LOGAN, Utah -
2017 UTAH STATE FOOTBALL FINAL NOTES PACKAGE
Utah State Aggies (6-7, 4-4 Mountain West)
UTAH STATE PLAYS IN SIXTH BOWL GAME IN SEVEN SEASONS
• Utah State finished the 2017 season by playing in its sixth bowl game in the last seven seasons and 12th bowl game in school history as it lost to New Mexico State 26-20 in overtime in the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl, which was held in Tucson, Ariz. USU is 4-8 all-time in its 12 bowl game appearances.
• Utah State played in five-straight bowl games from 2011-15 and won three-straight bowls from 2012-14, both of which are school records.
AGGIES RECORD SIX WINS FOR 35TH TIME IN SCHOOL HISTORY
• Utah State’s six wins in 2017 mark the 35th time in 120 years of Aggie football that the program has won at least six games in a single season. USU also went 4-4 in Mountain West play, marking the 36th time in program history that USU has won at least four conference games as the Aggies have been associated with a conference for 82 seasons.
UTAH STATE PLAYED 13 GAMES FOR SIXTH TIME IN SCHOOL HISTORY
• Utah State played its 13th game of the 2017 season in the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl. Overall, USU has played in at least 13 games six times in the last seven seasons after not playing in more than 12 games prior to its current run. The school record for games played in a season is 14 set in 2013 and 2014.
UTAH STATE RANKED FOURTH IN THE NATION IN FIRST-TIME STARTERS
• Utah State had 26 first-time starters this season, which ranked fourth in the nation behind Ball State (33), Illinois (31) and Baylor (27). USU had 12 players make their first career at No. 9 Wisconsin in senior TE Damion Hobbs, junior OL Roman Andrus, junior OL Rob Castaneda, junior OL Quin Ficklin, redshirt junior OL Sean Taylor, junior LB Suli Tamaivena, junior NG Gasetoto Schuster, junior BS Aaron Wade, sophomore OL Moroni Iniguez, sophomore DE Jacoby Wildman, redshirt freshman DE Ritisoni Fata and redshirt freshman WR Jordan Nathan. USU then had four more players get their first career start against Idaho State in junior DE Adewale Adeoye, redshirt sophomore TE Dax Raymond, sophomore LB Dalton Baker and redshirt freshman CB Ja’Marcus Ingram. Two more Aggies made their first career start at San José State in junior RB Eltoro Allen and freshman LB Maika Magalei. Redshirt freshman OL Demytrick Ali’ifua made his first career start against Colorado State. Sophomore NG Christopher ‘Unga made his first career start against Wyoming. Redshirt freshman QB Jordan Love made his first career start at UNLV. Sophomore DE Devon Anderson and redshirt freshman DE Logan Lee both made their first career starts against Boise State. Redshirt freshman S Baron Gajkowski made his first career start at New Mexico. Redshirt freshman LB David Woodward made his first career start at Air Force. And junior WR Aaren Vaughns made his first career start against New Mexico State.
A FINAL LOOK AT UTAH STATE
• Utah State ended its 2017 season with a 6-7 record and finished tied for fourth place in the Mountain Division of the Mountain West with a 4-4 mark. USU concluded the year with a 26-20 overtime loss to New Mexico State in the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl in Tucson, Ariz. Offensively, USU was led by redshirt freshman QB Jordan Love, who was 129-of-235 (.549) passing for 1,631 yards (135.9 ypg) with eight touchdowns and six interceptions. Senior RB LaJuan Hunt led the team in rushing with 828 yards on 169 carries (4.9 ypc/63.7 ypg) with 11 touchdowns, and junior WR Ron’quavion Tarver had 48 receptions for 569 yards (11.9 ypr/43.8 ypg) with seven touchdowns. Defensively, junior LB Suli Tamaivena led the team with 111 tackles, which included 3.0 sacks and 6.5 tackles for loss, to go along with two fumble recoveries, while senior BS Dallin Leavitt had 94 tackles, which includes 1.0 tackles for loss, to go along with four interceptions. As a team, USU averaged 30.2 points and 397.4 yards of total offense (226.0 passing, 171.4 rushing), and allowed 26.9 points and 398.8 yards of total offense (216.4 rushing, 182.5 passing).
AGGIES RUSH FOR 2,000 YARDS FOR NINTH-STRAIGHT SEASON
• Utah State rushed for 2,228 yards this season on 485 carries (4.6 ypc), marking the ninth-straight year that USU has gained at least 2,000 yards on the ground. Prior to its current streak, USU went 33 years without rushing for 2,000 yards in a single season.
UTAH STATE BOWL HISTORY
• Utah State has a 4-8 bowl record all-time as it lost to San José State, 20-0, in the 1946 Raisin Bowl (Fresno, Calif.); lost to Pacific, 35-21, in the 1947 Grape Bowl (Lodi, Calif.); lost to New Mexico State, 20-13, in the 1960 Sun Bowl (El Paso, Texas); lost to Baylor, 24-9, in the 1961 Gotham Bowl (New York City); defeated Ball State, 42-33, in the 1993 Las Vegas Bowl II; lost to Cincinnati, 35-19, in the 1997 Humanitarian Bowl; lost to Ohio, 24-23, in the 2011 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl; defeated Toledo, 41-15, in the 2012 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl; defeated No. 24 Northern Illinois, 21-14, in the 2013 San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl; defeated UTEP, 21-6, in the 2014 Gildan New Mexico Bowl; lost to Akron, 23-21, in the 2015 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl; and lost to New Mexico State, 26-20 in overtime, in the 2017 NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl.
AGGIES WITH BOWL GAME EXPERIENCE
• Utah State had two players play in their third bowl game in 2017 in senior RB LaJuan Hunt and senior DE Ian Togiai. Aggies who made their second bowl appearance during their career in 2017 include senior CB Jalen Davis, senior QB Kent Myers, senior OL Jarom Ioane, senior WR Braelon Roberts, junior P Aaron Dalton, junior LB Derek Larsen, junior QB DJ Nelson, junior FS Jontrell Rocquemore, junior NG Gasetoto Schuster, junior BS Aaron Wade and redshirt sophomore TE Dax Raymond.
UTAH STATE HAD NINE BOWL TEAMS ON 2017 SCHEDULE
• Utah State’s 2017 schedule featured nine teams who played in bowl games a year ago as Wisconsin played in the Cotton Bowl (W, 24-16 vs. Western Michigan); Wake Forest played in the Military Bowl (W, 34-26 vs. Temple); BYU played in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl (W, 24-21 vs. Wyoming); Colorado State played in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (L, 61-50 vs. Idaho); Wyoming played in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl (L, 24-21 vs. BYU); Boise State played in the Cactus Bowl (L, 31-12 vs. Baylor); New Mexico played in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl (W, 23-20 vs. UTSA); Hawai’i played in the Hawaii Bowl (W, 52-35 vs. Middle Tennessee); and Air Force played in the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl (W, 45-21 vs. South Alabama).
