Sep 2, 2013
LOGAN, Utah -
UTAH STATE at AIR FORCE
GAME TWO INFORMATION Date: Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013 Kickoff: 1:36 p.m. Location: USAF Academy, Colo. Stadium: Falcon (46,692) Series: Air Force leads, 1-0 TV: CBS Sports Network Dave Ryan (Play-by-Play) Adam Archuleta (Analyst) Evan Washburn (Reporter) Radio: Utah State Sports Network Al Lewis (Play-by-Play) Craig Hislop (Analyst) Live Stats: UtahStateAggies.com Twitter Updates: /USUFootball YouTube: /USUAthletics Facebook: /USUFootball Tickets: 1-800-666-USAF (8723)WHAT TO WATCH FOR...
Utah State is in its 116th season of football and is 506-509-31 (.499) in its previous 115 seasons. USU has nine nationally televised games on ESPN, CBS Sports Network and Fox Sports 1 in 2013 and two more that will be broadcast regionally on ROOT SPORTS.
Utah State is opening the 2013 season with consecutive road games (Aug. 29 at Utah; Sept. 7 at Air Force) for the first time since 2009, for the 24th time since 1960 and for the 29th time in school history. USU is also playing four of its first five games on the road in 2013 for the first time since 2009.
Utah State has won 11 straight conference games dating back to the 2011 season, which is a school record. The previous record for consecutive conference wins was seven in the Big West Conference during the 1979 and 1980 seasons. USU's last conference loss was against Louisiana Tech (24-17) on Oct. 22, 2011 in Logan when it was a member of the Western Athletic Conference from 2005-12.
Utah State is beginning conference play on the road for the third-straight year and for the fifth time in the last nine years. Overall, USU is 28-25-3 (.545) all-time in conference openers including an 11-13-3 (.463) road record.
Utah State has won six straight conference road games dating back to the 2011 season, which is its longest conference road winning streak in school history along with the 1995-1997 teams that combined to win six-straight Big West road games. Overall, USU is 7-3 in its last 10 road games dating back to the 2011 season.
Utah State's Mountain West game at Air Force on Sept. 7 will tie for the third-earliest conference game in school history. USU's earliest conference game ever was on Sept. 2, 1995 at Arkansas State when both schools were members of the Big West. USU also played a Big West game at Louisiana-Lafayette on Sept. 4, 1993 and at Long Beach State on Sept. 7, 1985. All-time, Utah State is 14-13-1 in conference games played in September including a 3-5-1 road record.
Utah State has won 16 of its last 20 games, which is USU's best stretch since going 18-2-1 during the 1960-61 seasons. USU's four losses during its last 20 games have been by a combined 10 points as it lost to Ohio (24-23) in the 2011 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, at No. 22 Wisconsin (16-14) and at BYU (6-3) in 2012, and at Utah (30-26) to open the 2013 season.
Utah State has 59 players in its program from the state of Utah, while Air Force has seven players on its roster from the state of Colorado.
Utah State has won three of its last four games played during the month of September and is 3-2 all-time in games played on Sept. 7.
UTAH STATE BEGINS MOUNTAIN WEST PLAY AT AIR FORCE
Utah State continues its 2013 season with its second-straight road game as it begins Mountain West play at Air Force (1-0, 0-0 MW) on Saturday, Sept. 7 at 1:30 p.m. (MT). The game will be televised nationally on the CBS Sports Network (Comcast Ch. 269/753HD, Dish Network Ch. 158, DirecTV Ch. 221) with Dave Ryan (play-by-play), Adam Archuleta (analyst) and Evan Washburn (reporter) on the call. Live audio of the game is also available on www.UtahStateAggies.com. Live stats will also be available through GameTracker, while Twitter updates - @USUFootball - will also be a part of Utah State's Game Day coverage.
UTAH STATE ON CBS SPORTS NETWORK
Utah State will be making its first of five appearances on the CBS Sports Network this weekend when it begins Mountain West play at Air Force. Other Aggie games scheduled to be televised nationally on the CBS Sports Network includes home games against BYU (Oct. 4), Boise State (Oct. 12), Hawai'i (Nov. 2) and Colorado State (Nov. 23).
UTAH STATE ENTERING FIRST SEASON IN THE MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE
Utah State is entering its first 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 116 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 in 2005 for eight seasons.
UTAH STATE ONE OF THE MOST EXPERIENCED TEAMS IN THE NATION
Utah State enters the 2013 season tied with Army and trailing South Alabama as the second most experienced team at the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) level according to Phil Steele's College Football Preview as USU returns 13 seniors and seven juniors who have started games, and three additional seniors and 12 additional juniors listed on its preseason depth chart.
UTAH STATE HAS FOURTH-MOST EXPERIENCED OFFENSIVE LINE IN THE NATION
Utah State enters the 2013 season returning all five of its starters on the offensive line from a year ago and has the fourth-most experienced offensive line in the nation according to Phil Steele's College Football Preview with 115 career starts between senior center Tyler Larsen (39), senior tackle Eric Schultz (33), senior guard Jamie Markosian (16), senior guard Kyle Whimpey (14) and junior tackle Kevin Whimpey (13). Texas has the most experienced offensive line with 129 career starts, followed by Tennessee (128), Duke (118) and Utah State (115).
WELLS IS THE 11TH-YOUNGEST HEAD COACH AT THE FBS LEVEL
First-year Utah State head football coach Matt Wells is the 11th-youngest head coach at the FBS level at 40 years of age (8-10-73). Wells is also just the second USU 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 was a three-year letterwinner at quarterback from USU from 1994-96.
WELLS IS ONE OF 12 HEAD COACH AT THE FBS LEVEL WHO PLAYED AT SAME SCHOOL
First-year Utah State head football coach Matt Wells is one of just 12 head coaches at the FBS level who played college football at the same school he is currently the head coach at joining Troy Calhoun (Air Force), Ruffin McNeill (East Carolina) Paul Haynes (Kent State), Don Treadwell (Miami, Ohio), Pat Fitzgerald (Northwestern), Mike Gundy (Oklahoma State), David Shaw (Stanford), Kliff Kingsbury (Texas Tech), Bill Blankenship (Tulsa), Sean Kugler (UTEP) and Frank Beamer (Virginia Tech).
DID YOU KNOW?
Utah State produced at least 500 yards of total offense seven times last year, including in five of its last six games. During its first game of the 2013 season, USU just missed the 500-yard mark as it had 487 yards of total offense at Utah. In all, Utah State has produced at least 400 yards of total offense nine times in its last 11 games.
