BYU cornerback Brian Logan put it as simply as he could when talking about Wyoming fireplug quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels.

You remember, he's the little quarterback who caught a double-pass at Utah last week and ran for a touchdown down the sideline?

"He's the best player on their team, in my mind," said Logan. "He's the heart of that team. If you stop him, you stop all the energy he gives them."

Indeed, the true freshman, fresh out of San Jose, Calif., is a gem. He's a little Jim McMahon, Max Hall and Brian Johnson all rolled into one. His enthusiasm is infectious. His confidence is impressive for one so young. He has a lot of moxie.

Before Carta-Samuels met up with Air Force's and Utah's defenses — among the best in the league — he had been completing 60 percent of his passes for about a thousand yards and six TDs with only one pick. However, the Cowboys' offense struggled and sputtered against the Falcons and Utes.

Everyone usually looks at the quarterback when an offense struggles. Carta-Samuels was 33-of-61 for 195 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions in those two games.

Yet first-year Wyoming head coach Dave Christensen was quick to say in his weekly news conference on Monday that Carta-Samuels isn't the one to blame.

"He's doing fine. It's the 10 other guys that we've got to have step up around him," he said. "He's making plays with his feet. He's doing everything he can to turn every play into a positive play.

"We've got to take some of the pressure off of him. We've got to do a better job of giving (the offense) things they can do and coming up with ways to have success."

Two areas that need improvement, Christensen said, are pass protection and running the ball. UW has allowed 10 sacks in the last two games and 26 on the season.

That is 113th out of 120 Football Bowl Subdivision teams.

Still, the freshman signal-caller had Wyoming driving down the field in the fourth quarter on Utah for a potential go-ahead touchdown before getting intercepted last Saturday.

Is he good enough to beat BYU? Probably not. But mobile quarterbacks are not BYU's cup of decaffeinated tea.

"His leadership ability comes not so much by what he says but what he does," said Christensen. "He's a great leader by example."

In five starts, the kid went 3-2 for a program that had suffered the losing disease the past two seasons. Evidently, Christensen has hung his short-term future on the kid in Laramie.

The Cougars get the next crack at the San Jose Kid.

BEST DEFENSE EVER? UNLV's Mike Sanford was awfully impressed with TCU's defense: "I think it's the best defense I've coached against in my college career," Sanford said.

FALCONS' BEST DEFENSE? They've usually run a ton over the years and been among the nation's best rushing offenses, but Air Force's defense has been nails this fall. The Falcons rank No. 2 nationally in turnover margin (2.00) and No. 1 in pass defense. Take two plays away from Utah in regulation and the Falcons limited the Utes to 108 total yards.

BOWL ELIGIBILITY: Entering Week 10, eight of the nine MWC teams are still in contention for a bowl game. BYU, TCU and Utah have earned bowl eligibility, while Air Force, Colorado State, San Diego State, UNLV and Wyoming are still mathematically alive.

BRONCO CHEERLEADING? Cougar quarterback Max Hall, on comments by some that his head coach should do sideline cartwheels: "I don't think those guys know what they're talking about. I love coach Mendenhall and everything about him. The things he's done for us as players and people is phenomenal.

"This year he's been very positive, optimistic, supportive and he's doing all the right things. I think he's right on."

e-mail: dharmon@desnews.com