Nov. 19, 2005
LOGAN, Utah - Freshman quarterback Jerod Walker made his first career start in place of Leon Jackson III, and despite a great effort, the Utah State Aggies fell short in a 30-24 loss to Nevada to end USU's home season. Nevada improved to 7-3 overall and 6-1 in the Western Athletic Conference, while USU fell to 2-8 and 1-6.
Walker connected on his first 12 passing attempts and finished the game 19 of 26 for 226 yards. He threw for two touchdowns and was picked off on USU's final offensive play of the game.
Nevada was led by running back B.J. Mitchell, who carried 27 times for 133 yards. The Wolf Pack also got two rushing touchdowns from Robert Hubbard and Jeff Rowe in picking up the road victory.
Nevada jumped out to a 20-3 lead early in the third quarter. However, USU's Tony Pennyman returned a kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown to pull the Aggies within 20-10 at the 8:40 mark of the third period. After a Nevada field goal, Kevin Robinson pulled in an 11-yard scoring pass to make it Nevada 23-17 with 4:24 left in the period.
The Wolf Pack pushed the score to 30-17 on a 30-yard pass from Rowe to Mike McCoy with just under seven minutes left. USU responded with a three-play 76-yard drive which was capped by a 34-yard pass from Walker to Pennyman to pull USU within 30-24 with 6:07 remaining in the game.
USU then went three and out on its next possession and Walker was intercepted on the Aggies' final possession to end the game.
For just the second time this year an Aggie running back led the team in rushing as Chris Forbes had 38 yards on 11 carries. Robinson pulled in seven passes for 116 yards while Pennyman had nine catches for 99 yards. Antonio Taylor led the Aggie defense with eight tackles, while Jake Hutton adds seven and John Chick and Matt Wiser each recorded six.
USU will finish its 2005 season at New Mexico State on Saturday, Nov. 26 in a 2:05 p.m. mountain time kickoff.
UTAH STATE POSTGAME NOTES Vs. Nevada, Nov. 19, 2005
O - Entering today's game, Walker's season/career stats were 20 of 30 passing for 245 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions while seeing action in seven games.
O - Walker completed his first 12 passes to run his streak to 16 consecutive completions dating back to the fourth quarter of last week's game at Hawai'i. The school record for completions in a single game is 17 by Brent Snyder vs. San Jose State in 1987 (Walker was five shy of that mark and was 15 of his first 17 today).
O - Walker started his career by throwing 55 passes without an interception until he was picked off on USU's final offensive play.
O - OT Donald Penn did not start for the first time in 42 games stopping his 41-game streak which dated back to his third game as a freshman against Idaho State. The 41 straight starts match former Aggie DT Ronald Tupea for the most straight starts by an Aggie since 1992.
O - USU fell just shy of having two 100-yard receivers (Kevin Robinson had 116 and Tony Pennyman had 99) in the same game for the first time since 2002 against Middle Tennessee (Kevin Curtis had 177 and Chris Cooley had 105).
O - Tony Pennyman returned a kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter for the third longest return in school history. It was his second of the year (92 vs. UNLV) to give him a school record for most kickoff returns for scores in a season (11 players had one return in a season - most recently Kevin Robinson last year).
O - On his next return Pennyman went 84 yards before being pulled down at the 15-yard line.
O - Pennyman's best receiving games before today: Receptions - 10 vs. UNLV (2005), 8 vs. North Texas (2004) Yards - 119 vs. UNLV (2004), 117 vs. North Texas (2004), 114 vs. UL-Monroe (2004), 97 vs. UNLV (2005)
O - WR Kevin Robinson extended his streak of catching at least two passes to 16 consecutive games. His touchdown reception was his eighth of the season and gives him at least one touchdown reception in seven of 10 games this year.
O - Robinson recorded his second 100-yard receiving game of the year (also had 131 vs. Louisiana Tech) as well as his fourth career 100-yard game.
O - Utah State produced its second best passing game of the year (372 vs. Louisiana Tech) as well as its third best total offense day.
O - Justin Hamblin's 50-yard punt in the fourth quarter matched a career long.
UTAH STATE POSTGAME QUOTES Vs. Nevada, Nov. 19, 2005
UTAH STATE HEAD COACH Brent Guy
"I'm real proud of the way the team fought back in the second half. Twice they were two touchdowns out and we ran the kickoff back for a score. I'm real proud of that."
"The disappointing thing was the first half of play. We left 13 points on the field. We have to at least get the field goals."
"Again the penalties are hurting us. We had seven today. That isn't a huge number, but the ones that we are getting are critical. In the end it was really third downs that hurt us. Not being able to convert them and get the first."
"We did a good job today in our kicking game with the exception of missing one and getting one blocked."
"I was so proud of how they fought. We needed 14 to win it and we took a kickoff return back. Nevada scored a touchdown and then we went right back at them and scored again. That is what we needed to do."
"We made some nice throws to turn it into a one score game and then we let it go. They got us backed up and held us."
"Jerod (Walker) did some good things today. There were some signal issues, but overall he was good and threw the ball well."
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