UTAH STATE FACES NEW MEXICO STATE IN NOVA HOME LOANS ARIZONA BOWL
Third annual bowl game will be televised live on CBS Sports Network at 3:30 p.m. (MT).
NEW MEXICO STATE (6-6, 4-4 SB) vs. UTAH STATE (6-6, 4-4 MW)
Friday, Dec. 29, 2017 3:30 p.m. Tucson, Ariz. Arizona Stadium (55,675)
GAME 13 INFORMATION
TV: CBS Sports Network
Play-by-Play: Dave Ryan
Analyst: Corey Chavous
Reporter: Melanie Collins
Comcast (Utah): Ch. 269/753HD
DISH: Ch. 158
DirecTV: Ch. 221
RADIO: Aggie Sports Network
Play-by-Play: Scott Garrard
Analyst: Kevin Whimpey
Online: 1280thezone.com / Tunein.com
National: Sirius 138 / XM 384 / Internet 966
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 is playing in a bowl game for the sixth time in the last seven seasons and for the 12th time in school history as it faces New Mexico State in the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl on Friday, Dec. 29, at 3:30 p.m. (MT). The last time NMSU played in a bowl game was in the 1960 Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas, when it defeated Utah State, 20-13. This year will mark the first time in school history that Utah State is playing a previous bowl opponent in a bowl game.
Utah State 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 is 4-7 in its previous 11 bowl games.
Utah State and New Mexico State spent 26 years as conference foes as both were members of the Big West Conference from 1985-2000, members of the Sun Belt Conference from 2002-03, and members of the Western Athletic Conference from 2005-12. In the Big West, USU held a 15-1 series advantage against NMSU, while the two teams split its two games as members of the Sun Belt. And as members of the WAC, USU had a 6-2 series advantage giving Utah State a 30-7 all-time series advantage against NMSU.
With a win against New Mexico State, Utah State will finish the season at 7-6 and record its third winning season under head coach Matt Wells and its 61st winning season in school history.
Utah State is 8-1 under Wells following a bye or multiple weeks off heading into a bowl game. USU is also 17-11 following a loss under Wells, including a 4-1 record this season.
Utah State has forced 26 turnovers (15 fumbles, 11 interceptions) this year, which ranks second in the Mountain West and tied for ninth in the nation. Last year, USU forced just 10 turnovers the entire season. USU also ranks tied for second in the nation with its 15 fumble recoveries, and is fourth in the Mountain West and 55th in the nation with its 11 interceptions on the season.
Utah State ranks 17th in the nation in passing yards allowed (181.8 ypg), while New Mexico State ranks fourth in the nation in passing offense (352.6 ypg).
UTAH STATE TO PLAY NEW MEXICO STATE IN NOVA HOME LOANS ARIZONA BOWL
Utah State (6-6, 4-4 Mountain West) will play New Mexico State (6-6, 4-4 Sun Belt) in the 2017 NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl on Friday, Dec. 29, at 3:30 p.m. The game will be nationally televised on CBS Sports Network (Comcast Ch. 269/753HD, Dish Network Ch. 158, DirecTV Ch. 221) with Dave Ryan (play-by-play), Corey Chavous (analyst) and Melanie Collins (reporter) on the call. Live audio of the game is available at www.UtahStateAggies.com.
A LOOK AT UTAH STATE
Utah State is 6-6 on the season and finished tied for fourth place in the Mountain Division of the Mountain West with a 4-4 record after concluding its regular season with a 38-35 loss at Air Force on Nov. 25. Offensively, USU is led by redshirt freshman QB Jordan Love, who is 104-of-191 (.545) passing for 1,377 yards (125.2 ypg) with eight touchdowns and six interceptions. Senior RB LaJuan Hunt leads the team in rushing with 695 yards on 149 carries (4.7 ypc/57.9 ypg) with 10 touchdowns, and junior WR Ron'quavion Tarver has 40 receptions for 472 yards (11.8 ypr/39.3 ypg) with seven touchdowns. Defensively, junior LB Suli Tamaivena leads the team with 109 tackles, which includes 3.0 sacks and 6.5 tackles for loss, to go along with two fumble recoveries, while junior BS Gaje Ferguson has 86 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 31.0 points and 393.8 yards of total offense (223.7 passing, 170.1 rushing), and allowing 27.0 points and 401.7 yards of total offense (219.9 rushing, 181.8 passing).
AGGIES RUSH FOR 2,000 YARDS FOR NINTH-STRAIGHT SEASON
Utah State has rushed for 2,041 yards thus far this season on 440 carries (4.6 ypc), marking the ninth-straight year that USU has gained at least 2,000 yards on the ground. Prior to its current streak, USU went 33 years without rushing for 2,000 yards in a single season.
UTAH STATE'S STATS IN ITS SIX WINS
Utah State averaged 44.3 points and 463.2 yards of total offense (231.7 rushing, 231.5 passing) in its six wins this season, while allowing 14.2 points and 329.8 yards of offense (207.2 rushing, 122.7 passing). USU also scored touchdowns on 61 percent (14-23) of its red zone possessions, while scoring nine field goals for a perfect 100 percent overall red zone scoring percentage. USU also held the ball for 28:14 and converted on 42.2 percent (38/90) of its third downs.
Defensively, Utah State only allowed 27 second-half points in its six wins. Utah State recorded 12.0 sacks and 26.0 tackles for loss and forced 22 turnovers, led by senior CB Jalen Davis, who had 2.0 sacks and 3.0 tackles for loss, to go along with five interceptions, three of which were returned for touchdowns. Junior LB Suli Tamaivena racked up 45 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and 1.0 sacks, to go along with a pass breakup, a fumble recovery and a quarterback hurry. And, senior BS Dallin Leavitt recorded 34 tackles, to go along with two interceptions and two pass breakups.
Individually, senior RB LaJuan Hunt rushed for 508 yards on 81 carries (6.3 ypc/84.7 ypg) with seven touchdowns. Senior QB Kent Myers and redshirt freshman QB Jordan Love combined to throw 11 touchdowns on 116-of-176 (.659) passing for 1,389 yards. And, junior WR Ron'quavion Tarver caught 23 passes for 255 yards (11.1 ypc/42.5 ypg) with four touchdowns.
AGGIES IN DECEMBER
Utah State is 6-15-0 (.286) all-time in games played during December and will be playing a game on Dec. 29 for the second time in school history, also doing so in the 1997 Humanitarian Bowl in Boise, Idaho. In fact, USU's Dec. 29 game is the third-latest date it has ever played a game in school history, as USU played on Jan. 1, 1947, in the Raisin Bowl in Fresno, Calif., and on Dec. 31, 1960, in the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas, against New Mexico State. USU is also 21-28-1 all-time in games played on Friday, including an 8-5 (.615) record under Wells.
UTAH STATE PLAYING 13TH GAME FOR SIXTH TIME IN SCHOOL HISTORY
Utah State will play its 13th game of the 2017 season in the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl. Overall, USU has played in at least 13 games six times in the last seven seasons after not playing in more than 12 games prior to its current run. The school record for games played in a season is 14 set in 2013 and 2014.
LOOKING AHEAD TO NEXT SEASON
Heading into the 2018 season, Utah State will return 18 starters (O-9, D-9) and 52 letterwinners (O-21, D-29, S-2) from this season's team, while losing just four starters (O-2, D-2) and 14 letterwinners (O-8, D-5, S-1). Hence, USU will return 82 percent of its starting lineup and 79 percent of its players that played this season.
DID YOU KNOW?
Senior CB Jalen Davis will start and play in his 49th career game at Utah State in the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl, which will be the second-most games started in school history behind OC Tyler Larsen (2010-13), who started a school-record 52 games, which was also every game he played in. Defensive end Jordan Nielsen (2012-15) holds the school record for games played with 54. Senior RB LaJuan Hunt will play in his 51st career game in the bowl, as he is one of 14 Aggies in school history to play in 50 or more games.
