Oct. 1, 2010
LOGAN, Utah - A swarming, stout defense and two Derrvin Speight touchdowns paved the way for Utah State's 31-16 caging of the Cougars from BYU Friday night. A national television audience and a wild crowd saw USU beat BYU on Merlin Olsen Field at a packed Romney Stadium for the Aggies' first win over the Cougars since 1993, snapping a 10-game losing skid.
With "Merlin Olsen Field" wording donning the field for the first time this season, the Aggies beat the Cougars for their largest win in the series since a 24-7 win in 1978.
USU improves to 2-3 on the year, its best record through five games since 2005, while BYU lost for the fourth game in a row, its longest losing streak since 1993, with the fourth game in that stretch coming at the hands of the Aggies. The Cougars' 1-4 record is their worst since 1973.
Part of the spirited crowd stormed the field while the clock ticked away the final seconds, rushing it from all sides, keeping with the rushing theme of the night, as Speight ran for a career-high two TD's on a career-best 22 carries, part of Utah State's 59 ground attempts, the most in school history since at least 1990.
The Aggie defense snared two interceptions, matched by two sacks, and held BYU to just 65 rushing yards, a new season-low, as was the 16 points. USU contained BYU, which had scored at least 30 pts in the last 21 games in the series, and the 16 points allowed by USU's defense to BYU is the fewest in the series since USU's 24-7 win on Oct. 7, 1978.
Utah State's last win over BYU was a 58-56 shootout in 1993, but USU has had large leads in the series before, but were overtaken by BYU in years past. The Aggie offense continued to move the ball Friday night, getting a balanced 243 yards in the first half and 191 in the second for a 434 total, opening a 31-3 lead mid-way through the third quarter.
Senior quarterback Diondre Borel started the scoring with a 79-yard TD pass, catch and run to junior wide receiver Xavier Martin at the 6:57 mark of the first quarter. Borel ended the night 10-of-13 passing for 192 yards, the fewest pass attempts for USU since 1991 when Ron Lopez was 9-of-13 in 46-21 Nov. 23, 1991 at NMSU.
Speight totalled 91 yards, his second-most of his career behind 99 in his freshman season of 2007. Borel added 68 yards on the ground while sophomore Kerwynn Williams had a career-best 15 carries for 51 yards.
Junior linebacker Bobby Wagner posted 11 tackles, his fourth-straight double-digit tackle outing. Fellow junior linebacker Kyle Gallagher added 10 stops, and junior safety Walter McClenton notched eight tackles.
The senior duo of cornerback Chris Randle and safety Rajric Coleman each snared an interception, as Coleman added two pass break-ups, matched by redshirt-freshman cornerback Cameron Sanders, while senior cornerback Curtis Marsh posted a game-high three pass break-ups. Junior defensive end Levi Koskan and senior defensive end Devin Johnson each had a sack.
USU's defense limited BYU quarterback Jake Heaps to 27-of-55 passing for 270 yards, but he did not have any TD's, and threw the two interceptions and was sacked twice. The Aggie defenders also contained Cougar running back JJ Di Luigi to just 42 yards on 12 carries, nearly half of his average. Di Luigi added 62 receiving yards and 19 kickoff return yards for a total of 123 all-purpose yards, also nearly half of his season average of 142 yards. McKary Jacobson added eight catches for 85 yards.
Defensively, Shane Hunter posted a game-high 13 tackles, while Jadon Wagner and Travis Uale had 10 stops apiece.
Utah State took a 10-0 lead on freshman placekicker Braeden Loveless' first career field goal, a 34-yarder with 27 seconds left in the first quarter. Borel scampered to payturf from 1-yard out for a 17-0 lead at the 6:54 mark of the second quarter.
BYU got on the board with a 23-yard Mitch Payne field goal with 3:28 left in the half, but Speight scored his first TD of the night with 49 seconds on the first half clock and the PAT by Loveless sent USU into halftime with a 24-3 lead.
Speight scored again from a yard out with 6:32 left in the third stanza, capping a 12-play, 69-yard Aggie drive to open a 31-3 advantage.
BYU added a 1-yard scoring run by Bryan Kariya for the Cougars' first TD of the night with 3:44 to go in the third. Di Luigi scored from 3-yards out with 31 seconds left, but the Aggies blocked Payne's PAT attempt for the final margin. BYU attempted the onside kick twice, going offsides the first time before the ball went out-of-bounds on the second, and USU took one knee to spark the celebration and field-storming.
The Aggies completed the non-conference portion of their schedule with Friday's game, and resume Western Athletic Conference action next Saturday, Oct. 9 at Louisiana Tech in a game seen on ESPN-Regional, broadcast on Altitude (Comcast Ch 61 in Cache Valley).
After a bye week, Utah State hosts Hawai'i for Homecoming on Saturday, Oct. 23. Kickoff is slated for 3 p.m., as part of a full weekend, which includes a special ceremony and unveiling of the Merlin Olsen statue at Romney Stadium.
To purchase tickets, or for more Aggie football ticket information, fans can contact the USU Ticket Office at 1-888-USTATE-1 or 435-797-0305, in person at the USU Ticket Office inside the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, or on-line 24 hours a day at www.utahstateaggies.com under the "tickets" drop down menu.
Fans can follow the Aggie football program at twitter.com/USUFootball or on the USU football blog at usufootball.wordpress.com. 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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