Nov. 18, 2012
LOGAN, Utah - Despite allowing season-highs in total offense (629) and points (41) in its 48-41 overtime win at then No. 19 Louisiana Tech last weekend, Utah State's defense continues to be ranked with the best in the nation and is listed among the top 10 defenses in the country in three different statistical categories, and among the top 21 defenses in five different statistical categories.
In all, Utah State ranks first in the Western Athletic Conference and eighth in the nation in scoring defense (16.0 ppg). USU also ranks second in the WAC and seventh nationally in sacks (3.27 pg), first in the WAC and 10th in the country in rushing defense (107.2 ypg), first in the WAC and 18th in the nation in pass efficiency defense (111.3), first in the WAC and 21st in the nation in total defense (332.9 ypg), and second in the WAC and 47th in the nation in passing defense (225.7 ypg).
Furthermore, Utah State's defense is allowing its opponents to convert just 32.8 percent of its third downs (61-186), which ranks second in the WAC and 24th in the nation.
In the red zone, Utah State's defense continues to do a great job as its opponents have scored on 24-of-38 (.632) possessions to lead the WAC and rank sixth in the nation in red zone defense efficiency. Of those 38 trips USU's opponents have made to the red zone, they have come away with just 13 touchdowns and 11 field goals, to go along with two missed field goals, five interceptions, one fumble and a loss on downs five times.
Utah State's defense has also played exceptionally well in the first-half this year as it is out-scoring its opponents 117-6 in the first quarter and has a 223-48 scoring advantage in the first-half this season as it has scored first and led at the half in all but one game this year.
Overall, USU and Penn State are the only two teams in the nation who have not allowed a first quarter touchdown on the season.
After producing a season-high 646 yards of total offense in its last game at Louisiana Tech, Utah State now ranks second in the WAC and 21st in the nation in total offense (479.6 ypg). USU also ranks second in the WAC and 13th in the nation in passing efficiency (157.8), second in the WAC and 35th in the nation in rushing offense (197.9 ypg), third in the WAC and 31st in the nation in passing offense (281.7 ypg), third in the WAC and 36th in the nation in scoring offense (33.5 ppg), and third in the WAC and 36th in the nation in sacks allowed (1.45 pg).
As for special teams, Utah State ranks third in the WAC and 33rd in the nation in punt returns (10.6 ypr), third in the WAC and 39th in the nation in net punting (38.2 ypk), and fifth in the WAC and 66th in the nation in kickoff returns (21.1 ypr).
Offensively, senior running back Kerwynn Williams ranks first in the WAC and 10th in the nation in all-purpose yards (159.1 ypg), first in the WAC and 23rd in the nation in rushing (106.1 ypg), third in the WAC and tied for 42nd in the nation in scoring (8.2 ppg), fifth in the WAC in receiving (56.7 ypg), and seventh in the WAC in total offense (106.1 ypg). Sophomore quarterback Chuckie Keeton ranks second in the WAC and 11th in the nation in total offense (321.6 ypg), second in the WAC and 13th in the nation in passing efficiency (159.1), third in the WAC and 25th in the nation in passing (273.3 ypg), and seventh in the WAC in rushing (47.9 ypg).
Defensively, senior cornerback Will Davis ranks first in the WAC and second in the nation in passes defended (1.82 pg), tied for second in the WAC and tied for 19th in the nation in interceptions (0.36 pg), and tied for 36th in the WAC in tackles (4.7 pg). Sophomore linebacker Zach Vigil ranks third in the WAC in tackles for loss (0.82 pg), tied for fifth in the WAC and tied for 86th in the nation in tackles (7.9 pg), and tied for sixth in the WAC and tied for 98th in the nation in sacks (0.45 pg). And junior linebacker Jake Doughty ranks fourth in the WAC and tied for 78th in the nation in tackles (8.1 pg).
On special teams, senior punter Tyler Bennett ranks fifth in the WAC and 40th in the nation in punting (42.1 ypk). Senior wide receiver Cameron Webb ranks second in the WAC and 37th in the nation in punt returns (8.9 ypr). And senior wide receiver Chuck Jacobs ranks fourth in the WAC and 45th in the nation in kick returns (23.2 ypr), and ninth in the WAC in all-purpose yards (89.0 ypg).
Other individuals who rank among the WAC's best statistically include senior wide receiver Matt Austin who ranks seventh in the WAC in receiving (55.5 ypg); senior safety McKade Brady who ranks tied for fifth in the WAC and tied for 86th in the nation in tackles (7.9 pg); redshirt freshman linebacker Kyler Fackrell who ranks tied for eighth in the WAC in interceptions (0.18) and tied for 10th in the WAC in tackles (6.6 pg); sophomore safety Brian Suite who ranks 19th in the WAC in tackles (6.3 pg); junior cornerback Nevin Lawson who ranks tied for 28th in the WAC in tackles (5.5 pg); senior linebacker Bojay Filimoeatu who ranks tied for ninth in the WAC in sacks (0.32 pg) and tied for 36th in the WAC in tackles (4.7 pg); senior cornerback Terrence Alston who ranks eighth in the WAC and tied for 96th in the nation in passes defended (0.82 pg); junior defensive lineman Connor Williams who ranks tied for sixth in the WAC and tied for 98th in the nation in sacks (0.45 pg); and redshirt freshman defensive lineman Jordan Nielsen ranks eighth in the WAC in sacks (0.41 pg).
Utah State (9-2, 5-0 WAC), who is ranked tied for 25th in the nation in this week's Associated Press Poll, is off to its best start to a season since the 1961 team finished the year with a 9-1-1 record and USU's nine wins thus far this year are tied with the 1960 and 1961 USU teams for the most victories in a single season in school history.
Utah State also claimed a share of its first-ever Western Athletic Conference Championship with its win at nationally ranked Louisiana Tech, which is its 11th conference championship in school history and first since the 1997 team shared the Big West Conference title.
With a win in its regular season finale at home against Idaho (1-10, 1-4 WAC) on Saturday, Nov. 24 at 1 p.m., USU will win just its third outright league championship in school history (1921, 1936) and its first since the 1936 team won the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) title.
In all, Utah State has won a school-record 10-straight WAC games dating back to last season and is 14-3 in its last 17 games, which is its best stretch since 1962-64. USU has also won six-straight WAC road games and is 7-2 in its last nine road games dating back to 2011.
At home, Utah State has won seven straight games inside Merlin Olsen Field at Romney Stadium and will be going for its first undefeated home season since the 1982 team posted a 4-0 record.
For USU football ticket information, contact the USU Ticket Office at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, or by phone by calling 1-888-USTATE-1 or (435) 797-0305. Tickets can also be purchased 24 hours a day at www.UtahStateAggies.com.
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