A LOOK AT UTAH STATE
Utah State is 0-1 on the season following its 30-26 season-opening loss at Utah. Offensively, USU is led by junior quarterback Chuckie Keeton who is 31-of-40 passing for 314 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. Keeton also leads the team in rushing as he has carried the ball 15 times for 85 yards with one touchdown, while senior wide receiver Travis Van Leeuwen has five catches for 107 yards. Defensively, senior linebacker Jake Doughty leads the team with 16 tackles, while senior safety Maurice Alexander has 11 tackles to go along with 1.5 sacks, and junior linebacker Zach Vigil has 10 tackles to go along with 0.5 sacks. As a team, Utah State is averaging 26.0 points and 487.0 yards of total offense (314-passing, 173-rushing) and allowing 30.0 points and 450 yards of total offense (302-passing, 148-rushing).
UTAH STATE WINNING STREAKS SNAPPED AT UTAH
Utah State saw several of its winning streaks snapped in its 30-26 road loss at Utah to start the 2013 season. USU entered its game against the Utes with a seven-game winning streak, which ranked tied for the fourth-longest active winning streak in the nation and tied for the third-longest winning streak in school history. USU had also won three-straight road games prior to its loss at Utah.
UTAH STATE ALLOWS FIRST QUARTER TOUCHDOWN FOR FIRST TIME IN 17 GAMES
Utah State allowed a pair of first quarter touchdowns in its 30-26 loss at Utah to start the 2013 season, marking the first time in 17 games it allowed a touchdown in the first 15 minutes of play. During the 2012 season, USU out-scored its opponents 138-9 in the first quarter and was the only team in the nation not to allow a first quarter touchdown. In fact, the last time USU allowed a first quarter touchdown prior to its season opening game at Utah was on Nov. 19, 2011 at Idaho.
UTAH STATE TRAILING AFTER THE FIRST QUARTER AT UTAH NOT THE NORM
Utah State's 14-3 deficit at the end of the first quarter in its season opening game at Utah was not normal for the Aggies as it had lead or was tied at the end of the first quarter in each of its previous 15 games dating back to the 2011 season. Prior to the Utah game, the last team to lead USU at the end of the first quarter was Nevada (3-0) on Nov. 26, 2011. Furthermore, USU's 11 point first quarter deficit against Utah was its largest since trailing San Jose State, 20-7, after one quarter on Nov. 12, 2011.
UTAH STATE LOSSES AT UTAH DESPITE LEADING AT THE HALF
Utah State lost its season opening game at Utah, 30-26, despite holding a 17-14 halftime advantage. Overall, USU was 11-1 during the 2012 season when leading at the half and has now led at the half in 15 of its last 16 games.
UTAH STATE COACHING CHANGES FOR 2013
First-year Utah State head coach Matt Wells retained four assistant coaches from the previous staff and hired five new coaches for the 2013 season. Mark Weber was hired as an assistant head coach and offensive line coach; Todd Orlando was hired as the defensive coordinator and safeties coach; Kevin McGiven was hired as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach; Dave Ungerer was hired as the special teams coordinator and running backs coach; and Luke Wells was hired as the co-offensive coordinator, tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator. Coaches returning from last year's staff include wide receivers coach Jovon Bouknight, linebackers coach Kevin Clune, defensive line coach Frank Maile, and cornerbacks coach Kendrick Shaver.
UTAH STATE COMING OFF BACK-TO-BACK BOWL APPEARANCES
Utah State played in consecutive bowl games for just the third time in school history in 2012 after appearing in each of the last two Famous Idaho Potato Bowls, including just its second-ever bowl win in 2012 as it defeated Toledo, 41-15. USU's only other bowl win was at the 1993 Las Vegas Bowl when it defeated Ball State, 42-33. USU has never played in three-straight bowl games.
UTAH STATE WON THE MAJORITY OF ITS GAMES IN 2012 IN THE FIRST HALF
Utah State had a 254-60 scoring advantage in the first-half last season as it held 10 of its 13 opponents scoreless in the first quarter and three opponents scoreless in the first half. USU also led at the half in all but one game last year (trailed BYU, 6-3), and scored first in every game except at San Jose State (FG) and against Toledo (FG). USU also ended the season with an 11-1 record when leading at the half with its only loss coming at Wisconsin. Furthermore, in 13 games and 780 minutes of play last season, Utah State led or was tied for all but 65:39 (91.2 %).
DID YOU KNOW?
Utah State was one of just 13 Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) schools to win 10 or more football games and 20-plus basketball games during the 2012-13 academic year as the Aggies went 11-2 on the gridiron and 21-10 on the hardwood. Other FBS schools in the 20-10 club include Alabama, Boise State, Cincinnati, Florida, Kansas State, Kent State, Louisville, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oregon and UCF.
KEETON CLOSING IN ON 1,000 CAREER RUSHING YARDS
Junior quarterback Chuckie Keeton has rushed for 997 yards during his career and is just three rushing yards shy of becoming the second quarterback in Aggie history to rush for 1,000 yards as Diondre Borel (2007-10) posteda school record 1,398 rushing yards during his career.
KEETON HAS CAREER NIGHT AT UTAH
Junior quarterback Chuckie Keeton had a career night at Utah to start the 2013 season as he had career-highs in both completions (31) and attempts (40), while his 314 passing yards are the fifth-most in a single-game in his career and his sixth-career 300-yard passing game. Keeton also rushed for 85 yards on 15 carries and scored his 13th career rushing touchdown, which also ranks second all-time among Aggie quarterbacks behind Diondre Borel's (2007-10) 18 career rushing touchdowns.
VAN LEEUWEN RECORDS FIRST CAREER 100-YARD RECEIVING GAME AT UTAH
Senior wide receiver Travis Van Leeuwen recorded his first career 100-yard receiving game in his last outing at Utah as he caught a career-high five passes for a career-best 107 yards, while tying his career-long reception of 36 yards.
SWINDALL CATCHES FIRST CAREER TOUCHDOWNS AT UTAH
Sophomore wide receiver Brandon Swindall caught the first touchdown passes of his career from 15 and four yards during the second quarter in USU's season opener at Utah. For Swindall, he is the first Aggie with multiple touchdown receptions in a game since Chuck Jacobs had two touchdown receptions against UNLV on Sept. 29, 2012. For Swindall, he also posted career-highs in both receptions (3) and receiving yards (23) against the Utes.
NATSON POSTS CAREER-HIGHS IN RECEPTIONS AND RECEIVING YARDS AGAINST UTAH
Sophomore wide receiver Bruce Natson recorded career-highs in both receptions (9) and receiving yards (83) in Utah State's season opener at Utah. Overall, those nine receptions by Natson are the most by an Aggie player since Tony Pennyman had 10 receptions for 97 yards against UNLV during the 2005 season.
HILL RECORDS CAREER-HIGHS AT UTAH
Junior running back Joe Hill recorded career-highs in both rushing attempts (18) and receptions (7) in Utah State's season opener at Utah. Hill finished the game with 75 rushing yards, which are the second-most in his career, and 39 receiving yards. Hills career-high in rushing yards is 116 set against Southern Utah in 2012.
