Oct. 16, 2011
FRESNO, Calif. - Utah State football opened the game with a 14-0 first quarter lead, but could not hold on, falling to Fresno State, 31-21, Saturday at Bulldog Stadium in USU's Western Athletic Conference opener.
USU falls to 2-4 overall and 0-1 in WAC action. Fresno State moves to 3-4 overall and 2-0 in league play.
The Aggies amassed 454 yards of total offense, including 260 on the ground, led by junior RB Robert Turbin's 145 yards rushing with one TD, his fifth-straight 100-yard rushing outing. Senior RB Michael Smith added 71 yards and a TD, while added 52 yards receiving with another score.
Freshman QB Chuckie Keeton was 16-of-32 passing for 204 yards with one TD.
Fresno State's Robbie Rouse ran for 140 yards on 24 carries while Derek Carr was 23-of-39 passing for 248 yards with two TD's. Josh Harper and Jalen Saunders had 61 yards receiving each, with Saunders and Isaiah Burse logging TD catches.
Terrance Dennis had a game-high nine tackles to lead the Bulldog defense.
USU opened the scoring with a 47-yard pass play from Keeton to Smith, getting some nice blocks by the offensive line and wide receivers for a hole to burst through and dash to the endzone. Sophomore PK Josh Thompson's PAT made it 7-0 USU at the 12:20 mark of the first quarter.
After junior S McKade Brady recovered a fumble to thwart a Fresno State drive at the Bulldogs' 6-yardline, the Aggies marched down the field and scored on Turbin's 59-yard dash down the sideline. Thompson's upright split put USU ahead 14-0 at the 6:10 mark of the first frame.
Fresno State countered to get on the board with a 23-yard pass play from Derek Carr to Isaiah Burse to pull the Bulldogs within 14-7 with 4:07 on the first quarter clock. After holding USU to a punt, Fresno State's drive closed out the first quarter and overlapped into the second quarter, with Carr capping the drive with a 1-yard plunge. Kevin Goessling's second PAT of the night knotted the score at 14-all with 12:07 to play in the second quarter.
Sophomore RB/KR Kerwynn Williams had a 52-yard return on the ensuing kick to give USU good field possession, then Smith again broke through a nicely created hole by his blockers and darted 46-yards for a TD. Thompson hit the PAT for a 21-14 Aggie lead with 11:24 left in the first half. That would remain the score into halftime.
After the teams exchanged punts to open the second half, Fresno State closed the gap to 21-17 with 7:47 remaining in the third quarter with a 39-yard field goal.
USU drove down and were threatening to score, but the drive stalled to end the third quarter and the fourth frame opened with a blocked field goal attempt by Thompson.
The Bulldogs countered with an 80-yard dive, capped by a wild 23-yard pass play from Carr to Saunders for a 24-21 Fresno State lead. USU fumbled on its next possession, giving Fresno State a short field with only 23 yards to go, needing seven plays to reach payturf as Rouse darted in from 9-yards out for a 31-21 Bulldogs' lead with 8:05 left, for the final scoring.
USU tried a 53-yard field goal in the waning minutes, but freshman PK Jacob Heauter's kick hit the upright, and Fresno State ran out the clock.
Utah State returns home to the friendly confines of Merlin Olsen Field at Romney Stadium to host Louisiana Tech on Saturday, Oct. 22 at 1 p.m. (MT).
To purchase tickets, or for more Aggie Athletics 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 by clicking on the "tickets" button.
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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