cougars.

Air Force did a terrific job taking away the pass from the Cougars, allowing just 88 yards through the air. Rembert said it was a combination of the experienced secondary and pressure the defensive line put on quarterbacks Jake Heaps and Riley Nelson.

They are going to need that and more to slow down an Oklahoma offense that did most of its damage against Florida State last week through the air. Landry Jones had 380 yards and four touchdowns in the game.

“He does well with his reads, does well with his playmakers; they’re going to be a great team and I can’t wait to play them,” Rembert said. “We still have to bring our A-plus game if we want to shock the world.”

Air Force needs a shock-the-world type of game, after all. The Falcons have been trying to break into the Mountain West “Big 3” for several years now. Rembert says his team has the most confidence since he has been there, but it needs a big nonconference win to make a statement.

“It’s going to be huge for our conference as well as our team if we come out and perform,” he said. “It’s going to say big things about Air Force football and the Mountain West Conference.”
Air Force and BYU have barely gotten a chance to know their teams, and already they are set to play in a huge conference matchup Saturday at the Academy.

There is plenty new about both teams, and that could make game planning a challenge considering there is just one game to scout. The Falcons have an entirely new offensive line and five new starters on defense.

BYU will continue to rotate quarterbacks Riley Nelson and Jake Heaps, who helped the Cougars win the opener against Washington.

“This is still the formative stages of who we are,” BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall said. “You have to project a little bit more as to who you think you’re going to be and where you currently are and that makes it a difficult test.”

The Cougars have owned the series recently, winning six straight games. Air Force coach Troy Calhoun has never beaten them. When asked to explain the dominance, he said, “They have a good team.”

Air Force has had better results when the teams play early in the season. The last time they opened conference play against each other, Air Force won 32-12 back in 2000.

The Falcons always provide a difficult challenge to prepare for because of their offensive style. BYU provides similar challenges, especially since it is difficult to prepare for two different quarterbacks with two different styles.

Nelson and Heaps rotated series against Washington, and it seemed to work well. Mendenhall says he has no plans to change the way he uses his players. Each threw for 131 yards in the win. Heaps went 13-of-23, while Nelson went 11-of-17 and threw two touchdown passes. He also finished second on the team with 45 yards rushing on eight carries.

Calhoun called Heaps a slam-dunk first-round NFL pick. Heaps, the freshman, has a stronger arm and more potential, but Nelson is a scrambler with more playing experience. “There’s a wrinkle here or there that each guy does bring when they’re in the game,” Calhoun said.

Mendenhall watched the game tape of his quarterbacks and thought they each did well for their first game out. He said Nelson made good decisions, showed grit and leadership and had some great runs. Mendenhall thought Heaps handled the run game well and threw effectively, but believes his young quarterback can get better at reading the defenses.

He said he was “surprised and gratified” both made such good choices. Neither turned the ball over. Some credit goes to the offensive line and the way they were able to protect both quarterbacks. Washington had zero sacks.

“When young quarterbacks maybe do have a chance to survey the field, it lends to their confidence and helps make them more secure,” Mendenhall said of the good line play. “Really one of the most important strengths and key determinants was the play of our offensive line and how they protected our quarterbacks.”

As for Air Force, the team got off to a slow start last week against Northwestern State but ended up rolling up 616 yards of total offense. BYU will be facing a vastly different team this week than it did in Washington and will have to try and focus on stopping the run. Jared Tew and Asher Clark make up one of the best running tandems in the Mountain West and quarterback Tim Jefferson can run, too. Air Force had 437 yards on the ground against Northwestern State.

But the Falcons might be without one of their best players on defense. Cornerback Reggie Rembert was carted off the field with a neck injury and is considered a long-shot to play. With or without him, the recent history against BYU has not been good for Air Force.

Maybe an early season game can help change those results.

“I don’t think we’ve played well enough,” Air Force offensive coordinator Clay Hendrix said. “We could probably give our kids a little better plan. We’ve been a relatively young group for a couple years. Now we’ve got a mature group, we’re a little older, we’re at home, relatively healthy. So we’ll see.”
Utah quarterback Jordan Wynn is day to day with a sprained thumb on his throwing hand, but coach Kyle Whittingham is hopeful his starter will be able to play Saturday against UNLV.

Wynn was injured in the first half as he rolled out of the pocket under pressure. He was able to flip the ball to Eddie Wide, but he fell on his thumb awkwardly. His thumb stiffened up on him at halftime and he had difficulty gripping the ball but continued to play, though his stats were not as good as they were in the first half.

"He’s a tough guy; he wasn’t going to come out of that ball game," Whittingham said Tuesday on the Mountain West coaches conference call.