ALEXANDER RECORDS CAREER-HIGH 11 TACKLES AT UTAH
Senior safety Maurice Alexander recorded a career-high 11 tackles in Utah State's season opener at Utah and also posted a career-high 1.5 sacks in the game.
DOUGHTY POSTS FIFTH-CAREER DOUBLE-DIGIT TACKLE OUTING IN SEASON OPENER AT UTAH
Senior linebacker Jake Doughty recorded 16 tackles in Utah State's season opener at Utah, marking the sixth time in his career he has recorded double-digit tackles. Overall, his 16 stops against the Utes are the second-most in his career behind his 18 tackle performance at No. 19 Louisiana Tech in 2012.
Zach Vigil RECORDS DOUBLE-DIGIT TACKLES FOR SIXTH TIME IN HIS CAREER AT UTAH
Junior linebacker Zach Vigil recorded his sixth career double-digit tackle outing with 10 stops in Utah State's season opener at Utah. Vigl also recorded 0.5 sacks against the Utes and now has 6.0 sacks in his career.
BYRD AND LARSEN RECORD CAREER-HIGHS IN TACKLES AGAINST UTAH
Senior cornerback Quinton Byrd recorded a career-high nine tackle and junior defensive end B.J. Larsen recorded a career-high seven tackles in Utah State's season opener at Utah. Byrd's previous career-high was six tackles and Larsen's previous career-high was three tackles.
DIAZ MISSES FIRST CAREER EXTRA POINT AT UTAH
Junior placekicker Nick Diaz was a perfect 42-for-42 on extra points during his Utah State career before missing his first-ever extra point in the third quarter at Utah. Overall, Diaz is now 42-of-43 on extra points and his career PAT percentage of .976 ranks fifth all-time in school history.
OTHER PLAYER NOTABLES FROM UTAH GAME
Utah State players who made their first career start against Utah include sophomore wide receiver Bruce Natson, junior defensive end B.J. Larsen and senior cornerback Tay Glover-Wright... Sophomore tight end Jefferson Court caught his first career pass... Sophomore linebacker Kyler Fackrell had one sack in the game and now has four sacks in his career... Senior cornerback Tay Glover-Wright recovered his first career fumble... Junior placekicker Nick Diaz made two field goals for the second-straight game and fifth time in his last six games dating back to the 2012 season... Junior punter Jaron Bentrude had a career-long 41-yard punt and a career-high five punts in the game.
DID YOU KNOW?
Senior defensive end Connor Williams (Kanata, Ontario, Canada/Holy Trinity HS) is one of just 32 players from Canada currently playing college football at the FBS level. Overall, USU is one of just 18 FBS teams with a Canadian player on its roster.
KEETON RANKS FIRST ALL-TIME AT UTAH STATE IN COMPLETION PERCENTAGE
Junior quarterback Chuckie Keeton is 412-of-621 passing during his Utah State career with a completion percentage of 66.3 percent, which ranks first all-time in school history. Keith Myers (1976-77) ranks second all-time at 60.7 percent.
KEETON RANKS THIRD ALL-TIME AT UTAH STATE IN TOUCHDOWN PASSES
Junior quarterback Chuckie Keeton ranks third all-time in school history with 40 touchdown passes and is now 12 touchdown passes shy of tying Tony Adams (1970-72) for second all-time with 52 career touchdown passes. The school record for career touchdown passes is 60 set by Jose Fuentes (1999-2002).
KEETON RANKS EIGHTH ALL-TIME AT UTAH STATE IN COMPLETIONS
Junior quarterback Chuckie Keeton ranks eighth all-time at Utah State with 412 career completions and is now 11 completion shy of tying Travis Cox (2001-04) for seventh with 423 career completions. The school record is 704 completions set by Jose Fuentes (1999-2002).
KEETON RANKS SIXTH ALL-TIME AT UTAH STATE IN TOTAL OFFENSE
Junior quarterback Chuckie Keeton has 5,884 yards of total offense in his career to rank sixth all-time in school history. The school record for total offense is 8,791 yards by Jose Fuentes (1999-2002) and Keeton is now just 44 yards of total offense shy of tying Brent Snyder (1987-88) for fifth-place with 5,928 yards and 237 yards of total offense shy of tying Eric Hipple (1976-79) for fourth-place with 6,121 yards.
KEETON RANKS EIGHTH ALL-TIME IN SCHOOL HISTORY IN PASSING YARDS
Junior quarterback Chuckie Keeton has thrown for 4,887 yards to rank eighth all-time in school history and is now 498 yards shy of tying Matt Sauk (1996-97) for seventh-place with 5,385 passing yards. The school record for passing yards is 9,168 set by Jose Fuentes (1999-2002).
INSIDE THE NUMBERS WITH JUNIOR QUARTERBACK Chuckie Keeton
Junior quarterback Chuckie Keeton has thrown at least two touchdown passes in a game 14 times in his career. Keeton also rushed for a touchdown 13 times in his career. Furthermore, Keeton has thrown for at least 300 yards four times in his last six games dating back to last season, and six times in his career.
KEETON SETS NUMEROUS SINGLE-SEASON RECORDS IN 2012
Junior quarterback Chuckie Keeton set numerous single-season school records in 2012 including touchdown passes (27), passing yards (3,373), total offense (3,992), completion percentage (.676) and completions (275), while ranking seventh in passing attempts (407). The previous school record for touchdown passes was 24 set by Jose Fuentes in 2001. Fuentes also had the previous school record for passing yards of 3,268 set in 2002 and completions of 260 set in 2001. The previous record for total offense was 3,343 yards set by Diondre Borel in 2009, while Leon Jackson III held the previous school record for completion percentage at 65.4 percent set in 2007.
DIAZ FINISHES TIED FOR FIRST ALL-TIME IN SCHOOL HISTORY IN PAT PERCENTAGE
Junior placekicker Nick Diaz was a perfect 40-of-40 on extra points in 2012 marking the seventh time in school history that an Aggie kicker has not missed an extra point with a minimum of 20 made PAT's. Diaz also ranks second all-time at USU for a single-season in extra points made (40) and third in extra point attempts (40), while ranking eight in single-season field goal percentage (.769) as he was 8-of-11 on field goals. The single-season school record for extra points made and attempted were both set in 2011 by current senior placekicker Josh Thompson who was 57-of-58 on extra points. The single-season school record for field goal percentage is 86.7 percent set by Russ Moody in 1988 as he was 13-of-15 on field goals.
