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MARSHALL FAULK U. SITTING PRETTY AS OTHER WAC UNBEATENS COLLIDE

SHARE MARSHALL FAULK U. SITTING PRETTY AS OTHER WAC UNBEATENS COLLIDE

This is a week for sifting.

There are four undefeated teams in league play - the Marshall Faulk University Aztecs and Hawaii are 2-0 and Utah and Fresno State are 1-0.That number will be whittled to either two or three (let's assume there aren't any ties - at least until Father's Day) following Saturday's games.

The Aztecs will remain 2-0 as they have a bye.

But two of the unbeatens are in combat Saturday at Rice Stadium - Utah and Hawaii. And the other, Fresno State, journeys to what Bulldog coach Jim Sweeney refers to as basically a foreign country - Cougar Stadium - to play BYU. "We've never played before that many people before (65,000)," Sweeney lamented at his Tuesday press conference.

Of the unbeatens, Marshall Faulk has the most favorable schedule, not playing Utah and getting Fresno State and Hawaii at Jack Murphy Stadium. Plus, the Aztecs have already played and beaten BYU.

HOUDINI AWARD GOES TO . . . the Air Force Academy for the second straight week. As the weekly press release from the WAC office states: "Quite simply, the Falcons are living right." This is a team that two weeks ago trailed New Mexico 32-12 in the fourth quarter and surged to win, 33-32. And then, last Saturday against UTEP, the Falcons only totaled 167 yards, their lowest output in a WAC game in school history, and yet rallied to win, 28-22. An interception and blocked punt led to touchdowns and the Falcons also stopped the Miners at the 4-yard line in the final minute of the game.

BYU'S DRAGE, AFA'S MCDONALD LEAD NATION - BYU junior receiver Eric Drage is the nation's leader in receiving yards at 123.6 yards per game - he had 196 against Utah State a week ago Friday. Air Force defensive back Carlton McDonald had an interception against UTEP to boost his season total to six - best in the nation. The Falcons lead the nation in interceptions with 11.

STATISTICAL RANKINGS - Here are some key statistics and WAC rankings for the teams playing at Rice and Cougar stadiums Saturday:

Total offense: Fresno State, 470 yards per game, 1st in WAC; Utah, 458, 2nd; BYU, 456, 3rd; Hawaii, 299, 10th.

Total defense: BYU, 338 yards, 1st; Hawaii, 391, 3rd; Fresno State, 395, 5th; Utah, 440, 8th.

Turnover margin: Hawaii, 12 takeaways, 6 giveaways, 1st; Fresno State, 11 takeaways, 9 giveaways, 4th; Utah, 11 takeaways, 10 giveaways, 5th; BYU, 8 takeaways, 16 giveaways, 10th.

Net punting: Hawaii 39.2 yards per punt, 3rd; Utah, 38.3, 4th; Fresno State, 31.3, 9th; BYU, 30.6, 10th.

WAC FORECASTS:

Hawaii at Utah - Is Hawaii really for real? This is a team that was picked to finish 8th by the media. The Rainbows are winning with special teams, turnovers and defense. Can it continue? It's doubtful. This is a team, that frankly, does not have a passing attack (102 yard per game average is only ahead of Air Force). And while it's had an extra week to prepare for the Utes, it has to defend the pass as well as the run. The Utes have not fared well in recent seasons against the Rainbows, losing the last six games. Scott Mitchell couldn't beat these guys, but Frank Dolce and this group of Utes can. The magic continues . . . Utah 27, Hawaii 20.

Fresno at BYU - A dangerous game for the Cougs. The Bulldogs can run and throw. But, they don't play defense all that well. The Cougs will need another outstanding defensive effort to win this game as they have this problem on offense and special teams - turnovers. If the Cougs can return to the football business and get out of the bakery business, they'll win. If not, they'll lose. The call here is that they'll shut down the bakery Saturday, limiting themselves to two turnovers while getting an equal number or more back . . . BYU 31, Fresno 24.

Other games: Colorado State 34, UTEP 24 . . . Rams rebound from tough loss to Utes; Wyoming 21, New Mexico 20 . . . tossup game with nod going to home team.