UTAH STATE BOWL HISTORY
Utah State has a 4-7 bowl record all-time as it lost to San José State, 20-0, in the 1946 Raisin Bowl (Fresno, Calif.); lost to Pacific, 35-21, in the 1947 Grape Bowl (Lodi, Calif.); lost to New Mexico State, 20-13, in the 1960 Sun Bowl (El Paso, Texas); lost to Baylor, 24-9, in the 1961 Gotham Bowl (New York City); defeated Ball State, 42-33, in the 1993 Las Vegas Bowl II; lost to Cincinnati, 35-19, in the 1997 Humanitarian Bowl; lost to Ohio, 24-23, in the 2011 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl; defeated Toledo, 41-15, in the 2012 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl; defeated No. 24 Northern Illinois, 21-14, in the 2013 San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl; defeated UTEP, 21-6, in the 2014 Gildan New Mexico Bowl; and lost to Akron, 23-21, in the 2015 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
UTAH STATE HAD NINE BOWL TEAMS ON 2017 SCHEDULE
Utah State's 2017 schedule featured 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 ONE OF 28 PROGRAMS WITH NINE BOWL TEAMS ON ITS SCHEDULE
Utah State is one of 28 FBS programs that had at least nine bowl teams from the 2016 season on its 2017 schedule. Notre Dame and Syracuse had a nation's best 11 bowl teams on this year's schedule, while Duke, Ole Miss and South Carolina had 10. Alabama, Central Florida, Clemson, Colorado State, Florida, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Kentucky, LSU, Massachusetts, Michigan State, Miami, Mississippi State, Pittsburgh, Purdue, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Tulsa, Utah State, Vanderbilt, Virginia and Virginia Tech all had nine bowl teams on its schedule from 2016.
MOUNTAIN WEST SENDING SIX TEAMS TO BOWL GAMES
The Mountain West is sending six teams to postseason bowl games in 2017, marking the 11th consecutive year the MW has sent at least five teams to the postseason. The Conference has earned 84 bowl bids since 1999 and holds a 46-38 (.548) all-time record. Over the last 13 seasons, the Mountain West owns the third-best win percentage in bowl games among the 10 FBS conferences (.565), trailing only the SEC (.644) and Pac-12 (.566).
2017 Mountain West Champion Boise State (10-3, 7-1 MW) will play in its 16th consecutive bowl game when it takes on Oregon (7-5, 4-5 Pac-12) in the Las Vegas Bowl on Saturday, Dec. 16. The Broncos' 16-year bowl streak is best among Group of 5 institutions and sixth-best nationally, behind Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Oklahoma and Virginia Tech.
Colorado State (7-5, 5-3 MW) will appear in its fifth-straight bowl game when it takes on Marshall (7-5, 4-4 C-USA) in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl on Saturday, Dec. 16. This is the first time since 1999-2003 that CSU has gone to a bowl game in five consecutive seasons. All-time, CSU has played in 16 bowl games, including 15 since 1990.
Wyoming (7-5, 5-3 MW) will play Central Michigan (8-4, 6-2 MAC) in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl on Friday, Dec.r 22. Overall, this is Wyoming's 15th bowl game and first appearance in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. After going to the SDCCU Poinsettia Bowl last year, the Cowboys are going to the postseason in back-to-back years for the first time since 1987-88.
San Diego State (10-2, 6-2 MW) will play in a school-record eighth consecutive bowl game, and 13th overall, when it takes on Army (8-3 overall) in the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl on Saturday, Dec. 23. The Aztecs have collected double-digit wins in three straight seasons and are one victory away from equaling a school-record 11th win (also accomplished in 1966, 1969, 2015 and 2016).
Fresno State (9-4, 7-1 MW) has qualified for the postseason for the first time since 2014 and will play Houston (7-4, 5-3 AAC) in the Hawai`i Bowl on Sunday, Dec. 24. The Bulldogs have the nation's largest win improvement in 2017 (+8), while the Cougars are 3-3 in their last six games. The Bulldogs, who have a 12-14 overall bowl record, are 0-2 in the Hawaii Bowl, losing in 2014 to Rice (30-6) and to SMU in 2012 (43-10).
Utah State (6-6, 4-4 MW) will make its sixth trip to the postseason in the last seven years when it takes on New Mexico State (6-6, 4-4 Sun Belt) in the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl on Friday, Dec. 29. USU, which has won three of its last four bowl games, has compiled a 4-7 record in bowl games and will be playing in the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl for the first time. Utah State holds a 30-7 advantage in the series against NMSU, which dates back to 1960. NMSU is playing in its first bowl game since Dec. 31, 1960, when it defeated Utah State in the Sun Bowl (20-13).
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 52.3 winning percentage (34-31) 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 will coach his fourth bowl game in 2017 to extend 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.
WELLS ONE 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.
DID YOU KNOW?
Utah State's Matt Wells is coaching in his fourth bowl game this year to extend the school record for most bowl games by an Aggie 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.
Wells as been a player (1993) or coach (2012, 2013, 2014) in all four of Utah State's bowl wins. The NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl will be his seventh bowl game as an Aggie.
In his five years as head coach, Wells has led Utah State to three wins against top 25 opponents, one more than USU had in its previous 115 years.
Utah State is 14-4 with a freshman at quarterback over the last five seasons under Wells, including a 6-1 record in 2013, a 5-1 record in 2014 and a 3-2 record this season.
With its 40-24 win against BYU this season, 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.
DID YOU KNOW?
Utah State senior CB Jalen Davis allowed a quarterback passer rating of just 32.3 percent when targeted this season, and that percentage ranks fourth in the nation among draft-eligible cornerbacks with a minimum of 125 snaps in coverage.
DAVIS NAMED WALTER CAMP FIRST-TEAM ALL-AMERICAN
Utah State senior CB Jalen Davis was named a first-team All-American by the Walter Camp Football Foundation, marking just the ninth time in school history that Utah State has had a first-team All-American. Other Aggies who have been named first-team All-Americans include C Elmer "Bear" Ward in 1934 (Newspaper Enterprise of America), HB Kent Ryan in 1936 (All-America Board), T Merlin Olsen in 1960 and 1961 (Associated Press, United Press International, Football Writers Association, Helms Athletic Foundation, Movietone News, Newspaper Enterprise of America), DB Henry King in 1966 (The Sporting News), DL Bill Staley in 1967 (Central Press, Time Magazine, The Sporting News), DE Phil Olsen in 1969 (Associated Press, United Press International, Central Press, Football Writers Association, Newspaper Enterprise of America, The Sporting News, Walter Camp Football Foundation), DL Rulon Jones in 1979 (The Sporting News), and KR Kevin Robinson in 2007 (CBSSportsline).
Davis was also named a second-team All-American by the Football Writers Association of America and the Associated Press.
Davis was a mid-season All-American by The Associated Press, ESPN, CBS Sports and Sports Illustrated, as he was the only non-Power 5 player listed.
EBERLE NAMED SB NATION HONORABLE MENTION ALL-AMERICAN
Utah State sophomore Dominik Eberle was named a SB Nation Honorable Mention All-American, honoring the top four placekickers in the nation. Eberle is the first-ever Utah State placekicker named an All-American and just the second-ever specialist, joining Steve Mullins who was named an honorable mention All-American punter by Football News is 2001.
EBERLE NAMED FINALIST FOR LOU GROZA AWARD
Utah State sophomore Dominik Eberle was named a finalist for the 2017 Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award, presented by the Orange Bowl. Eberle was one of three finalists to land on the list, joining Daniel Carlson of Auburn and Matt Gay of Uta, who won the award. He and Gay are just the second and third players from the Beehive State (Utah's Louie Sakoda in 2008) to be named a Lou Groza finalist, and Eberle is the fifth player from a current Mountain West institution.
Other than Merlin Olsen winning the Outland Trophy in 1961, this is the first time Utah State has ever had a player named a finalist for a national award.
DAVIS NAMED SEMIFINALIST FOR JIM THORPE AWARD
Utah State senior CB Jalen Davis was 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 was 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 AND EBERLE EARN FIRST-TEAM ALL-MOUNTAIN WEST HONORS
Utah State senior CB Jalen Davis and sophomore PK Dominik Eberle both earned first-team all-Mountain West honors. Davis is the first USU defensive back to be named first-team all-conference since Frankie Sutera in 2014, while Eberle is the first placekicker to earn the honor since Brad Bohn was named all-Big West in 1998.
UTAH STATE SEVENTH IN THE MOUNTAIN WEST IN ALL-CONFERENCE HONORS
Utah State ranked seventh in the Mountain West in all-conference honorees in 2017 as it had three offensive players, two defensive players and one specialist recognized for a total of six all-conference awards. Boise State led the MW with 19 honorees, followed by Fresno State (16), Colorado State (10), San Diego State (10), Nevada (8), Wyoming (7), Utah State (6), Hawai'i (5), New Mexico (5), UNLV (4), San José State (4) and Air Force (2).
Utah State players to earn first-team all-Mountain West honors include senior CB Jalen Davis and sophomore PK Dominik Eberle. Aggies who earned honorable mention all-league honors include junior OT Roman Andrus, junior OC Quin Ficklin, senior BS Dallin Leavitt and redshirt sophomore TE Dax Raymond.