AGGIES WHO ARE MARRIED AND HAVE BEEN ON MISSIONS
Utah State has 12 players on its team who are married (Clayton Christensen, Craig Harrison, Tyler Larsen, Logan Malohifo'ou, Jeff Manning, Nate Needham, AJ Pataiali'i, Bridger Peck, Joe Summers, Josh Thompson, Kevin Whimpey, Kyle Whimpey), while 24 Aggies have served a two-year LDS Church Mission (Ricky Ali'ifua, Jarom Baldomero, Eric Bernston, Brock Bird, Jordan Brown, Clayton Christensen, Jefferson Court, Dayton DeLoach, Jarom Ioane, Derek Keller, B.J. Larsen, Logan Malohifo'ou, Jeff Manning, Alex Marsaw, Nate Needham, Travis Parrish, Eric Schultz, Brayden Stembride, Joe Summers, Brandon Taukeiaho, Tyler Weese, Kevin Whimpey, Kyle Whimpey and Daniel Wray).
RUNNING BACK UNIVERSITY
Utah State is the only school in the nation who has had three running backs selected in the NFL Draft during the last two seasons as Robert Turbin (Seattle, 4/111) and Michael Smith (Tampa Bay, 7/212) were both chosen in 2012, while Kerywnn Williams (Indianapolis, 7/230) was selected in 2013. Linebacker Bobby Wagner (Seattle, 2/47) was also taken in the 2012 NFL Draft and cornerback Will Davis (Miami, 3/93) was selected in 2013 giving Utah State five NFL Draft picks during the past two years.
Utah State had 21 football players earn academic all-WAC honors during the 2012-13 academic year, which ranked first in the WAC. Over the past four years, USU has had 87 players earn academic all-WAC honors and 94 players have graduated from Utah State University.
UTAH STATE RANKS 17TH IN THE NATION IN THIRD DOWN EFFICIENCY
Utah State converted 10-of-17 third downs in its season opener at Utah and that conversion percentage of 58.8 percent ranks second in the Mountain West behind Air Force (76.9 %) and 17th in the nation.
UTAH STATE RANKS TIED FOR FIRST IN THE NATION IN RED ZONE OFFENSE
Utah State was a perfect 5-for-5 on red zone opportunities offensively during its first game of the 2013 season at Utah to rank tied for first nationally. Against the Utes, USU scored three touchdowns to go along with two field goals in red zone opportunities.
UTAH STATE RANKS FIRST IN THE MOUNTAIN WEST IN PASSING EFFICIENCY
Utah State has a passing efficiency of 159.9 after its first game of the 2013 season to rank first in the Mountain West and 32nd nationally. USU also ranks third in the MW and tied for 32nd nationally in total offense (487.0 ypg), fifth in the MW in scoring offense (26.0 ppg), fourth in the MW in passing offense (314.0 ypg), fifth in the MW in rushing offense (173.0 ypg) and seventh in the MW in sacks allowed (2.0 pg).
UTAH STATE RANKS TIED FOR FIRST IN THE MOUNTAIN WEST IN SACKS
Utah State recorded three sacks in its season opener at Utah and those three sacks rank first in the Mountain West and tied for 20th in the nation. USU also ranks third in the MW in rushing defense (148.0 ypg), tied for fourth in the MW in scoring defense (30.0 ppg), sixth in the MW in total defense (450.0 ypg), seventh in the MW in passing defense (302.0 ypg) and 11th in the MW in passing efficiency defense (174.9).
UTAH STATE RANKS SECOND IN THE MOUNTAIN WEST IN KICKOFF RETURNS
Utah State returned one kickoff for 27 yards in its season opener at Utah and that average ranks second in the Mountain West and tied for 21st in the nation. USU also ranks tied for fourth in the MW in turnover margin (0.00), ninth in the MW in punt returns (2.0 ypr) and 10th in the MW in net punting (36.4 ypk).
UTAH STATE PLAYERS IN THE MOUNTAIN WEST AND NATIONAL RANKINGS
Following the first week of college football, junior quarterback Chuckie Keeton ranks third in the Mountain West and ninth in the nation in total offense (399.0), third in the MW and 10th in the nation in completions (31.0), second in the MW and 30th in the nation in passing efficiency (159.9), and fourth in the MW and tied for 21st in the nation in passing (314.0 ypg). Senior linebacker Jake Doughty ranks third in the MW and tied for fourth in the nation in tackles (16.0 pg). Senior safety Maurice Alexander ranks second in the MW and 17th in the nation in sacks (1.5 pg), tied for third in the MW and 20th in the nation in passes defended (2.0 pg), tied for fourth in the MW in tackles for loss (1.5 pg), and sixth in the MW and tied for 32nd in the nation in tackles (11.0 pg). Sophomore linebacker Kyler Fackrell ranks tied for first in the MW and tied for second in the nation in fumbles forced (1.0 pg), tied for third in the MW and 29th in the nation in tackles for loss (2.0 pg), tied for fourth in the MW and 28th in the nation in sacks (1.0 pg), and tied for 20th in the MW in tackles (8.0 pg). Junior linebacker Zach Vigil ranks tied for first in the MW and tied for second in the nation in fumbles forced (1.0 pg), and tied for ninth in the MW and 53rd in the nation in tackles (8.0 pg). Sophomore wide receiver Bruce Natson ranks fifth in the MW and tied for 16th in the nation in receptions (9.0 pg). Sophomore wide receiver Brandon Swindall ranks tied for second in the MW and tied for 19th in the nation in scoring (12.0 ppg). Senior wide receiver Travis Van Leeuwen ranks fifth in the MW and 34th nationally in receiving (107.0 ypg). Senior cornerback Quinton Byrd ranks tied for 14th in the MW in tackles (9.0 pg). Senior cornerback Tay Glover-Wright ranks tied for first in the MW and tied for fifth in the nation in fumbles recovered (1.0 pg). Junior safety Brian Suite ranks tied for 20th in the MW in tackles (8.0 pg). Junior defensive end B.J. Larsen ranks tied for 33rd in the MW in tackles (7.0 pg). Junior punter Jaron Bentrude ranks eighth in the MW in punting (40.4 ypk). And junior placekicker Nick Diaz ranks tied for second in the MW in field goals (2.0 pg), tied for first in the MW in field goal percentage (100.0) and 10th in the MW in scoring (8.0 ppg).
DID YOU KNOW?
Eighth former Utah State football players are currently on NFL preseason rosters as of September 1 including Jarrett Bush (Green Bay), Will Davis (Miami), Chuck Jacobs (San Francisco), Curtis Marsh (Philadelphia), Donald Penn (Tampa Bay), Robert Turbin (Seattle), Bobby Wagner (Seattle) and Kerwynn Williams (Indianapolis).
