Around The MTN: Horton, Rams on a Roll
* Mountain West press release contributed to this report
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., -- Tory Horton is stating case for the most dynamic player in the Mountain West Conference.
Colorado State's senior receiver hauled in 10 passes for a season-high 227 yards and three touchdowns Saturday night in a 41-20 rout of visiting Utah Tech. It's the third consecutive week Horton has snagged double-digit passes. It's the second time he's eclipsed the 100-yard mark.
The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Fresno, Calif., product is the league's leading wideout -- and ranked No. 7 in the FBS -- with 540 receiving yards. His 45 grabs is tops in the country.
CSU’s Horton is the third FBS player over the last 25 seasons to have five or more touchdown catches and a touchdown pass through his team’s first four games of a season, joining Colorado’s Paul Richardson Jr. in 2013 and Baylor’s Kendall Wright in 2011.
Horton leads the FBS with 135.0 receiving yards per game this season
The Rams (2-2) have now won two straight for the first time since the middle of the 2021 campaign.
Here are some other notes and tidbits from around the conference:
- Three Mountain West league games comprise the Week 6 schedule, with Wyoming hosting No. 24/24 Fresno State on FOX highlighting the week’s slate. Also on the schedule, San José State visits Boise State and Utah State welcomes Colorado State. All three games kick at 6 p.m. MT.
- Fresno State moved up one spot this week to No. 24 in the Associated Press poll and entered the AFCA poll at No. 24. Air Force is receiving votes in both national polls, while Wyoming is receiving votes in the AFCA rankings.
- Fresno State has won 14 straight games, the second-longest active streak in the FBS behind Georgia’s 22-game run, while Air Force has won 10 straight, tied for the fourth-longest active streak in the FBS. The Mountain West is the only league in the FBS with multiple teams on active winning streaks of 10 games or more. Fresno State’s current run is the longest in the MW since TCU won 14 straight, spanning the 2008 and 2009 seasons.
- Fresno State downed Nevada 27-9 in Week 5 to open MW play. The Bulldogs, who carried a shutout into the fourth quarter, got 123 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries from junior running back Malik Sherrod and saw senior wide receiver Jaelen Gill make eight catches for 126 yards and two touchdowns. Sophomore quarterback Mikey Keene was 26-for-24 for 269 yards and two touchdowns. Senior linebacker Levelle Bailey had a game-high nine tackles and senior defensive back Carlton Johnson and senior nickelback Morice Norris Jr. each had an interception, with Johnson now sharing the FBS lead with four this season.
- The Bulldogs have scored in 25 consecutive quarters of play dating back to the 2022 MW Championship game.
- Wyoming earned a 35-26 win over New Mexico in Week 5 to open league play and move to 4-1 overall on the season. Junior running back Harrison Waylee had 18 carries for 191 yards, a career-high in the Brown and Gold, and a touchdown. Waylee, who had runs of 66 and 46 yards on the day, has posted three consecutive 100-yard rushing games, becoming the first Cowboy to do so since 2019, while his 8.6 yards per rush are second in the FBS among players with at least 50 carries. Graduate quarterback Andrew Peasley completed 16 passes to nine different receivers, finishing with 194 yards and a touchdown. That TD went to junior wide receiver Ayir Asante, who had two catches for 72 yards. Junior safety Wyett Ekeler had four tackles, including the first two sacks of his career, and forced and recovered a fumble. He was named the MW Defensive Player of the Week on Monday.
- One week after posting the first blocked field goal returned for a touchdown in program history, the Cowboys turned in another outstanding play on special teams as defensive end DeVonne Harris swatted a UNM point-after attempt in the first quarter and Jakorey Hawkins scooped it and returned it 81 yards for two points on the other end. Incredibly, it was those same two players who accounted for some special teams magic against App State in Week 4, as Harris blocked a field goal and Hawkins returned it for a touchdown in the last two minutes to give Wyoming the 22-19 win. Hawkins is the first FBS player to have a touchdown on a blocked field-goal return and two points on a blocked extra-point return in the same season since Florida State’s Tony Carter in 2006.