UTAH STATE ONE OF 28 PROGRAMS WITH NINE BOWL TEAMS ON ITS SCHEDULE
• Utah State was one of 28 FBS programs that had at least nine bowl teams from the 2016 season on its 2017 schedule. Notre Dame and Syracuse had a nation’s best 11 bowl teams on this year’s schedule, while Duke, Ole Miss and South Carolina had 10. Alabama, Central Florida, Clemson, Colorado State, Florida, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Kentucky, LSU, Massachusetts, Michigan State, Miami, Mississippi State, Pittsburgh, Purdue, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Tulsa, Utah State, Vanderbilt, Virginia and Virginia Tech all had nine bowl teams on its schedule from 2016.
AGGIES IN OVERTIME
• Utah State is now 6-6 all-time in overtime following its loss in the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl. All-time, USU is 4-3 in single-overtime games, 2-2 in double-overtime games, and 0-1 in triple-overtime games.
AGGIES IN DECEMBER
• Utah State is now 6-16-0 (.273) all-time in games played during December following its loss in the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl.
LOOKING AHEAD TO NEXT SEASON
• Heading into the 2018 season, Utah State will return 18 starters (O-9, D-9) and 52 letterwinners (O-21, D-29, S-2) from this season’s team, while losing just four starters (O-2, D-2) and 14 letterwinners (O-8, D-5, S-1). Hence, USU will return 82 percent of its starting lineup and 79 percent of its players that played this season.
UTAH STATE AT MAVERIK STADIUM
• Utah State went 3-3 at home inside Maverik Stadium during the 2017 season and is 29-9 in its last 38 home games, which includes a 21-9 record under head coach Matt Wells. USU is also 16-3 in its last 19 non-conference home games, including an 8-2 record under Wells. All-time, Utah State is 141-105 (.573) in Maverik Stadium.
UTAH STATE RECORDS SEVENTH-BEST ATTENDANCE IN SCHOOL HISTORY
• For the fifth time in the last six seasons, Utah State averaged over 20,000 fans, marking the first time in school history it has accomplished that feat. During the 2017 season, USU averaged 20,108 fans (120,650) to rank as the seventh-highest average all-time in school history.
UTAH STATE CONCLUDES FIFTH SEASON IN THE MOUNTAIN WEST
• Utah State concluded its fifth year as a member of the Mountain West and has been a Division I-A/Bowl Championship Series football playing school in each of its 119 seasons of competition. USU joined the Mountain States/Skyline Conference in 1938 until 1961. USU then played as a football independent from 1962-77 when the Aggies became members of the Pacific Coast Athletic Association in 1978. The PCAA changed its name to the Big West Conference in 1988. Following the 2000 season, when the Big West no longer sponsored football, USU spent two years as an independent (2001-02) and two years in the Sun Belt Conference (2003-04), before joining the Western Athletic Conference for eight seasons from 2005-12.
UTAH STATE VERSUS THE MOUNTAIN WEST
• Utah State is 150-179-8 (.457) all-time against current members of the Mountain West with a 38-26-4 record vs. Wyoming, a 33-39-2 record vs. Colorado State, a 16-7 record vs. UNLV, a 17-20-1 record vs. San José State, a 12-17-1 record vs. Fresno State, an 11-13 record vs. New Mexico, a 9-6 record vs. Hawai`i, a 6-18 record vs. Nevada, a 5-17 record vs. Boise State, a 2-4 record vs. Air Force, and a 1-12 record vs. San Diego State.
THIRTY-SEVEN AGGIES PLAY FIRST UTAH STATE GAME IN 2017
• Utah State has had 37 players play in their first-ever Aggie game during the 2017 season. Twenty-four Aggies saw their first-ever action at No. 9 Wisconsin in redshirt junior OL Sean Taylor, junior RB Eltoro Allen, junior OL Roman Andrus, junior OL Rob Castaneda, junior LB Louy Compton, junior OL Quin Ficklin, junior CB Deante Fortenberry, junior LB Ofa Latu, junior LB Suli Tamaivena, sophomore DE Devon Anderson, sophomore OL Moroni Iniguez, sophomore S Chance Parker, redshirt freshman OL Demytrick Ali’ifua, redshirt freshman DE Ritisoni Fata, redshirt freshman S Baron Gajkowski, redshirt freshman CB Braxton Gunther, redshirt freshman CB Ja’Marcus Ingram, redshirt freshman LB Kevin Meitzenheimer, redshirt freshman WR Jordan Nathan, redshirt freshman LB David Woodward, freshman LB Maika Magalei, freshman WR Savon Scarver, freshman TE Carson Terrell and freshman DE Nami Tuitu’u. Twelve more Aggies played in their first-ever USU game against Idaho State in senior WR Connor McGuire, junior WR Aaren Vaughns, junior TE Emerson Woods, sophomore LB Mason Gajkowski, sophomore LB Braden Harris, sophomore P Zach Lee, sophomore PK Michael Smith, redshirt freshman WR Taylor Compton, redshirt freshman QB Jordan Love, redshirt freshman OL Viliamu McMoore, redshirt freshman DE Jake Pitcher and freshman PK Connor Coles. And one more Aggie played in his first game at Wake Forest in redshirt freshman DE Logan Lee.
DID YOU KNOW?
• Senior CB Jalen Davis started his 49th career game at Utah State in the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl, which is the second-most games started in school history behind OC Tyler Larsen (2010-13), who started a school-record 52 games, which was also every game he played in. Defensive end Jordan Nielsen (2012-15) holds the school record for games played with 54. Senior RB LaJuan Hunt played in his 51st career game in the bowl, as he is one of 14 Aggies in school history to play in 50 or more games.
DID YOU KNOW?
• Utah State had eight players start every game during the 2017 season in senior CB Jalen Davis, senior BS Dallin Leavitt, junior OL Roman Andrus, junior OL Rob Castaneda, junior OL Quin Ficklin, junior LB Suli Tamaivena, junior WR Ron’quavion Tarver and sophomore OL Moroni Iniguez.
• Utah State scored seven non-offensive touchdowns this year with three interception returns, two fumble returns, one blocked punt return and one kickoff return for a touchdown. Last year, USU had just one non-offensive touchdown all year.
• Ten of Utah State’s games during the 2017 season featured a non-offensive score.
UTAH STATE COACHING CHANGES FOR 2017
• Utah State’s coaching staff had two changes prior to the 2017 season as fifth-year head coach Matt Wells hired David Yost as the offensive coordinator working with the quarterbacks, and Mark Tommerdahl as the special teams coordinator and running backs coach. Coaches who left the USU program following the 2016 season include assistant head coach/running backs/tight ends coach Mike Canales, who went to Tennessee, and linebackers coach David Kotulski, who went to Mercyhurst University.
UTAH STATE THE ONLY PROGRAM WITH NEW OFFENSIVE COORDINATORS FOUR YEARS IN A ROW WITH SAME HEAD COACH
• Utah State is the only FBS program to have a new offensive coordinator in each of the past four seasons under the same head coach heading into the 2017 season. In 2014, Kevin McGiven was the offensive coordinator. In 2015, Josh Heupel was the offensive coordinator. In 2016, Jovon Bouknight and Luke Wells were co-offensive coordinators. And in 2017, David Yost is the offensive coordinator. Kansas has had a new offensive coordinator in each of the past five seasons under different head coaches and Pittsburgh has had new offensive coordinators in each of the last four seasons under different head coaches.
WELLS’ 34 WINS FOURTH-MOST IN SCHOOL HISTORY
• Utah State head coach Matt Wells’ 34 wins rank as the fourth-most in school history, while his 51.5 winning percentage (34-32) ranks seventh with a minimum of 15 games coached.