A LOOK AT UTAH STATE
Utah State returns 18 starters (O-8, D-7, S-3) and 49 letterwinners (O-23, D-22, S-4) from last year's team that finished with a 11-2 record and won the Western Athletic Conference with a perfect 6-0 mark. USU ended its season with a 41-15 win against Toledo in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl and was ranked 16th nationally by the Associated Press. Highlighting Utah State's returners is senior center Tyler Larsen who is a two-time first-team all-WAC honoree. Joining Larsen as returning all-conference players from 2012 are senior linebacker Jake Doughty (first-team), sophomore linebacker Kyler Fackrell (first-team), junior quarterback Chuckie Keeton (first-team), senior offensive tackle Eric Schultz (first-team), senior cornerback Nevin Lawson (second-team), senior offensive guard Jamie Markosian (second-team), sophomore defensive tackle Jordan Nielsen (second-team), junior linebacker Zach Vigil (second-team) and senior defensive tackle Connor Williams (honorable-mention). Along with the players mentioned above, USU also returns four other starters on offense (WR-Travis Reynolds; TE-D.J. Tialavea; OT-Kevin Whimpey; OG-Kyle Whimpey), two other starters on defense (NG-Elvis Kamana-Matagi; S-Brian Suite) and three special teams starters (PK/H-Jaron Bentrude; PK-Nick Diaz; LS-Nate Needham).
WHAT UTAH STATE MUST REPLACE FROM 2012
Utah State lost seven players who earned all-WAC honors in 2012 as cornerback Will Davis, defensive tackle Al Lapuaho and running back Kerwynn Williams all earned first-team honors, wide receiver Matt Austin and safety McKade Brady earned second-team honors, and tight end Kellen Bartlett and wide receiver Chuck Jacobs earned honorable mention honors. Davis also earned third-team All-American honors from CBSSports.com, fourth-team All-American honors from Phil Steele, and honorable mention All-American honors from SI.com. Williams was also an honorable mention All-American by SI.com. Other starters lost include punter Tyler Bennett.
UTAH STATE ACCOMPLISHMENTS IN 2012
Utah State had its best season in school history in 2012 as it set the single-season school record for wins with 11, bettering the 1960 and 1961 teams that won nine games. USU also set a single-season school record with its six home wins, bettering the 1931, 1935 and 1972 teams that all won five home games. USU went 6-0 at home in 2012 for its first undefeated home season since 1982 (4-0) and just its fourth in the 45 years of play at Romney Stadium along with the 1968 (4-0) and 1972 (5-0) teams. USU also posted the school's first-ever 6-0 conference mark and won six league games for just the second time in school history joining the 1936 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) Championship team that went 6-0-1 in league play. USU also recorded its first ever road win against a ranked opponent when it posted a 48-41 overtime victory at then No. 19 Louisiana Tech. USU also appeared in the Associated Press (AP) poll in four-straight weeks in 2012 for the first time in school history, not to mention being ranked in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll and Bowl Championship Series (BCS) Standings for the first time ever. And finally, USU finished the 2012 season nationally ranked - 16th in the AP poll, 18th in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' poll and 22nd in the BCS Standings - for just the third time in school history joining the 1961 team that finished the year ranked 10th nationally in both the AP and United Press International (UPI) polls and the 1972 team that finished 19th in the UPI poll.
A LOOK AT AIR FORCE
Air Force is 1-0 on the season after defeating Colgate, 38-13, at home in it season opener last weekend. Offensively, Air Force is led by junior running back Jon Lee who has 130 rushing yards on 11 carries with two touchdowns. Fellow junior running back Broam Hart has rushed for 101 yards on 18 carries with two touchdowns, while senior running back Anthony LaCoste has rushed for 77 yards on 11 carries. Junior quarterback Kale Pearson is 5-of-8 passing for 46 yards and sophomore tight end Garrett Griffin has caught two passes for 25 yards. Defensively, junior defensive back Christian Spears leads the team with 10 tackles (3-solo, 7-assist), while fellow senior defensive back Steffon Batts (4-solo, 4-assist) and junior linebacker Spence Proctor (3-solo, 5-assist) each have eight tackles. As a team, AFA is averaging 38.0 points and 481.0 yards of total offense per game (409.0-rushing, 72.0-passing) and allowing 13.0 points and 300.0 yards of total offense per game (143.0-passing, 157.0-rushing). Overall, Air Force returns nine starters (O-3, D-5, ST-1) and 50 lettermen from last year's team that went 6-7 overall and finished in fourth-place in the Mountain West with a 5-3 league mark. The Falcons finished the season with a 33-14 loss to Rice in the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl. Troy Calhoun is 48-31 in this his eighth year as the Falcons head coach.
AGGIES AND FALCONS SERIES HISTORY
Utah State and Air Force will be meeting for just the second time in series history this weekend. The Falcons won the only other meeting between the two teams, 38-13, on Nov. 8, 1969 at the USAF Academy.
TOP AGGIE PERFORMERS VERSUS AIR FORCE
Rushing Yards: George Tribble (1969), 33
Passing Yards: Dave Holman (1969), 133
Receiving Yards: Wesley Garnett (1969), 82
UTAH STATE VERSUS THE MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE
Utah State is 127-160-8 (.444) all-time against current members of the Mountain West Conference with a 35-24-4 record against Wyoming; a 31-36-2 record against Colorado State; a 13-7 record against UNLV; a 14-20 record against San Jose State; a 10-16-1 record against Fresno State; an 8-10 record against New Mexico; a 6-6 record against Hawai`i; a 5-17 record against Nevada; a 4-13 record against Boise State; a 1-10 record against San Diego State; and an 0-1 record against Air Force.
UTAH STATE VERSUS THE STATE OF COLORADO
Utah State is a combined 66-71-6 (.483) against teams from the state of Colorado, with a 31-36-2 mark versus Colorado State; a 13-19-3 ledger against Denver; a 6-11-1 record against Colorado; a 7-0 mark versus Western State; a 5-4 record against Colorado Mines; a 3-0 record versus Colorado College; a 1-0 mark versus Regis; and an 0-1 record against Air Force.
WELLS AS AN ASSISTANT COACH AGAINST AIR FORCE
Utah State head coach Matt Wells will face Air Force for the first time as a head coach, but has been involved in eight games as an assistant coach against the Falcons as he played Air Force five times as an assistant at the Naval Academy and three times as an assistant at New Mexico.
WELLS VERSUS THE MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE
Utah State head coach Matt Wells posted a 20-25 record as an assistant coach when facing current members of the Mountain West Conference, including a 7-2 mark during his last two seasons as an assistant at Utah State. Wells was also 9-7 as an assistant against MW teams while at New Mexico, 0-7 against MW teams as an assistant at Navy, and 4-9 against MW teams as an assistant at Tulsa.
