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Matt Wadleigh’s Dec. 27-30 Mountain West Bowl Previews

After winning three and losing two, the MWC has two games left to play in the postseason

Posted on December 26, 2022

  By Matt Wadleigh, SuperWest Sports

The first weekend of bowl games was great for the Mountain West Conference as Fresno State and Boise State (the two division winners) won.

Then Eastern Michigan defeated San Jose State, and Air Force dominated Baylor.

The San Diego State Aztecs lost to Middle Tennessee State in the Hawaii Bowl on Christmas Eve, so we have two more MWC games to examine.

Memphis vs Utah State 

December 27
12:15 p.m. PT, ESPN

Despite these teams having identical 6-6 records and just sneaking into bowl eligibility, this is one of the more interesting games of the lower end of bowl season.

Memphis began the season 4-1 but then lost four straight and finished 2-1 to end the year with a .500 record.

The offense has been electric, and they finished the year 42nd in the country in points per game (35.1), 40th in passing yards (279.8), and 76th in total yards per game (421.8).

Quarterback Seth Henigan finished with 3,287 yards and 19 scores while adding four more and 315 yards rushing.

Memphis has three wide receivers with 500 or more receiving yards and three players with four or more scores. The offense for Memphis can score points, which should make for a fun game.

Utah State WR Brian Cobbs | Steve Conner/AP

The Utah State Aggies had one of the strangest years in college football. They began the season 1-4 and looked to be at the bottom of the MWC. Then they won five of six before falling to Boise State in the year’s final game.

The Aggies made headlines by topping Air Force and San Jose State, and they definitely earned this bowl trip. Running back Calvin Tyler Jr. is the engine that keeps this train going, and he had 1,043 yards with seven scores on the season.

Brian Cobbs is a threat at WR as well with 844 yards and four scores, and the Aggies had one of the best finishes to the season in the country.

The Aggies have scored 20 or more points in each of the last four games, and this could be a very entertaining game. Memphis is a tough team, but Utah State’s momentum continues in a close victory.

Prediction: Utah State 34, Memphis 31

Ohio vs Wyoming 

December 30
1:30 p.m. PT, Barstool

The final game of the MWC season is the Arizona Bowl two days before New Year’s.

The Wyoming Cowboys had high hopes of winning the MWC and were 3-3 before winning four in a row only to lose two down the stretch, including a 30-0 shutout at Fresno State.

The Cowboys run the ball well—ranking 70th in rushing yards per game—and play defense at a high level. Their defense is 85th in the country in points against (23.42).

Titus Swen was the heart and soul of this team coming off a 1,039-yard campaign with eight scores until he was dismissed in late November for violating team rules.

How Wyoming replaces his production could be an issue in this game but expect them to continue to run the ball.

Cowboys QB Andrew Peasley vs Fresno St | Wyoming Athletics

Ohio ranks 72nd in points scored (31.9 PPG), 67th in yards (424.2), and 33rd in passing yards per contest (285.3). The Bobcats throw the ball a ton, and Kurtis Rourke had 3,256 yards with 25 touchdowns this year.

The Bobcats have a quality running back of their own in Sieh Bangura (940 yards and 12 TDs) and a talented wide receiver duo in Sam Wiglusz and Jacoby Jones.

The Cowboys are going to run the ball and play terrific defense, but the Bobcats are going to throw the ball a lot.

The conflicting styles make for a difficult game, but the Bobcat offense is one of the best Wyoming has faced. We all saw what happened when the Cowboys played the Bulldogs in the last game of the regular season.

Prediction: Ohio 31, Wyoming 24

—More from Matt Wadleigh—