Dec. 2, 2012
LOGAN, Utah - Utah State's defense continues to be ranked with the best in the nation and is listed among the top 15 defenses in the country in five different statistical categories.
In all, Utah State ranks first in the Western Athletic Conference and eighth in the nation in scoring defense (15.4 ppg). USU also ranks second in the WAC and eighth nationally in sacks (3.25 pg), second in the WAC and 12th in the country in rushing defense (111.4 ypg), first in the WAC and 15th in the nation in total defense (322.7 ypg), first in the WAC and 15th in the nation in pass efficiency defense (107.0), and first in the WAC and 35th in the nation in passing defense (211.2 ypg).
Furthermore, Utah State's defense is allowing its opponents to convert just 32.7 percent of its third downs (67-205), which ranks first in the WAC and 19th in the nation.
In the red zone, Utah State's defense continues to do a great job as its opponents have scored on 25-of-39 (.641) possessions to lead the WAC and rank tied for third in the nation in red zone defense efficiency with Penn State and trailing only BYU and Alabama. Of those 39 trips USU's opponents have made into the red zone, they have come away with just 13 touchdowns and 12 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 131-6 in the first quarter and has a 244-54 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, Utah State is the only team in the nation who has not allowed a first quarter touchdown on the season.
Utah State's offense ranks second in the WAC and 26th in the nation in total offense (460.5 ypg). USU also ranks second in the WAC and 15th in the nation in passing efficiency (155.1), third in the WAC and 34th in the nation in sacks allowed (1.50 pg), third in the WAC and 36th in the nation in scoring offense (34.4 ppg), second in the WAC and 37th in the nation in rushing offense (192.5 ypg), and third in the WAC and 37th in the nation in passing offense (268.0 ypg).
As for special teams, Utah State ranks third in the WAC and 37th in the nation in net punting (38.2 ypk), third in the WAC and 38th in the nation in punt returns (10.3 ypr), and fourth in the WAC and 57th in the nation in kickoff returns (22.0 ypr).
Individually on offense, senior running back Kerwynn Williams ranks first in the WAC and 11th in the nation in all-purpose yards (163.0 ypg), first in the WAC and 23rd in the nation in rushing (106.4 ypg), third in the WAC and tied for 34th in the nation in scoring (8.5 ppg), seventh in the WAC in total offense (106.4 ypg), and eighth in the WAC in receiving (55.2 ypg). Sophomore quarterback Chuckie Keeton ranks second in the WAC and 14th in the nation in passing efficiency (156.7), second in the WAC and 17th in the nation in total offense (305.9 ypg), third in the WAC and 30th in the nation in passing (262.0 ypg), and ninth in the WAC in rushing (43.9 ypg).
Individually on defense, senior cornerback Will Davis leads the nation in passes defended (1.75 pg), while ranking second in the WAC and tied for 11th in the nation in interceptions (0.42 pg), and tied for 38th in the WAC in tackles (4.7 pg). Sophomore linebacker Zach Vigil ranks tied for fourth in the WAC and tied for 85th in the nation in tackles (8.0 pg), tied for fifth in the WAC and tied for 97th in the nation in sacks (0.46 pg), and tied for fifth in the WAC in tackles for loss (0.79 pg). And junior linebacker Jake Doughty ranks second in the WAC and tied for 69th in the nation in tackles (8.4 pg).
On special teams, senior punter Tyler Bennett ranks fifth in the WAC and 43rd in the nation in punting (41.8 ypk). Senior wide receiver Cameron Webb ranks third in the WAC and tied for 36th in the nation in punt returns (8.8 ypr). And senior wide receiver Chuck Jacobs ranks third in the WAC and 40th in the nation in kick returns (24.5 ypr), and ninth in the WAC in all-purpose yards (89.4 ypg).
Other Utah State players who rank among the WAC's best statistically include senior wide receiver Matt Austin who ranks ninth in the WAC in receiving (54.3 ypg); senior safety McKade Brady who ranks tied for eighth in the WAC and tied for 92nd in the nation in tackles (7.9 pg); redshirt freshman linebacker Kyler Fackrell who ranks tied for eighth in the WAC in interceptions (0.17), tied for ninth in the WAC in tackles for loss (0.67 pg), and 11th in the WAC in tackles (7.0 pg); sophomore safety Brian Suite who ranks 22nd in the WAC in tackles (6.0 pg); junior cornerback Nevin Lawson who ranks tied for ninth in the WAC in passes defended (0.75 pg) and tied for 31st in the WAC in tackles (5.1 pg); senior cornerback Terrence Alston who ranks tied for ninth in the WAC in passes defended (0.75 pg); senior linebacker Bojay Filimoeatu who ranks tied for ninth in the WAC in tackles for loss (0.67) and tied for 34th in the WAC in tackles (5.0 pg); junior defensive lineman Connor Williams who ranks tied for eighth in the WAC in sacks (0.42 pg); and redshirt freshman defensive lineman Jordan Nielsen who ranks tied for eighth in the WAC in sacks (0.42 pg).
Utah State (10-2, 6-0 WAC) just completed its most successful regular season in school history as it set single-season records for wins (10) and home wins (6), while recording its first outright league championship since 1936 and its 11th in school history as it became the first team in USU history to post a 6-0 conference record.
Utah State, who officially joins the Mountain West Conference on July 1, 2013, concludes WAC play with an 11-game winning streak. Overall, USU has won each of its last six games this year to rank tied for the fifth-longest winning streak in school history and tied for the seventh-longest active winning streak in the nation. In all, Utah State has now won 15 of its last 18 games to rank as the best 18-game stretch in school history since the 1962-64 teams also won 15 of 18 games.
Nationally, Utah State is one of just 22 teams with 10 or more wins on the season and USU is one of just four teams across the country who did not lose a league game joining Ohio State (8-0) from the Big Ten and Kent State (8-0) and Northern Illinois (8-0) from the Mid-American Conference.
Utah State, who is ranked 18th in the nation in this week's Associated Press top 25 and 20th in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' poll, will conclude its 2012 season at the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl on Saturday, Dec. 15 at 2:30 p.m. (MT) against a team yet to be announced from the Mid-American Conference.
Utah State, who also played in the 2011 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, is appearing in back-to-back bowl games for just the third time in school history joining the 1946 Raisin Bowl and 1947 Grape Bowl teams, and the 1960 Sun Bowl and 1961 Gotham Bowl teams. Overall, it is USU's eighth bowl appearance in school history.
Tickets for the 2012 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl are available by contacting 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.
Fans can follow the Aggie football program at twitter.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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