LOOKING INSIDE UTAH STATE'S 2013 SCHEDULE
Utah State's 2013 schedule features five teams who played in bowl games a year ago as Air Force played in the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl (L, 33-14 vs. Rice); USC played in the Hyundai Sun Bowl (L, 21-7 vs. Georgia Tech); San Jose State played in the Military Bowl (W, 29-20 vs. Bowling Green); BYU played in the San Diego Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl (W, 23-6 vs. San Diego State); and Boise State played in the Las Vegas Maaco Bowl (W, 28-26 vs. Washington).
RANKED OPPONENTS ON UTAH STATE'S 2013 SCHEDULE
Boise State and San Jose State are the two teams on Utah State's 2013 schedule that finished 2012 nationally ranked as the Broncos were 14th in the USA Today Coaches' Poll and 18th in the Associated Press Poll, while the Spartans were 21st in both polls. Boise State is ranked No. 19 in both preseason polls to start the 2013 season, while USC is ranked No. 24 in both polls.
UTAH STATE-AIR FORCE ACADEMY CONNECTIONS
U.S. Air Force Academy Colonel and former Air Force football player (1973-76) and Athletics Director (1996-2003) Randy Spetman spent four years as the Director of Athletics at Utah State University (2004-07).
DID YOU KNOW?
Utah State junior quarterback Chuckie Keeton committed to the U.S. Air Force Academy to play football prior to his senior season in high school before signing with Utah State.
LAST MEETING AGAINST AIR FORCE - (#19 AFA 38, USU 13)
November 8, 1969 USAF Academy, Colo. Falcom Stadium
Air Force, who was ranked No. 19 in the nation heading into the game, recorded 388 yards of total offense and raced out to a 21-0 halftime advantage en route to posting a 38-13 win against Utah State at the U.S. Air Force Academy on Nov. 8, 1969. The Falcons, who had 17 first downs in the game, was 17-of-33 passing for 269 yards and added 119 yards rushing. Utah State finished the game with 237 yards of total offense as it was 15-of-30 passing for 216 yards, but rushed for just 21 yards. USU had just 10 first downs in the game and had to punt 14 times as compared to eight punts for the Falcons. Senior quarterback Dave Holman was 10-of-20 passing for 133 yards for Utah State, and rushed 11 times for -22 yards. Sophomore quarterback Craig Smith was 5-of-8 passing for the Aggies for 83 yards and one touchdown, while sophomore halfback Wesley Garnett caught three passes for 82 yards and one touchdown. Earnest Jennings led Air Force with seven receptions for 175 yards and five touchdowns. Holman finally got USU on the board late in the third quarter on a 1-yard run, but the two-point attempt failed to make the score 21-6. Air Force answered with 17 fourth-quarter points to lead 38-6 before USU finished the game with a 24-yard touchdown pass from Smith to Garnett.
UTAH STATE AT HOME
Utah State has won eight-straight home games, which is its longest home winning streak since the 1966-68 teams also combined to win eight-straight home games, and that eight game home winning streak ranks as the seventh-longest in school history. The school record for consecutive home wins is 17 set from 1959-63. All-time, USU is 119-95 (.556) at Romney Stadium.
UTAH STATE TO PLAY SIX HOME GAMES FOR FOURTH-STRAIGHT SEASON
Utah State's 2013 schedule marks the fourth-straight season, the fifth time in the last six years, and the sixth time in the last 17 years that it will play six home games. Overall, the Aggies have had six home games on the slate a total of only just 10 times: 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2008, 1998, 1996, 1995, 1978, 1952.
DID YOU KNOW?
Utah State will face a pair of Pac-12 opponents (Aug. 29 at Utah; Sept. 21 at USC) in 2013 for the first time since 1998. USU's 2013 slate also marks the third time in five years that it will face three in-state foes (Aug. 29 at Utah; Sept. 14 vs. Weber State; Oct. 4 vs. BYU) also doing so in 2009 and 2012. Prior to 2009, USU hadn't played three Beehive State teams in the same season since 2001.
UTAH STATE OFFENSIVE NOTABLES FROM 2012
Utah State's offense in 2012 ended up being one of the best in school history, statistically, as it set single-season school records for total points (454), total offense (6,108 yards), completions (285), completion percentage (.679), total yards per game (469.8) and total yards per attempt (6.83), while ranking second in points per game (34.9), total passing yards (3,445), first downs (272) and touchdowns (59).
Nationally, Utah State's 2012 offense ranked second in the WAC and 23rd in the country in total offense (469.8 ypg), second in the WAC and 18th in the nation in passing efficiency (153.21), second in the WAC and 25th in the nation in rushing offense (204.8 ypg), third in the WAC and 31st in the nation in sacks allowed (1.38 pg), third in the WAC and 33rd in the nation in scoring offense (34.9 ppg), and third in the WAC and 39th in the nation in passing offense (265.0 ypg).
Utah State returns four offensive players who earned various all-WAC accolades in 2012 as junior quarterback Chuckie Keeton, senior offensive center Tyler Larsen and senior offensive tackle Eric Schultz were all named to the first-team, while senior offensive guard Jamie Markosian was named to the second-team.
Senior center Tyler Larsen has started 39 consecutive games, which ranks first in the Mountain West and tied for fifth at the FBS level. Senior tackle Eric Schultz has started 33 consecutive games to rank tied for seventh in the MW and tied for 41st in the nation. Larsen was named to the WAC's first-team for the second year in a row in 2012. Overall, Larsen is just the 33rd player in school history to be a two-time first-team all-league selection.
Junior quarterback Chuckie Keeton was named the WAC's Offensive Player of the Week four times during the 2012 season, becoming the first player in school history to accomplish that feat. Keeton was also the first WAC player to earn four player of the week honors in a single season since 2010. As a sophomore in 2012, Keeton set single-season USU school records for touchdown passes (27), passing yards (3,373), total offense (3,992 yards), completions (275) and completion percentage (.676).
With its 41-15 win against Toledo in the 2012 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, Utah State extended its own school record by scoring 38-plus points in seven-straight games and bettered the previous school record of 38-plus points in three-straight games accomplished six times and most recently in 2000.
Utah State had 72 explosive plays in 2012 (plays of 20-plus yards), including 10 rushes and eight passes of at least 50 yards. On the season, Utah State averaged 5.5 explosive plays per game.
Utah State has had a player rush for at least 100 yards 30 times in the last four years, including nine times in 2012. Prior to that, USU produced a 100-yard rusher 23 times in the previous eight seasons combined. Furthermore, USU has had a player rush for 200 or more yards three times in the past two seasons, but just once in the previous 10 seasons.