DAVIS EARNS ALL-CONFERENCE HONORS FOR THE SECOND TIME
Senior CB Jalen Davis earned all-Mountain West honors for the second time in his career as he garnered honorable mention all-conference honors as a sophomore in 2015.
TOMMERDAHL NOMINATED FOR BROYLES AWARD
Utah State special teams coordinator and running backs coach Mark Tommerdahl was one of 56 coaches to be nominated for the 2017 Broyles Award as the nation's top assistant coach.
ROBERTS NOMINATED FOR BURLSWORTH TROPHY
Utah State's Braelon Roberts was 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. Roberts was one of 63 players nominated from an FBS school.
UTAH STATE RANKS FOURTH IN THE MOUNTAIN WEST IN SCORING OFFENSE
Utah State is averaging 31.0 points per game to rank fourth in the Mountain West and 46th in the nation. USU also ranks sixth in the MW and 57th in the nation in rushing offense (170.1 ypg), sixth in the MW and 71st nationally in passing offense (223.7 ypg), seventh in the MW and 66th in the nation in completion percentage (.586), eighth in the conference and 71st in the nation in total offense (393.8 ypg), eighth in the MW and 90th in the nation in passing efficiency (123.9), and ninth in the conference and 71st in the nation in sacks allowed (2.08 pg).
AGGIES RANK 18TH IN THE NATION IN PASSING DEFENSE
Utah State is allowing 181.8 passing yards per game to rank third in the Mountain West and 17th in the nation. USU also ranks fourth in the conference and 43rd in the nation in passing efficiency defense (122.4), fifth in the MW and 70th in the nation in scoring defense (27.0 ppg), sixth in the MW and 71st nationally in sacks (1.9 pg), seventh in the MW and 75th in the nation in total defense (401.7 ypg), and ninth in the MW and 116th nationally in rushing defense (219.9 ypg).
UTAH STATE THIRD IN THE NATION WITH ITS FIVE DEFENSIVE TOUCHDOWNS
Utah State's defense has scored five touchdowns this year to rank tied for third in the nation with Florida State, Northern Illinois and Western Michigan, and trailing Wisconsin (6) and 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 58 games.
UTAH STATE RANKS THIRD IN THE NATION WITH ITS FOUR BLOCKED PUNTS
Utah State ranks third in the nation with its four blocked punts, trailing Arizona State (5) and Virginia Tech (5). On the season, USU 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 11th 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 SECOND IN THE NATION IN KICKOFF RETURN DEFENSE
Utah State ranks second in the nation in kickoff return defense (15.88 ypr), second in the Mountain West and 22nd in the nation in punt returns (11.3 ypr), seventh in the MW and 79th in the nation in net punting (37.21 ypp), and ninth in the MW and 87th in the nation in kickoff returns (20.21 ypr).
EBERLE RANKS FIFTH IN THE NATION IN FIELD GOAL PERCENTAGE
Sophomore PK Dominik Eberle ranks first in the Mountain West and fifth in the nation in field goal percentage (.889) as he has made 16-of-18 field goals this season. Eberle also ranks tied for third in the MW and tied for 34th in the nation in field goals made (1.33 pg), and is eighth in the MW and 55th in the nation in scoring (7.8 ppg).
DAVIS EIGHTH IN THE NATION WITH HIS FIVE INTERCEPTIONS
Senior CB Jalen Davis ranks tied for eighth in the nation with five interceptions, while his 18 passes defended (13 pass breakups, 5 interceptions) rank tied for first in the Mountain West and tied for seventh in the nation (1.5 pg). Davis also ranks tied for first nationally with his three defensive touchdowns.
OTHER AGGIES IN THE MOUNTAIN WEST AND NCAA RANKINGS
Junior LB Louy Compton and junior QB DJ Nelson both rank tied for third 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 17th in the nation in punt returns (10.6 ypr). Junior LB Suli Tamaivena ranks tied for fourth in the MW and tied for 23rd in the nation with his two fumble recoveries, and seventh in the MW and 34th in the nation in tackles (9.1 pg). Sophomore LB Justus Te'i ranks tied for fourth in the MW and tied for 23rd in the nation with his two fumble recoveries. Junior NG Gasetoto Schuster and sophomore DE Devon Anderson both rank tied for eighth in the MW in forced fumbles with two (0.18 pg). Senior QB Kent Myers ranks third in the MW and 33rd in the nation in completion percentage (.629) and eighth in the MW and 83rd in the nation in passing efficiency (123.7). Junior LB Chase Christiansen ranks tied for fourth in the MW and tied for 23rd in the nation in forced fumbles (.27 pg), and 34th in the MW in tackles (5.5 pg). Freshman WR Savon Scarver ranks seventh in the MW and 59th in the nation in kickoff returns (21.9 ypr). Senior BS Dallin Leavitt ranks tied for fifth in the MW and tied for 63rd in the nation with his three interceptions (0.3 pg), and 15th in the MW in tackles (7.3 pg). Senior RB LaJuan Hunt ranks tied for fifth in the MW and tied for 48th in the nation with his 10 rushing touchdowns (0.8 pg), and is fifth in the MW and tied for 50th in the nation with his 11 total touchdowns (0.9 pg). Junior WR Ron'quavion Tarver ranks tied for fourth in the MW and tied for 51st nationally with his seven receiving touchdowns (0.6 pg). Redshirt freshman QB Jordan Love ranks ninth in the MW and 86th in the nation in passing efficiency (123.7), 10th in the MW and 99th in the nation in completion percentage (.545), and 10th in the MW in passing (125.2 ypg). Junior BS Gaje Ferguson ranks 16th in the MW in tackles (7.2 pg). And, junior P Aaron Dalton ranks fifth in the MW and 62nd in the nation in punting (41.7 ypp).
SCOUTING NEW MEXICO STATE
New Mexico State is 6-6 and finished tied for fifth place in the Sun Belt Conference with a 4-4 record after winning three of its final four games, including a 22-17 home win against South Alabama in its regular season finale on Dec. 2. The Aggies are led by senior QB Tyler Rogers, who is 319-of-512 (.623) passing for 3,825 yards (347.7 ypg) with 26 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. Senior RB Larry Rose III leads the team in rushing with 807 yards on 171 carries (4.7 ypc/73.4 ypg) with nine touchdowns, and senior WR Jaleel Scott leads the team in receiving with 73 receptions for 1,042 yards (14.3 ypr/86.8 ypg) with eight touchdowns. Defensively, senior LB Dalton Herrington has a team-best 125 tackles, which includes 5.5 sacks and 15.0 tackles for loss, while junior LB Terrill Hanks has 100 tackles, which includes 6.0 sacks and 13.0 tackles for loss. As a team, New Mexico State is averaging 29.6 points and 453.8 yards of total offense per game (352.6 passing, 101.2 rushing), and allowing 30.5 points and 397.5 yards of total offense (232.8 passing, 164.8 rushing). New Mexico State returns 17 starters (O-8, D-9) and 44 lettermen (O-20, D-19, S-5) from last year's team that went 3-9 overall and 2-6 in Sun Belt play to finish tied for eighth. Doug Martin is 45-96 in his 10th season as a collegiate head coach and is 16-44 in five years as the head coach at New Mexico State.
UTAH STATE AND NEW MEXICO STATE SERIES HISTORY
Utah State leads the all-time series against New Mexico State, 30-7, which includes an 0-1 record at neutral sites as NMSU defeated USU, 20-13, in the 1960 Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas, in the first-ever meeting between the two programs. Utah State has won each of the last three games played in the series and seven of the last nine overall. The last time NMSU defeated USU was on Oct. 10, 2009, in Las Cruces, 20-17. This will also be the first non-conference game against New Mexico State since 2002, when USU posted a 32-30 home win.
UTAH STATE vs. NEW MEXICO STATE SERIES MOVING FORWARD
Utah State and New Mexico State will continue its series with two upcoming games as USU will host NMSU in Logan on Sept. 18, 2018, and NMSU will host USU in Las Cruces on Nov. 6, 2021.
UTAH STATE vs. NEW MEXICO STATE SERIES SEVENTH-LONGEST
Utah State and New Mexico State will be meeting for the 38th time this weekend in what is currently the seventh-most played series in school history, trailing Utah (112), BYU (87), Colorado State (74), Wyoming (68), Idaho (39) and San José State (38).
Utah State's 30 victories against New Mexico State is the fourth-most against any opponent in school history, trailing the 38 wins versus Wyoming, the 36 victories against Brigham Young and the 33 wins against Colorado State.