MORE ON UTAH STATE’S HEAD COACH Matt Wells
• Utah State head coach Matt Wells, who just finished his fifth season in charge of the Aggie football program, is the longest tenured head coach since Mick Dennehy (2000-04) also spent five years at USU. In fact, Wells is tied with Dennehy and George P. Campbell (1902-06) as the sixth-longest tenured head coaches in 120 seasons of Utah State football.
• Matt Wells, the 2013 Mountain West Coach of the Year, coached his fourth bowl game in 2017 to extend the school record for most bowl games by a head coach. E. Lowell ‘Dick’ Romney (1946, 1947), John Ralston (1960, 1961) and Gary Andersen (2011, 2012) all coached the Aggies in two bowl games, while Charlie Weatherbie (1993) and John L. Smith (1997) each coached one bowl game at USU.
• Matt Wells is just the second Utah State graduate to be appointed its head football coach, joining Chris Pella, who graduated from USU in 1965 and coached the Aggies from 1983-85.
WELLS ONE OF 21 FBS HEAD COACHES AT ALMA MATER
• Utah State head coach Matt Wells was one of 21 current FBS head coaches who were the head coaches at their alma mater during the 2017 season, joining John Bonamego (Central Michigan), Troy Calhoun (Air Force), Paul Chryst (Wisconsin), Pat Fitzgerald (Northwestern), Mike Gundy (Oklahoma State), Jim Harbaugh (Michigan), Bryan Harsin (Boise State), Paul Haynes (Kent State), Kliff Kingsbury (Texas Tech), Sean Kugler (UTEP), Tim Lester (Western Michigan), Mike Neu (Ball State), Barry Odum (Missouri), Mark Richt (Miami), Nick Rolovich (Hawai’i), Scott Satterfield (Appalachian State), David Shaw (Stanford), Kalani Sitake (BYU), Kirby Smart (Georiga) and Jeff Tedford (Fresno State).
• Of the 21 head coaches listed above who are currently at their alma mater, the Mountain West leads all conferences with five.
AGGIES’ OFFENSE IN COACH WELLS ERA
• Utah State produced 500 yards of total offense four times during the 2017 season, which ties the 2013 team for the most in a single-season in school history. In fact, prior to the 2013 and 2017 seasons, Utah State had never produced 500 yards of total offense in more than two games. Under head coach Matt Wells, USU has had a school-record 11 games with at least 500 yards of offense.
DID YOU KNOW?
• Utah State’s Matt Wells has been a player (1993) or coach (2012, 2013, 2014) in all four of Utah State’s bowl wins. The NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl in 2017 was his seventh bowl game as an Aggie.
• In his five years as head coach, Wells has led Utah State to three wins against top 25 opponents, one more than USU had in its previous 115 years.
• Utah State is 14-5 with a freshman at quarterback over the last five seasons under Wells, including a 6-1 record in 2013, a 5-1 record in 2014 and a 3-3 record in 2017.
• With its 40-24 win against BYU this season, Wells is the first Aggie coach to win multiple games against BYU since Bruce Snyder (1976-82) posted wins against the Cougars in 1978 and 1982, which is a span of 10 head coaches.
DAVIS NAMED WALTER CAMP FIRST-TEAM ALL-AMERICAN
• Utah State senior CB Jalen Davis was named a first-team All-American by the Walter Camp Football Foundation in 2017, marking just the ninth time in school history that Utah State has had a first-team All-American. Other Aggies who have been named first-team All-Americans include C Elmer “Bear” Ward in 1934 (Newspaper Enterprise of America), HB Kent Ryan in 1936 (All-America Board), T Merlin Olsen in 1960 and 1961 (Associated Press, United Press International, Football Writers Association, Helms Athletic Foundation, Movietone News, Newspaper Enterprise of America), DB Henry King in 1966 (The Sporting News), DL Bill Staley in 1967 (Central Press, Time Magazine, The Sporting News), DE Phil Olsen in 1969 (Associated Press, United Press International, Central Press, Football Writers Association, Newspaper Enterprise of America, The Sporting News, Walter Camp Football Foundation), DL Rulon Jones in 1979 (The Sporting News), and KR Kevin Robinson in 2007 (CBSSportsline).
• Davis was also named a second-team All-American by the Football Writers Association of America and the Associated Press in 2017.
• Davis was a mid-season All-American by The Associated Press, ESPN, CBS Sports and Sports Illustrated in 2017, as he was the only non-Power 5 player listed.
EBERLE NAMED SB NATION HONORABLE MENTION ALL-AMERICAN
• Utah State sophomore Dominik Eberle was named a SB Nation Honorable Mention All-American in 2017, honoring the top four placekickers in the nation. Eberle is the first-ever Utah State placekicker named an All-American and just the second-ever specialist, joining Steve Mullins who was named an honorable mention All-American punter by Football News is 2001.
EBERLE NAMED FINALIST FOR LOU GROZA AWARD
• Utah State sophomore Dominik Eberle was named a finalist for the 2017 Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award, presented by the Orange Bowl. Eberle was one of three finalists to land on the list, joining Daniel Carlson of Auburn and Matt Gay of Uta, who won the award. He and Gay are just the second and third players from the Beehive State (Utah’s Louie Sakoda in 2008) to be named a Lou Groza finalist, and Eberle is the fifth player from a current Mountain West institution.
• Other than Merlin Olsen winning the Outland Trophy in 1961, this is the first time Utah State has ever had a player named a finalist for a national award.
DAVIS NAMED SEMIFINALIST FOR JIM THORPE AWARD
• Utah State senior CB Jalen Davis was one of 13 Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) players named as a semifinalst for the Jim Thorpe Award in 2017, which is given annually to the top defensive back in college football.
DAVIS AND EBERLE EARN FIRST-TEAM ALL-MOUNTAIN WEST HONORS
• Utah State senior CB Jalen Davis and sophomore PK Dominik Eberle both earned first-team all-Mountain West honors in 2017. Davis is the first USU defensive back to be named first-team all-conference since Frankie Sutera in 2014, while Eberle is the first placekicker to earn the honor since Brad Bohn was named all-Big West in 1998.
UTAH STATE SEVENTH IN THE MOUNTAIN WEST IN ALL-CONFERENCE HONORS
• Utah State ranked seventh in the Mountain West in all-conference honorees in 2017 as it had three offensive players, two defensive players and one specialist recognized for a total of six all-conference awards. Boise State led the MW with 19 honorees, followed by Fresno State (16), Colorado State (10), San Diego State (10), Nevada (8), Wyoming (7), Utah State (6), Hawai’i (5), New Mexico (5), UNLV (4), San José State (4) and Air Force (2).
• Utah State players to earn first-team all-Mountain West honors in 2017 include senior CB Jalen Davis and sophomore PK Dominik Eberle. Aggies who earned honorable mention all-league honors include junior OT Roman Andrus, junior OC Quin Ficklin, senior BS Dallin Leavitt and redshirt sophomore TE Dax Raymond.
DAVIS EARNS ALL-CONFERENCE HONORS FOR THE SECOND TIME
• Senior CB Jalen Davis earned all-Mountain West honors for the second time in his career in 2017 as he garnered honorable mention all-conference honors as a sophomore in 2015.
