Dec. 1, 2013
LOGAN, Utah - Following its 35-7 home win against Wyoming last weekend, Utah State now ranks among the top 30 teams in the nation in 17 different statistical categories, including ranking seventh in the nation in scoring defense.
Defensively, Utah State is allowing just 16.8 points per game to rank first in the Mountain West and seventh in the nation. USU also ranks first in the MW and 11th in the nation in total defense (321.4 ypg), first in the MW and 11th in the nation in rushing defense (111.6 ypg), first in the MW and 14th in the nation in passing efficiency defense (109.2), first in the MW and 23rd in the nation in passing defense (209.8 ypg), and third in the MW and tied for 38th in the nation in sacks (2.4 pg).
Furthermore, Utah State's defense is limiting its opponents to just 62 first downs on 199 third-down attempts (.312) to rank first in the Mountain West and seventh in the nation. USU also ranks 11th in the nation in forcing three-and-outs on the year as it has forced 66 three-and-outs on 149 drives, which averages out to 44.3 percent of the time and 5.50 per game. And in the red zone, USU has allowed 25 scores in 36 red zone opportunities (.694) to rank first in the MW and seventh nationally. Overall, USU has allowed only 14 touchdowns on 36 trips into the red zone (.4389), while its opponents have converted 11-of-12 field goals, while forcing four turnovers and taking the ball over on downs five times and having the half end once.
Utah State's defense also ranks third in the Mountain West and 12th in the nation with an average of 7.7 tackles for loss per game.
Offensively, Utah State is averaging 33.9 points per game to rank fourth in the Mountain West and tied for 37th in the nation. USU also ranks fourth in the MW and 37th in the nation in passing efficiency (141.7), fifth in the MW and 33rd in the nation in completion percentage (.633), sixth in the MW and 41st in the nation in rushing offense (189.5 ypg), sixth in the MW and 49th in the nation in total offense (430.7 ypg), seventh in the MW and tied for 60th in the nation in sacks allowed (1.9 pg), and 10th in the MW and 55th in the nation in passing offense (241.2 ypg).
Utah State has also converted 94-of-199 third downs (.472) to rank first in the Mountain West and 21st in the nation. In red zone opportunities, USU is 47-for-55 (.855) to rank sixth in the MW and 47th nationally. Overall, USU has scored 37 touchdowns and converted 10-of-14 field goals in the red zone, while turning it over on downs three times and having the half end once.
Utah State also ranks second in the Mountain West and tied for 20th in the nation with a turnover margin of plus 0.67 as it has 23 takeaways and 15 turnovers on the season, as those 15 turnovers rank 19th nationally.
On special teams, Utah State ranks fifth in the Mountain West and tied for 33rd in the nation in kickoff returns (23.0 ypr), fifth in the MW and tied for 33rd in the nation in net punting (38.2 ypk), and fifth in the MW and 39th in the nation in punt returns (10.3 ypr). USU also ranks first in the nation in punt return defense as it is allowing minus 1.33 yards per punt return, and first in the MW and eighth in the nation in kickoff return defense as it is allowing 17.81 yards per kick return.
Utah State players who rank among the statistical leaders in the Mountain West and in the nation include senior cornerback Nevin Lawson who ranks second in the MW and tied for 10th in the nation in passes defended (1.42 pg), and tied for fifth in the MW and tied for 42nd in the nation in interceptions (0.33 pg); senior linebacker Jake Doughty who ranks third in the MW and ninth in the nation in tackles (10.8 pg); junior linebacker Zach Vigil who ranks sixth in the MW and tied for 39th in the nation in tackles (8.9 pg), and tied for eighth in the MW and tied for 88th in the nation in fumbles recovered (0.17 pg); sophomore linebacker Kyler Fackrell who ranks 30th in the MW in tackles (6.3 pg); senior running back Joey DeMartino who ranks fourth in the MW and 26th in the nation in rushing touchdowns (1.0 pg), and fifth in the MW and 48th in the nation in rushing (85.3 ypg); senior safety Maurice Alexander who ranks 31st in the MW in tackles (6.2 pg); sophomore wide receiver Bruce Natson who ranks fourth in the MW and 22nd in the nation in punt returns (11.3 ypr); junior placekicker Nick Diaz who ranks tied for third in the MW and tied for 41st in the nation in field goals (1.17 pg), third in the MW in extra point percentage (98.0), sixth in the MW and 66th in the nation in field goal percentage (73.7), and tied for ninth in the MW and tied for 63rd in the nation in scoring (7.5 ppg); and junior punter Jaron Bentrude who ranks ninth in the MW and 82nd in the nation in punting (39.6 ypk).
Utah State returns to action this weekend as it plays at 24th-ranked Fresno State in the inaugural Mountain West Football Championship Game on Saturday, Dec. 7 at Bulldog Stadium in Fresno, Calif. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. (MT) and the game will be televised nationally on CBS.
Utah State, who has won five-straight games, is 8-4 on the season and went 7-1 in Mountain West play to capture the Mountain Division. Fresno State is 10-1 overall and also went 7-1 in league play to win the West Division, despite losing its regular season finale at San José State, 62-52.
Fresno State and Utah State did not play during the 2013 regular season. The Bulldogs lead the all-time series with the Aggies, 16-10-1. FS has won five in a row versus USU, including a 31-21 victory on Oct. 15, 2011 in Fresno in the two teams last meeting.
For Aggie football 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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