LOGAN, Utah -
Through the first six weeks of the college football season, Utah State’s defense has forced 16 turnovers with nine fumbles and seven interceptions to lead the Mountain West and rank third in the nation behind Penn State and Central Michigan, which are tied for first with 17 apiece.
The Aggies forced 12 turnovers during a two-game span with seven against BYU and five at San José State, but against Colorado State last Saturday, USU did not force a turnover. Last year, Utah State forced just 10 turnovers the entire season.
Offensively, Utah State is averaging 31.0 points per game to rank sixth in the Mountain West and 60th in the nation. USU also ranks fourth in the MW and 67th nationally in passing offense (230.2 ypg), sixth in the MW and 62nd in the nation in completion percentage (.600), eighth in the MW and 82nd in the nation in rushing offense (145.8 ypg), eighth in the conference and 87th in the nation in total offense (376.0 ypg), ninth in the MW and 94th in the nation in passing efficiency (120.3), and 12th in the conference in sacks allowed (3.33 pg).
Utah State’s defense is allowing 210.7 passing yards per game to rank sixth in the Mountain West and 48th in the nation. USU also ranks seventh in the conference and 81st in the nation in passing efficiency defense (132.0), seventh in the conference and 89th in the nation in scoring defense (29.8 ppg), eighth in the MW and 81st in the nation in total defense (406.0 ypg), ninth in the MW and 97th nationally in sacks (1.50 pg), and ninth in the MW in rushing defense (195.3 ypg).
Along with ranking third nationally in turnovers forced, Utah State also ranks second in the nation with its nine fumble recoveries, trailing only Bowling Green (11). Furthermore, USU ranks second in the Mountain West and 23rd in the nation with its seven interceptions on the season, and fourth in the conference and 24th nationally in turnover margin (+0.83).
With its 16 turnovers this year, Utah State has now forced 126 turnovers in its last 68 games, including at least one turnover in 52 of its last 68 games. USU has also recorded 60 interceptions in its last 55 games, including at least one pick in 29 of its last 55 games and multiple interceptions in 18 of its last 55 games. Overall, USU has forced three or more turnovers in 14 of its last 44 games.
Utah State’s defense has already scored four touchdowns this year to rank tied for first nationally along with Duke and Texas. Senior CB Jalen Davis has 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. Overall, USU has now scored 15 defensive touchdowns in its last 52 games.
Utah State also ranks second in the Mountain West and fifth in the nation in kickoff return defense (14.4 ypr), third in the conference and 29th in the nation in punt returns (11.4 ypr), fifth in the MW and 76th in the nation in net punting (37.1 ypp), and eighth in the conference in kickoff returns (18.5 ypr).
Individually, senior CB Jalen Davis is tied for first in the nation with his five interceptions this season, while his 11 passes defended (6 pass breakups, 5 interceptions) ranks third in the nation, as he is averaging 1.8 passes defended per game. Davis also ranks first nationally with his three defensive touchdowns.
Kent Myers ranks third in the Mountain West and 37th in the nation in completion percentage (.641). The senior QB also ranks third in the conference and 42nd in the nation with his five rushing touchdowns, third in the MW and 76th in the nation in passing yards (184.2 ypg), fourth in the MW and 51st in the nation in completions (18.2 pg), fourth in the MW and 69th in the nation in total offense (221.3 ypg), fifth in the MW and 64th in the nation with his seven passing touchdowns, and seventh in the MW and 83rd in the nation in passing efficiency (124.1).
Junior LB Louy Compton and junior QB DJ Nelson both rank first nationally with their two blocked kicks, while Nelson also ranks tied for first in the nation with his one punt return for a touchdown.
Junior LB Suli Tamaivena ranks tied for first in the MW and tied for fifth nationally with his two fumble recoveries, and seventh in the MW and 35th in the nation in tackles (9.0 pg).
Redshirt freshman WR Jordan Nathan ranks third in the MW and 28th in the nation in punt returns (8.9 ypr).
Junior LB Chase Christiansen ranks tied for fifth in the MW and tied for 40th nationally with his two forced fumbles, and 14th in the conference in tackles (7.3 pg). Junior NG Gasetoto Schuster ranks tied for fifth in the MW and tied for 40th nationally with his two forced fumbles.
Junior WR Ron’quavion Tarver ranks ninth in the MW and 84th in the nation in receptions (4.5 pg). Freshman WR Savon Scarver ranks 10th in the MW and 91st in the nation in kickoff returns (18.4 ypr).
Junior BS Gaje Ferguson ranks 13th in the MW in tackles (7.5 pg). Senior BS Dallin Leavitt ranks tied for 37th in the MW in tackles (5.5 pg).
Sophomore PK Dominik Eberle ranks second in the MW and ninth in the nation in field goal percentage (.909), third in the MW and 18th in the nation in field goals made (1.67 pg), and sixth in the MW and 46th in the nation in scoring (8.5 ppg). And, junior P Aaron Dalton ranks fourth in the MW and 50th in the nation in punting (42.4 ypp).
Utah State wraps up its three-game homestand next weekend when the Aggies welcome Mountain West foe Wyoming to town on Saturday, Oct. 14. The game is slated to kick off at 2:30 p.m. and can be seen live on Facebook.
For ticket information, fans can contact the USU Athletics Ticket Office over the phone by calling 1-888-USTATE-1 or 435-797-0305 during regular hours of operation. Fans can also buy their tickets in person at the USU Ticket Office inside the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum or online by clicking on the "Buy Tickets" tab at www.UtahStateAggies.com.
Fans can follow the Aggie football program at twitter.com/USUFootball or on Facebook at Utah State Football, as well as on Instagram at instagram.com/USUFootball. Aggie fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program at twitter.com/USUAthletics or on Facebook at Utah State University Athletics.
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