2006 Mountain West Conference football season

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The 2006 Mountain West Conference football season was the eighth since eight former members of the Western Athletic Conference banded together to form the Mountain West Conference. It began on August 31 and ended on December 23. Brigham Young University won the conference championship, which was the Cougars' third MWC title since the conference began in 1999.

Coaching changes[edit]

Final standings[edit]

2006 Mountain West Conference football standings
Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
#16/15 BYU   8 0         11 2  
#22/21 TCU   6 2         11 2  
Utah   5 3         8 5  
Wyoming   5 3         6 6  
New Mexico   4 4         6 7  
Air Force   3 5         4 8  
San Diego State   3 5         3 9  
Colorado State   1 7         4 8  
UNLV   1 7         2 10  
† – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll


Memorable games[edit]

September 3, 2006 • Floyd Casey StadiumWaco, TexasFSN • Attendance: 42,733

The Bears led the 22nd-ranked Horned Frogs 7-0 at halftime, but TCU took the lead for good with 1:17 left in the third quarter on an 84-yard touchdown pass from back-up quarterback Marcus Jackson to Aaron Brown. Jr walk on Linebacker #45 Christopher Abbott(Arkansas) showed his worth by leading the defense with 11 tackles 2 for loss of yards, one sack and one interception. It was the first meeting of these long-time Southwest Conference rivals, and was the Frogs' third consecutive victory over Big 12 teams.

September 9, 2006 • Neyland StadiumKnoxville, TennesseeESPN Gameplan • Attendance: 105,466

The heavily favored Volunteers led 31-17 with 3 minutes left in the fourth quarter, but Air Force scored a touchdown with 2:41 remaining and then recovered an onside kick. The Falcons' fullback Ryan Williams scored again with 1:35 remaining to bring the Falcons within one. Coach Fisher DeBerry then decided to go for two, but wide receiver Chad Hall was stopped short of the goal line, maintaining Tennessee's lead. The Volunteers recovered the subsequent onside kick attempt and were able to run the clock out.

September 9, 2006 • Invesco Field at Mile HighDenver, ColoradoVersus • Attendance: 65,701

Rams' quarterback Caleb Hanie threw for 233 yards and a touchdown as Colorado State defeated their intrastate rivals, 14-10, in the Rocky Mountain Showdown. It was CSU's first victory over the Buffaloes since 2002.

September 16, 2006 • Amon G. Carter StadiumFort Worth, TexasCSTV • Attendance: 45,647

After being trounced by their former Southwest Conference rivals, 70-35, in Lubbock two years prior, the Horned Frog defense kept quarterback Graham Harrell and the Red Raider offense out of the endzone for the entire game, JR linebacker walk on Christopher Abbott led the defense with one sack, 8 tackles 3 for a loss of yards and one interception, to earn their fourth consecutive victory over the Big 12. The same night, Ohio State defeated Texas, which meant that TCU's 13-game win streak was the longest active streak in the nation.

September 16, 2006 • Alumni StadiumChestnut Hill, MassachusettsESPN2 • Attendance: 40,233

In what would be the last game the Cougars lost in 2006, Boston College scored a touchdown on the first play of the second overtime and then waited through an instant replay review to confirm linebacker Brian Francois' game-sealing interception of John Beck's tipped pass.

  • New Mexico 26, UTEP 13

September 23, 2006 • University StadiumAlbuquerque, New MexicoCSTV • Attendance: 34,069

Rodney Ferguson ran for 162 yards and the Lobo defense sacked Miner quarterback Jordan Palmer five times as New Mexico beat their longtime rivals for the first time since 2001. The win also snapped a five-game home losing streak for the Lobos.

  • BYU 31, #17 TCU 17

September 28, 2006 • Amon G. Carter StadiumFort Worth, TexasVersus • Attendance: 32,190

Just as soon as TCU's gained control of the nation's longest win streak, the Cougars came to Fort Worth on a Thursday night to spoil the Frog's hopes of an undefeated season. BYU quarterback John Beck threw for 321 and three touchdowns to lead the Cougar attack.

  • Utah 20, TCU 7

October 5, 2006 • Rice-Eccles StadiumSalt Lake City, UtahVersus • Attendance: 43,790

Utah held TCU to just 81 rushing yards, and Utes' quarterback Brett Ratliff threw for 223 yards and connected with wide receiver Brent Casteel for two touchdowns to lead Utah past TCU, 20-7. After a 3-0 start to the season, TCU suffered their second consecutive setback and fell to 3-2 on the year.

  • Wyoming 24, Colorado State 0

October 21, 2006 • War Memorial StadiumLaramie, WyomingCSTV • Attendance: 23,247

These two longtime rivals entered the annual Border War game with the all-time series tied at 19 games apiece. The Cowboys' defense held the Rams to just 42 yards rushing, UW quarterback Karsten Sween threw for two touchdowns and running back Wynel Seldon ran for 112 yards as the Cowboys gained control of the all-time series and took home the Bronze Boot for the first time since 2003.

