NCF Nation: Ryan Wolfe
Junior quarterback Andy Dalton won offensive player of the year, defensive end Jerry Hughes won defensive player of the year, Jeremy Kerley was named the special teams player of the year and Gary Patterson was named the coach of the year.
Wyoming quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels was named the league’s freshman of the year.
Overall, TCU led the conference with nine players selected to the first team. Utah was second with six selections, including running back Eddie Wide, who replaced Matt Asiata midseason. BYU had four players named.
UNLV senior receiver Ryan Wolfe, BYU senior tight end Dennis Pitta and BYU senior defensive end Jan Jorgensen were named first-team honorees for the third time in their respective careers.
1. Familiar foes: Missouri and Utah never met when current Wyoming coach Dave Christensen was the offensive coordinator, but Christensen used to spend a lot of time in Utah trading offensive plays with his good friend and former Utah offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig. With the exception of some personnel tweaks, Utah’s offense hasn’t changed much.
2. A scary Halloween: Halloween has not been kind to Navy. The Midshipmen are 1-12-1 all-time on the holiday and the last win came against NC State in 1914. In all fairness, the Mids haven’t played a Halloween game since 1931 when they tied West Virginia Wesleyan 0-0.
3. It’s all about karma: During last year’s Troy-Louisiana-Monroe game, Troy suffered a safety, turned the ball over twice and missed three field goals, including the game-winning try that went off the crossbar. The loss to the Warhawks was the Trojans' only defeat in conference. The Trojans have to feel like they’re due some good karma this week.
4. Hungry like the Wolfe: UNLV might not be having a good season, but receiver Ryan Wolfe continues on a record-setting pace. Against New Mexico last week, Wolfe became the nation’s active leader in receptions with 270. He ranks 15th all-time, and if he notches just two catches against TCU this weekend, he’ll move into 13th all-time.
5. I’m Bear Woods: According to Troy media relations guru Ricky Hazel, mop sales have gone up in the Troy, Ala., area this week. Several fans visiting Movie Gallery Stadium for the contest between Troy and ULM have decided to dress up as Troy linebacker Bear Woods for Halloween. You'll have to see his picture to get the reference.
6. Ready for our close up: Marshall coach Mark Snyder called Sunday’s ESPN televised game against Central Florida “huge,” not only because it’s a big game for Conference USA, but also because both teams are the only football game on that night, which should help recruiting and the exposure of players such as running back Darius Marshall and tight end Cody Slate, who are up for national awards.
7. The race for the BCS: Both Boise State and TCU have games against subpar opponents this weekend who have combined for a 4-10 record this season. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be dangerous. Both teams have had their moments and could present a challenge if either the Frogs or Broncos don’t show up.
8. Keeping the faith: Idaho coach Robb Akey said he’d learn a lot about his team this week by the way they respond after a 70-45 shellacking by Nevada last week. Akey said the day after the game his team wasn’t moping and was anxious to get back in the win column. Not good news for a struggling Louisiana Tech team.
9. Rocky’s return: San Diego State defensive coordinator Rocky Long will meet his former team, New Mexico, for the first time this weekend and it’s a different team than the one he left. The Lobos are 0-7 and their coach, Mike Locksley, is back for his first game since being suspended. Both SDSU coach Brady Hoke and Locksley said this game wasn’t about Long, but who knows if the players will see it that way.
10. Keeping the streak alive: Fresno State running back Ryan Mathews has rushed for at least 100 yards in every game this season, and he’ll have a chance to make it eight consecutive games against a Utah State rushing defense that is one of the worst in the country. The Aggies allow 197.43 yards per game and 10 of their 27 touchdowns allowed have come on the ground.
Posted by ESPN.com’s Graham Watson
UNLV senior receiver Ryan Wolfe became the nation’s leading active receiver last weekend after grabbing eight catches for 96 yards and a touchdown at Wyoming.
He now has 240 career receptions, which is one more than Central Michigan senior Bryan Anderson, and 3,119 yards, which is just ahead of the 3,038 by Buffalo senior receiver Naaman Roosevelt.
Wolfe needs just 23 more catches to break J.R. Toliver’s (San Diego State) all-time Mountain West record of 262, which he set after playing from 1999 to 2002. Wolfe needs 516 more receiving yards to break David Anderson’s (Colorado State) league mark of 3,634 yards set from 2002 to 2005.
Through four games this fall, Wolfe has 31 receptions for 384 yards.
Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller
If Oregon State's season had only started the second week of October the previous three years, who knows what might have happened?
The Beavers are 22-3 after Oct. 8 the past three seasons. And are 6-9 before.
After Oct. 8, they have three bowl wins. Before, they have nonconference road losses by 28, 31 and 31 points.
The Beavers probably feel ahead of the game starting 1-0, but they also did that in 2006 and 2007.
|Gene Lower/Getty Images|
|The UNLV offense, led by Omar Clayton, was tied for first last season in red zone efficency.|
Up next is a visit to UNLV on Saturday.
While many Oregon State fans are probably thinking, "Whew! That's not Penn State or even Boise State," the Rebels are not a gimme. They have 15 starters back -- seven on both sides of the ball plus their kicker -- and lots of other returners who saw action during a 5-7 season in 2008, which included a win at Arizona State. And recall that the Mountain West Conference wasn't too shabby last year, either.