UTAH STATE VERSUS THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO
Utah State is 41-20 (.672) all-time against Division I teams from the state of New Mexico with a 30-7 record against New Mexico State and an 11-13 record versus New Mexico.
WELLS VERSUS NEW MEXICO STATE
Utah State head coach Matt Wells will be facing New Mexico State for the first time as a head coach, and owns a 4-1 record against NMSU as an assistant, posting a 2-0 record while at USU (2011-12) and a 2-1 record at New Mexico (2007-08, `10).
UTAH STATE AND NEW MEXICO STATE COACHING CONNECTIONS
Utah State offensive line coach Steve Farmer coached with New Mexico State defensive line coach John Mumford at Louisiana-Monroe in 2014 and 2015.
CONNECTIONS BETWEEN UTAH STATE AND NEW MEXICO STATE PLAYERS
There are eight connections between Utah State and New Mexico State players. USU senior CB Wesley Bailey and NMSU junior LB Leon McQuaker both attended Eastern Arizona JC. USU junior LB Louy Compton and junior OL Rob Castaneda both attended Ellsworth (Iowa) CC, along with NMSU senior WR Jaleel Scott and junior WR Johnathan Boone. USU sophomore LB Jordan Hayes and NMSU senior WR Josh Aganon both attended Mesa (Ariz.) CC.
Utah State has 41 players in its program from the state of Utah, while New Mexico State has 10 players on its roster from the state of New Mexico.
AGGIES FROM ARIZONA
Utah State has four players on its roster from Arizona in senior OL Preston Brooksby (Peoria/Sunrise Mountain HS), junior OC Quin Ficklin (Mesa/Red Mountain HS), redshirt freshman LS Brandon Pada (Glendale/Mountain Ridge HS) and freshman DE Nami Tuitu'u (Mesa/Mesa HS).
UTAH STATE IN ARIZONA
Utah State will be playing a football game in the state of Arizona for the first time since Sept. 13, 2003, when it lost at Arizona State, 26-16. In all, this will be USU's 18th game in the state of Arizona as it has played at ASU 11 times and at Arizona six times.
Utah State will be playing in Arizona Stadium for the sixth time when it faces New Mexico State in the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl as the Aggies played road games against Arizona in 1956, 1958, 1963, 1984 and 1992, posting a 2-3 record inside the facility.
UTAH STATE vs. THE SUN BELT CONFERENCE
Utah State is 58-30 all-time against current members of the Sun Belt Conference, which includes a 30-7 record against New Mexico State, a 20-17-2 record against Idaho, a 4-3 record against Arkansas State, a 1-1 record versus Louisiana, a 1-2 record against both Louisiana-Monroe and Troy, and a 1-0 record against Texas State. USU has never faced Sun Belt members Appalachian State, Coastal Carolina, Georgia Southern, Georgia State or South Alabama. This will be the first-time ever that USU plays a team from the Sun Belt Conference in a bowl game.
MOUNTAIN WEST vs. THE SUN BELT CONFERENCE IN BOWL GAMES
The Mountain West is 2-4 all-time against teams from the Sun Belt Conference in bowl games. In the 2016 NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl, Air Force defeated South Alabama, 45-21. In the 2016 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, Idaho defeated Colorado State, 61-50. In the 2015 Cure Bowl, San José State defeated Georgia State, 27-16. In the 2014 New Orleans Bowl, Louisiana defeated Nevada, 16-3. In the 2013 Heart of Dallas Bowl, North Texas defeated UNLV, 36-14. And in the 2011 New Orleans Bowl, Louisiana defeated San Diego State, 32-30.
AGGIES WITH BOWL GAME EXPERIENCE
Utah State has 16 players on its roster with previous bowl game experience at USU, including three players who have appeared in multiple bowl games. Senior RB LaJuan Hunt, senior QB Kent Myers and senior DE Ian Togiai have all appeared in two bowl games as they played in USU's 21-6 win against UTEP in the 2014 GILDAN New Mexico Bowl and in USU's 23-21 loss to Akron in the 2015 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. Furthermore, senior CB Jalen Davis, senior LB Alex Huerta, senior OL Jarom Ioane, senior RB Tonny Lindsey Jr., senior WR Braelon Roberts, junior LB Chasen Andersen, junior P Aaron Dalton, junior LB Derek Larsen, junior QB DJ Nelson, junior FS Jontrell Rocquemore, junior NG Gasetoto Schuster, junior BS Aaron Wade and redshirt sophomore TE Dax Raymond all played against Akron in 2015.
Utah State has one other player who has played in a bowl game at another school in senior BS Dallin Leavitt. Leavitt played against Washington in the 2013 Fight Hunger Bowl as a member of BYU's football team.
Of the 17 total players with bowl game experience on Utah State's roster, four have started in a bowl game as Myers started in the 2014 GILDAN New Mexico Bowl, while Davis, Roberts and Togiai all started in the 2015 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. Ironically, Togiai started that game on offense as a tight end instead of on defense.
STATS FOR CURRENT AGGIES IN BOWL GAMES
The following is a look at what current Utah State players have done in bowl games. Senior RB LaJuan Hunt has 23 yards rushing on eight carries (2.9 ypc), six yards receiving on three catches (2.0 ypc) and 55 return yards on two kickoffs (27.5 ypr) in two games. Senior QB Kent Myers is 19-of-32 passing (.594) for 191 yards with two touchdowns and one interception, to go along with 78 yards rushing and a touchdown on 24 carries, in two games. Myers garnered Offensive MVP honors at the 2014 Gildan New Mexico Bowl. Senior CB Jalen Davis has five tackles and one interception in one game. Senior WR Braelon Roberts has three catches for 26 yards (8.7 ypc) in one game. Junior LB Chasen Andersen has one tackle in one game. Junior P Aaron Dalton has six punts for 267 yards (44.5 ypp), including a career long of 69, and three downed inside the 20-yard line in one game. Junior QB DJ Nelson has one carry for minus seven yards in one game. Redshirt sophomore TE Dax Raymond has one catch for 22 yards in one game. And, junior BS Aaron Wade has one tackle in one game.
MYERS WAS OFFENSIVE MVP OF 2014 GILDAN NEW MEXICO BOWL
Utah State senior QB Kent Myers was named the offensive Most Valuable Player of the 2014 GILDAN New Mexico Bowl as he helped Utah State to a 21-6 win against UTEP. In the game, Myers was 5-of-12 passing for 68 yards with a long completion of 46 yards, and rushed for 70 yards on 15 carries, including a 48-yard touchdown run in the first quarter to give USU a lead it would never lose. In all, Myers accounted for 138 yards of total offense on the day.
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.
SERIES NOTABLES BETWEEN UTAH STATE AND NEW MEXICO STATE
The following are series notables between Utah State and New Mexico State dating back to 1960 and encompassing the last 37 meetings.
In 37 games in series history, Utah State has scored 569 more points than New Mexico State, 1,199-630, for an average score of 32.4-17.0.
Utah State and New Mexico State will be meeting for just the sixth time in series history when both teams do not have losing records, with the last meeting being in 1993, when both teams were 5-5.
Three of the last four games in the series, and 12 overall, have been decided by one score. Of New Mexico State's seven wins, only two have been by double-digits, while 21 of Utah State's wins have been by double-digits.
The winning team has scored at least 20 points in each of the 12 previous meetings, and in 33 of the 37 meetings overall. USU has scored at least 40 points 13 times in series history, while NMSU has scored at least 40 points just once.
In seven of Utah State's last 12 wins in the series, it has lost the time of possession.
The team with fewer turnovers is 10-2 in the last 15 meetings.
The team that has more rushing yards has won nine of the last 10 games in the series.
The team that scores first is just 9-6 in the last 15 meetings, while the team that leads at the half is 8-4 in the last 15 meetings, with three games being tied at the half.
All-time against New Mexico State, Utah State has had 17 100-yard rushers, which ranks as the second-most against any opponent in school history, 13 100-yard receivers, which ranks as the second-most against any opponent in school history, and four 300-yard passers, which ranks as the sixth-most against any opponent in school history.
In the past 15 meetings with Utah State, New Mexico State has had seven 100-yard receivers, four 100-yard rushers, and one 300-yard passer.
Utah State's 76-0 win against New Mexico State in 1964 ranks as the fifth-largest margin of victory in school history. Overall, there have been just two shutouts in series history as USU posted a 34-0 home win against NMSU in 1971, to go along with its 76-0 home win in 1964.
Utah State has played in 11 overtime games in school history, including a 29-26 road win against New Mexico State in 1998.
