Utah State Topped By Louisiana Tech, 24-17, Saturday
Oct. 22, 2011
LOGAN, Utah - Freshman quarterback Chuckie Keeton threw for 128 yards and added 27 yards on the ground and senior linebacker Bobby Wagner posted a career-high 20 tackles, but Utah State was out-scored 10-0 in the fourth quarter leading to a 24-17 home loss to Louisiana Tech Saturday on Merlin Olsen Field at Romney Stadium. USU falls to 2-5 overall and 0-2 in Western Athletic Conference play with the loss, while LA Tech improves to 3-4 on the season and 2-1 in league play with the win. All five off USU's losses have been by 10 points or less, including four by one score.
Saturday was the fifth meeting between USU and LA Tech that was decided by one score in the nine total match-ups, and third in the last four (L 45-38 in 2008, W 23-21 in 2009, L 24-17 Saturday). Last season's 24-6 LA Tech win was not only the lone non-one score game in that stretch, but also the largest in the series. The Bulldogs now hold a 6-3 lead in the all-time series with the Aggies, winning the last two.
Utah State, who entered the game as the sixth-best rushing offense in the nation averaging 297.2 yards per game, was held to a season-low 166 rushing yards. USU also ranked 19th in the country in total offense entering Saturday's game averaging 476.0 yards per game, but was held to a season-low 294 yards as it finished with 128 passing yards. Utah State's 17 points were also a season-low after entering the week ranking 18th in the nation with an average of 39.0 points per game.
Louisiana Tech had just 232 yards of total offense in the game (86-rushing, 146-passing) and lost the time of possession battle, 31:11 to 28:49, but converted a USU interception and illegal kicking penalty deep in its own end of the field for 10 points.
Junior running back Robert Turbin entered Saturday's game with five-straight 100-yard outings, but finished with just 81 yards on 16 carries, marking the first time since the season-opener at Auburn that he didn't rush for a 100 yards.
Turbin did score on a 1-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, giving him 12 TD's this season and 33 in his career. He also moved into second-place all-time at USU with 254 career points, and is the highest scoring non-kicker, as placekicker Brad Bohn (1997-2000) holds the No. 1 spot with 284 career points.
Senior linebacker Bobby Wagner posted a career-high 20 tackles, which included two sacks and 2.5 tackles for loss. Wagner also had two quarterback hurries in the game. It was Wagner's sixth double-digit tackle outing in the Aggies' seven games and he now has 20 career games with double-figure stops. Wagner's 20 stops gives him 388 for his career, moving up to No. 4 on USU's Career Tackles list and No. 5 on the WAC's Career Tackles list.
LA Tech was led by Lennon Creer's 62 yards rushing on 17 carries with one TD, while QB Nick Isham was 10-of-22 for 63 yards before being relieved by Colby Cameron, who finished 4-of-6 passing for 38 yards. Adrien Cole led the Bulldogs' defense with 14 tackles.
Louisiana Tech got on the scoreboard first with its initial drive of the game, going 87-yards in 10 plays that was capped with a 3-yard touchdown run by Creer.
Utah State scored the next 10 points on Turbin's 1-yard TD run late in the first quarter and a career-long 43-yard field goal from sophomore kicker Josh Thompson in the second to make the score 10-7 at halftime.
Both teams traded touchdowns in the third quarter as LTU's Terry Carter intercepted Keeton and returned it 22-yards to make it 14-10 visitors. It was Keeton's first INT thrown this season. On the ensuing possession, USU drove 87-yards in nine plays, culminating with a career-long 29-yard TD run by Keeton.
Trailing 17-14, Louisiana Tech marched 58-yards in eight plays on its first possession of the fourth quarter that resulted in an 8-yard touchdown run by Hunter Lee to give the Bulldogs a 21-17 advantage. LTU added three more points late in the quarter on a 24-yard field goal by Matt Nelson after Aggie punter Tyler Bennett fumbled the snap on a fourth-and-one and was penalized for an illegal kick, giving the Bulldogs the ball at the USU 11 yard-line with just under five minutes to play in the game.
Utah State had one last chance to drive the field and score the tying touchdown after junior kick returner Kerwynn Williams returned LTU's kickoff back to the USU 41 with 2:39 to play, but the Aggies were stopped just four plays later on a fourth-and-six, turning it over on downs.
Utah State will have its second and final bye of the season next week before returning to WAC play on Saturday, Nov. 5 when it plays at Hawai'i at 10 p.m. (MT).
The Aggies return home to the friendly confines of Merlin Olsen Field at Romney Stadium to host San Jose State on Saturday, Nov. 12 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.