TOMMERDAHL NOMINATED FOR BROYLES AWARD
• Utah State special teams coordinator and running backs coach Mark Tommerdahl was one of 56 coaches to be nominated for the 2017 Broyles Award as the nation’s top assistant coach.
ROBERTS NOMINATED FOR BURLSWORTH TROPHY
• Utah State’s Braelon Roberts was nominated for the 2017 Burlsworth Trophy, which is given to the most outstanding football player from a Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) school who began his career as a walk-on and has shown outstanding performance on the field. Roberts was one of 63 players nominated from an FBS school.
UTAH STATE RANKED FIFTH IN THE MOUNTAIN WEST IN SCORING OFFENSE
• Utah State finished the 2017 season averaging 30.2 points per game to rank fifth in the Mountain West and 51st in the nation. USU also ranked sixth in the MW and 56th in the nation in rushing offense (171.4 ypg), sixth in the MW and 69th nationally in passing offense (226.0 ypg), seventh in the MW and 70th in the nation in completion percentage (.584), eighth in the conference and 68th in the nation in total offense (397.4 ypg), ninth in the conference and 72nd in the nation in sacks allowed (2.15 pg), and 10th in the MW and 95th in the nation in passing efficiency (122.0).
AGGIES RANK 19TH IN THE NATION IN PASSING DEFENSE
• Utah State allowed 182.5 passing yards per game in 2017 to rank fourth in the Mountain West and 19th in the nation. USU also ranked second in the conference and 24th in the nation in passing efficiency defense (116.6), fifth in the MW and 67th in the nation in scoring defense (26.9 ppg), seventh in the MW and 73rd in the nation in total defense (398.8 ypg), seventh in the MW and 83rd nationally in sacks (1.85 pg), and ninth in the MW and 115th nationally in rushing defense (216.4 ypg).
AGGIES RANK SIXTH IN THE NATION WITH ITS 29 FORCED TURNOVERS
• Utah State forced 29 turnovers (16 fumbles, 13 interceptions) in 2017, which ranks second in the Mountain West and tied for sixth in the nation. Last year, USU forced just 10 turnovers the entire season. USU also ranked tied for second in the nation with its 16 fumble recoveries, and was fourth in the Mountain West and 45th in the nation with its 13 interceptions on the season.
UTAH STATE FOURTH IN THE NATION WITH ITS FIVE DEFENSIVE TOUCHDOWNS
• Utah State’s defense scored five touchdowns in 2017 to rank fourth in the nation. Senior CB Jalen Davis scored three of those touchdowns as he had a 30- and a 50-yard interception return against BYU, and a 25-yard interception return against Idaho State, while freshman LB Maika Magalei returned a fumble 38 yards for a score against San José State and redshirt freshman LB David Woodward returned a fumble 70 yards for a touchdown at New Mexico. Overall, USU has scored 16 defensive touchdowns in its last 59 games.
UTAH STATE FOURTH IN THE NATION WITH ITS FOUR BLOCKED PUNTS
• Utah State ranked fourth in the nation with its four blocked punts in 2017. On the season, USU blocked punts against Idaho State, Wake Forest, San José State and Colorado State, returning the one against CSU for a touchdown. The school record for blocks is six set in 2012 (3 FGs, 2 punts, 1 PAT). Overall, USU has blocked 14 kicks under head coach Matt Wells.
UTAH STATE 21ST IN THE NATION IN KICKOFF RETURN DEFENSE
• Utah State ranked fifth in the Mountain West and 21st in the nation in kickoff return defense (15.88 ypr), fifth in the conference and 36th in the nation in punt returns (9.6 ypr), fifth in the MW and 45th in the nation in kickoff returns (21.8 ypr), and seventh in the MW and 65th in the nation in net punting (37.80 ypp) during the 2017 season.
DAVIS FIFTH IN THE NATION IN PASSES DEFENDED
• Senior CB Jalen Davis ranked fifth in the nation with his 20 passes defended (13 pass breakups, 5 interceptions) and 11th in the nation with his five interceptions in 2017, both of which led the Mountain West. Davis also ranked tied for first nationally with his three defensive touchdowns.
OTHER AGGIES IN THE MOUNTAIN WEST AND NCAA RANKINGS
• Junior LB Louy Compton and junior QB DJ Nelson both ranked tied for third in the nation with their two blocked kicks, while Nelson also ranked tied for second in the Mountain West and tied for 10th in the nation with his one punt return for a touchdown. Senior QB Kent Myers ranked first in the MW and 29th in the nation in completion percentage (.629) and eighth in the MW and 82nd in the nation in passing efficiency (123.7). Redshirt freshman WR Jordan Nathan ranked third in the MW and 24th in the nation in punt returns (8.5 ypr). Freshman WR Savon Scarver ranked third in the MW and 31st in the nation in kickoff returns (24.0 ypr), and tied for fourth in the MW and tied for 17th in the nation with one kickoff return for a touchdown. Junior LB Suli Tamaivena ranked tied for fourth in the MW and tied for 26th in the nation with his two fumble recoveries, and eighth in the MW and 46th in the nation in tackles (8.5 pg). Sophomore LB Justus Te’i ranked tied for fourth in the MW and tied for 26th in the nation with his two fumble recoveries. Senior BS Dallin Leavitt ranked fourth in the MW and 29th in the nation with his four interceptions (0.3 pg), and 17th in the MW in tackles (7.2 pg). Junior LB Chase Christiansen ranked fifth in the MW and 31st in the nation with his three forced fumbles (.25 pg), and 32nd in the MW in tackles (5.9 pg). Senior RB LaJuan Hunt ranked fifth in the MW and 43rd in the nation with his 11 rushing touchdowns (0.8 pg), fifth in the MW and 52nd in the nation with his 12 total touchdowns (0.9 pg), 10th in the MW and 93rd in the nation in yards per carry (4.9 ypc), and 10th in the MW in rushing yards per game (63.7 ypg). Junior WR Ron’quavion Tarver ranked tied for fourth in the MW and tied for 60th nationally with his seven receiving touchdowns (0.6 pg), and ninth in the MW in receptions (3.7 pg). Redshirt freshman QB Jordan Love ranked 10th in the MW and 88th in the nation in passing efficiency (119.3), 10th in the MW and 94th in the nation in completion percentage (.549), and 10th in the MW and 98th in the nation in passing (135.9 ypg). Junior BS Gaje Ferguson ranked 19th in the MW in tackles (6.9 pg). Sophomore PK Dominik Eberle ranked third in the MW and 27th in the nation in field goals (1.38 pg), seventh in the MW and 52nd in the nation in scoring (7.8 pgg), and eighth in the MW and 56th in the nation in field goal percentage (.750). And, junior P Aaron Dalton ranked fifth in the MW and 55th in the nation in punting (42.0 ypp).
HUNT RECORDS FIFTH-CAREER 100-YARD RUSHING GAME
• Senior RB LaJuan Hunt finished his collegiate career by recording his fifth 100-yard rushing game, including his fourth in 2017, with 133 yards on 20 carries and one touchdown against New Mexico State in the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl. Overall, Hunt had four 100-yard rushing outings in the last six games of his career. During his last six collegiate games, Hunt rushed for 525 yards on 88 carries (6.0 ypc/87.5 ypg) with nine touchdowns. In the first 45 games of his career, he scored nine rushing touchdowns and had one 100-yard rushing game.
