LOGAN, Utah -
AGGIES CONCLUDE REGULAR SEASON AT AIR FORCE SATURDAY NIGHT
Mountain West game will be televised live on ESPN2.
UTAH STATE (6-5, 4-3 MW) vs. AIR FORCE (4-7, 3-4 MW)
Saturday, Nov. 25, 2017 8:15 p.m. USAFA, Colo. Falcon Stadium (46,692)
GAME 12 INFORMATION
Play-by-Play: Mike Corey
Analyst: Mike Golic Jr.
Comcast (Utah): Ch. 36/669HD
DISH: Ch. 143
DirecTV: Ch. 209
RADIO: Aggie Sports Network
Play-by-Play: Tony Parks
Analyst: Kevin Whimpey
Online: 1280thezone.com / Tunein.com
SOCIAL MEDIA: #AggiesAllTheWay
Live Stats: UtahState.Statbroadcast.com
AGGIE RADIO NETWORKS
Every Utah State football game can be heard live on the Aggie Radio Network. Scott Garrard serves as the play-by-play announcer, while former USU all-conference offensive lineman Kevin Whimpey (2012-14) will provide color analysis. Games can also be heard on the Internet (www.UtahStateAggies.com) by clicking on the `Listen Live' link, as well as on the TuneIn App.
Salt Lake City: KZNS (1280 AM/97.5 FM)
Logan: KBLU-LP (92.3 FM)
Cache Valley: KACH (1340 AM/105.5 FM)
Price: KRPX (95.3 FM)
Green River: KRPX (102.7 FM)
Moab: KRPX (100.3 FM)
Orangeville: KRPX (95.9 FM)
Utah State concludes its regular season this weekend with a Mountain West road game at Air Force on Saturday, Nov. 25, at 8:15 p.m. USU is 2-3 all-time against the Falcons, including a 1-2 road record.
With its 38-0 home win against Hawai'i last weekend, Utah State is bowl eligible for the sixth time in the last seven years. USU played in five-straight bowl games from 2011-15 and won three-straight bowls from 2012-14, both of which are school records. All-time, USU has played in 11 bowl games.
Utah State has won three-straight road games for the first time since 2012 as it is averaging 45.7 points and 473.3 yards of total offense (237.3 rushing, 236.0 passing) during its three-game road winning streak. Defensively, USU is allowing just 16.0 points and 320.7 yards of total offense (249.3 rushing, 71.3 passing), and has forced 12 turnovers in its last three road games.
Utah State is 23-16 (.590) all-time in the Mountain West, including a 10-9 (.526) road record, and has won 34 of its last 50 (.680) league games dating back to 2011.
Utah State is 14-3 with a freshman at quarterback over the last five seasons under head coach Matt Wells, including a 6-1 record in 2013, a 5-1 record in 2014 and a 3-1 record this season.
Utah State's defense has forced 25 turnovers (15 fumbles, 10 interceptions) this year, which ranks tied for fifth in the nation with UCF and Western Michigan, and trailing Central Michigan (29), Wyoming (28), Miami, Fla. (27) and Washington State (27). Last year, USU forced just 10 turnovers the entire season. USU also ranks tied for second in the nation with its 15 fumble recoveries with Bowling Green (15) and trailing Western Michigan (16), and is fourth in the Mountain West and 48th in the nation with its 10 interceptions on the season.
Utah State's defense has allowed zero points on seven trips into the red zone by its opponents in the last two games as Hawai'i was 0-of-3 and New Mexico was 0-of-4.
UTAH STATE PLAYS AT AIR FORCE IN REGULAR SEASON FINALE
Utah State (6-5, 4-3 MW) concludes its regular season this weekend with a Mountain West road game at Air Force (4-7, 3-4 MW) on Saturday, Nov. 25, at 8:15 p.m. The game will be televised live on ESPN2 (Comcast Ch. 36/669HD, DirecTV Ch. 209, DISH Network Ch. 143) with Mike Corey (play-by-play) and Mike Golic Jr. (analyst) on the call. Live audio of the game is available at www.UtahStateAggies.com.
A LOOK AT UTAH STATE
Utah State is 6-5 on the season and 4-3 in conference play following its 38-0 Mountain West home win against Hawai'i last weekend. Offensively, USU is led by redshirt freshman QB Jordan Love, who is 87-of-161 (.540) passing for 1,093 yards (109.3 ypg) with six touchdowns and six interceptions. Senior RB LaJuan Hunt leads the team in rushing with 663 yards on 138 carries (4.8 ypc/60.3 ypg) with nine touchdowns, and junior WR Ron'quavion Tarver has 36 receptions for 386 yards (10.7 ypr/35.1 ypg) with five touchdowns. Defensively, junior LB Suli Tamaivena leads the team with 98 tackles, which includes 3.0 sacks and 5.5 tackles for loss, to go along with two fumble recoveries, while junior BS Gaje Ferguson has 80 tackles, which includes 1.0 sacks and 2.0 tackles for loss, to go along with one forced fumble. As a team, USU is averaging 30.6 points and 382.2 yards of total offense (218.2 passing, 164.0 rushing), and allowing 26.0 points and 398.2 yards of total offense (202.9 rushing, 195.3 passing).
AGGIES PITCH FIRST SHUTOUT IN FOUR SEASONS
Utah State pitched its first shutout in four seasons, a span of 53 games, last weekend in its 38-0 Mountain West home win against Hawai'i. Overall, it was USU's first shutout since posting a 13-0 MW home win against Colorado State in 2013. Before that, USU's last shutout was in 2003.
One of the main reasons for Utah State's shutout was its defense allowing zero points in three red zone trips by Hawai'i. In fact, Hawai'i had a 19-play, 55-yard drive in the second quarter that took 7:57 off the clock but did not result in any points, as USU forced a fumble on its own 1-yard line.
And offensively against Hawai'i, all five of Utah State's touchdown drives were less than 2;20, while three of them were less than a minute and the fourth one took just 1:02.
