Nov. 24, 2012
LOGAN, Utah -
Utah State, ranked 25th in the nation by the Associated Press this week, capped its milestone season with its first 10-win campaign in school history and clinched its first outright conference championship since 1936 with a 45-9 drubbing of Idaho Saturday afternoon at Merlin Olsen Field at Romney Stadium, celebrating Senior Day in stellar fashion.
Before the game, Utah State honored its 18 seniors with a pre-game ceremony. After the game, USU was presented the Western Athletic Conference Championship trophy by WAC officials and then accepted its second-straight bid to the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl in a mass celebration on the field.
The Aggies improved to 10-2, their first 10-win season in school history and won just their third outright conference championship with a 6-0 WAC record. The 2012 squad joins the 1921 and 1936 teams that won Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) titles. Overall, USU has now won or shared 11 league titles in school history (1921, 1936, 1946, 1960, 1961, 1978, 1979, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2012), while recording its first-ever 6-0 conference record.
Idaho ends its season at 1-11, 1-5 in WAC play. Saturday was the Aggies' fifth win in the last six meetings with the Vandals, and USU now leads the all-time series, 20-17-2.
Utah State totaled just 250 total yards of offense, getting 133 on the ground and 117 through the air, but took advantage of several short fields set up by USU's stalwart defense, creating four turnovers on the day. Utah State held Idaho to 210 yards of total offense, including 158 on the ground and just 52 in the air. In fact, those 52 passing yards by UI are the fewest by an Aggie opponent since 1998 when North Texas passed for just 45 yards.
Senior running back Kerwynn Williams had 149 all-purpose yards with 110 rushing and a touchdown, which was his third-straight 100-yard rushing game and sixth 100-yard rushing performance of the season. Williams also had four receptions for 39 yards with another touchdown, and set USU's single-season record for receiving yards by a running back in the game as he now has 663 yards on the season to lead the team.
Sophomore quarterback Chuckie Keeton ended the day 17-of-25 passing for 133 yards with two touchdowns, marking the 10th time this year and 13th time in his career he has thrown multiple touchdown passes in a game.
After Utah State didn't score on its opening series of the game for the first time in six outings, senior linebacker Bojay Filimoeatu gave the Aggie offense great field position after snaring his first career interception and rumbling 48 yards giving USU's offense the ball at the Idaho 11, following a Vandal penalty. After a USU penalty, Keeton hit Williams for a 19-yard catch and run to the end zone for the 7-0 lead.
Junior defensive end B.J. Larsen's recorded Utah State's second interception of the first quarter, his first career pick, setting up the offense in Idaho territory again. Keeton capped the 8-play, 23-yard drive with a 1-yard scamper to make the score, 14-0.
Utah State's third interception of the first half also resulted in its third touchdown of the game as senior cornerback Will Davis snared his fifth interception in as many games and returned it 59 yards for his first career touchdown to give USU a 21-0 lead.
Idaho scored its first points of the game on a 38-yard field goal by Trey Farquhar with 7:59 on the second quarter clock, and Farquhar drilled a 46-yarder as time expired in the half to make the score 21-6.
The Vandals' kicker continued his 9-0 scoring spurt with a 52-yarder on Idaho's first possession of the second half to make it 21-9 with 9:55 on the clock.
On Utah State's next possession, Williams darted 52-yards on its first play setting up a 3-yard touchdown pass from Keeton to senior tight end Kellen Bartlett to give USU a 28-9 advantage early in the third quarter.
Utah State then finished the game with 17 fourth quarter points as sophomore placekicker Nick Diaz booted a 45-yard field goal with 11:37 play, followed by a 14-yard touchdown run from Williams with 8:53 to go. USU then concluded its scoring with a 7-yard run by sophomore running back Joe Hill with 1:47 remaining to make the final score 45-9.
Junior linebacker Jake Doughty had a game-high 12 tackles for his fourth double-figure tackle outing of the season, while redshirt freshman linebacker Kyler Fackrell tied his career-high with 11 stops for his fourth double-figure tackle game this year.
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl tickets are available at www.Idahotickets.com, by phone at (208) 426-4737, or at the Bronco Stadium ticket office.
For more Aggie Football ticket information, fans can contact the USU Ticket Office at 1-888-USTATE-1 (1-888-878-2831) or 435-797-0305, in person inside the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
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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