• Hunt finished his career by scoring a rushing touchdown in six straight games, marking the first time an Aggie has accomplished that feat since Joey DeMartino scored a touchdown in six straight games in 2013. • During the 2017 season, Hunt led the team with 11 rushing touchdowns, which are the most by an Aggie since DeMartino had 13 during the 2013 season.
SCARVER RECORDS FIRST CAREER KICKOFF RETURN FOR TOUCHDOWN
• Freshman WR Savon Scarver returned a kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown against New Mexico State in the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl for his first career kickoff return for a touchdown. It was also the first kickoff return for a touchdown in bowl history for Utah State, and its first in any game dating back to the 2015 season when doing so against Nevada. Overall, Scarver’s 96-yard return is tied with Hunter Sharp’s 96-yard return against Nevada in 2015 for the sixth-longest kickoff return in school history. That kickoff return by Scarver was also a NOVA Home Loans Bowl record until the following kickoff when New Mexico State returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown.
• Overall, Scarver returned two kickoffs for 99 yards against New Mexico State, including his 96-yard touchdown, and was named to the Associated Press All-Bowl Team.
LOVE HAS CAREER DAY IN BOWL GAME
• Redshirt freshman QB Jordan Love had a career day against New Mexico State in the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl, as he was 25-of-44 passing, both of which are career-highs, for 254 yards. Those 25 completions are tied for the most by an Aggie in bowl history, while the 44 attempts are a USU bowl record. Anthony Calvillo previously held both records as he was 25-of-39 passing against Ball State in the Las Vegas Bowll II in 1993. Overall, Love’s 254 passing yards are his third-most and his third career 200-yard game.
TARVER HAS MOST PRODUCTIVE OUTING OF THE SEASON IN BOWL GAME
• Junior WR Ron’quavion Tarver had his most productive outing of the season in the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl as he caught a season-high eight passes for a season-best 97 yards. In his previous game at Air Force, Tarver had a career-high two touchdown receptions from 24 and 22 yards, to become the first Aggie with multiple touchdown receptions in the same game since Brandon Swindall accomplished the feat in the 2015 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. In his final two games of the 2017 season, Tarver caught 12 passes for 183 yards (91.5 ypg) and two touchdowns.
BRIGHT HAS CAREER-HIGH 11 CARRIES IN BOWL GAME
• Sophomore WR Gerold Bright had a career-high 11 carries for 48 yards against New Mexico State in the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl. In his previous game against Air Force, Bright recorded his first-career 100-yard rushing game as he rushed for a career-high 102 yards on nine carries. Bright also had a career-long 75 yard run for a touchdown in the game.
• After carrying the ball just one time for six yards (UNLV) in the first 10 games of the season, Bright carried the ball 28 times for 245 yards (8.75 ypc) in the last three games of the 2017 season with touchdown runs of 60 (vs. Hawai’i) and 75 yards (vs. Air Force). Prior to the last three games, Bright had just 12 carries for 93 yards (7.8 ypc) in his career with one touchdown on a 41 yard run.
UTAH STATE OFFENSE FINISHES 2017 SEASON ON A HIGH NOTE
• Offensively, Utah State finished the 2017 season playing as well as it could. During its final three games, Utah State averaged 31.0 points and 479.0 yards of total offense (245.0 rushing, 234.0 passing), and averaged 6.9 yards per play.
• Utah State produced a 100-yard rusher in five of its final six game as it is averaging 203.7 rushing yards and 5.8 yards per carry with 15 rushing touchdowns as the Aggies rushed the ball 35.2 times per game on average during its last six games.
• Utah State’s offensive line allowed just five sacks in its last six games, as compared to 18 sacks in its previous four games.
• On the season, Utah State ranked third in the Mountain West and 38th nationally in red zone offense (87.5), as it has scored 35 times on 40 trips, with 20 touchdowns and 15 field goals.
MORE OFFENSIVE NUMBERS THAT EQUAL SUCCESS FOR UTAH STATE
• Utah State has won 22 of its last 27 games when it has a 100-yard rusher, including a 4-2 record in 2017, and 26 of its last 29 contests when rushing at least 40 times in a game, including a 4-1 record in 2017. USU has also won 40 of its last 42 games when scoring at least 30 points, including a 5-1 record in 2017.
UTAH STATE FORCED 29 TURNOVERS DURING THE 2017 SEASON
• Utah State forced 29 turnovers during the 2017 season to rank tied for sixth nationally, and has now forced 139 turnovers in its last 75 games, including at least one turnover in 58 of its last 75 games. USU has also recorded 66 interceptions in its last 62 games, including at least one pick in 33 of its last 62 games and multiple interceptions in 20 of its last 62 games. Overall, USU has forced three or more turnovers in 17 of its last 50 games. USU was 6-4 on the season when it forces a turnover and 5-2 when forcing multiple turnovers.
DAVIS EXTENDS SCHOOL RECORD FOR PASSES BROKEN UP
• Senior CB Jalen Davis had two pass breakups in his final collegiate game in the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl against New Mexico State and finishes his career with 37 pass breakups to extend his own school record. The previous school record for pass breakups was held by Donald Toomer (1991-94) with 26.
• Overall, Davis had at least one pass breakup in each of his last five games and had a streak of at least one pass breakup in five straight games earlier this year, which is the longest by an Aggie since Jarrett Bush had a pass breakup in six straight games in 2005.
• Along with his pass breakups, Davis also led the team with 4.0 sacks in 2017, which are the most by an Aggie defensive back since 2014, when Frankie Sutera had 4.5 sacks.
• For his career, Davis had 48 career passes defended (37 pass breakups, 11 interceptions) and returned four interceptions for touchdowns.
WOODWARD PLAYS WELL DOWN THE STRETCH FOR AGGIES
• Redshirt freshman LB David Woodward played very well at the end of the season for Utah State. In his last four games of the 2017 season, Woodward recorded 24 tackles, which included 1.0 sacks and 2.5 tackles for loss, to go along with a 70-yard fumble return for a touchdown against New Mexico and an interception he returned 27 yards against New Mexico State in the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl. Woodward also had a career-high three pass breakups against NMSU. In his previous game against Air Force, Woodward recorded his first-career double-digit tackle game with 13 stops in his first-career start. In his first nine games of the season, he had just five tackles.
CHRISTIANSEN LEADS AGGIES WITH EIGHT TACKLES IN BOWL GAME
• Junior LB Chase Christiansen had a team-high eight tackles, which included 1.0 tackles for loss, and recovered his first career fumble against New Mexico State in the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl.
LEAVITT INTERCEPTS SEVENTH CAREER PASS IN BOWL GAME
• Senior BS Dallin Leavitt intercepted his fourth pass of the season and the seventh of his career against New Mexico State in the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl. Leavitt also had one pass breakup giving him five this season and eight in his career.
TAMAIVENA HAD SIX DOUBLE-DIGIT TACKLE GAMES THIS SEASON
• Junior LB Suli Tamaivena has six double-digit tackle games in 2017, which are the most by an Aggie since Nick Vigil had seven double-digit tackle games in 2015. Tamaivena also led the team with 6.5 tackles for loss and ranked second with his 3.0 sacks.