A LOOK AT UTAH STATE DURING ITS TWO-GAME WINNING STREAK
During its current two-game winning streak, Utah State is averaging 31.0 points and 359.0 yards of total offense (220.0 rushing, 139.0 passing) and has committed three turnovers, while possessing the ball for just 21:14. During this stretch, USU is averaging 6.7 yards per play. Defensively, USU is allowing just 5.0 points and 329.0 yards of total offense (218.5 rushing, 110.5 passing) and has forced five turnovers (all fumbles), while being on the field for an average of 38:46 during its last two games. Furthermore, USU's defense is limiting its last two opponents to just 4.1 yards per play, while allowing just 11-of-36 (.306) third-down conversions and just 2-of-7 (.286) fourth-down conversions.
Utah State's defense has also forced eight three-and-outs in its last two games and has allowed zero red zone points on seven trips as New Mexico was 0-of-4 inside the red zone and Hawai'i was 0-of-3 inside the 20-yard line.
UTAH STATE MILESTONES THAT EQUAL SUCCESS
Utah State has won 22 of its last 25 games when it has a 100-yard rusher, including a 4-0 record this season, and 26 of its last 28 contests when rushing at least 40 times in a game, including a 4-0 record this season.
Utah State has won 40 of its last 41 games dating back to 2011 when scoring at least 30 points, including a 5-0 record this season. In fact, USU had won 35 straight games when scoring at least 30 points before losing at Nevada, 38-37, last season.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
Utah State ranks second in the Mountain West and 19th nationally in red zone offense (91.2), as it has scored 31 times on 34 trips, with 18 touchdowns and 13 field goals.
Utah State also ranks third in the Mountain West and 35th in the nation in red zone defense (79.4), as it has allowed its opponents to score on 27 of 34 trips, with 16 touchdowns and 11 field goals.
Utah State's defense ranks third in the Mountain West and 17th in the nation in fourth down conversion percentage (.381), and second in the conference and 42nd nationally in third down conversion percentage (.355), as its opponents are 8-for-21 on fourth down and 60-for-169 on third down.
DID YOU KNOW?
Utah State has not allowed a single sack in its last three games and has only allowed one sack in its last four games. In its previous four games, USU allowed 18 sacks.
Utah State has scored six non-offensive touchdowns this year with three interception returns, two fumble returns and one blocked punt returned for a touchdown. Last year, USU had just one non-offensive touchdown all year.
UTAH STATE RANKS FOURTH IN THE MOUNTAIN WEST IN SCORING OFFENSE
Through the first 11 games of the season, Utah State is averaging 30.6 points per game to rank fourth in the Mountain West and 51st in the nation. USU also ranks sixth in the MW and 75th nationally in passing offense (218.2 ypg), seventh in the MW and 65th in the nation in rushing offense (164.0 ypg), seventh in the MW and 67th in the nation in completion percentage (.587), ninth in the conference and 79th in the nation in sacks allowed (2.18 pg), ninth in the conference and 84th in the nation in total offense (382.2 ypg), and 10th in the MW and 99th in the nation in passing efficiency (121.1).
AGGIES RANK 27TH IN THE NATION IN PASSING DEFENSE
Utah State's defense is allowing 195.3 passing yards per game to rank fourth in the Mountain West and 27th in the nation. USU also ranks fourth in the conference and 55th in the nation in passing efficiency defense (125.6), fifth in the conference and 60th in the nation in scoring defense (26.0 ppg), fifth in the MW and 67th nationally in sacks (2.0 pg), seventh in the MW and 71st in the nation in total defense (398.2 ypg), and seventh in the MW and 105th nationally in rushing defense (202.9 ypg).
UTAH STATE SECOND IN THE NATION WITH ITS FIVE DEFENSIVE TOUCHDOWNS
Utah State's defense has scored five touchdowns this year to rank tied for second in the nation with Western Michigan and Wisconsin, and trailing Texas (6). 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 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 57 games.
UTAH STATE RANKS FIRST IN THE NATION WITH ITS FOUR BLOCKED PUNTS
Utah State ranks first in the nation with its four blocked punts this year, as the Aggies have blocked punts against Idaho State, Wake Forest, San José State and Colorado State, returning the one against CSU for a touchdown. USU's four blocked kicks on the season rank second in the Mountain West behind Hawai'i (5) and 10th in the nation. 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 RANKS THIRD IN THE NATION IN KICKOFF RETURN DEFENSE
Utah State ranks second in the Mountain West and third in the nation in kickoff return defense (15.97 ypr), first in the MW and 19th in the nation in punt returns (11.8 ypr), seventh in the MW and 78th in the nation in net punting (37.37 ypp), and eighth in the MW and 67th in the nation in kickoff returns (20.93 ypr).
EBERLE RANKS SIXTH IN THE NATION IN FIELD GOAL PERCENTAGE
Sophomore PK Dominik Eberle ranks first in the Mountain West and sixth in the nation in field goal percentage (.889) as he has made 16-of-18 field goals this season. Eberle also ranks second in the MW and 26th in the nation in field goals made (1.45 pg), and is fifth in the MW and 43rd in the nation in scoring (8.0 ppg).
DAVIS THIRD IN THE NATION WITH HIS FIVE INTERCEPTIONS
Senior CB Jalen Davis ranks tied for third in the nation with his five interceptions, while his 17 passes defended (12 pass breakups, 5 interceptions) rank first in the Mountain West and fifth in the nation (1.5 pg). Davis also ranks tied for first nationally with his three defensive touchdowns, and is 10th in the MW in sacks (0.36 pg).