Wynn didn't make any throws at practice Tuesday, and Whittingham said it was up to the doctors to clear him to play. "We're hoping for the best," he said.

In other MWC injury news:
  • Whittingham said linebacker JJ Williams is still questionable with a foot injury.
  • Air Force cornerback Reggie Rembert is most likely out for Saturday's game against BYU after being carted off the field with a neck injury in the opener against Northwestern State. Coach Troy Calhoun said there are still neurological tests that Rembert has to undergo before getting back into the groove of football. "He’s a ways off from being able to play," Calhoun said. "Exactly when that is, only time’s going to be able to tell."
  • TCU strong safety Tyler Luttrell is out this week with an undisclosed injury.
  • New Mexico middle linebacker Carmen Messina has a high ankle sprain and is questionable for Saturday's game against Texas Tech.

Non-AQ Weekend Rewind

September, 6, 2010
9/06/10
2:00
PM ET
Let's take a look at the good, the bad and the incredible in a nearly complete Week 1.

The good: The Mountain West and WAC were the only two conferences to win games against AQ opponents. The Mountain West had the best record against teams from those automatic qualifying conferences, going 3-3 with big wins from TCU, BYU and Utah. Fresno State had the lone WAC win, over Cincinnati. Of course, there is still one WAC team yet to play. The other conference records against other AQ schools:

[+] EnlargeUtah Celebration
AP Photo/Steve C. WilsonUtah's upset of No. 15 Pitt was just one reason for Non AQs to celebrate in Week 1.
Conference USA: 0-5; 0-6 against all FBS opponents.

MAC: 0-5; 0-7 against all FBS opponents.

Sun Belt: 0-5; 2-5 against all FBS opponents.

The bad: Nobody could possibly have had a worse weekend than New Mexico, which lost 72-0 to Oregon. This is the perfect example of why many people believe the Mountain West should not get an automatic qualifying bid into the BCS. The league is so top heavy it gets weighed down with the teams at the bottom that simply cannot compete. Show me a team at the bottom of any AQ conferences that could lose as badly as this. Not even Duke, Vanderbilt or Syracuse qualifies.

The incredible: You probably have all seen the highlights, but it bears repeating that East Carolina's last-second win over Tulsa is why fans of the sport love it so much. Time winding down, hopes all but gone, and then a ball dropped from the heavens right into the arms of the 6-foot-8 Justin Jones. "That was the greatest experience of my life," quarterback Dominique Davis said after the game. "There was probably people in the stands -- our fans -- who probably thought the game was over. But I told the team, 'Just trust.' As soon as I let it go, I knew he was going to catch it."

The new: Several new starters at quarterback seemed to do all right for themselves on opening weekend. Jake Heaps of BYU, Corey Robinson of Troy and Logan Kilgore of Middle Tennessee all had decent outings. So did Ryan Radcliff of Central Michigan and Jerry Davis of Buffalo.

A few more helmet stickers: Belated helmet stickers to Davis of East Carolina, who went 27-of-46 for 383 yards with five touchdown passes. He also had a score on the ground. Also, much was made of the way Hawaii was able to hang around USC. The offense looked great, even after starting quarterback Bryant Moniz took a hit to the helmet and was forced to leave the game. Kealoha Pilares had five catches for 176 yards and 3 TDs in the win. Two of his touchdowns went for over 50 yards.

A few injury items to note: UTEP running back Donald Buckram missed the opener against Arkansas Pine-Bluff after bruising his knee in practice. A MRI on his knee was negative, and he clearly was not needed in the win over an FCS team. Hawaii's Moniz didn't practice Saturday but said he expects to play this week against Army. Air Force cornerback Reggie Rembert was carted off the field with a neck injury in the opener against Northwestern State, and it's unlikely that he plays this weekend against BYU. Tests on his neck were negative.

Week 2 look ahead: There are several in-conference games scheduled for this week, the biggest being BYU at Air Force. On Thursday night, Central Michigan plays Temple in the MAC; UTEP is at Houston on Friday night in a big divisional game. You can bet the Miners will need Buckram in this game. FIU, New Mexico State and Louisiana-Monroe were the only three idle teams in the country Week 1. They play their first games this weekend.
An interesting story by Las Cruces Sun-News reporter Teddy Feinberg about New Mexico State running back signee Kenny Turner, who is hoping for a second chance after spending five years in jail.

Utah quarterback Jordan Wynn will face more demands during his first spring as the Utes starter.

Fullback Bobby Winkel decided to join Northern Illinois as a preferred walk-on after a meeting with coach Jerry Kill.

Air Force safety Reggie Rembert is eager to go through spring without a cloud of academy violations over his head.

Navy is looking for a big payout with its game against Ohio State at M&T Bank Stadium in 2014.

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