• Tamaivena was one of five Aggies who recorded a tackle in every game this season along with senior BS Dallin Leavitt, junior DE Adewale Adeoye, junior BS Gaje Ferguson and redshirt freshman CB Ja’Marcus Ingram.
OTHER DEFENSIVE NOTABLES FROM NOVA HOME LOANS ARIZONA BOWL
• Junior FS Jontrell Rocquemore forced his first fumble of the season and the second of his career. Junior CB Deante Fortenberry had 1.0 sack giving him 3.0 sacks and 4.0 tackles for loss this season. He also recorded his first career pass breakup. Junior DE Adewale Adeoye had 1.0 tackles for loss, giving him 4.5 tackles for loss this season and in his career. Junior LB Justus Te’i had his first pass breakup of the season and the second of his career. Senior CB Wesley Bailey had one pass breakup giving him three pass breakups this season and seven in his career. Senior DE Ian Togiai had 1.0 tackles for loss, giving him 4.0 tackles for loss this season and 7.5 in his career.
SPECIAL TEAMS NOTABLES FROM BOWL GAME
• Junior P Aaron Dalton had a 54-yard punt and a 55-yard punt in the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl, giving him 10 50-yard punts this year and 27 in his career. Dalton also had a career-high five punts downed inside the 20-yard line, giving him 26 punts this year and 72 in his career downed inside the 20-yard line.
• Redshirt freshman WR Jordan Nathan returned six punts in the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl, which is a USU bowl record.
• Sophomore PK Dominik Eberle attempted a school-record six field goals in the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl. The previous record was five held by Brad Bohn (1998) and Dene Garner (1985).
DID YOU KNOW?
• Utah State ranked sixth in the Mountain West and 54th in the nation in red zone defense (81.4), as it has allowed its opponents to score on 35 of 43 trips, with 21 touchdowns and 14 field goals.
• Utah State’s defense ranked fourth in the Mountain West and 45th in the nation in fourth down conversion percentage (.462) as its opponents are 12-for-26 on fourth down.
DAVIS NAMED CBSSPORTS.COM NATIONAL PLAYER OF THE WEEK
• Utah State senior CB Jalen Davis was named CBSSports.com’s National Player of the Week and the Mountain West’s Defensive Player of the Week on Oct. 2, 2017, following his performance in Utah State’s 40-24 home win against BYU. Against the Cougars, Davis intercepted a career-high three passes and returned two of them for touchdowns from 30 and 50 yards, respectively. Davis also had five tackles, to go along with one pass breakup. Davis was also named the MW Defensive Player of the Week by College Sports Madness. For Davis, it is his first career Player of the Week honor from the conference.
• Those three interceptions for Davis are tied with seven players for the most in a game at the FBS level this year, and tied for a Mountain West record as it is the 11th time in conference history a player has had three picks in a game. The last time an FBS player had more than three interceptions in a game was in 2006 when Middle Tennessee’s Damon Nickson had four picks against Louisiana-Lafayette. Furthermore, Davis’ three interceptions are the second-most in a game in school history, trailing Henry King, who had four picks against Pacific in 1966.
• Davis’ two interception returns for touchdowns are a single-game school record, and tied for the most at the FBS level this season with three other players. He is also tied with five other players for the most in Mountain West history. In fact, it is just the 19th time in conference history that a team has had two interceptions returned for a touchdown in a game.
• Davis is the first FBS player to have three interceptions and return two of them for touchdowns since 2012, when Fresno State’s Phillip Thomas accomplished the feat against Colorado.
LOVE NAMED MOUNTAIN WEST OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
• Utah State redshirt freshman QB Jordan Love was named the Mountain West Offensive Player of the Week following his performance in Utah State’s 52-28 Mountain West road win at UNLV on Oct. 21, 2017. Making his first career start, Love completed 19-of-27 (.704) passes for 316 yards and two touchdowns from 70 and 75 yards. Love also scored on a 5-yard run as he rushed for 42 yards on eight carries (5.2 ypc). The last Aggie to be named the MW Offensive Player of the Week was senior QB Kent Myers against Colorado State in 2015 during his sophomore season. Love was also named the College Sports Madness MW Offensive Player of the Week.
• Love’s 316 passing yards are the third-most by a freshman in school history and he is just the third Aggie quarterback to ever throw for 300 yards in his first career start joining Brett Stevens, who passed for 340 yards against Fresno State in 1985 and Matt Sauk, who threw for 390 yards against Oklahoma State in 1996.
• Love’s touchdown passes of 70 and 75 yards marked the first time since 2012 that the Aggies had multiple scoring plays from 70-plus yards, doing so against New Mexico State that season. Furthermore, Love is the first Aggie to have three touchdown passes of 70-plus yards in a season since Darrel Garretson in 2014.
NELSON NAMED MOUNTAIN WEST SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE WEEK
• Utah State junior QB DJ Nelson was named the Mountain West’s Special Teams Player of the Week on Oct. 9, 2017, as he scored his first career touchdown as he returned his own blocked punt 20 yards for a score in the second quarter against Colorado State. Nelson, who is playing on special teams for the first time this season, also blocked a punt at Wake Forest.
NELSON IS UTAH STATE’S SWISS ARMY KNIFE
• Utah State junior QB DJ Nelson may not lead the team in any offensive or defensive category this season, but he was the only player in the nation at the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) level with two blocked kicks, one rushing touchdown and one punt return for a touchdown, not to mention two receptions and six tackles, as well. During the year, Nelson has played wide receiver on offense as well as special teams, as he is the holder for extra points and field goals, and also plays on punt returns, punt coverage, kickoff return and kickoff coverage.
HUNT RANKS 11TH ALL-TIME IN RUSHING
• Senior RB LaJuan Hunt rushed for 1,846 yards on 428 carries (4.3 ypc) in his career to rank 11th all-time in school history. Hunt had five 100-yard rushing games in his career, including four in 2017, and set a true freshman school record with 34 carries for 145 yards against Hawai’i in 2014. Demario Brown (1996-99) holds the school record with 4,053 career rushing yards.
• With his 428 carries, Hunt ranks eighth all-time in school history in that category. Brown and Abu Wilson (1992, 94-96) hold the school record for rushing attempts with 792.
• Hunt had 18 rushing touchdowns in his career, which is tied with Roy Shivers (1964-65) for 10th all-time in school history. Robert Turbin (2007-09, 11) and Wilson hold the school record with 40 rushing touchdowns in a career. Hunt had three career multi-touchdown games, as he scored a career-high three rushing touchdowns at UNLV and had two rushing touchdowns at New Mexico in 2017, to go along with his two rushing touchdowns at Fresno State in 2015. Overall, Hunt scored at least one rushing touchdown in 14 different games in his career.
MYERS RANKS FOURTH ALL-TIME IN TOUCHDOWN PASSES
• Senior QB Kent Myers ranks tied for fourth all-time in school history with 39 career touchdown passes along with Brent Snyder (1987-88).
• For his career, Myers was 534-of-876 (.610) passing for 6,126 yards as he ranks third all-time in school history in completions, fourth all-time in attempts and fifth all-time in passing yards. Myers also recorded 7,532 yards of total offense during his career, which ranks fourth all-time at USU.
MYERS THIRD ALL-TIME IN COMPLETION PERCENTAGE
• Senior QB Kent Myers was 534-of-876 (.610) passing for 6,126 yards with 39 touchdowns and 21 interceptions in his career, and that completion percentage ranks third all-time in school history behind Darell Garretson (.631) and Chuckie Keeton (.629).