OTHER AGGIES IN THE MOUNTAIN WEST AND NCAA RANKINGS
Junior LB Louy Compton and junior QB DJ Nelson both rank second in the nation with their two blocked kicks, while Nelson also ranks tied for second in the Mountain West and tied for 10th in the nation with his one punt return for a touchdown. Redshirt freshman WR Jordan Nathan ranks second in the MW and 18th in the nation in punt returns (10.6 ypr). Junior LB Suli Tamaivena ranks tied for fourth in the MW and tied for 18th in the nation with his two fumble recoveries, and eighth in the MW and 34th in the nation in tackles (8.9 pg). Sophomore LB Justus Te'i ranks tied for fourth in the MW and tied for 18th in the nation with his two fumble recoveries. Junior NG Gasetoto Schuster and sophomore DE Devon Anderson both rank tied for seventh in the MW in forced fumbles with two (0.20 pg). Senior QB Kent Myers ranks third in the MW and 30th in the nation in completion percentage (.628), ninth in the MW and 78th in the nation in passing efficiency (122.9), 10th in the MW and 94th in the nation in passing yards (127.5 ypg), and 10th in the MW and 94th in the nation in total offense (156.6 ypg). Freshman WR Savon Scarver ranks sixth in the MW and 59th in the nation in kickoff returns (22.2 ypr). Senior BS Dallin Leavitt ranks tied for fourth in the MW and tied for 53rd in the nation with his three interceptions (0.3 pg), and is tied for 26th in the MW in tackles (6.1 pg). Senior RB LaJuan Hunt ranks tied for fifth in the MW and tied for 51st in the nation with his nine rushing touchdowns (0.8 pg), and is tied for sixth in the MW and tied for 56th in the nation with his 10 total touchdowns (0.9 pg). Junior WR Ron'quavion Tarver ranks eighth in the MW and 80th nationally with his five receiving touchdowns (0.5 pg). Redshirt freshman QB Jordan Love ranks 10th in the MW and 94th in the nation in completion percentage (.541). Junior BS Gaje Ferguson ranks 16th in the MW in tackles (7.3 pg). Junior LB Chase Christiansen ranks 36th in the conference in tackles (5.5 pg). And, junior P Aaron Dalton ranks fifth in the MW and 56th in the nation in punting (41.9 ypp).
SCOUTING AIR FORCE
Air Force is 4-7 on the season and 3-4 in Mountain West play following its 44-19 road loss at Boise State last weekend. The Falcons are led by junior QB Arion Worthman, who is 54-of-109 passing for 1,100 yards (110.0 ypg) with 10 touchdowns and four interceptions. Worthman also leads the team in rushing with 821 yards on 217 carries (3.8 ypc/82.1 ypg) with 13 touchdowns, and junior WR Marcus Bennett leads the team in receiving with 18 receptions for 389 yards (21.6 ypr/35.4 ypg) with three touchdowns. Defensively, senior LB Grant Ross has a team-best 88 tackles, which includes 7.0 tackles for loss, while fellow senior LB Jack Flor has 87 tackles, which includes 3.0 tackles for loss. As a team, Air Force is averaging 30.8 points and 415.5 yards of total offense per game (298.4 rushing, 117.1 passing), and allowing 32.2 points and 382.4 yards of total offense (221.5 rushing, 160.8 passing). Air Force returns six starters (O-5, D-1) and 80 lettermen (O-38, D-38, S-4) from last year's team that went 10-3 overall and 5-3 in Mountain West play to finish tied for fourth in the Mountain Division. The Falcons concluded their season with a 45-21 win against South Alabama in the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl. Troy Calhoun is 81-60 in this his 11th season as a collegiate head coach at Air Force.
AGGIES AND FALCONS SERIES HISTORY
Utah State and Air Force will be meeting for the sixth time in series history this weekend with the Falcons holding a 3-2 advantage, including a 2-1 mark at home. The Falcons won the first meeting, 38-13, on Nov. 8, 1969, at the USAF Academy. USU then won the next two games with a 52-20 win at the USAF Academy on Sept. 7, 2013, and a 34-16 home win in Logan on Oct. 11, 2014. The Falcons have since won the last two meetings with a 35-28 home win on Nov. 14, 2015, and a 27-20 road win on Sept. 24, 2016.
WELLS VERSUS AIR FORCE
Utah State head coach Matt Wells is 2-2 all-time against Air Force as a head coach, and faced the Falcons eight times as an assistant coach, including five times as an assistant at the Naval Academy and three times as an assistant at New Mexico.
UTAH STATE VERSUS THE STATE OF COLORADO
Utah State is a combined 70-76-6 (.480) against teams from the state of Colorado, with a 33-39-2 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 a 2-3 record against Air Force.
UTAH STATE AND AIR FORCE 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). Junior OL Quin Ficklin originally committed to play football at Air Force during his senior year of high school. USU offensive line coach Steve Farmer and AFA receivers coach Taylor Stubblefield coached together at Illinois State in 2009.
CONNECTIONS BETWEEN UTAH STATE AND AIR FORCE PLAYERS
There are five connections between Utah State and Air Force players. USU senior WR Braelon Roberts, and AFA junior DB Dailen Sutton and sophomore WR Geraud Sanders all attended Bishop Dunne HS in Dallas, Texas. USU junior OL Quin Ficklin and AFA sophomore OL Colin Marquez both attended Red Mountain HS in Mesa, Ariz.
DID YOU KNOW?
Utah State has 38 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 outside receivers coach Jovon Bouknight played in four games against Air Force at wide receiver during his career at Wyoming from 2002-05. Against AFA, Bouknight caught 21 passes for 305 yards and two touchdowns, including six receptions for 132 yards and one touchdown as a senior. Bouknight also threw a 19-yard touchdown pass against the Falcons as a sophomore in 2003.
Utah State offensive administrative assistant Naufahu Tahi played in two games against Air Force at running back during his career at BYU from 2004-05. Against AFA, Tahi carried the ball 16 times for 95 yards and added six receptions for 105 yards and one touchdown.