UTAH STATE DEFENSIVE NOTABLES FROM 2012
Utah State's 2012 defense ranked among the top 15 in the nation in five different statistical categories, including being ranked first in the WAC and seventh in the nation in scoring defense (15.38 ppg), which is the fewest points allowed by an Aggie defense since 1965. USU also ranked second in the WAC and tied for sixth nationally in sacks (3.23 pg), first in the WAC and 10th in the nation in pass efficiency defense (104.43), second in the WAC and 13th in the country in rushing defense (113.77 ypg), first in the WAC and 15th in the nation in total defense (322.08 ypg), and first in the WAC and 32nd in the nation in passing defense (208.31 ypg). USU's defense also led the WAC and ranked tied for first in the nation in red zone efficiency along with BYU and Penn State at 63.6 percent allowing just 13 touchdowns and 15 field goals on 44 trips inside the 20.
Utah State allowed just 15.4 points per game in 2012, which is the fewest by an Aggie defense since the 1965 team allowed 13.6 points per game and ranks as the sixth-fewest points allowed in a single-season in school history trailing the 1960 (6.5 ppg), 1961 (7.8 ppg), 1963 (9.9 ppg), 1964 (13.6 ppg) and 1965 (13.6 ppg) teams. In fact, the last Aggie defense to allow fewer than 20 points a game was in 1983 (19.5).
Utah State tied for eighth in the nation with an average of 5.08 three-and-outs per game on the season and forced a three-and-out by its opposition 66 times on 177 drives, which averages out to 37.2 percent of the time. USU also allowed its opponents to convert just 32.88 percent of its third downs (73-222), which ranked first in the WAC and 19th in the nation.
Utah State concluded the 2012 season with 14 interceptions and seven in its final three games as it recorded two picks against Louisiana Tech, three against Idaho and two against Toledo. Those 14 interceptions in 2012 were its most since registering 15 in 2007.
Utah State returns six defensive players who earned various all-WAC accolades in 2012 as senior linebacker Jake Doughty and sophomore linebacker Kyler Fackrell were both named to the first-team, while senior cornerback Nevin Lawson, sophomore defensive tackle Jordan Nielsen and junior linebacker Zach Vigil were all named to the second-team, and senior defensive tackle Connor Williams was named to the honorable mention team.
AGGIES PICKED SECOND IN MOUNTAIN DIVISION OF MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE
Utah State football has been picked second in the Mountain Division of the 2013 Mountain West Conference preseason polls, while senior center Tyler Larsen and sophomore linebacker Kyler Fackrell were both named to the league's 25-player preseason first-team.
2013 Mountain West Football Predicted Order of Finish
Rank Team (First-Place Votes) Points 1. Boise State (40) 245 2. UTAH STATE (1) 204 3. Air Force 143 4. Wyoming 116 5. Colorado State 90 6. New Mexico 63West Division
Rank Team (First-Place Votes) Points 1. Fresno State (39) 243 2. San Diego State (1) 181 3. San Jose State (1) 172 4. Nevada 135 5. UNLV 71 6. Hawai'i 59UTAH STATE BOWL HISTORY
Following its 41-15 win against Toledo in the 2012 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, Utah State now has a 2-6 bowl record all-time as it lost to San Jose 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; and lost to Ohio, 24-23, in the 2011 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, along with its win in 2012 against Toledo.
AGGIE UNIFORM OPTIONS IN 2013
Utah State will have nine different jersey and pant combinations, manufactured by Nike, to go along with two different helmet options for a total of 18 different uniform combinations for the 2013 season. Along with its traditional blue and white uniforms, a new pewter grey uniform will be utilized this season. Two helmet options are also available including a new diamond pattern blue and black helmet with a black face mask, along with its traditional white helmet with a blue face mask. Home uniform options feature a traditional combination of blue jersey with blue or white pants, as well as an option of blue jersey and pewter pants. Road uniform combinations can be built around the newly-designed pewter jersey or the traditional white jersey. The road pewter jerseys can be combined with pewter, blue or white pants, while white jerseys can be worn with white, blue or pewter pants. Both helmet options will also be utilized with the various uniform combinations for both home and away games.
UTAH STATE BLOCKED SIX KICKS IN 2012
Utah State blocked six kicks during the 2012 season with two blocked punts, three blocked field goals and one blocked extra point. USU's first blocked kick of the season was by junior linebacker Zach Vigil who blocked a Utah punt that was recovered in the end zone by senior safety Clayton Christensen. The Aggies' second blocked kick of the year was by sophomore defensive tackle Jordan Nielsen who blocked an extra point in the Wisconsin game. USU's third blocked kick of the season was at BYU as senior defensive lineman Paul Piukala blocked a 34-yard field goal attempt. USU's fourth blocked kick of the year was against New Mexico State as sophomore linebacker Kyler Fackrell blocked a 42-yard field goal attempt. Its fifth blocked kick of the year was at UTSA as senior cornerback Tay Glover-Wright blocked a punt on UTSA's first series of the game. And its sixth blocked kick of the year was at Louisiana Tech as Nielsen blocked a 43-yard field goal attempt in the second quarter.
ROCKY MOUNTAIN HIGH
There are nine Division I schools that are located in cities with an elevation of at least 4,000 feet about sea level and Utah State ranks sixth on the list with an elevation of 4,710 feet. USU is the fifth-highest Mountain West Conference school. This season the Aggies will play at three other locations on the list (Air Force, New Mexico and Utah), giving USU nine games this season at 4,000 feet above sea level.
School Location ElevationRECAPPING THE UTAH GAME
1. Wyoming Laramie, Wyo. 7,220 2. Air Force Colorado Springs, Colo. 6,620 3. Colorado Boulder, Colo. 5,360 4. Colorado State Fort Collins, Colo. 5,190 5. New Mexico Albuquerque, N.M. 5,100 6. UTAH STATE LOGAN, UTAH 4,710 7. BYU Provo, Utah 4,630 8. Nevada Reno, Nev. 4,610 9. Utah Salt Lake City, Utah 4,357
Junior quarterback Chuckie Keeton's 314 yards passing and 85 yards rushing were not enough as Utah State suffered a 30-26 loss at Utah to open the 2013 season.
The loss snapped a seven-game winning streak and three-game road win streak for the Aggies, as USU is now 7-3 in its last 10 road games dating back to the 2011 season.
Senior wide receiver Travis Van Leeuwen had a career-high five receptions for a career-best 107 yards for Utah State, while sophomore wide receiver Bruce Natson added a career-best nine catches for a career-high 83 yards.
Junior running back Joe Hill had a career-high 18 carries for 75 yards and a career-best seven receptions for 39 yards as the Aggies ended with 173 yards on the ground and 314 yards through the air for 487 total yards of offense. Keeton was 31-of-40 passing with two touchdowns, posting new career-highs for both completions and attempts.
The USU defense was led by senior linebacker Jake Doughty with a game-high 16 tackles, his second-highest of his career and his fifth game with double-digit stops. Senior safety Maurice Alexander posted 1.5 sacks as part of a career-high 11 stops, while junior linebacker Zach Vigil added 10 tackles, tying his career-high for the sixth time.