• For his career, Myers has an interception percentage of just 0.024, which ranks third all-time in school history behind Keeton (.022) and Anthony Calvillo (0.023), with his 39 touchdowns and 21 interceptions on 876 career attempts. Myers threw at least one touchdown pass in 20 of his last 30 games, and in 24 games in his career, and multiple touchdowns nine times in his career, which includes five games with three or more touchdown passes. In his career, Myers had 22 touchdowns and eight interceptions at home, and 17 touchdowns and 13 interceptions on the road.
MYERS RANKS 17TH ALL-TIME IN RUSHING
• Senior QB Kent Myers rushed for 1,406 yards on 337 carries (4.2 ypc) during his career to rank 17th all-time in school history, including second all-time among quarterbacks, trailing Chuckie Keeton (2011-15), who ranks 14th all-time with 1,415 yards. Myers had one career 100-yard rushing game as he set a school record for quarterbacks with 191 yards on 16 carries against Colorado State in 2015.
• Myers had 19 rushing touchdowns in his career, to rank ninth all-time in school history. Myers had five games with multiple rushing touchdowns as he had a career-high three against San José State in 2014 and two against both Colorado State and Nevada in 2016, and two against both Idaho State and San José State in 2017. Overall, Myers had at least one rushing touchdown in 13 career games.
MYERS AMONG TOP 10 QUARTERBACKS ALL-TIME
• Senior QB Kent Myers started 33 games and played in 38 during his Utah State career, which ranks third and fifth all-time in school history for quarterbacks, respectively. Chuckie Keeton (2011-15) holds the school record for games started by a quarterback with 35, while Diondre Borel (2007-10) holds the school record for games played by a quarterback with 44.
MYERS FOURTH IN SINGLE SEASON COMPLETION %
• Senior QB Kent Myers was 124-of-197 passing in 2017 and that completion percentage of 62.9 ranks fourth all-time at Utah State for a single season. Myers also completed 60.8 percent of his passes as a sophomore in 2015, as he was 121-of-199 passing, which ranks sixth all-time. Chuckie Keeton holds the single-season school record for completion percentage at 69.4 percent set in 2013.
DAVIS TOP FOUR ALL-TIME AT UTAH STATE IN PICKS
• Senior CB Jalen Davis had 11 interceptions in his career, which is tied with Travis Clark (1987, ‘89), Chuck Detwiler (1966-68) and Ronnie McCloud (1974, ‘76-78) for the fourth-most in school history. Furthermore, his 227 career interception return yards ranks second all-time in school history behind Henry King (1965-66), who holds the school record for interceptions in a career with 18 and interception return yards in a career with 373.
DAVIS SIXTH IN SINGLE SEASON INTERCEPTION YARDS
• Senior CB Jalen Davis recorded 120 interception return yards in 2017 on his five interceptions, which ranks as the sixth-most in a single season in school history. Henry King set the single-season school record with 193 interception return yards in 1965, as he picked off seven passes that season.
EBERLE FOURTH ALL-TIME IN FIELD GOAL PERCENTAGE
• Sophomore PK Dominik Eberle is 21-of-29 on field goal attempts in his career, and his 72.4 conversion percentage ranks fourth all-time in school history. Russ Moody (1988-89) holds the school record for field goal percentage at 84.6, as he was 22-of-26 all-time on field goal attempts.
• Eberle is a perfect 47-of-47 on extra points in his career and is one of just three kickers in school history with a minimum of 30 PAT’s made to have never missed an extra point, joining Willie Beecher (1981-84), who was 64-of-64 all-time on extra points and Russ Moody (1988-89), who was 44-of-44 all-time on extra points. Those 47 extra points made in 2017 rank third all-time at USU for a single-season, while his 47 extra point attempts rank fourth.
• Eberle is one of just seven kickers in school history to not miss an extra point for an entire season, joining Diaz (2012), Peter Caldwell (2010, 2007), Doug Beach (1990), Willie Beecher (1982), Tom Mayes (1975) and Steve Steinke (1978).
EBERLE SECOND IN SINGLE-SEASON POINTS BY A KICKER
• Sophomore PK Dominik Eberle scored 101 points in 2017 with 47 extra points and 18 field goals, to rank as the second-most points scored by a kicker in a single season in school history. Nick Diaz set the school record for points scored by a kicker with 102 during the 2013 season with 17 field goals and 51 extra points.
• Eberle was 18-of-24 on field goal attempts in 2017 and his 75.0 conversion percentage ranks tied for ninth all-time in school history for a single season. Russ Moody set the school record in 1988 as made 86.7 percent of his field goals as he was 13-of-15. Those 18 made field goals in 2017 rank tied for the third-most in a single-season in school history, while his 24 attempts ranks tied for the fourth-most.
• Eberle made eight straight field goals earlier this year, which was the longest streak for an Aggie since Nick Diaz also made eight straight in 2014.
• Eberle was 5-of-9 on field goal attempts of at least 40 yards in 2017, including a career long of 52 yards, which ranks tied for the 10th-longest in school history. The last Aggie kicker to make at least five field goals of 40-plus yards in a single season was Diaz in 2012, when he was 5-of-7. And, Brad Bohn was the last USU kicker to make more than five from that distance, when he was 6-of-10 from 40-plus yards back in 2000.
LOVE SETS FRESHMAN RECORD FOR PASSING YARDS
• Redshirt freshman QB Jordan Love finished the 2017 season 129-of-235 (.549) passing for 1,631 yards with eight touchdowns and six interceptions. Those 1,631 passing yards are a school-record for a freshman, bettering the 1,446 yards Darell Garretson threw for in 2013.
INSIDE THE 2017 ROSTER
• Utah State had nine players listed on its 2017 depth chart that began their Aggie careers as walk-ons in senior LS Emmett Odegard, senior WR Braelon Roberts, junior P Aaron Dalton, junior BS Gaje Ferguson, junior OC Quin Ficklin, junior LB Derek Larsen, junior WR Zach Van Leeuwen, sophomore PK Dominik Eberle and redshirt freshman CB Ja’Marcus Ingram.
• Utah State entered the 2017 season with 14 returning starters from last year with six on offense and eight on defense. Despite those high numbers, USU only started five of those 14 players in its season opener at No. 9 Wisconsin, which is the lowest number in the nation at the FBS level. Those five returning starters from last season who started the season-opener this year were senior CB Jalen Davis, senior BS Dallin Leavitt, senior QB Kent Myers, junior BS Gaje Ferguson and junior WR Ron’quavion Tarver.
• Utah State entered the 2017 season with 18 seniors on its roster, but only seven of those 18 players started the season opener at No. 9 Wisconsin in WR Jaren Colston-Green, CB Jalen Davis, TE Damion Hobbs, RB LaJuan Hunt, BS Dallin Leavitt, QB Kent Myers and DE Ian Togiai. In fact, only 14 of the 18 seniors on USU’s 2017 roster played in its game against the Badgers as those other seven players were CB Wesley Bailey, WR Alex Byers, LB Alex Huerta, OL Jarom Ioane, RB Tonny Lindsey Jr., LS Emmett Odegard and WR Braelon Roberts.