STATS FOR CURRENT AGGIES WITH MULTIPLE GAMES VS. AIR FORCE
The following is a look at what current Utah State players have done against Air Force in multiple games. Senior CB Jalen Davis has 20 tackles, including 2.0 tackles for loss, three pass breakups and one forced fumble in three games. Senior WR Braelon Roberts has three receptions for 41 yards (13.7 ypc) in three games. Senior DE Ian Togiai has six tackles, including 0.5 tackles for loss, and one quarterback hurry in three games. Senior LB Alex Huerta has 13 tackles and one quarterback hurry in two games. Senior RB LaJuan Hunt has eight yards rushing on three carries, and two receptions for 28 yards, in two games. Junior LB Derek Larsen has five tackles in two games. Senior RB Tonny Lindsey Jr. has 30 yards rushing on 19 carries, to go along with 40 yards receiving on four catches, in two games. Senior QB Kent Myers is 54-of-94 passing (.574) for 724 yards and five touchdowns, to go along with 18 yards rushing and one touchdown on 21 carries, in two games. Junior P Aaron Dalton has 10 punts for 452 yards (45.2 ypp), including a long of 57, and four downed inside the 20-yard line in two games. Junior FS Jontrell Rocquemore has two tackles in two games. Junior NG Gasetoto Schuster has three tackles in two games. Junior WR Zach Van Leeuwen has two catches for 13 yards (6.5 ypc) in two games.
WELLS AND CALHOUN TWO OF 21 FBS HEAD COACHES AT ALMA MATER
Utah State head coach Matt Wells is one of 21 current FBS head coaches who are the head coaches at their alma mater, 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.
AIR FORCE ONE OF NINE BOWL TEAMS ON UTAH STATE'S 2017 SCHEDULE
Utah State's 2017 schedule features 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 VERSUS THE MOUNTAIN WEST
Utah State is 150-178-8 (.458) 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 2-3 record vs. Air Force, and a 1-12 record vs. San Diego State.
UTAH STATE IN FIFTH SEASON IN THE MOUNTAIN WEST
Utah State is in 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.
SERIES NOTABLES BETWEEN UTAH STATE AND AIR FORCE
The following are series notables between Utah State and Air Force dating back to 1969 and encompassing the last five meetings.
In five games in series history, Utah State has scored 11 more points than Air Force, 147-136.
In the last four meetings, Air Force's two wins have been by one score while Utah State's two wins have been by double digits.
The winning team has scored at least 27 points in each of the five previous meetings, while four of the five winners have scored at least 34 points. Conversely, the losing team has only scored less than 20 points twice.
The team that has more yards of total offense won the first four meetings in the series, before Utah State lost last season despite have 88 more yards of total offense (414-326).
The team that controls the time of possession has won three of the last four games.
The team with the most rushing yards has won four of the five games in the series.
The team that scores first and leads at the half has won all five games in the series.
Air Force has had three 100-yard receivers in series history, but has never had a 300-yard passer or 100-yard rusher against Utah State.
Utah State has had three 300-yard passers and three 100-yard receivers in series history, but has never had a 100-yard rusher against Air Force.
The team with fewer turnovers has won each of the last three games in the series.
FROM THE RECORD BOOKS
Here is a look at some of the top Utah State team and individual statistical performances against Air Force over the years.
Chuckie Keeton tied his own school record with five touchdown passes at Air Force in 2013.
Jess Garcia punted a school-record 14 times against Air Force in 1969.
Kent Myers' 364 passing yards at Air Force in 2015 are tied for the 25th-most in a single-game in Utah State history.
Hunter Sharp's 193 receiving yards at Air Force in 2015 are tied for the 19th-most in school history.
Zach Vigil had a career-high 22 tackles against Air Force in 2014, which is tied for the fourth-most in a single-game in school history.
Nick Vigil had a career-high 20 tackles against Air Force in 2015.
Utah State punted 14 times against Air Force in 1969, which is tied for the most in a single game in school history.
Utah State's 372 passing yards against Air Force in 2016 are the 24th-most in a single game in school history.
LAST MEETING vs. AIR FORCE
LOGAN, Utah - Sophomore WR Ron'quavion Tarver had his best game as an Aggie, but it still wasn't enough as Utah State lost its Homecoming game to Air Force, 27-20, on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, on Merlin Olsen Field at Maverik Stadium.
Tarver caught a career-best nine passes for a career-high 143 yards, including a career-long of 42 yards. His final catch of the night, a 35-yarder, set up junior QB Kent Myers' 1-yard touchdown run on third-and-goal that pulled Utah State (2-2, 0-1 MW) to within 27-20 with 32 seconds left in the Mountain West opener for both teams.
However, the Falcons (3-0, 1-0 MW) recovered the ensuing on-side kick and proceeded to run out the clock. Quarterback Nate Romine was 5-of-13 passing for 113 yards and a touchdown for Air Force.
Utah State finished the game with 414 yards of total offense (372 passing, 42 rushing) as compared to 326 total yards for Air Force (213 rushing, 113 passing). The difference in the game was turnovers, as the Falcons scored 14 points off two Aggie miscues and did not commit a turnover.
In all, Utah State's defense held the nation's top-ranked rushing offense to 219.5 yards below its season average as the Falcons entered the game averaging 432.5 rushing yards per game to lead the nation. AFA also ranked fifth nationally in total offense (566.5 ypg) entering the game, but was held to just 326 yards.
Myers completed a career-best 29 passes on a career-high-tying 47 attempts for 360 yards and a 43-yard touchdown pass to freshman WR Rayshad Lewis that gave Utah State a 7-3 lead with 6:53 left in the first quarter.
For Lewis, who caught three passes on the night for 52 yards, it was his first career touchdown. Fellow wide receiver, senior Andrew Rodriguez, had a career-best seven receptions for 64 yards.
Defensively, a pair of Aggie linebackers shined for Utah State as junior Alex Huerta recorded a game- and career-best 13 tackles, while senior Anthony Williams added a career-high 11 stops, including 1.0 sacks, to go along with two quarterback hurries and a forced fumble. Junior CB Jalen Davis also had a career-high in tackles with eight, which included a career-high-tying 2.0 tackles for loss, to go along with a forced fumble and pass breakup. Redshirt senior NG Travis Seefeldt was the fourth Aggie defender to have a career-night as he posted a career-high seven tackles, including 0.5 tackles for loss.
