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September 27, 2007

Will's WAC Power Poll

(1) Hawai'i (1-0, 4-0) At Idaho on Saturday... the normally road-weary Warriors have won 5 straight away from the islands, their longest road winning streak since 1982... QB Colt Brennan is expected back in Hawai'i's lineup Saturday after sitting out last week's win over Charleston Southern... WR Jason is closing in on the WAC's all-time receptions mark (227, record is 263).

Player Watch: DB Ryan Mouton has scored 2 touchdowns this season, one on an interception return and the other on a kickoff return. He's averaging more than 30 yards per kick return.

By the Numbers: The 4-0 start marks the first time the Warriors have opened the season with 4 straight wins since 1988.

(2) Boise State (0-0, 2-1) Hosts Southern Mississippi Thursday night on ESPN... not Southern Miss's 1st adventure on the blue turf as they lost the 1998 Humanitarian Bowl to Idaho in Boise... BSU, known for its wide-open offense and gadgetry, has 12 touchdowns this season-- 9 via the rush... the Broncos top two tacklers are both defensive backs-- CB Orlando Scandrick and S Jeron Johnson (19 each).

Player Watch: Freshman Kyle Brotzman is off to a good start replacing steady Anthony Montgomery at kicker, 2-3 on field goals and 10-10 on extra points. The Meridian native's only miss came from 51 yards out.

By the Numbers: 150 yards rushing and 3 touchdowns-- that's what offensive lineman Jeff Cavender publically promised RB Ian Johnson against Southern Miss. Such boldness didn't go over well with head coach Chris Petersen, who promptly made the team's offensive linemen off-limits to the media for the rest of the season.

(3) Fresno State (0-0, 1-2) Takes on LaTech Saturday in Fresno... trailed 42-6 in the 2nd quarter last week against Oregon... Isaac Kinter, Jason Crawley, Vince Pascoe,Anthony Harding, and Clifton Smith combined for 5 receptions against the Ducks-- for a total of 7 yards... were outrushed 307-60 in the game.

Player Watch: Ryan Mathews is one of 3 freshmen (BSU's Jeremy Avery and Idaho's Deonte Jackson are the others) who are in the conference's top 9 in rushing yards. In fact, there are no seniors among the top 9.

By the Numbers: The Bulldogs lead the entire nation in passing yards allowed per game (97.7). Rather odd when you consider that, since allowing 1-AA Sacramento State just a field goal, Texas A&M put up 47 points and Oregon put up 52. Not surprisingly, they're surrendering nearly 225 per game on the ground.

(4) Nevada (0-0, 1-2) Welcomes bitter in-state rival UNLV to Mackey Stadium on Saturday... last time the 'Pack played, they had 3 straight scoring drives of under 1 minute (47 seconds, 16 seconds, 12 seconds) against Nicholls State... despite completing just 50% of his passes, quarterback Nick Graziano is 4th in the WAC in pass efficiency and 3rd in TD passes (7)... Nevada has not been held scoreless in a game since September 1980, the longest streak in the nation.

Player Watch: Junior RB Luke Lippincott is 4th in the WAC in rushing, averaging a touch over 87 yards per game with 2 touchdowns.

By the Numbers: Their last opponent, Nicholls State, attempted just one pass two weeks ago. It was incomplete.

(5) New Mexico State (0-0, 2-2) Plays Arkansas-Pine Bluff at home on Saturday... statistically, NMSU has the top 3 receivers in the WAC in terms of catches per game: Chris Williams (1st, 8.0), Derek Dubois (2nd, 7.0), and AJ Harris (T-3, 6.75)... NMSU is 7th in the WAC in scoring defense (34.2), but 7 of the conference's 9 teams are allowing at least 30 points per game thusfar.

Player Watch: LB Dante Floyd is 2nd in the conference in total tackles (39) and tied for 6th in average tackles per game (9.8). He also has a pair of sacks

By the Numbers: WR Brandon Allen has caught a pass in 35 straight games, 7 short of the all-time WAC mark and the 2nd-longest current streak in the nation.

(6) Louisiana Tech (0-1, 1-2) At Fresno State Saturday... according to AFCA, one of just 32 schools to graduate at least 70 percent of its players... worst pass defense in the WAC, giving up over 350 yards per game via the air... Tech's longest pass play of the season covers just 20 yards from Zac Champion to Joe Anderson.

Player Watch: A little love for the punter... Tech's Chris Keagle leads the WAC at 44.9 yards per punt. That mark is good for #2 in the nation.

By the Numbers: Defensive stats are all goofy with 2 of their 3 games coming against high-scoring and nationally-ranked foes in Hawai'i and California.

(7) Idaho (0-0, 1-3) Hosts Hawai'i Saturday in Moscow... face the prospect of playing nationally-ranked Hawai'i at home without star freshman RB Deonte Jackson... Jackson, the WAC's leading rusher, sprained an ankle in last week's loss to Northern Illinois... freshman WR Maurice Shaw had his coming-out party against the Huskies, grabbing 5 passes for 86 yards and a score after posting just 2 catches for 11 yards and a TD in the team's first three games.

Player Watch: QB Nathan Enderle and the Vandal passing game finally broke out against Northern Illinois last week. The redshirt freshman threw for a career-best (by a longshot) 423 yards and almost led the Vandals to a stunning comeback victory.

By the Numbers: Over the past three seasons, Idaho has been outscored 144-31 by Hawai'i.

(8) San Jose State (1-0, 1-3) Plays 1-AA UC Davis on Saturday... had 2 players honored by the WAC as players of the week following their win over Utah State... QB Adam Tafralis won the offensive honor with DB Jonathan Harris winning the defensive award... RB Jacob French had a career-high 74 rushing yards against the Aggies and the team posted a season-high 98 on the ground.

Player Watch: We've been telling you to watch out for JC transfer David Richmond at receiver. Apparently, Utah State isn't a regular reader. Richmond torched the Aggies defense for 180 yards receiving and leads the team in yardage through the air (278).

By the Numbers: QB Adam Tafralis is tied for 8th on the team in receiving with 3 catches for 25 yards through 4 games.

(9) Utah State (0-1, 0-4) Faces nearby rival Utah on Saturday... already running out of winnable games... WR Kevin Robinson, a great player mired on a bad team, was named the WAC's special teams player of the week... adding to the frustration of being 0-4: Utah State has been tied or led in the 4th quarter of 3 of their 4 games... Robinson and Aaron Lesue are 3rd and 4th, respectively, in the WAC in kickoff return average.

Player Watch: QB Leon Jackson went over the 3,000-yard mark in his career at Utah State, making him just the 10th Aggie quarterback to reach that plateau. He's also second in the conference in punting.

By the Numbers: Their 10 straight losses is the 2nd-longest active losing streak in the nation


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