FROM THE RECORD BOOKS
Here is a look at some of the top Utah State team and individual statistical performances against New Mexico State over the years.
Emmett White set a school and NCAA record with 578 all-purpose yards, and a school record 322 rushing yards (34 att.) against New Mexico State in 2000.
Brent Snyder set school records for passing yards per attempt (14.1) and passing yards per completion (19.9) against New Mexico State in 1988, as he was 17-of-24 for 339 yards.
Chris Pella set school records for extra points made (9) and attempted (10) against New Mexico State in 1964.
Dene Garner made a school-record 59-yard field goal against New Mexico State in 1986. Garner also made a 51-yard field goal against NMSU in 1986, which ranks tied for the 18th-longest in school history.
Chris Ulinski made a 56-yard field goal against New Mexico State in 2008, which is tied for the third-longest in school history.
Sean Jones made a 54-yard field goal against New Mexico State in 1992, which is tied for the sixth-longest in school history.
Nick Diaz made a 53-yard field goal against New Mexico State in 2012, which is tied for the eighth-longest in school history.
Roger Grant rushed for 205 yards against New Mexico State in 1991, which is tied for the 24th-most in a single game in school history.
Demario Brown rushed for 204 yards against New Mexico State in 1998, which ranks as the 25th-most in a game in school history.
Matt Sauk passed for 371 yards against New Mexico State in 1997, which ranks as the 19th-most in a single game in school history.
Kevin Alexander had 205 receiving yards against New Mexico State in 1995, which ranks as the 14th-most in a single game in school history.
Utah State committed a school-record 19 penalties against New Mexico State in 1972.
Utah State produced 619 yards of total offense against New Mexico State in 2000 and 605 yards against NMSU in 1996, which ranks as the ninth- and 10th-most yards in a single game in school history.
Utah State had 393 passing yards against New Mexico State in 1997, which ranks as the 15th-most in a single game in school history.
Utah State limited New Mexico State to 100 yards of total offense in 1964, which ranks as the eighth-fewest in a single game in school history.
Utah State limited New Mexico State to 18 passing yards in 1964 and 21 passing yards in 1958, which ranks as the seventh- and 10th-fewest in a single game in school history.
Utah State limited New Mexico State to minus seven yards rushing in 2008 and 1 yard rushing in 1985, which ranks as the eighth- and 15th-fewest in a single game in school history.
DID YOU KNOW?
Utah State head coach Matt Wells posted a banner day against New Mexico State as a sophomore in 1994, throwing for a career-high 247 yards on 20-of-39 passing with three touchdowns, in leading USU to a 47-20 win.
Utah State assistant head coach, co-defensive coordinator and defensive line coach Frank Maile played in three games against New Mexico State during his USU career as a defensive end and recorded six tackles, which included 0.5 tackles for loss, to go along with one fumble recovery and one pass breakup. His best game against NMSU was as a junior, as he recorded 5.0 tackles, including 0.5 tackles for loss.
Utah State director of football operations Waqa Damuni was a tight end for Utah State from 1996-98 and played against New Mexico State all three seasons.
Utah State head coach Matt Wells spent three years living in the state of New Mexico as an assistant at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, serving as the Lobos' wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator in 2007-08, and as the wide receivers coach in 2010. Furthermore, USU special teams coordinator and running backs coach Mark Tommerdahl lived in New Mexico one year as he was the special teams coordinator and tight end coach for the Lobos in 1997.
LAST MEETING vs. NEW MEXICO STATE
LOGAN, Utah - Utah State (6-2, 2-0 WAC) became bowl eligible for the second-straight year with a 41-7 rout against New Mexico State (1-6, 0-2 WAC) at Merlin Olsen Field at Maverik Stadium on Oct. 20, 2012.
Utah State becomes bowl eligible in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1960 and 1961. USU has also now won seven-straight Western Athletic Conference games, its longest conference winning streak since the 1979 and 1980 teams won seven Big West games in a row, and its 6-2 start is its best since the 1978 team won seven of its first nine.
Sophomore QB Chuckie Keeton was 16-of-26 passing for 257 yards and two touchdowns, the first on a 76-yard screen pass to senior RB Kerwynn Williams on USU's first play from scrimmage. Williams ended the day with three catches for 94 yards, while adding 13 carries for 82 yards with a touchdown.
Keeton also rushed seven times for 81 yards with two touchdowns, including a career-long 76 yard run on USU's first possession of the second quarter to give the home team a 21-0 lead as USU amassed 256 rushing yards with three touchdowns.
Utah State also totalled 260 yards through the air as sophomore QB Craig Harrison completed his lone pass of the afternoon for three yards.
Senior WR Chuck Jacobs had four catches for 94 yards, with 49 yards coming on a scoring strike from Keeton for USU's second touchdown of the first quarter.
Junior LB Jake Doughty led the USU defense with 10 tackles, while senior CB Will Davis tallied eight stops, including two tackles for loss and also snared his first career interception that he returned out of NMSU's end zone for 35 yards. Redshirt freshman LB Kyler Fackrell also had eight tackles and blocked a 42-yard New Mexico State field goal attempt, USU's fourth blocked kick this season.
Utah State connected on two field goals, as sophomore PK Nick Diaz boomed a career-long 53-yarder early in the third quarter and added a 48-yarder at the start of the fourth stanza. The 53-yard field goal was USU's longest since a 56-yarder by Chris Ulinski in 2008, which also came at home against New Mexico State. Diaz's field goal is tied for the eighth-longest in school history.
New Mexico State QB Andrew Manley was 19-of-37 for 177 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Manley connected with Austin Franklin for a 6-yard touchdown at the 8:15 mark of the third quarter for the visitor's only score of the afternoon.
New Mexico State finished with 321 yards of total offense (189-passing, 132-rushing).
Davis Cazares posted a game-high 12 tackles and blocked a Diaz field goal attempt in the fourth quarter to pace the visitor's defense.
Williams and Jacobs' long catch and run scoring plays gave USU the early 14-0 lead as the navy Aggies have now out-scored their opposition, 82-3, in the first quarter.
Utah State took a 28-0 lead into halftime, as Williams added a 3-yard run with 39 seconds before intermission to improve the northern Aggies to a 144-42 first-half scoring advantage this season.
Diaz's 53-yarder put USU ahead 31-0 before NMSU got on the board with the scoring pass. Keeton's 9-yard run came with 1:01 to go in the third quarter and Diaz capped the scoring with his 48-yard upright split with 12:13 left in the game.
LAST BOWL MEETING vs. NEW MEXICO STATE
EL PASO, TEXAS - New Mexico State, in winning its 15th-straight game, overcame Utah State, 20-13, in a bruising Sun Bowl football battle. USU owned a 7-0 lead in the first quarter when HB Tom Larscheid ran for 13 yards and a touchdown. The score was set up with a 53-yard punt return by Ernie Reese, which set a Sun Bowl record.
New Mexico State answered right back in the second quarter. Quarterback Charley Johnson's 3-yard pitch to Pervis Atkins along with Atkins' subsequent kick, tied the score in the second period.
USU then regained the lead by driving 80 yards in 15 plays with Dolph Camilli scoring from the 11. New Mexico State took the lead for the first time in the third quarter when Bob Gaiters ran for a 32-yard touchdown. Johnson led the offense by completing 18-of-26 passes, including two for touchdowns.
Utah State's final effort for victory was denied in the fourth quarter when FB Doug Mayberry was stopped short of a first down on a fourth down play. New Mexico State then ran out the clock.
NMSU quarterback Charley Johnson threw for 190 yards and was tabbed the Sun Bowl's MVP for the second straight year. The NMSU defense held the nation's top offense to just 268 total yards.
Utah State's defense was equally as impressive. USU, led by future Hall of Famer Merlin Olsen, held the NMSU offense to only 224 yards, including just 44 rushing yards on 32 carries.
Aggies who played in the game who went on to play in the NFL include: G Lionel Aldridge, DT Clyde Brock, RB Doug Mayberry, T Clark Miller, T Merlin Olsen and QB/K Jim Turner.
UTAH STATE'S Emmett White SETS NCAA RECORD vs. NEW MEXICO STATE
On Nov. 4, 2000, Utah State junior RB Emmett White produced one of the greatest single-game performances in NCAA history as he broke the NCAA single-game all-purpose yardage record of 435 yards set by Brian Pruitt of Central Michigan versus Toledo in 1994. White accumulated 578 total yards against New Mexico State as he rushed 34 times for a school-record 322 yards, added 134 yards on seven receptions, had one punt return for two yards and four kickoff returns for 120 yards. That added up to 578 yards on 46 touches. Not only did White amass all of those yards, he also scored four touchdowns, including the game-winner, a nine-yard run, with just 28 seconds left in the game as USU won the contest, 44-37.