Utah State trailed 17-10 after the Falcons drove 88 yards in six plays, capped by a 12-yard touchdown pass from Romine to Ryan Reffitt with just 13 seconds left in the second quarter.
Defensive back Roland Ladipo helped set up the score when he intercepted Myers' pass in the red zone. The Falcons also cashed in on a fumble by Myers in the fourth quarter, turning the takeaway into seven points and a 27-13 lead with 2:57 to go.
After Lewis' first-quarter score, senior PK Brock Warren made it 10-3 in the second when he booted a 23-yard field goal. Warren added another 23-yard field goal in the fourth quarter to pull the Aggies to within 17-13 with 12:02 remaining.
Utah State finished the game converting 10-of-20 third down attempts.
LAST ROAD MEETING vs. AIR FORCE
USAFA, Colo. - Utah State lost a key Mountain West game as Air Force used a surprising passing attack in a 35-28 victory against the Aggies on Nov. 14, 2015, at Falcon Stadium.
The Falcons (7-3, 5-1 Mountain West) racked up 580 yards in beating the Aggies (5-5, 4-3). Senior QB Karson Roberts was 11-of-13 passing for 271 yards and one touchdown.
The loss spoiled a career day by Utah State's Kent Myers. The sophomore QB was 25-of-47 passing for 364 yards and four touchdowns. His completions, attempts, yards and touchdown passes were all career highs.
Myers' favorite target was senior WR Hunter Sharp, who caught 13 passes for 193 yards and three touchdowns, all career highs. Sharp's receptions are the most by an Aggie since Kevin Curtis also caught 13 passes against Middle Tennessee in 2002.
Junior LB Nick Vigil led the Aggies, who fell to 1-5 on the road this season, with 20 tackles, which is tied for the fourth-most stops by a Football Bowl Subdivision player this season.
Roberts' favorite target on the day was senior WR Jalen Robinette, who caught seven passes for a career-high 210 yards and a touchdown.
Trailing 35-28, Utah State got the ball at its own 25-yard line following a punt with 2:45 remaining in the game. Myers marched the Aggies down the field, picking up a key fourth-and-2 on a five-yard pass to Sharp that gave Utah State a first down at the Air Force 45.
The Aggies eventually moved the ball to the Falcons' 11-yard line, where they had it first-and-10. But that's where the drive stalled as Myers got sacked once and threw three incomplete passes. The final incompletion was on fourth-and-17 from the 18.
After the Falcons forced the Aggies to go three-and-out on the game's opening possession, the two teams proceeded to trade touchdowns on the next four series.
Air Force got a 30-yard touchdown run from junior RB D.J. Johnson and a 1-yard score from junior RB Jacobi Owens. Myers and Sharp accounted for both of Utah State's touchdowns as the duo hooked up from 41 and 48 yards, respectively. The second of those touchdowns knotted the score up at 14-apiece at the end of the first quarter.
The Falcons took a 21-14 lead into halftime when Roberts scored on a 5-yard touchdown run with 40 seconds remaining in the second quarter.
Air Force opened up a two-touchdown lead less than two minutes into the second half as Roberts threw a 74-yard touchdown pass to Robinette, making it 28-14.
However, the Aggies pulled within 28-21 with 4:27 left in the third when Sharp turned a screen from Myers into a 39-yard touchdown.
The Falcons opened a 35-21 lead on Owens' second rushing touchdown of the game, this time from three yards out. Owens finished with 58 yards on 17 carries.
Utah State answered right back, though, and ended the third quarter with a bang as Myers threw a 44-yard touchdown pass to senior WR Devonte Robinson to pull the Aggies within seven again.
Air Force missed out on a golden opportunity to open up another two-score advantage early in the fourth quarter. Facing a fourth-and-1 play from the Aggies' 10-yard line, the Falcons elected to go for it, but Owens was stopped for no gain.
Redshirt freshman P Aaron Dalton punted seven times for an average of 50.3 yards, including a long of 57 and had two punts downed inside the 20-yard line.
GAME 11 RECAP vs. HAWAI'I
LOGAN, Utah - With bowl eligibility on the line, Utah State played its best game of the season and recorded its first shutout in four years with a 38-0 drubbing of Hawai'i on Senior Day on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017, on Merlin Olsen Field at Maverik Stadium.
With the win, Utah State improves to 6-5 on the season and 4-3 in Mountain West play and is bowl eligible for the sixth time in the last seven seasons. Hawai'i, losers of four straight and eight of its last nine, falls to 3-8 overall and 1-7 in league play.
Utah State was dominant on both sides of the ball as it recorded 475 yards of total offense, including 311 rushing yards, its second-most in a game this season. USU was also 5-of-11 on third down and scored 30-plus points for the fifth time this season, despite possessing the ball for just 21:35, its second-lowest possession time this season.
Defensively, Utah State limited Hawai'i to just 318 yards, 104.8 yards under its season average, as it had 172 rushing yards and 146 passing yards. USU also held UH scoreless on three trips inside its red zone as the Rainbow Warriors missed a 41-yard field goal, turned it over on downs and fumbled on USU's 1-yard line. Hawai'i was also just 5-of-19 on third down and 1-of-5 on fourth down in the game.
Senior RB LaJuan Hunt led Utah State as he gained 111 yards on just 13 carries and one touchdown for his second-straight 100-yard rushing game. Sophomore WR Gerold Bright added 93 rushing yards on just eight carries and a touchdown, while senior WR Braelon Roberts had a career-best 55 receiving yards on two receptions and a touchdown.
After missing a 46-yard field goal on its opening series, Utah State scored touchdowns on its next three drives to take a 21-0 lead into halftime. Bright started the scoring on a career-long 60-yard run as the Aggies took just three plays and 0:38 to cover 66 yards.
Redshirt freshman QB Jordan Love connected with junior WR Ron'quavion Tarver for USU's second touchdown on a 10-yard pass in a drive that went 67 yards in eight plays and took 2:17 off the clock. Love finished the game 10-of-16 passing for 110 yards with one touchdown and one interception, while Tarver had two catches for 14 yards.
