Week 6 News & Notes in PDF Format
WHAT TO WATCH FOR THIS WEEK: For the second straight week, our action kicks off with a nationally-televised nonconference game with former Mountain West Conference member BYU. This week, the Cougars are at home, looking to avoid its second consecutive loss to a MW team, hosting Boise State. The Broncos have dominated the series with just two losses in seven meetings but those two defeats came in LaVell Edwards Stadium.
There are two more nonconference matchups slated for the weekend, both against service academies. Air Force hosts Navy in the opening game of the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy series, which features the nation’s three service academies: Army, Navy and Air Force. Army, playing its second straight Conference USA opponent after defeating UTEP, 35-21, at West Point last Saturday, visits Rice on Saturday. The teams are meeting for the fourth year in a row and the Owls have won five of the last six matchups in the series but the Black Knights snapped the Owls winning streak last year with a 31-14 victory.
In league action, C-USA has three teams opening its conference slate as Marshall visits Charlotte, Old Dominion hosts Florida Atlantic and UTSA hosts Southern Miss. For the Roadrunners, its the first time they have opened the conference schedule at home. There are three more C-USA games slated for Saturday, including the battle between WKU and UTEP, which will result in one team picking up its first C-USA win of the season. The Mountain West has four league games on Saturday, two of which feature unbeated teams in MW play. Utah State, playing at home for the second consecutive week, hosts Colorado State in a war for the top spot in the Mountain Division. In the West Division, No. 19/21 San Diego State aims to become bowl eligible and remain undefeated, visiting the UNLV Rebels. Please check out the complete schedule with series notes and viewing information on page 1 of the PDF.
RIBBONS FOR LAS VEGAS: Nevada, San Diego State and UNLV players will wear ribbon decals on their helmets during the respective games on Saturday to honor the victims of Sunday night’s mass shooting on the Las Vegas Strip. Fifty-nine people were killed when a gunman opened fire on a country music concert on the Strip. It is the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. UNLV has plans for commemorative tributes to honor the victims as well as first responders in a pregame ceremony and throughout Saturday’s game at Sam Boyd Stadium, which has been dubbed “Heroes Night.” The Rebels will wear the red ribbon decals while the Wolf Pack will wear silver ones on their helmets the remainder of the season.
UTEP COACHING CHANGE: Sean Kugler, UTEP’s head coach since the 2013 season, announced on Sunday, Oct. 1 that he was stepping down. The Miners were 18-36 in Kugler’s tenure, including 11-22 versus Conference USA opponents. UTEP finished 7-6 (5-3 C-USA) in 2014 and played in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl. UTEP Director of Athletics Bob Stull announced on Monday that Mike Price will step in as the Miners’ interim head football coach for the remainder of the 2017 season. This is Price’s second tour of duty with the Miners. He served as UTEP’s head coach from 2004-12 and took the Miners to three bowl games, including UTEP’s 2010 appearance in the New Mexico Bowl.
GILDAN NEW MEXICO BOWL CONNECTIONS: As of September 27, there are currently 49 former collegiate athletes who played in at least one of the previous New Mexico Bowls and is listed as active, practice squad or injured reserve among 23 of the 32 NFL teams. The Denver Broncos boast the most alums with five. On the collegiate side, Colorado State has produced the most pros with seven. UTSA’s Jarveon Williams is the lone participant from last year’s game. All-time, the Gildan New Mexico Bowl has had 169 alumni listed on an NFL roster. For a complete list of the active athletes, see page 3 of the PDF.