White finished the 2000 season as the nation's all-purpose yardage leader averaging 238.9 yards per game (39 yards more per game than NCAA runner-up LaDainian Tomlinson of TCU). That average is still the eighth-best average in NCAA history.
White's 120.2 yards per game rushing that year ranked 13th in the country and his 322 yards on the ground against NMSU were the second most in a game in Big West history, as well as the most in USU history by 30 yards.
West Virginia's Tavon Austin came close to breaking White's record in 2012 as he had 572 all-purpose yards against Oklahoma.
GAME 12 RECAP vs. AIR FORCE
USAFA, Colo. - Utah State rallied twice in the fourth quarter against Air Force. Unfortunately for the Aggies (6-6, 4-4 MW), they needed a third, but didn't get it as the Falcons (5-7, 4-4 MW) scored with 1:38 remaining in the game to pull out a wild 38-35 victory on Saturday, Nov. 25, 2017, at Falcon Stadium.
Redshirt freshman QB Jordan Love completed 17-of-30 passes for 284 yards and a career-high-tying two touchdowns to lead Utah State.
Air Force QB Isaiah Sanders rushed for 203 yards and three touchdowns on 44 carries. His final score of the night was from 10 yards out with 1:38 to go in the fourth quarter, giving the Falcons their final margin of victory.
There was still enough time on the clock for Utah State to drive down the field for a potential game-winning touchdown or game-tying field goal. The Aggies took over on their own 25 with 1:38 to go and following a 33-yard pass to senior WR Braelon Roberts, they were across midfield at the Falcons' 42.
Love's next four pass attempts fell incomplete, though, and Utah State turned the ball over on downs.
Utah State trailed 24-21 entering the fourth, but a 24-yard touchdown pass from Love to junior WR Ron'quavion Tarver put the Aggies back on top. The six-play, 99-yard scoring drive was set up by the defense, when redshirt freshman LB Kevin Meitzenheimer stopped Sanders on a fourth-and-goal play from the 1.
The Falcons regained the lead 3 1/2 minutes later when they recovered a fumble in the end zone, but again, the Aggies rallied. Love found Tarver for the second time in the quarter, this time from 22 yards out, to make it 35-31 with 5:28 to go.
Too much time was left on the clock for Air Force, which drove 75 yards on 13 plays for the game-winning touchdown.
Sophomore WR Gerold Bright led the Aggies in rushing with a career-best 102 yards on a career-high-tying nine carries, including a career-long 75-yard touchdown run that gave Utah State a 14-3 lead midway through the opening quarter.
Junior WR Aaren Vaughns added a career-high 69 yards rushing and one touchdown on two carries. He scored on a 71-yard reverse less than two minutes into the first quarter for the game's first touchdown.
Senior RB LaJuan Hunt produced the Aggies' third rushing touchdown of the first half on an 11-yard run with 5:56 to go in the second quarter, giving Utah State a 21-10 lead.
It appeared as if the Aggies would head into the locker room with that 11-point advantage, but the Falcons drove 91 yards on 11 plays, capped by Sanders' 2-yard touchdown run with four seconds remaining until the break.
Tarver led Utah State in receiving with four catches for 86 yards, while Roberts finished with three receptions for a career-best 64 yards.
As a team, the Aggies gained 521 yards of total offense -- 284 through the air and 237 on the ground. Conversely, Air Force had 440 yards of offense, the majority of which came on the ground to the tune of 407 yards.
UTAH STATE ROLLING ON OFFENSE IN ITS LAST TWO GAMES
Offensively, Utah State finished the regular season playing as well as it could. During its final two games against Hawai'i and Air Force, Utah State averaged 36.5 points and 498.0 yards of total offense (274.0 rushing, 224.0 passing), and averaged 8.4 yards per play.
Utah State also produced a 100-yard rusher in four of its last five game as it is averaging 207.0 rushing yards and 6.2 yards per carry with 14 rushing touchdowns as the Aggies are rushing the ball 33.2 times per game on average during its last five games.
And, Utah State's offensive line has allowed just two sacks in its last five games, as compared to 18 sacks in its previous four games.
On the season, Utah State ranks second in the Mountain West and 15th nationally in red zone offense (91.4), as it has scored 32 times on 35 trips, with 19 touchdowns and 13 field goals.
MORE OFFENSIVE NUMBERS THAT EQUAL SUCCESS FOR UTAH STATE
Utah State has won 22 of its last 26 games when it has a 100-yard rusher, including a 4-1 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. USU has also won 40 of its last 42 games when scoring at least 30 points, including a 5-1 record this season.
UTAH STATE RACKS UP 521 YARDS OF OFFENSE IN LAST GAME
Utah State produced 521 yards of offense in its regular season finale, marking the fourth time this season that USU has had at least 500 yards in a game. In fact, prior to this season, Utah State had never produced 500 or more yards in more than two games. Under head coach Matt Wells, USU has had a school-record nine games with at least 500 yards of offense.
AGGIES SET SCHOOL RECORD WITH TWO TOUCHDOWN RUNS OF 70 YARDS
Utah State set a school record in its regular season finale at Air Force as it had touchdown runs of 75 and 71 yards in the first quarter, marking the first time in school history that USU had two touchdown runs of at least 70 yards in the same game. Earlier this season against UNLV, USU had touchdown passes of 70 and 75 yards, marking the first time since its 2012 meeting with New Mexico State that it had a pair of scoring plays of at least 70 yards in the same game.
BRIGHT RECORDS FIRST CAREER 100-YARD RUSHING GAME
Sophomore WR Gerold Bright recorded his first-career 100-yard rushing game in his last outing against Air Force as he rushed for a career-high 102 yards on a career-high-tying nine carries. Bright also had a career-long 75 yard run for a touchdown in the game.
After carrying the ball just one time for six yards (UNLV) in the first 10 games of the season, Bright has carried the ball 17 times for 197 yards (11.6 ypc) in his last two games with touchdown runs of 60 (vs. Hawai'i) and 75 yards (vs. Air Force). Prior to the last two games, Bright had just 12 carries for 93 yards (7.8 ypc) in his career with one touchdown on a 41 yard run.
HUNT HAS SCORED A RUSHING TOUCHDOWN IN FIVE STRAIGHT GAMES
Senior RB LaJuan Hunt has scored a rushing touchdown in five straight games, marking the first time an Aggie has accomplished that feat since Joey DeMartino scored a touchdown in six straight games in 2013. During his last five games, Hunt has recorded three 100-yard rushing games as he has gained 392 yards on 68 carries (5.8 ypc / 78.4 ypg) with eight touchdowns. In his previous 45 games, he scored nine rushing touchdowns and had one 100-yard rushing game.
On the season, Hunt leads the team with 10 rushing touchdowns, which are the most by an Aggie since DeMartino had 13 during the 2013 season.
TARVER HAS CAREER-HIGH TWO TOUCHDOWN RECEPTIONS IN LAST GAME
Junior WR Ron'quavion Tarver had a career-high two touchdown receptions from 24 and 22 yards in his last game, as he is the first Aggie with multiple touchdown receptions in the same game since Brandon Swindall accomplished the feat in the 2015 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. Overall, Tarver had a season-high 86 receiving yards in the game on four catches.
OTHER OFFENSIVE NOTABLES FROM AIR FORCE GAME
Redshirt freshman QB Jordan Love tied his career high with two touchdown passes, both in the fourth quarter, giving him eight touchdown passes on the season. Love finished the game with 284 passing yards, his second most this season. Senior WR Braelon Roberts had a career-high 64 receiving yards on three receptions. Junior QB DJ Nelson caught his first career pass for 20 yards. Junior WR Aaren Vaughns had his first career rushing touchdown in the first quarter on a career-long 71-yard run. Vaughns finished the game with a career-best 69 rushing yards on two carries.
INDIVIDUAL RECORDS TO KEEP AN EYE ON
Senior RB LaJuan Hunt has scored 17 rushing touchdowns in his career and needs one more rushing touchdown to enter the top 10 all-time in school history in that category. Hunt also needs two touchdowns to enter the top 10 all-time in school history for most touchdowns scored in a career, as he currently has 20 career touchdowns.
Sophomore PK Dominik Eberle has made 19 field goals in his career and needs three more field goals to enter the top 10 all-time in school history.