Leading 14-0 after the first quarter, senior QB Kent Myers orchestrated a 4-play, 75-yard drive that took just 0:54 and culminated in a 49-yard touchdown pass to Roberts.
Utah State committed its only turnover of the game late in the first half on a Love interception, but quickly got the ball back as junior BS Gaje Ferguson stripped Diocemy Saint Juste at the 1-yard line and the fumble was recovered by sophomore LB Justus Te'i.
After forcing Hawai'i to a three-and-out on its first series of the second half, Utah State scored on its first offensive play of the half as Hunt darted into the end zone from 48 yards out to push its lead to 28-0.
Love added another touchdown late in the third quarter on a 15-yard run to cap a 3-play, 53-yard drive that took just 1:02 to make the score 35-0. Sophomore PK Dominik Eberle added a 20-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter and Utah State coasted to the 38-0 win.
Defensively, Utah State recorded 4.0 sacks, 7.0 tackles for loss and six pass breakups in the game. Ferguson led the Aggie defense with eight stops and a forced fumble, while senior BS Dallin Leavitt had seven tackles. Junior DE Adewale Adeoye recorded a career-high six tackles and forced his first career fumble, while senior CB Jalen Davis had a career-high four pass breakups to go along with one sack as part of his three tackles.
DAVIS RECORDS CAREER-HIGH FOUR PASS BREAKUPS AGAINST HAWAI'I
Senior CB Jalen Davis recorded a career-high four pass breakups last weekend against Hawai'i, to give him 12 pass breakups on the season and 34 in his career to extend his own school record. Davis also had 1.0 sacks as part of his three tackles against the Rainbow Warriors to give him 4.0 sacks and 5.0 tackles for loss this season, and 8.0 sacks and 17.0 tackles for loss in his career.
For his career, Davis now has 45 career passes defended (34 pass breakups, 11 interceptions) to rank tied for fourth in the nation among active players, while ranking tied for eighth nationally among active players with his 11 interceptions.
FERGUSON FORCES GOAL LINE FUMBLE AGAINST HAWAI'I
Junior BS Gaje Ferguson had a team-high eight tackles last weekend at Hawai'i and added his first career forced fumble on USU's 1-yard line. In fact, Ferguson helped Utah State's defense hold Hawai'i to zero points on three red zone trips last weekend as the Rainbow Warriors also missed a 41-yard field and turned it over on downs.
In its previous game, Utah State's defense held New Mexico to zero points in four red zone trips as the Aggies forced three turnovers (all fumbles, while UNM also missed a 47-yard field goal).
TEAM NOTABLES FROM HAWAI'I GAME
Utah State improved to 6-0 under head coach Matt Wells following a bye week. USU's 311 rushing yards were its second-most this season behind its 318 rushing yards at San José State. USU finished with 475 yards of total offense, its fourth-most in a game this season.
With its forced fumble against Hawai'i, Utah State has now forced 25 turnovers this year and 135 turnovers in its last 73 games, including at least one turnover in 56 of its last 73 games. USU has also recorded 63 interceptions in its last 60 games, including at least one pick in 31 of its last 60 games and multiple interceptions in 19 of its last 60 games. Overall, USU has forced three or more turnovers in 16 of its last 48 games.
OFFENSIVE NOTABLES FROM HAWAI'I GAME
Senior RB LaJuan Hunt scored his ninth rushing touchdown of the season and the 16th of his career on a 48-yard run. Sophomore WR Gerold Bright scored his first rushing touchdown of the season and the second of his career on a career-long 60-yard run. Bright finished the game with a career-high eight carries for a career-best 93 yards. Redshirt freshman QB Jordan Love threw his sixth touchdown pass of the season and scored on a 15-yard run for his second rushing touchdown of the season. Love finished the game with a season-high 47 rushing yards. Junior WR Ron'quavion Tarver caught his fifth touchdown pass of the season and the eighth of his career on a 10-yard reception. Senior WR Braelon Roberts caught his third touchdown pass of the season and the fourth of his career on a career-long 49-yard reception. Roberts finished with a career-high 55 receiving yards. Senior QB Kent Myers threw his eighth touchdown pass of the season and 39th of his career on a 49-yard completion
DEFENSIVE NOTABLES FROM HAWAI'I GAME
Junior LB Chase Christiansen had 1.0 sacks, giving him 1.0 sacks and 3.0 tackles for loss this season, and 3.0 sacks and 7.0 tackles for loss in his career. Christiansen also had his first career pass breakup. Redshirt freshman LB David Woodward had his first career sack, and added 0.5 tackles for loss, giving him 2.0 tackles for loss on the season. Sophomore LB Justus Te'i had 0.5 tackles for loss, his first this season, giving him 2.5 tackles for loss in his career. Te'i also recovered his second fumble of the season and his career. Sophomore DE Devon Anderson had 0.5 tackles for loss, giving him 2.5 tackles for loss this season. Redshirt freshman DE Logan Lee had 0.5 sacks, the first of his career. Freshman LB Maika Magalei had 0.5 sacks, giving him 2.5 sacks on the season. Redshirst freshman NG Ritisoni Fata had 0.5 tackles for loss, giving him 1.5 tackles for loss on the season. Sophomore NG Christopher `Unga had 1.0 tackles for loss, giving him 4.5 tackles for loss this season and 5.0 tackles for loss in his career. Junior DE Adewale Adeoye had a career-high six tackles and forced his first career fumble. Senior CB Wesley Bailey had one pass breakup, giving him two pass breakups this year and six in his career.
SPECIAL TEAMS NOTABLES FROM HAWAI'I GAME
Sophomore PK Dominik Eberle was 1-of-2 on field goal attempts as he made a 20-yarder and missed a 46-yarder. Eberle is now 16-of-18 on the season and 19-of-23 in his career on field goal attempts. Junior P Aaron Dalton had one punt downed inside the 20-yard line, giving him 19 punts this year and 65 in his career that have been downed inside the 20-yard line.
