MADISON, Wis. -
Utah State scored the first 10 points of the game against Wisconsin, but the ninth-ranked Badgers overcame the early deficit and beat the Aggies 59-10 in the season opener for both teams on Friday night in front of 75,324 fans at Camp Randall Stadium.
Senior running back LaJuan Hunt rushed for 27 yards on seven carries and scored on a 12-yard touchdown run with 3:47 remaining in the first quarter to give Utah State (0-1, 0-0 Mountain West) its 10-0 lead.
The eighth rushing touchdown of Hunt's career came after a fumble by Wisconsin quarterback Alex Hornibrook. Utah State junior linebacker Suli Tamaivena recovered it and returned it 13 yards down to the Badgers' 16-yard line.
Just two plays later, Hunt was in the end zone.
Utah State finished with 304 yards of total offense. Senior quarterback Kent Myers was 25-of-41 for 219 yards, to go along with three interceptions. Hunt led the Aggies with four receptions for 14 yards, while redshirt freshman wide receiver Jordan Nathan and sophomore wide receiver Gerold Bright each had three catches for 23 yards apiece.
Defensively, Tamaivena and senior boundary safety Dallin Leavitt led the Aggies as both tallied seven tackles. Leavitt also added two pass breakups. Senior cornerback Jalen Davis, junior linebacker Louy Compton and freshman linebacker Maika Magalei each notched a sack as part of Utah State's five tackles for loss.
Hornibrook was 15-of-23 for 244 yards and three touchdowns as the Badgers (1-0, 0-0 Big Ten) finished with 478 yards of total offense.
Sophomore placekicker Dominik Eberle gave the Aggies their first points of the season when he connected on a 25-yard field goal with 4:56 remaining in the opening quarter. The chip shot for Eberle capped an eight-play, 54-yard drive by Utah State.
Wisconsin finally cracked the scoreboard on a Bradrick Shaw three-yard touchdown run with just 1:12 remaining in the opening half. The score capped a 15-play, 79-yard drive by the Badgers that ate up 8:29 off the clock.
Utah State still appeared in good shape to go into halftime with the lead, but the Badgers turned Myers' first interception of the night into a 29-yard field goal by Rafael Gaglianone as time expired.
Wisconsin scored 59 unanswered points, including 28 in the third quarter alone.
Prior to the loss, Utah State had won each of its last two season-opening games.
The Aggies' home opener will be on Thursday, Sept. 7, against Idaho State at 6 p.m. The Bengals (1-0, 0-0 Big Sky) opened the season with a 37-6 home victory over Western Oregon on Thursday night.
For ticket information, fans can contact the USU Athletics Ticket Office over the phone by calling 1-888-USTATE-1 or 435-797-0305 during regular hours of operation. Fans can also buy their tickets in person at the USU Ticket Office inside the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum or online by clicking on the "Buy Tickets" tab at www.UtahStateAggies.com.
Fans can become season ticket holders for as low as $110. New for 2017 are Value Season Ticket Plans, which include four adult season tickets on the east side of the stadium starting at $450. Youth season tickets are available for just $60 and Family Plans, consisting of two adult tickets and three youth tickets, can be purchased for as low as $340.
Fans can follow the Aggie football program at twitter.com/USUFootball. Aggie fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program at twitter.com/USUAthletics or on Facebook at Utah State University Athletics.
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