UTAH STATE'S DEFENSE HAS BEEN STINGY IN THE RED ZONE
Utah State's defense has played well with its back against the wall in its last three games as it has allowed just five scores in its opponent's last 13 trips inside the red zone as Air Force was 5-of-6, Hawai'i was 0-of-3 and New Mexico was 0-4. Of those eight trips into the red zone that yielded zero points for USU's opponents, four ended with the opposition turning it over on downs, to go along with three fumbles and one missed field goal.
UTAH STATE HAS FORCED 26 TURNOVERS THIS SEASON
Utah State has forced 26 turnovers this year and 136 turnovers in its last 74 games, including at least one turnover in 57 of its last 74 games. USU has also recorded 64 interceptions in its last 61 games, including at least one pick in 32 of its last 61 games and multiple interceptions in 19 of its last 61 games. Overall, USU has forced three or more turnovers in 16 of its last 49 games.
Utah State is 6-3 on the season when it forces a turnover and 5-1 when forcing multiple turnovers.
WOODWARD RECORDS CAREER-HIGH 13 TACKLES IN LAST GAME
Redshirt freshman LB David Woodward recorded his first-career double-digit tackle game in his last outing with 13 stops in his first-career start. Woodward also had 1.0 tackles for loss in the game, giving him 3.0 tackles for loss on the season.
In his last three games, Woodward has played 164 snaps and recorded 20 tackles, which includes 1.0 sacks and 2.5 tackles for loss, to go along with a 70-yard fumble return for a touchdown against New Mexico. In his first nine games of the season, he played 96 snaps and had five tackles.
DAVIS EXTENDS SCHOOL RECORD FOR PASSES BROKEN UP
Senior CB Jalen Davis had one pass breakup in his last game and now has 35 career pass breakups to extend his own school record. The previous school record for pass breakups was held by Donald Toomer (1991-94) with 26.
Overall, Davis has had at least one pass breakup in each of his last four games and had a streak of at least one pass breakup in five straight games earlier this year, which is the longest by an Aggie since Jarrett Bush had a pass breakup in six straight games in 2005.
Along with his pass breakups, Davis also leads the team with 4.0 sacks this season, which are the most by an Aggie defensive back since 2014, when Frankie Sutera had 4.5 sacks.
For his career, Davis now has 46 career passes defended (35 pass breakups, 11 interceptions) to rank sixth in the nation among active players, while ranking tied for 10th nationally among active players with his 11 interceptions. Furthermore, Davis' four interception returns for touchdowns in his career are tied for the second most at the FBS level among active players.
TAMAIVENA HAS SIX DOUBLE-DIGIT TACKLE GAMES THIS SEASON
Junior LB Suli Tamaivena has six double-digit tackle games this season after posting 11 stops in Utah State's regular season finale, which are the most by an Aggie since Nick Vigil had seven double-digit tackle games in 2015. Tamaivena also leads the team with 6.5 tackles for loss and ranks second with his 3.0 sacks.
Tamaivena is one of five Aggies who have recorded a tackle in every game this season along with senior BS Dallin Leavitt, junior DE Adewale Adeoye, junior BS Gaje Ferguson and redshirt freshman CB Ja'Marcus Ingram.
OTHER DEFENSIVE NOTABLES FROM AIR FORCE GAME
Sophomore LB Justus Te'i had a career-high seven tackles. Sophomore NG Mohelika Uasike had a career-high seven tackles, which included 1.0 tackles for loss, giving him 2.0 tackles for loss this season and 2.5 in his career. Junior NG Gasetoto Schuster tied his career-high with six tackles. Junior LB Chase Christiansen forced his third fumble of the season and his career. Sophomore DE Devon Anderson had 1.0 tackles for loss, giving him 3.5 tackles for loss this season. Redshirt freshman CB Ja'Marcus Ingram intercepted his first career pass and returned it 25 yards. Sophomore CB Cameron Haney had one pass breakup, giving him six this season and nine in his career. Junior LB Derek Larsen had a season-high six tackles, which included his first sack of the season, giving him 1.0 sacks and 2.5 tackles for loss this season, and 2.5 sacks and 6.5 tackles for loss in his career.
SPECIAL TEAMS NOTABLES FROM AIR FORCE GAME
Junior P Aaron Dalton had two punts downed inside the 20-yard line, giving him 21 punts this season and 67 in his career that have been downed inside the 20-yard line. Additionally, Dalton has had 10 punts downed inside the 10-yard line this season.
DID YOU KNOW?
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.
Nine of Utah State's games this year have featured a non-offensive score.
Utah State ranks fourth in the Mountain West and 49th in the nation in red zone defense (80.0), as it has allowed its opponents to score on 32 of 40 trips, with 20 touchdowns and 12 field goals.
Utah State's defense ranks third in the Mountain West and 17th in the nation in fourth down conversion percentage (.391) as its opponents are 9-for-23 on fourth down.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
Utah State has nine players who have started every game this season in senior CB Jalen Davis, senior BS Dallin Leavitt, junior OL Roman Andrus, junior OL Rob Castaneda, junior OL Quin Ficklin, junior LB Suli Tamaivena, junior WR Ron'quavion Tarver, sophomore OL Moroni Iniguez and redshirt freshman WR Jordan Nathan.
After committing 10 turnovers in its first four games, Utah State's offense only has four turnovers in its last four games.
Utah State has held the ball for less than 25 minutes in seven games this year and is 3-4 in those games. USU hasn't had a season with that many games under 25 minutes of possession this millennium.
Utah State's defense has not allowed a 60-plus yard play for the first time since 2012. Wake Forest came the closest, with a 59-yard rush.
Utah State has scored a rushing touchdown in each of the last six games, and has scored a touchdown in all four quarters in six games.
Under first-year offensive coordinator David Yost, the Aggies have scored 85 more points this year than last year through 12 games (+7.1 ppg).
Ficklin leads the Aggie offensive linemen with 50 knockdowns this year.
Senior RB LaJuan Hunt is the only Aggie with at least one rush attempt in every game this year, and only has two games with fewer than 10 attempts. Hunt has scored seven of his 10 rushing touchdowns in the first half.
Tarver is the only Aggie with a reception in every game this year, and has at least five receptions in four games.
Tarver has caught 18 of his 40 receptions in the first quarter, as well as three of his seven touchdowns. However, Tarver is a big-play threat in the second half of games, averaging 16.6 yards per catch as opposed to 9.2 yards per catch in the first half.
Sophomore TE Dax Raymond has caught 16 of his 36 receptions in the first quarter, along with 179 of his 414 yards and his only touchdown.
Tarver and Hunt are both tied for the team-lead in explosive plays with eight each. All eight for Tarver have come through the air, while Hunt has five on the ground, to go along with three catches.
Sophomore WR Gerold Bright has four explosive plays on the season, all of which went for at least 43 yards and a touchdown. Bright's 77-yard reception against Wake Forest is USU's longest play from scrimmage this year.
Redshirt freshman QB Jordan Love is the stingiest with the ball in the opening quarter, completing 62.5% of his passes and tossing three touchdowns to only one interception. Love also runs the best in the first frame, totaling 74 yards on eight attempts.
Twenty-two of USU's 46 touchdowns have been on explosive plays, with 10 rushing touchdowns and 12 receiving touchdowns of at least 20 yards.
Utah State's 72 penalties are its fewest since committing 65 in 2006.
Utah State has had 13 scoring drives take less than one minute off the clock, including four against UNLV alone. The Aggies have also shown the ability to methodically drive, having nine scoring drives of at least 10 plays.
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 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 seven players 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 tied for the most at the FBS level this season with three other players. He is also tied with five other players for the most in Mountain West history. In fact, it is just the 19th 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.
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 on Oct. 21, 2017. 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.
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.
NELSON IS UTAH STATE'S SWISS ARMY KNIFE
Utah State junior QB DJ Nelson may not lead the team in any offensive or defensive category this season, but he is the only player in the nation at the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) level with two blocked kicks, one rushing touchdown and one punt return for a touchdown, not to mention one reception and six tackles, as well. During the year, Nelson has played wide receiver on offense as well as special teams, as he is the holder for extra points and field goals, and also plays on punt returns, punt coverage, kickoff return and kickoff coverage.
HUNT RANKS 11TH ALL-TIME IN RUSHING
Senior RB LaJuan Hunt has rushed for 1,713 yards on 408 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, including three this season, and set a true freshman school record with 34 carries for 145 yards against Hawai'i in 2014. Hunt is now 246 yards shy of tying Altie Taylor (1966-68) for 10th all-time in school history. Demario Brown (1996-99) holds the school record with 4,053 career rushing yards.