- Colorado State evened its record at 2-2 in Week 5 with its 41-20 win over Utah Tech. Redshirt freshman quarterback Brayden Fowler-Nicolosi had a career day, going 26-for-32 for a career-best 462 yards and four touchdowns through the air and adding six carries for 27 yards and his first career rushing touchdown to account for five of the Rams’ six TDs on the day. Fowler-Nicolosi, whose passing yardage was a freshman program record and third-most in a game in CSU history, was named the MW Freshman of the Week. Senior wide receiver Tory Horton had 10 catches for 227 yards and three touchdowns, while junior tight end Dallin Holker had four catches for 94 yards and a score. Redshirt junior linebacker Chase Wilson had a game-high 15 tackles, including five solo stops.
- Horton leads the FBS with 135.0 receiving yards per game this season, while teammate Mohamed Kamara paces the FBS with 1.62 sacks per game.
- Utah State overcame a 17-0 deficit to down UConn 34-33 in Week 5, with sophomore safety Ike Larsen blocking would what have been a game-tying PAT with 40 seconds left to preserve the win and earn MW Special Teams Player of the Week honors. Senior quarterback Cooper Legas replaced injured starter McCae Hillstead in the third quarter and completed 11-of-13 passes for 204 yards and three touchdowns as the Aggies rallied for the win. Junior wide receiver Jalen Royals had seven catches for 185 yards and three scores on the afternoon. Three Utah State players had double-digit tackles, led by graduate inside linebacker MJ Tafisi Jr.’s 13. Junior safety Anthony Switzer and sophomore safety Devin Dye had 10 each, with Switzer logging three tackles for loss for 15 yards.
- Royals became the first Utah State player to have three TD catches in a game since Hunter Sharp in 2015. Royals is the third MW player this season (CSU’s Horton, San José State’s Nick Nash) with a three-TD catch game, marking the first time that’s happened since 2020.
- Colorado State and Utah State first met in 1902 and will be squaring off for the 79th time, making theirs both the third-oldest rivalry in the MW and the third-most frequently played rivalry in the league. Only CSU vs. Wyoming and Nevada vs. San José State, both of which began in 1899, predate Colorado vs. Utah State. Colorado State vs. Wyoming (114) and Fresno State vs. San José State (85) are the only series between current MW opponents that have been played more times than Colorado State vs. Utah State.
- Boise State dropped a 35-32 decision at Memphis in Week 5, jumping out to a 17-0 lead before seeing the Tigers rally for 28 straight points. The Broncos’ Ashton Jeanty scored on a 7-yard touchdown pass with 39 seconds left in the contest to make it a three-point game, but Memphis recovered the ensuing onside kick to salt the game away. Jeanty had another huge day for Boise State, as the FBS leader in scoring (14.4 ppg) and total touchdowns (12) totaled four TDs on the day (two rushing, two receiving) despite amassing just 135 all-purpose yards, which dropped him to second in the FBS at 165.4 per game.
- San José State was idle in Week 5. The Spartans were last in action on Friday, Sept. 22, when they dropped their MW opener at Air Force, 45-20. Senior running back Kairee Robinson was the offensive catalyst on the day for SJSU, as he ran for 82 yards on seven carries and tied his career high with two touchdowns. Senior quarterback Chevan Cordeiro, the Preseason MW Offensive Player of the Year, completed his first 11 passes and finished 24-for-35 for 239 yards. He also ran for 20 yards and a score. Taniela Latu, Tre Smith and Tre Jenkins each had 13 tackles to share game-high honors, with Latu notching 1.5 tackles for loss.
- Air Force, Hawai‘i, Nevada, New Mexico, San Diego State and UNLV are idle this week.