Of most particular concern: The Rebels have an experienced quarterback in junior Omar Clayton -- who threw 18 touchdown passes a year ago with just four interceptions -- and a pair of receivers who are Pac-10 quality in Ryan Wolfe and Phillip Payne.
Clayton & Co. were particularly potent in the red zone. Get this: The Rebels tied Ohio State for No. 1 in red zone offense. Twenty-nine of 37 red zone opportunities ended in touchdowns, so we're not just talking about a bunch of field goals, either.
And, as mentioned a few times, the Beavers have four new starters in their secondary and just three starters back on defense.
"They are productive receivers and there's some experience there and in the spread offense," Oregon State coach Mike Riley said. "It's a lot of one-on-one coverage as you get going. They either run the ball or run the option or fake all that stuff and get you into one-on-one pass coverage. It's going to be a big challenge that way."
So this is a test of your Beavers Don't Start Slowly Again Network.
There's a second level of intrigue. Riley and UNLV coach Mike Sanford are tight. As in darn near best friends tight.
"I think he's the greatest guy in the world," Riley said.
(Riley was exaggerating. Everyone knows you are the greatest guy in the world. Or woman).
They have a long history working together, too. Sanford, a former USC quarterback, coached under Riley at USC and with the San Diego Chargers.
Sanford got his opportunity at UNLV in 2005 after a highly successful run as Urban Meyer's offensive coordinator at Utah. After a slow start, things seem to be trending up in Las Vegas.
"I see that improvement -- I know personally how hard it is to make those jumps," Riley said.
Friendship notwithstanding, the Beavers would like to make a jump to a 2-0 start for the first time since 2005 and see how that might affect the rest of the season.
Of course, that 2-0 start in 2005 was a prelude to a 5-6 finish, one of only two losing seasons that program has posted since 1999.
The Biletnikoff Award watch list was recently released and 18 players from the nonautomatic qualifying schools made the cut.
The award goes to the nation's best collegiate receiver.
Three players from the non-AQ schools have won the award, but none this decade. Wyoming's Marcus Harris won in 1996, Randy Moss of Marshall won in 1997 and Troy Edwards from Louisiana Tech won in 1998.
Several players have been finalists, though, including Rice's Jarett Dillard in 2006, Ball State's Dante Ridgeway in 2004 and Nevada's Nate Burleson in 2002.
Both Conference USA and the Mid-American Conference lead the non-AQ's with five nominees each.
The winner of the 17th Biletnikoff Award will be announced as part of ESPN's College Football Awards Show on Dec. 10. The award will be officially presented to the winner at the annual Biletnikoff Award dinner, hosted by the Tallahassee Quarterback Club, on Feb. 12, 2010.
2009 BILETNIKOFF AWARD WATCH LIST (From non-AQs)
Kris Adams, UTEP
Seyi Ajirotutu, Fresno State
Antonio Brown, Central Michigan
DeAndre Brown, Southern Miss
Tyron Carrier, Houston
Cortez Gent, Florida Atlantic
Rashaun Greer, Colorado State
T.Y. Hilton, Florida International
Jerrel Jernigan, Troy
Damaris Johnson, Tulsa
Dennis Pitta, BYU
Taylor Price, Ohio
Aldrick Robinson, SMU
Naaman Roosevelt, Buffalo
Greg Salas, Hawaii
Jacory Stone, Eastern Michigan
Stephen Williams, Toledo
Ryan Wolfe, UNLV
TOP 25 SCOREBOARD
2:00 PM ET Washington State Colorado State 3:30 PM ET 20 Fresno State 25 USC 5:30 PM ET Buffalo San Diego State 9:00 PM ET Tulane Louisiana-Lafayette
6:00 PM ET Pittsburgh Bowling Green 9:30 PM ET Utah State 23 Northern Illinois
2:30 PM ET Marshall Maryland 6:00 PM ET Syracuse Minnesota 9:30 PM ET Brigham Young Washington
12:00 PM ET Rutgers Notre Dame 3:20 PM ET Cincinnati North Carolina 6:45 PM ET Miami (FL) 18 Louisville 10:15 PM ET Michigan Kansas State
11:45 AM ET Middle Tennessee Navy 3:15 PM ET Ole Miss Georgia Tech 6:45 PM ET 10 Oregon Texas 10:15 PM ET 14 Arizona State Texas Tech
12:30 PM ET Arizona Boston College 2:00 PM ET Virginia Tech 17 UCLA 4:00 PM ET Rice Mississippi State 8:00 PM ET 24 Duke 21 Texas A&M
12:00 PM ET Nebraska 22 Georgia 12:00 PM ET UNLV North Texas 1:00 PM ET Iowa 16 LSU 1:00 PM ET 19 Wisconsin 9 South Carolina 5:00 PM ET 5 Stanford 4 Michigan State 8:30 PM ET 15 UCF 6 Baylor
7:30 PM ET 13 Oklahoma State 8 Missouri 8:30 PM ET 12 Clemson 7 Ohio State