With his 408 carries, Hunt now ranks ninth all-time in school history in that category and is just seven carries shy of tying Taylor for eighth all-time at Utah State. Brown and Abu Wilson (1992, 94-96) hold the school record for rushing attempts with 792.
Hunt also has 17 rushing touchdowns in his career, which is tied with Diondre Borel (2007-10) for 11th all-time in school history, one behind Roy Shivers (1964-65), who ranks 10th all-time. Robert Turbin (2007-09, 11) and Wilson hold the school record with 40 rushing touchdowns in a career. Hunt has three career multi-touchdown games, as he scored a career-high three rushing touchdowns at UNLV and had two rushing touchdowns at New Mexico this season, to go along with his two rushing touchdowns at Fresno State in 2015. Overall, Hunt has scored at least one rushing touchdown in 13 different games in his career.
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 also 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. Overall, Myers has at least one rushing touchdown in 13 career games.
MYERS AMONG TOP 10 QUARTERBACKS ALL-TIME
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 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
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 (14,320 passing, 1,082 rushing), Louisville's Lamar Jackson (8,872 passing, 3,974 rushing), Ohio State's J.T. Barrett (9,320 passing, 3,197 rushing), Appalachian State's Taylor Lamb (9,655 passing, 1,964 rushing), South Florida's Quinton Flowers (7,819 passing, 3,566 rushing), Wake Forest's John Wolford (8,394 passing, 1,052 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.
MYERS FOURTH IN SINGLE SEASON COMPLETION PERCENTAGE
Senior QB Kent Myers is 124-of-197 passing this season and that completion percentage of 62.9 ranks fourth all-time at Utah State for a single season. Myers also completed 60.8 percent of his passes as a sophomore in 2015, as he was 121-of-199 passing, which ranks sixth all-time. Chuckie Keeton holds the single-season school record for completion percentage at 69.4 percent set in 2013.
DAVIS TOP FOUR ALL-TIME AT UTAH STATE IN PICKS
Senior CB Jalen Davis 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.
DAVIS SIXTH IN SINGLE SEASON INTERCEPTION YARDS
Senior CB Jalen Davis has recorded 120 interception return yards this season on his five interceptions, which ranks as the sixth-most in a single season in school history. Henry King set the single-season school record with 193 interception return yards in 1965, as he picked off seven passes that season.
EBERLE FIRST IN SINGLE SEASON FG 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 made eight straight field goals earlier this year, which was the longest streak for an Aggie since Nick Diaz also made eight straight in 2014.
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, which ranks tied for the 10th-longest in school history. The last Aggie kicker to make at least five field goals of 40-plus yards in a single season was 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 is also 45-of-45 on extra point attempts this season and those 45 made PAT's rank tied for third all-time in school history for a single-season with Diaz (2014), while his 45 attempts rank fourth all-time in school history for a single-season.
Furthermore, Eberle is one of just seven kickers in school history to not miss an extra point for the entire season, joining Diaz (2012), Peter Caldwell (2010, 2007), Doug Beach (1990), Willie Beecher (1982), Tom Mayes (1975) and Steve Steinke (1978).
EBERLE CLOSING IN ON SCORING RECORD FOR A KICKER
Sophomore PK Dominik Eberle has scored 93 points thus far this season with 45 extra points and 16 field goals, to rank as the second-most points scored by a kicker in a single season in school history. Nick Diaz set the school record for points scored by a kicker with 102 during the 2013 season with 17 field goals and 51 extra points.
EBERLE SECOND ALL-TIME IN FIELD GOAL PERCENTAGE
Sophomore PK Dominik Eberle is 19-of-23 on field goal attempts in his career, 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 during his career, as he was 22-of-26.
Furthermore, Eberle is a perfect 45-of-45 on extra points in his career and is one of just three kickers in school history with a minimum of 30 PAT's made to have never missed an extra point, joining Willie Beecher (1981-84), who was 64-of-64 all-time on extra points and Russ Moody (1988-89), who was 44-of-44 all-time on extra points.
INSIDE THE ROSTER
Utah State has nine players listed on its current depth chart that began their Aggie careers as walk-ons in senior LS Emmett Odegard, senior WR Braelon Roberts, junior P Aaron Dalton, junior BS Gaje Ferguson, junior OC Quin Ficklin, junior LB Derek Larsen, junior WR Zach Van Leeuwen, sophomore PK Dominik Eberle and redshirt freshman CB Ja'Marcus Ingram.
Utah State entered the 2017 season with 14 returning starters from last year with six on offense and eight on defense. Despite those high numbers, USU only started five of those 14 players in its season opener at No. 9 Wisconsin, which is the lowest number in the nation at the FBS level. Those five returning starters from last season who started the season-opener this year were senior CB Jalen Davis, senior BS Dallin Leavitt, senior QB Kent Myers, junior BS Gaje Ferguson and junior WR Ron'quavion Tarver.
Utah State entered the 2017 season with 18 seniors on its roster, but only seven of those 18 players started the season opener at No. 9 Wisconsin in WR Jaren Colston-Green, CB Jalen Davis, TE Damion Hobbs, RB LaJuan Hunt, BS Dallin Leavitt, QB Kent Myers and DE Ian Togiai. In fact, only 14 of the 18 seniors on USU's 2017 roster played in its game against the Badgers as those other seven players were CB Wesley Bailey, WR Alex Byers, LB Alex Huerta, OL Jarom Ioane, RB Tonny Lindsey Jr., LS Emmett Odegard and WR Braelon Roberts.
Utah State has 30 players on its current roster who have served two-year LDS Church Missions: redshirt freshman DE Caden Andersen, junior OL Roman Andrus, senior OL Preston Brooksby, freshman WR Taylor Compton, freshman WR Preston Curtis, redshirt freshman DE Ritisoni Fata, freshman RB SJ Fehoko, junior OL Quin Ficklin, redshirt freshman S Baron Gajkowski, sophomore LB Mason Gajkowski, sophomore LB Braden Harris, sophomore OL Moroni Iniguez, senior OL Jarom Ioane, junior LB Derek Larsen, junior LB Ofa Latu, sophomore DE Logan Lee, redshirt freshman DL Connor Meyers, sophomore LB Sialao Mobley, freshman S Chase Nelson, junior QB DJ Nelson, sophomore S Chance Parker, redshirt sophomore TE Dax Raymond, freshman PK Michael Smith, redshirt freshman BS Zach Swenson, redshirt freshman DE Keith Tambe, redshirt freshman TE Tyler Thornock, sophomore NG Mohelika Uasike, junior OL KJ Uluave, junior WR Zach Van Leeuwen and sophomore DE Jacoby Wildman.
Utah State has 12 players on its current roster who are married in senior OL Preston Brooksby, junior LB Chase Christiansen, senior LB Alex Huerta, sophomore OL Moroni Iniguez, senior OL Jarom Ionae, junior LB Derek Larsen, senior BS Dallin Leavitt, sophomore LB Sialao Mobley, sophomore S Chance Parker, senior DE Ian Togiai, junior OL KJ Uluave and junior WR Zach Van Leeuwen.
All five of Utah State's starting offensive linemen -- OC Quin Ficklin, RT Sean Taylor, LG Moroni Iniguez, RG Rob Castaneda, LT Roman Andrus -- played in their first career games at USU this season. In fact, Taylor is the only member of this group who was on the team last year, as he redshirted. This is the first time in school history that it has started five offensive linemen who had never played a game at USU, minus the Aggies' first-ever team in 1892. Furthermore, Andrus and Ficklin did not even play offensive line at their previous schools, as Andrus was a defensive end at Snow (Utah) JC and Ficklin was a fullback at BYU.
Utah State earned the 2017 American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Academic Achievement Award, which is presented by the Touchdown Club of Memphis. The Aggies shared the award with six other schools, including Alabama, Cincinnati, Middle Tennessee, Northwestern, Utah and Virginia. Each institution recorded a 100 percent graduation rate for members of their freshman football student-athlete class of 2010.
Utah State's football team 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).
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 RANKS FOURTH IN THE NATION IN FIRST-TIME STARTERS
Utah State has had 25 first-time starters this season, which ranks tied for fourth in the nation behind Ball State (33), Illinois (31) and Baylor (27), and tied with Coastal Carolina (25) and East Carolina. 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. Redshirt freshman S Baron Gajkowski made his first career start at New Mexico. And redshirt freshman LB David Woodward made his first career start at Air Force.
UTAH STATE VERSUS THE MOUNTAIN WEST
Utah State is 150-179-8 (.457) 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
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