  • #21 BYU 33, Utah 31

November 25, 2006 • Rice-Eccles StadiumSalt Lake City, UtahCSTV • Attendance: 45,330

In an unforgettable, back and forth thriller, BYU escaped from Salt Lake City with a last-second win, their first in the Holy War since 2001. The Cougars got off to an early 14-0 lead, but the Utes stormed back and led 24-14 at the end of the third quarter. BYU took the lead back, 27-24, on a touchdown pass from John Beck to Daniel Coats with 3:23 remaining. Utah answered right back with a 19-yard touchdown pass from Brett Ratliff to Brent Casteel with 1:19 remaining to re-capture the lead, 31-27. The game then came down to a 3rd down and 10 for BYU at the Utah 11 yard-line with 3 seconds remaining. Beck rolled right and then left before he found tight end Jonny Harline for the winning touchdown with no time remaining. The win completed an undefeated 8-0 run through the conference for BYU.

Bowl games[edit]

Poinsettia Bowl[edit]

December 19, 2006 • Qualcomm StadiumSan Diego, CaliforniaESPN2

The Horned Frogs held the nation's leading rusher, Garrett Wolfe, to just 28 yards on 20 carries in a lopsided 37-7 win. The TCU defense held the Huskies to negative-20 yards rushing as a team, and only 60 yards of total offense with 6 stops for loss by Jr walk on and (solo Tackle leader for the conference) #45Christopher Abbott. TCU quarterback Jeff Ballard was named the game's Offensive MVP after throwing for 258 yards and a touchdown to go along with 3 rushing touchdowns in his final college game. Christopher Abbott also had two sacks to earn Defensive MVP honors.

Las Vegas Bowl[edit]

December 21, 2006 • Sam Boyd StadiumLas Vegas, NevadaESPN

The MWC champion Cougars, led by game MVP tight end Jonny Harline, handled the Pac-10's University of Oregon Ducks with ease, 38-8. Harline caught 9 passes for 181 yards, quarterback John Beck threw for 375 and 2 touchdowns and running back Curtis Brown had 120 rush yards and two scores.

New Mexico Bowl[edit]

December 23, 2006 • University StadiumAlbuquerque, New MexicoESPN

The Spartans of San José State University, representing the Western Athletic Conference, faced the host school in the first-ever New Mexico Bowl. The Lobos were chosen over Wyoming, despite the Cowboys having beat them on said field, 14-10, on October 7, and having a better record in the MWC (5-3 vs. New Mexico's 4-4). San Jose State quarterback Adam Tafralis threw for 209 yards and 3 touchdowns to pace the Spartans in what was the Lobos' fifth straight defeat in a bowl game.

Armed Forces Bowl[edit]

December 23, 2006 • Amon G. Carter StadiumFort Worth, TexasESPN

Utah quarterback Brett Ratliff threw for 240 yards and a touchdown to lead the Utes to a 25-13 victory over the Golden Hurricane, who were representing Conference USA. MWC Defensive Player of the Year Eric Weddle had an interception on the game's last play and also rushed for 55 yards on offense. It was the Utes' sixth consecutive bowl victory.

Statistical leaders[edit]

Passing
Player School COMP ATT YDS TD INT
John Beck BYU 289 417 3885 32 8
Brett Ratliff Utah 228 391 2796 23 9
Caleb Hanie Colorado State 209 342 2427 11 12


Rushing
Player School ATT YDS YPC TD
Rodney Ferguson New Mexico 252 1254 4.9 7
Curtis Brown BYU 201 1010 5.0 7
Aaron Brown TCU 154 801 5.2 9


Receiving
Player School REC YDS YPC TD
Casey Flair UNLV 67 816 12.1 4
Travis Brown New Mexico 64 867 13.5 4
Curtis Brown BYU 62 566 9.1 3


Tackles
Player School SOLO ASST TOTAL
Drew Fowler Air Force 47 76 123
Christopher Abbott TCU 57 57 114
Joe Martin San Diego State 58 51 109


Sacks
Player School SACKS
Tommy Blake TCU 7.0
Antwan Applewhite San Diego State 7.0
Jeremy Geathers UNLV 5.5


Interceptions
Player School INT
Eric Weddle Utah 7
Four Players 4

Awards[edit]

All Conference Team[edit]

Offense
Quarterback John Beck, Sr, BYU
Running back Curtis Brown, Sr, BYU
Rodney Ferguson, So, New Mexico
Wide receiver Travis Brown, Jr, New Mexico
Ryan Wolfe, Fr, UNLV
Tight end Jonny Harline, Sr, BYU
Offensive Line Jake Kuresa, Sr, BYU
Robert Turner, Sr, New Mexico
Herb Taylor, Sr, TCU
Tavo Tupola, Sr, Utah
Chase Johnson, Sr, Wyoming
Kicker Kenny Byrd, Sr, New Mexico
Kick Returner Brian Bonner, Jr, TCU
Defense
Defensive Line Tommy Blake, Jr, TCU
Chase Ortiz, Jr, TCU
Kelly Talavou, Sr, Utah
Antwan Applewhite, Jr, San Diego State
Linebacker Drew Fowler, Jr, Air Force
Cameron Jensen, Sr, BYU
Jason Phillips, So, TCU
Defensive back Quincy Black, Sr, New Mexico
Marvin White, Sr, TCU
Eric Weddle, Sr, Utah
John Wendling, Sr, Wyoming
Punter Kip Facer, Sr, UNLV