Utah finished the game with 450 yards of total offense (302-passing, 148-rushing) and was led by Travis Wilson's 17-of-28 passing for 302 yards with two touchdowns. James Poole rushed for 47 yards, while Karl Williams added 45 yards and a score, both carrying the ball 12 times apiece. Anthony Denham added six catches for 113 yards and Eric Rowe led the Utes' defense with 10 tackles.
Utah scored a touchdown on its first drive of the game, only to see the Aggies respond on their first possession on a 26-yard field goal by junior placekicker Nick Diaz.
Following another Utah touchdown, the Aggies closed to 14-10 on their first possession of the second quarter, as Keeton hit sophomore wide receiver Brandon Swindall from 15 yards for the young receiver's first career touchdown catch as USU drove 75 yards in nine plays.
Keeton then connected with Swindall from 4-yards out with 10 seconds left, capping a 10-play, 85-yard drive and sending USU into halftime leading, 17-10.
The Aggies opened the second half the same way they closed the first with Keeton orchestrating a long drive. Keeton capped the 10-play, 75-yard drive with a 15-yard touchdown run. The extra point, however, was wide left giving USU a 23-14 lead with 11:52 on the third-quarter clock.
The Utes closed to 23-17 with 2:24 to go in the third quarter on a 45-yard field goal and recovered the ensuing onside kick. Five plays later, Utah scored another touchdown for a 24-23 Utah lead with 1:29 to go in the frame.
On its next drive that overlapped the end of the third quarter and the start of the fourth, Utah State drove deep into Utes' territory before the drive slowed, and Diaz drilled a 24-yard field goal to give USU a 26-24 lead with 10:39 remaining.
Utah took the kickoff and marched down the field, capping the drive with a 19-yard field goal with 6:38 for the Utes' lead and the Aggies couldn't counter. USU used its timeouts to hold the Utah drive, but the Utes kicked a 38-yard field goal with 19 seconds left for a 30-26 lead.
USU had a last chance, but Keeton's heave to the end zone fell to the turf incomplete as time expired.
UTAH STATE HEAD COACH Matt Wells
Aggie alumnus Matt Wells was named Utah State's 27th head football coach on Dec. 20, 2012 after serving as the team's offensive coordinator in 2012, and quarterbacks coach and recruiting coordinator in 2011.
The 39-year old Wells, who is now the 11th-youngest head coach at the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) level, replaces Gary Andersen who accepted the head coaching position at the University of Wisconsin. Dating back to 1919, 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, a former Aggie quarterback and three-year letterwinner from 1994-96, was a member of two conference championship teams as a student-athlete as he was a redshirt freshman in 1993 when Utah State tied for first in the Big West Conference and defeated Ball State, 42-33, in the Las Vegas Bowl for its first-ever bowl win. As a senior in 1996, Wells helped USU to another share of the Big West Conference title.
Wells has spent the past two seasons as an assistant coach at Utah State, including serving as the team's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach during the 2012 campaign. In 2011, Wells coached USU's quarterbacks and was the team's recruiting coordinator.
Utah State concluded its most successful season in school history in 2012 as it went 11-2 and set school records for wins (11) and home wins (6), while being nationally ranked in the Associated Press poll for three-straight weeks for the first time in school history. USU also won its first outright conference championship since 1936 during the 2012 campaign and just its third in school history joining the 1921 and 1936 teams that both won Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference titles. All-time, Utah State has won or shared 11 league championships.
During his two years at Utah State, Wells has been part of a Utah State team that went to back-to-back bowl games for just the third time in school history, while posting an 18-8 record. Furthermore, USU's 41-15 win against Toledo in the 2012 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl was the school's second-ever bowl victory.
As offensive coordinator this past season, Wells directed an Aggie offense that set single-season school records for total points (454), total offense (6,108 yards), completions (285) and total yards per game (469.8), while ranking second in points per game (34.9) and total passing yards (3,445).
Nationally, Utah State's 2012 offense ranked second in the Western Athletic Conference and 23rd in the country in total offense (469.8 ypg), second in the WAC and 18th in the nation in passing efficiency (153.21), second in the WAC and 25th in the nation in rushing offense (204.8 ypg), third in the WAC and 31st in the nation in sacks allowed (1.38 pg), third in the WAC and 33rd in the nation in scoring offense (34.9 ppg), and third in the WAC and 39th in the nation in passing offense (265.0 ypg).
Under Wells, Utah State finished the 2012 season scoring 38 or more points in each of its final seven games, bettering the previous school record of 38-plus points in three-straight games accomplished six times and most recently in 2000.
Utah State also finished the 2012 season winning its final seven games, which is tied for the fourth-longest active winning streak in the nation and tied for the third-longest winning streak in school history.
In 2012, Wells coached current Aggie junior quarterback Chuckie Keeton who earned first-team all-WAC honors after setting single-season school records for touchdown passes (27), passing yards (3,373), completion percentage (.676), completions (275) and total offense (3,992 yards). Keeton also earned WAC Offensive Player of the Week honors four times in 2012, which is a single-season school record.
As the quarterbacks coach in 2011, Wells helped Utah State's offense establish then-school records for total offense (5,945 yards), rushing yards (3,675), total points (437) and total touchdowns (60).
Under Wells' tutelage during his first two seasons at Utah State, Keeton has emerged as one of the top quarterbacks in the nation and currently ranks first in school history in career completion percentage (.656), fourth in career touchdown passes (38), seventh in career total offense (5,485 yards), and ninth in career passing yards (4,573) and completions (381).
In 2012, Utah State had four offensive players earn first-team all-conference honors, while two others were named to the league's second-team.
Utah State, who officially joined the Mountain West Conference on July 1, 2013, will return 18 starters (8-offense, 7-defense, 3-special teams) and 49 letterwinners (23-offense, 22-defense, 4-special teams) from a group that has won 16 of its last 19 games.
Wells, who has been a part of six bowl teams and two conference championships during his coaching career, came to Utah State after two coaching stints at New Mexico, serving as the Lobos' wide receivers and kickoff return unit coach in 2010 and its wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator from 2007 to 2008. In 2009, Wells served as the quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator at Louisville.
Prior to his first stint at New Mexico, Wells spent five years (2002-06) as the tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator at Tulsa and five years at the U.S. Naval Academy (1997-2001) as its quarterbacks coach, fullbacks coach and wide receivers coach, while also serving as the junior varsity head coach and offensive coordinator for three years.
Wells, a native of Sallisaw, Okla., received his bachelor's degree in business marketing from Utah State in 1996, graduating cum laude. He and his wife Jen have two daughters, Jadyn (10) and Ella (7), and one son Wyatt (4). His brother, Luke, is Utah State's co-offensive coordinator, tight ends coach, and recruiting coordinator.
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