Nov. 5, 2011
HONOLULU - Junior quarterback Adam Kennedy, the Utah State football team, the Aggies' fans and the USU record books will remember, remember the fifth of November for a long time thanks in part to rallying from a 28-7 halftime deficit for a wild 35-31 win over the Warriors of Hawai`i Saturday at a rainy Hawaiian Airlines Field at Aloha Stadium.
USU's comeback from a 28-7 deficit was its largest since 2001, rallying from a 27-0 deficit vs. Idaho State and was the Aggies' largest comeback against an FBS team since at least 1990 according to available records.
Kennedy replaced freshman starting quarterback Chuckie Keeton, who suffered a neck injury and was carted off the field and taken to the hospital at the end of the first half. The junior was 8-of-12 passing for 163 yards with his first two TD passes of his Aggie career, including a 71-yard strike to senior wide receiver Stanley Morrison to pull USU within 31-28 with 12:39 left in the fourth quarter.
The Kennedy-led Aggie offense also guided the winning drive, making several key scrambles to get positive yardage, including a John Elway-like helicopter dive to the endzone, but was stopped at the goal line. After a USU time out with 17 seconds left, junior running back Robert Turbin bulled through a hole created by the offensive line into the endzone for the game-winning score. Sophomore placekicker Josh Thompson split the uprights for fifth time on the night, with five PAT's, for the final points.
After USU's squib-kicked the kickoff, Hawai'i took over and in a last-ditch effort, UH quarterback Bryant Moniz ran 21 yards, then lateralled to Joey Iosefa, who ran 8-yards in reverse trying to get behind blocking, and then pitched to a teammate, but the ball squirted lose and USU sophomore cornerback Nevin Lawson pounced on it to clinch the win for the Aggies.
It was Utah State's first win at Hawai'i since 1966, as USU didn't play UH from 1966 until the two were fellow Western Athletic Conference foes in 2005, and USU had lost its last three at UH. Saturday was also USU's first WAC win this season, improving to 1-3 in league action and moving to 3-5 on the season overall. Saturday was also Utah State's first road win of the season, breaking a four-game road losing streak, last winning at San Jose State last season, which the Aggies also won in dramatic fashion, also rallying from down double digits and scoring late to win, after being down 10-0 and winning 38-34 by scoring the game-winning TD with 34 seconds left.
Saturday was not only USU's first win at Hawai`i since 1966, it was UH's first home loss in its last nine regular season home games and was its first WAC loss since 2009, losing to Boise State, snapping a seven-game home WAC unbeaten streak.
Turbin scored two rushing TD's as part of his 96 yards on the ground, as his 1-yard game-winning TD was joined by a 48-yard dash to open USU's second-half scoring, darting through a gaping hole created by the O-line and outrunning the UH defense to payturf. Morrison finished with 105 yards, one of three Aggie receivers to snare a TD catch. Senior Matt Austin had a 9-yard catch from Keeton on USU's second possession of the game that gave the Aggies a 7-0 lead. Austin finished with three receptions for 51 yards. Junior wideout Chuck Jacobs had three catches for 50 yards, both career highs for the first-year Aggie junior college transfer. Jacobs hauled in a 37-yard strike from Keeton.
The Aggie defense was steadfast and resolute throughout the night, holding off three Hawai`i fourth-down attempts, and keeping the UH offense in check in the second half. Junior cornerback McKade Brady posted a game-high 13 tackles (nine solo, four assists), not only a career-best but also the first time in double-digit stops.
With seven tackles Saturday, senior linebacker Bobby Wagner now has 395 career stops, moving up to No. 3 on USU's Career Tackles list, passing Jesse Busta (1999-2002) with 392 tackles. Wagner also moved up to No. 4 on the WAC's Career Tackles list, passing Boise State's Korey Hall (2003-06) with 394 stops. Wagner needs five more tackles to become just the third player in USU history and the fourth in the WAC (since 1979) to reach the 400-tackle milestone.
Lawson and junior cornerback Jummane Robertson added three pass break-ups each, while junior defensive end Bojay Filimoeatu had two tackles for loss, including one sack. Senior linebacker Kyle Gallagher added 1.5 tackles for loss with half a sack, as part of his six tackles, matching Lawson's half-dozen tackles. Senior defensive end Levi Koskan added a sack while junior defensive lineman Havea Lasiks added half a sack, combining with Gallagher.
Hawai'i was led by Moniz with 27-of-43 passing for 227 yards, 111 yards below his season average, throwing for two TD's, but was sacked by the USU defense three times. Moniz added a team-high 75 yards rushing on 12 carries, with two of them being TD scampers. Jeremiah Ostrowksi had eight catches for 76 yards and one TD, while Billy Ray Stutzmann added six catches for 36 yards and Justin Clapp had five receptions for 52 yards and a TD. Corey Paredes led the UH defense with 10 tackles.
Hawai`i scored 28 of its points in the second quarter, starting with a Moniz to Clapp 18-yard pass play, before Moniz reeled off back-to-back scoring runs, goin in from a yard out with 10:38 on the clock, and then an 8-yard scamper with 4:22 left. Ostrowski added an 18-yard pass play for a TD with 12 seconds left to give UH its 28-7 lead at intermission.
After Turbin's 48-yard run made the score 28-14, UH added a 24-yard field goal with 5:28 left in the third quarter. Kennedy hit Jacobs for the 37-yard scoring strike with 2:16 remaining in the third frame, setting up the final drama.
Utah State returns to the friendly confines of Merlin Olsen Field at Romney Stadium to host San Jose State on Saturday, Nov. 12 in a 1 p.m. (MT) kickofff.
Ticket packages for the SJSU football game Saturday with the BYU men's basketball are available through the USU Athletics Ticket Office.
To purchase the ticket packages, 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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