- Air Force quarterback Zac Larrier is the MW Offensive Player of the Week this week after totaling 292 yards of total offense in a 49-10 win over San Diego State. The senior rushed for a career-high 103 yards on eight carries (12.9 ypc) and posted career-highs in every passing category, going 6-for-7 for 189 yards and two touchdowns and turning in a passing efficiency rating of 406.8. Larrier was named to the Davey O’Brien Award’s Great 8 List on Monday.
- The Falcons handily lead the FBS in rushing offense at 329.8 yards per game, but when they do throw it, they do that well, too, as Air Force tops the FBS with 29.29 yards per completion and with a 307.05 passing efficiency.
- San Diego State placekicker/punter Jack Browning made MW history in Week 5, drilling a 61-yard field goal to close the first half at Air Force. The senior broke a league record that had stood for nearly 30 years, as it surpassed the 59-yarder made by Air Force’s Joey Ashcroft on that very field against Army on Nov. 8, 2003. Browning’s kick is tied for the longest field goal in the FBS this season.
MORE UW FOOTBALL NEWS VIA 7220SPORTS:
Air Force senior quarterback Zac Larrier has been tabbed the Mountain West Offensive Player of the Week, while Wyoming junior safety Wyett Ekeler has been named MW Defensive Player of the Week. Utah State sophomore safety Ike Larsen earned MW Special Teams Player of the Week honors and Colorado State quarterback Brayden Fowler-Nicolosi was selected as the MW Freshman of the Week.
The weekly honor is the third of Larsen’s career and the first in the careers of Larrier, Ekeler and Fowler-Nicolosi.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
ZAC LARRIER, AIR FORCE
Senior, Quarterback, Youngstown, Ohio / Monterey Trail HS
- Rushed for a career-high 103 yards on just eight carries, averaging 12.9 yards per run, for the first 100-yard game of his career in a 49-10 win over San Diego State.
- Turned in the two longest runs of his career, a 41-yard run and a 34-yard scamper.
- Posted career-highs in every passing category, completing 6-of-7 passes for 189 yards and two touchdowns, with five of his six completions going for first downs or touchdowns.
- His career-high 219 yards of total offense were the most for a Falcon since 2019.
- Fashioned a 406.8 passing efficiency rating on the day.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
WYETT EKELER, WYOMING
Junior, Safety, Windsor, Colo. / Windsor HS
- Helped the Cowboys to a 35-26 win over New Mexico by recording four tackles, including the first two sacks of his career, as well as forcing and recovering a fumble.
- With the Lobos at the Wyoming 26-yard line late in the first half, Ekeler snuffed out a scoring chance by sacking UNM’s quarterback, jarring the ball loose, recovering it and returning it 8 yards with 16 seconds left in the half.
- Also had a 9-yard sack on third-and-eight to force a New Mexico punt in the first quarter.
- Added a pass-breakup on a third-and-15 play in the third quarter.
SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE WEEK
IKE LARSEN, UTAH STATE
Sophomore, Safety, Smithfield, Utah / Sky View HS
- Sealed Utah State’s 34-33 win at UConn by blocking the Huskies’ point-after attempt that would have tied the contest with 40 seconds left.
- Also added six tackles in the contest, five of which were solo stops, and a pass-breakup.
- The block was Larsen’s second of the season, as he also had one against No. 25 Iowa in the season-opener.
FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK
BRAYDEN FOWLER-NICOLOSI, COLORADO STATE
Redshirt Freshman, Quarterback, Aledo, Texas / Aledo HS
- Went 26-for-32 for a career-best 462 yards and four touchdowns in CSU’s 41-20 win over Utah Tech, completing his first eight passes and not recording consecutive incompletions in the contest.
- His 462 passing yards were the third-most in a game in Colorado State history and a freshman program record.
- Had six carries for 27 yards and his first career rushing touchdown as he accounted for five scores on the day.
- Leads the Mountain West in total offense (345.25 ypg) by more than 70 yards per game over Mikey Keene of Fresno State (274.20 ypg).
PRESS PASS: Roaming The War
Gallery Credit: DJ Johnson/ 7220sports.com
-PRESS PASS: Roaming The War