Aggies Upend Utes, 27-20, In OT Thriller Friday On National Television
LOGAN, Utah -
Kerwynn Williams' 1-yard run in overtime gave Utah State the lead and senior cornerback Will Davis' pass break-up in the end zone sealed the Aggies' 27-20 win in front of a sold-out crowd at Merlin Olsen Field at Romney Stadium and a national television audience on ESPN2. Friday's win was USU's first over Utah since 1997, as well as improving to 2-0 for the first time since that same year.
USU's 2012 Hall of Fame Class was introduced to the crowd at halftime, and will be inducted during a banquet on Saturday night.
Utah State won its seventh-straight regular-season game dating back to last year, while Utah leveled it record at 1-1.
The Aggies' win snapped their 12-game losing skein to the Utes, and Utah now holds a 77-29-4 all-time series lead as Friday's meeting was the 110th in series history, USU's oldest in school history.
Utah State had 380 total yards, as sophomore quarterback Chuckie Keeton tied his career-high for completions on 22-of-32 passing for 216 yards with two TD's, adding 86 yards rushing. Senior running back Williams had 17 carries for 95 yards and the game-winning TD, as USU finished with 164 total yards on the ground. Senior tight end Kellen Bartlett had a career-high eight catches for 47 yards and his first career TD on a 4-yard toss from Keeton with 9:10 on the fourth-quarter clock.
Utah tied the game with 3:19 to go on a 24-yard pass from Jon Hays to Kenneth Scott. Hays came into the game in the second quarter after Utes' starting quarterback Jordan Wynn suffered a game-ending shoulder injury.
Hays ended the night 12-of-26 for 154 yards with one TD, while Wynn was 6-of-11 for 47 yards before getting hurt. Travis Wilson only had one pass attempt, a 28-yard strike to Scott. John White rushed 27 times for 97 yards while DeVonte Christopher had six catches for 56 yards and Scott ended with three receptions for 82 yards and two TD's.
The Aggie defense sacked Wynn three times, with redshirt-freshman defensive tackle Jordan Nielsen logging two while senior linebacker Bojay Filimoeatu posted one as part of his game and career-high 12 total tackles. Redshirt-freshman linebacker Kyler Fackrell added 11 tackles while senior safety McKade Brady and junior linebacker Zach Vigil posted 10 stops apiece. Davis, a senior cornerback, had four pass break-ups while senior Terrence Alston logged three.
Dave Fagergren and Trevor Reilly notched nine tackles each to lead the Utah defense while Star Lotulelei and Joe Kruger posted one sack each.
USU got the ball back but couldn't get further than its own 25 and had to punt. Utah drove to the USU 35 in the waning seconds before the Aggie defense held forcing a Utes' field goal. As Coleman Peterson was about to attempt a 52-yard field goal, USU called timeout. After the stoppage in play, Peterson's second attempt was well short, forcing overtime.
The home team got the ball first and facing a third-and-nine, Keeton darted out of pressure and skirted toward the end zone before getting pushed out at the one. One first-and-goal from the one, Williams was stopped in the pile at the goal-line. After the review ruled that he did not get in, Williams took the second-down handoff and darted around the right side sealed off by the offensive line and into the end zone.
Utah got the ball and had it third-and-goal at the USU 6 and Hays hit Jake Murphy in the end zone but a pass interference call on Murphy nullified the score and pushed the Utes back to the USU 21. Hays completed a pass to John White for four yards. After a USU timeout, Hays threw to the end zone but Davis knocked away the pass, sparking the Aggie celebration and the storming of Merlin Olsen Field emptying Romney Stadium onto the field.
The Aggies got on the board first as Vigil broke through the punt-blocking line, and junior safety Clayton Christensen recovered in the end zone for a 7-0 USU lead with 7:59 on the first-quarter clock. USU wasn't done scoring in the first quarter, as Keeton hit sophomore running back Joe Hill with a 15-yard TD toss with three seconds left in the first frame, but the PAT missed.
Petersen booted a 42-yard field goal as time expired in the first half, sending the teams into halftime with USU ahead, 13-3. The Utes opened the second half scoring on Wilson's 28-yard scoring pass to Scott with 11:34 left in the third quarter. Petersen booted a 40-yard field goal with 4:22 to play in the third quarter to knot the score at 13-all.
At the 9:10 mark of the fourth quarter, Keeton hit Bartlett with the 4-yard TD toss for USU's 20-13 lead, setting up the final drama.
After opening up the season with back-to-back home games for the first time since 1996, Utah State now hits the road for the first time this season, heading to Madison, Wis., on Saturday, Sept. 15. Kickoff is slated for 6 p.m. (MT) and will be televised on the Big 10 Network.
USU then plays at Colorado State on Saturday, Sept. 22 at 5 p.m. (MT) in a rematch of the Aggies' last overtime game before Friday night after the Rams' 35-34 triple OT win last year. Utah State returns to the friendly confines of Merlin Olsen Field at Romney Stadium to host UNLV on Saturday, Sept. 29 for USU's Homecoming.
For USU football ticket information, contact the USU Ticket Office at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, or by phone by calling 1-888-USTATE-1 or (435) 797-0305. Tickets can also be purchased 24 hours a day at www.UtahStateAggies.com.
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.