• Utah State had 30 players on its 2017 roster who have served two-year LDS Church Missions: redshirt freshman DE Caden Andersen, junior OL Roman Andrus, senior OL Preston Brooksby, freshman WR Taylor Compton, freshman WR Preston Curtis, redshirt freshman DE Ritisoni Fata, freshman RB SJ Fehoko, junior OL Quin Ficklin, redshirt freshman S Baron Gajkowski, sophomore LB Mason Gajkowski, sophomore LB Braden Harris, sophomore OL Moroni Iniguez, senior OL Jarom Ioane, junior LB Derek Larsen, junior LB Ofa Latu, sophomore DE Logan Lee, redshirt freshman DL Connor Meyers, sophomore LB Sialao Mobley, freshman S Chase Nelson, junior QB DJ Nelson, sophomore S Chance Parker, redshirt sophomore TE Dax Raymond, freshman PK Michael Smith, redshirt freshman BS Zach Swenson, redshirt freshman DE Keith Tambe, redshirt freshman TE Tyler Thornock, sophomore NG Mohelika Uasike, junior OL KJ Uluave, junior WR Zach Van Leeuwen and sophomore DE Jacoby Wildman.
• Utah State had 12 players on its 2017 roster who are married in senior OL Preston Brooksby, junior LB Chase Christiansen, senior LB Alex Huerta, sophomore OL Moroni Iniguez, senior OL Jarom Ionae, junior LB Derek Larsen, senior BS Dallin Leavitt, sophomore LB Sialao Mobley, sophomore S Chance Parker, senior DE Ian Togiai, junior OL KJ Uluave and junior WR Zach Van Leeuwen.
• All five of Utah State’s starting offensive linemen – OC Quin Ficklin, RT Sean Taylor, LG Moroni Iniguez, RG Rob Castaneda, LT Roman Andrus – played in their first career games at USU this season. In fact, Taylor is the only member of this group who was on the team last year, as he redshirted. This is the first time in school history that it has started five offensive linemen who had never played a game at USU, minus the Aggies’ first-ever team in 1892. Furthermore, Andrus and Ficklin did not even play offensive line at their previous schools, as Andrus was a defensive end at Snow (Utah) JC and Ficklin was a fullback at BYU.
• Utah State earned the 2017 American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Academic Achievement Award, which is presented by the Touchdown Club of Memphis. The Aggies shared the award with six other schools, including Alabama, Cincinnati, Middle Tennessee, Northwestern, Utah and Virginia. Each institution recorded a 100 percent graduation rate for members of their freshman football student-athlete class of 2010.
• Utah State’s football team has a Graduation Success Rate (GSR) of 89 percent to rank first in the Mountain West. The Aggies also rank first among the other football programs in the Beehive State, ahead of Utah (83), Southern Utah (67), Weber State (66) and BYU (52).
• Utah State had 19 football players earn academic all-conference honors in 2016.
• Over the past eight seasons, USU has had 166 players earn academic all-league honors and 156 players have graduated from Utah State.
• Entering the 2017 season, Utah State has one player on its roster who has already received a degree in junior WR Zach Van Leeuwen (family, consumer and human development).
• Utah State had two football players earn College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSiDA) first-team Academic All-District VIII honors this season in sophomore DE Jacoby Wildman and redshirt freshman S Baron Gajkowski. Both players are now eligible to earn Academic All-America honors as Gajkowski is majoring in finance and has a 3.63 GPA, while Wildman is majoring in sociology and has a 3.65 GPA and earned academic all-Mountain West honors in 2016. District VIII consists of schools from Arizona, California, Hawai’i, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Washington.
• Matt Wells has wasted little time putting his stamp on the Aggie football program in his five seasons as head coach, as USU is 34-32, including a 23-17 Mountain West record.
• During his seven years at Utah State, Wells has been part of six bowl games, including his fourth this year as a head coach. Overall, USU played in five straight bowls from 2011-15, and won three in a row from 2012-14, both of which are school records.
• In his five years as head coach, Wells has led Utah State to three wins against top 25 opponents, one more than USU had overall prior to his tenure.
• During the 2016 and 2017 seasons, Wells mentored a combined 12 players who earned all-Mountain West honors. Wells also coached Jalen Davis, who was named a Walter Camp First Team All-American, while Dominik Eberle was a finalist for the Lou Groza Award.
• During the 2015 season, Wells mentored 12 players who earned all-Mountain West honors, which were the third-most in the conference. Wells also coached Kyler Fackrell, who was named a fourth-team All-American by Phil Steele.
• Wells coached three players who participated in the 2016 NFL Combine in Fackrell, Hunter Sharp and Nick Vigil, while 10 players from the 2015 roster were invited to NFL camps, including Vigil (Cincinnati Bengals) and Fackrell (Green Bay Packers), who were both selected in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft.
• Wells led Utah State to 10 wins in 2014 to rank as the second-most in school history behind the 2012 team that finished with an 11-2 record, including its third-straight bowl win with a 21-6 victory against UTEP in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl.
• During the 2014 season, Wells mentored 15 players who earned 16 all-Mountain West honors, which were the most in the league and tied for the third-most in school history. Wells also coached two All-Americans as Zach Vigil was named a second-team All-American by USA Today Sports, while Jalen Davis was named a True Freshman All-American by 247Sports. Vigil was also named the Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year.
• Wells was named the 2013 Mountain West Coach of the Year as he set the school record for wins by a first-year head coach as the Aggies went 9-5.
• Wells led Utah State to the inaugural Mountain West Championship game after winning the Mountain Division with a 7-1 record in 2013. He also led USU to just its third-ever bowl victory as it posted a 21-14 win against No. 24 Northern Illinois in the 2013 San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl.
• During his first year as USU’s head coach, Wells mentored 14 Aggies who earned various all-Mountain West honors, including three All-Americans as Tyler Larsen was named a second-team All-American by USA Today Sports, Nevin Lawson was named a third-team All-American by College Sports Madness, and Kyler Fackrell was named an honorable mention Sophomore All-American by College Football News.
• Wells coached a school-record four players who participated in the 2014 NFL Combine in Larsen, Lawson, Maurice Alexander and D.J. Tialavea, while 11 players from the 2013 roster were invited to NFL camps, including Alexander (Los Angeles Rams) and Lawson (Detroit Lions), who were both selected in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft.
• Overall, Wells is the second USU coach and fifth in school history to garner conference coach of the year honors along with Bruce Snyder (1978), Chuck Shelton (1991), John L. Smith (1997) and Gary Andersen (2012). Wells is also the fourth individual to earn MW Coach of the Year honors in his first season, along with BYU’s Gary Crowton (2001), Utah’s Urban Meyer (2003) and Air Force’s Troy Calhoun (2007).
• Wells is one of just 21 FBS coaches to lead his alma mater and is just the second Utah State graduate to be appointed its head football coach, joining Chris Pella, who graduated from USU in 1965 and coached the Aggies from 1983-85.
• Prior to being named the head coach at his alma mater, Wells spent the previous two seasons as an assistant at Utah State, including serving as the team’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 2012. In 2011, Wells coached USU’s quarterbacks and was the team’s recruiting coordinator.
• As offensive coordinator in 2012, Utah State concluded its most successful season in program history with a school-best 11-2 record. USU also won its first outright conference championship since 1936.
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