AGGIE TO KEEP YOUR EYES ON
#21 | LaJuan Hunt | RB | 5-8 | 195 | SR | Fort Lauderdale, Fla. | University HS
Recorded his second-straight 100-yard rushing game and the third of the season last weekend with 111 yards on 13 carries (8.5 ypc) and one touchdown against Hawai'i. Overall, he now has four career 100-yard rushing games.
Has three 100-yard rushing games in his last four outings as he has rushed for 360 yards on 57 carries (6.3 ypc) with seven touchdowns and is averaging 90.0 yards on 14.3 carries in his last four games.
Is the first Aggie to score at least one rushing touchdown in four-straight games since Devante Mays in 2015, and is the first Aggie to have back-to-back 100-yard rushing games since Joey DeMartino in 2013.
HUNT RANKS 11TH ALL-TIME IN RUSHING
Senior RB LaJuan Hunt has rushed for 1,681 yards on 397 carries (4.2 ypc) in his career to rank 11th all-time in school history. Hunt has four 100-yard rushing games in his career and set a true freshman school record with 34 carries for 145 yards against Hawai'i in 2014.
With his 397 carries, Hunt is now just four attempts shy of entering the top 10 all-time in school history. Hunt is also just two rushing touchdowns shy of entering the top 10 all-time at USU in that category, as well.
MYERS HAS 19 CAREER RUSHING TDs
Senior QB Kent Myers has 19 rushing touchdowns in his career, to rank ninth all-time in school history. Myers has 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 this year.
MYERS RANKS 17TH ALL-TIME IN RUSHING
Senior QB Kent Myers has 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 has 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 RANKS AMONG TOP 10 QBS ALL-TIME IN GAMES PLAYED AND STARTED
Senior QB Kent Myers has 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 THIRD ALL-TIME IN COMPLETION PERCENTAGE
Senior QB Kent Myers is 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 Chuckie Keeton (.022) and Anthony Calvillo (0.023), with his 39 touchdowns and 21 interceptions on 876 career attempts. Myers has thrown 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 has 22 touchdowns and eight interceptions at home, and 17 touchdowns and 13 interceptions on the road.
MYERS AMONG ACTIVE QUARTERBACK LEADERS IN THE NATION
Senior QB Kent Myers ranks among the top active quarterbacks in the nation in several categories and is one of just nine Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) quarterbacks with 6,000 passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards in a career, along with Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield (13,796 passing, 1,012 rushing), Louisville's Lamar Jackson (8,656 passing, 3,818 rushing), Ohio State's J.T. Barrett (9,079 passing, 3,070 rushing), Appalachian State's Taylor Lamb (9,306 passing, 1,853 rushing), South Florida's Quinton Flowers (7,316 passing, 3,464 rushing), Wake Forest's John Wolford (8,203 passing, 1,004 rushing), Syracuse's Eric Dungey (6,472 passing, 1,239 rushing) and Conneticut's Bryant Shierreffs (6,375 passing, 1,029 rushing). Myers has passed for 6,126 yards and rushed for 1,406 yards in his career. Myers is also one of just 12 active FBS quarterbacks with 1,200 career rushing yards.
Other categories where Myers ranks among the top active FBS quarterbacks in the nation include being 20th in completion percentage (.610), 27th in total offense (7,532), 30th in touchdowns responsible for (58), and 33rd in passing yards (6,126).
DAVIS EXTENDS SCHOOL RECORD FOR PASSES BROKEN UP
Senior CB Jalen Davis has 34 career pass breakups, breaking the previous record held by Donald Toomer (1991-94, 26). Davis also has 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.
EBERLE FIRST ALL-TIME IN FIELD GOAL PERCENTAGE
Sophomore PK Dominik Eberle is 16-of-18 on field goal attempts this year and his 88.9 conversion percentage ranks first all-time in school history for a single season, topping Russ Moody, who made 86.7 percent of his field goals in 1988, as he was 13-of-15. Those 16 made field goals this year rank tied for the sixth-most in a single-season in school history with Dene Garner (1985) and Al Knapp (1974).
Eberle is also 40-of-40 on extra point attempts this season and those 40 made PAT's rank tied for fourth all-time in school history for a single-season, while his 40 attempts rank tied for sixth all-time in school history for a single-season with Nick Diaz (2012). Furthermore, Eberle is a perfect 40-of-40 on extra points in his career and that percentage ranks tied for first all-time in school history for a single-season and career.
For his career, Eberle is now 19-of-23 on field goal attempts and his 82.6 conversion percentage ranks second all-time in school history behind Russ Moody, who made 84.6 percent of his field goals, as he was 22-of-26.
Thus far this year, Eberle is 5-of-6 on field goal attempts of at least 40 yards, including a career long of 52 yards. The last Aggie kicker to make at least five field goals of 40-plus yards in a single season was Nick 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.
EBERLE CLOSING IN ON SINGLE SEASON SCORING RECORD FOR A KICKER
Sophomore PK Dominik Eberle has scored 88 points thus far this season with 40 extra points and 16 field goals. With his 88 points, Eberle is just two points shy of tying Natahn Morreale, who set the single-season school record for points scored by a kicker with 90 in 1993, as he made 19 field goals and 33 extra points.
Eberle is also just three made field goals shy of entering the USU top 10 all-time in school history.
EBERLE NAMED SEMIFINALIST FOR LOU GROZA AWARD
Utah State sophomore PK Dominik Eberle has been named a semifinalist for the 2017 Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award. Eberle is one of 20 semifinalists, including three from the Mountain West and two from the Beehive State, to land on the list. ranks first in the Mountain West and sixth the nation in field goal percentage (.889) as he has made 16-of-18 field goals this season. Eberle also ranks second in the MW and 26th in the nation in field goals made (1.45 pg), and is fifth in the MW and 43rd in the nation in scoring (8.0 ppg). In the Aggies' 61-10 win at SJSU on Sept. 24, Eberle set the single-game school record for points by a kicker with 19, as he was 7-of-7 on extra points and 4-for-4 on field goals (23, 52, 20, 27). Those 19 points were also the second-most in Mountain West history by a kicker and the most by a non-senior.
TOMMERDAHL NOMINATED FOR BROYLES AWARD
Utah State special teams coordinator and running backs coach Mark Tommerdahl has been named a nominee for the 2017 Broyles Award. Tommerdahl is one of 56 coaches nationwide to be nominated for the award. Among the nominees are three other Mountain West assistant coaches in Boise State defensive coordinator Andy Avalos, Fresno State defensive coordinator Orlando Steinauer and San José State linebackers coach Bojay Filimoeatu. The Broyles Award honors the top assistant college football coach in America and was established in 1996 to honor legendary Arkansas Head Coach Frank Broyles. Coach Broyles had a track record of producing some of the most successful assistant coaches in college football history. Under Tommerdahl's direction, the Utah State ranks second in the Mountain West and third in the nation in kickoff return defense (15.97 ypr), and first in the conference and 19th in the nation in punt returns (11.8 ypr). USU also leads the nation with its four blocked punts this season, while its four blocked kicks overall rank 10th nationally. Tommerdahl has also coached sophomore placekicker Dominik Eberle to ranking sixth the nation in field goal percentage at 88.9 percent, as Eberle is 16-of-18 on field goal attempts this season.
ROBERTS NOMINATED FOR BURLSWORTH TROPHY
Utah State's Braelon Roberts has been 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. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound senior wide receiver is one of 63 players nominated from an FBS school. Each nominee must have begun his first season of participation without financial aid of any kind from his university's athletic department. Roberts is one of eight players from the Mountain West on the list and one of just two from the Beehive State, joining BYU's Brayden El-Bakri. The native of Dallas, Texas, has played in all 11 games of the season for the Aggies this year, starting five of them. Roberts has caught 15 passes for 189 yards and three touchdowns. For his career, Roberts has appeared in 39 games for Utah State, catching 47 passes for 514 yards and four touchdowns.
DAVIS NAMED MID-SEASON ALL-AMERICAN
Utah State senior CB Jalen Davis has been named a mid-season All-American by The Associated Press, ESPN, CBS Sports, and Sports Illustrated as he is the only Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) player with three defensive touchdowns on the season as he returned two interceptions for touchdowns against BYU and one against Idaho State.
Davis had a career-high three interceptions against BYU (9/29), which are the second-most in a single-game in school history and tied for the most in a single-game in Mountain West history, while the two pick-sixes are a school record. Following the BYU game, Davis was named the CBSSports.com National Player of the Week, the Paycom Jim Thorpe Award Player of the Week and the Mountain West Defensive Player of the Week.
Davis is the school record holder with 34 pass breakups and ranks fourth all-time with his 11 career interceptions.
DAVIS NAMED SEMIFINALIST FOR JIM THORPE AWARD
Utah State senior CB Jalen Davis is one of 13 Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) players named as a semifinalst for the Jim Thorpe Award, which is given annually to the top defensive back in college football. Joining Davis on the list is Marcus Allen (Penn State), Quin Blanding (Virginia), DeShon Elliott (Texas), Minkah Fitzpatrick (Alabama), Grant Haley (Penn State), Derwin James (Florida State), Jeremy McDuffie (Duke), Parry Nikcerson (Tulane), Justin Reid (Stanford), Dominick Sanders (Georgia), Levi Wallace (Alabama) and Denzel Ward (Ohio State).
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 a season-high 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 New Mexico State's Shamad Lomax 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 the most at the FBS level this season, and tied with four other players for the most in Mountain West history. In fact, it is just the 18th 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.
UTAH STATE COACHING CHANGES FOR 2017
Utah State's coaching staff had two changes during the offseason 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. 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 53.1 winning percentage (34-30) ranks seventh with a minimum of 15 games coached.
MORE ON UTAH STATE'S HEAD COACH Matt Wells
Utah State head coach Matt Wells is in his fifth season in charge of the Aggie football program and 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 coached in his third bowl game in 2015 to set 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, the 2013 Mountain West Coach of the Year, is one of just 21 coaches to lead his alma mater. He is also 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.
DID YOU KNOW?
Utah State head coach Matt 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.
AGGIES IN OVERTIME
Utah State is 6-5 all-time in overtime, winning three of its last four. All-time, USU is 4-2 in single-overtime games, 2-2 in double-overtime games, and 0-1 in triple-overtime games. USU's last overtime game was a 21-14 loss at Arkansas State on Sept. 20, 2014.
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 two weeks ago. 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.
Thus far in 2017, Love is one of just three quarterbacks at the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) level to have at least three touchdown passes of 70-plus yards, joining Baylor's Zach Smith, who has five, and Mississippi's Shea Patterson, who has four.
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. Overall, Nelson leads the nation with his two blocked punts, along with junior LB and teammate Louy Compton.
UTAH STATE RANKS FIFTH IN THE NATION IN FIRST-TIME STARTERS
During the first 11 weeks of the 2017 season, Utah State has had 24 first-time starters, which ranks tied for fifth in the nation behind Ball State (33), Illinois (30), Baylor (27) and Coastal Carolina (25), and tied with East Carolina and Western Kentucky. 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. And redshirt freshman S Baron Gajkowski made his first career start at New Mexico.
COSIDA ACADEMIC ALL-DISTRICT
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.
Utah State's football team earned recognition from the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) in 2016 as it was one of 78 institutions to receive the Academic Achievement Award for graduating 75 percent or more of their student-athletes. Overall, it is the third consecutive year that USU's football program has been recognized by the AFCA.
USU 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).
HEAD COACH Matt Wells
Matt Wells has wasted little time putting his stamp on the Aggie football program in his first five seasons as head coach, as USU is 34-30, including a 23-16 Mountain West record. USU also played in its fifth-straight bowl game in 2015.
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 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 19 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.
During his six years at Utah State, Wells has been part of a USU program that played in five straight bowl games for the first time in school history, and won three-straight bowl games for the first time ever.
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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