Aggies Conclude 2013 Season Against No. 24 Northern Illinois in San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl
Dec. 18, 2013
LOGAN, Utah -
USU Game Notes vs. Northern Illinois
UTAH STATE vs. #24 NORTHERN ILLINOIS
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
GAME FOURTEEN INFORMATION
Date: Thursday, Dec. 26, 2013
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. (MT)
Location: San Diego, Calif.
Stadium: Qualcomm (66,000)
Series: USU leads 1-0
Joe Davis (Play-by-Play)
Mike Bellotti (Analyst)
Cara Capuano (Reporter)
Radio: Utah State Sports Network
Al Lewis (Play-by-Play)
Craig Hislop (Analyst)
National Radio: ESPN
Bill Rosinski (Play-by-Play)
David Norrie (Analyst)
Joe Schad (Reporter)
Live Stats: UtahStateAggies.com
Twitter Updates: /USUFootball
Utah State will be making its 12th appearance on national television at the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl as it has had games televised on ABC, CBS, ESPN, CBS Sports Network and Fox Sports 1 in 2013. USU also had two regionally televised games this year on ROOT Sports.
Utah State is playing in its third-straight bowl game for the first time in school history and its ninth bowl game all-time. USU is 2-6 in its previous eight bowl game appearances, including its 41-15 win against Toledo in the 2012 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
Utah State is playing a bowl game against a team from the Mid-American Conference for the third-straight year and fourth time overall as it defeated Toledo, 41-15, in the 2012 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, lost to Ohio, 24-23, in the 2011 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, and defeated Ball State, 42-33, in the 1993 Las Vegas Bowl II.
Utah State's eight wins this season are tied for the fourth-most in school history, and with a win against Northern Illinois, will tie the 1960 and 1961 teams for the second-most wins in school history. USU's 2012 team set the single-season school record for wins with 11.
With a victory against Northern Illinois, Matt Wells will set the single-season school record for wins by a first year head coach, bettering Tony Knap whose Aggies went 8-2 in 1963.
Utah State's defense has held four of its last six opponents to 10 or fewer points and has not given up more than 24 points in a game since Oct. 12.
Utah State has won 24 of its last 32 games overall and those eight losses during its last 32 games have been by a combined 48 points as it lost to Ohio (24-23) in the 2011 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, at No. 22 Wisconsin (16-14) and at BYU (6-3) in 2012, and at Utah (30-26), at USC (17-14), against BYU (31-14) against Boise State (34-23) and at Fresno State (24-17) in 2013.
True freshman quarterback Darell Garretson will make his seventh career start against Northern Illinois and is one of just 21 true freshmen at the FBS level to start at quarterback this year. Overall, Garretson is 5-1 as a starter and set the school record with five-straight wins to begin a career.
Senior linebacker Jake Doughty ranks third in the Mountain West and ninth in the nation with an average of 10.8 tackles per game, while senior cornerback Nevin Lawson ranks third in the Mountain West and 19th in the nation with an average of 1.31 passes defended per game.
UTAH STATE PLAYS NO. 24 NORTHERN ILLINOIS IN SAN DIEGO COUNTY CU POINSETTIA BOWL
Utah State (8-5, 7-1 MW) will play No. 24 Northern Illinois (12-1, 8-0 MAC) in the ninth annual San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl on Thursday, Dec. 26 at 7:30 p.m. (MT). The game will be televised nationally on ESPN with Joe Davis (play-by-play), Mike Bellotti (analyst) and Cara Capuano (reporter) on the call. National radio coverage will also be available on ESPN with Bill Rosinski (play-by-play), David Norrie (analyst) and Joe Schad (reporter). Live audio of the game is also available on www.UtahStateAggies.com with Al Lewis (play-by-play) and Craig Hislop (analyst). Live stats will also be available through GameTracker, while Twitter updates - @USUFootball - will also be a part of Utah State's Game Day coverage.
UTAH STATE VERSUS RANKED OPPONENTS
Utah State is 2-51 all-time against Associated Press ranked teams, including its 24-17 loss at No. 24 Fresno State in the inaugural Mountain West Championship game. USU's last win against an AP top 25 team was on Nov. 17, 2011 when it posted a 48-41 overtime victory at No. 19 Louisiana Tech. USU's other win against an AP top 25 opponent was on Nov. 2, 1991 when it defeated No. 25 Fresno State, 20-19, in Logan.
INJURY BUG HITS UTAH STATE'S OFFENSE
The injury bug has hit Utah State hard this season as it lost four offensive starters during a two-week period in September and October as starting senior offensive guard Kyle Whimpey and junior starting running back Joe Hill both suffered season-ending knee injuries against San José State (9/27/13), while junior starting quarterback Chuckie Keeton (knee) and senior starting tight end D.J. Tialavea (foot) suffered season-ending injuries against BYU (10/4/13). USU then lost its fifth offensive starter in wide receiver Travis Reynolds to a season-ending knee injury against Colorado State (11/23). Between Whimpey, Hill, Keeton, Tialavea and Reynolds, those five players had combined for 90 career starts and 143 career games played in while at Utah State.
UTAH STATE IN FIRST SEASON IN THE MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE
Utah State is in its first year as a member of the Mountain West and has been a Division I-A/Bowl Championship Series football playing school in each of its 116 seasons of competition. USU joined the Mountain States/Skyline Conference in 1938 until 1961. USU then played as an independent from 1962-77 when it became members of the Pacific Coast Athletic Association in 1978. The PCAA changed its name to the Big West Conference in 1988. Following the 2000 season when the Big West no longer sponsored football, USU spent two years as an independent (2001-02) and two years in the Sun Belt Conference (2003-04) before joining the Western Athletic Conference in 2005 for eight seasons.
UTAH STATE ENTERED 2013 WITH FOURTH-MOST EXPERIENCED OFFENSIVE LINE IN THE NATION
Utah State entered the 2013 season returning all five of its starters on the offensive line from a year ago and had the fourth-most experienced offensive line in the nation according to Phil Steele's College Football Preview before losing senior guard Kyle Whimpey to a knee injury against San José State. Overall, USU's current offensive line has 157 career starts between senior center Tyler Larsen (51), senior tackle Eric Schultz (45), senior guard Jamie Markosian (28), junior tackle Kevin Whimpey (25) and senior guard Sini Tauauve'a (8), while Kyle Whimpey had started 18 straight games before his injury.
WELLS IS THE 11TH-YOUNGEST HEAD COACH AT THE FBS LEVEL
First-year Utah State head football coach Matt Wells is the 11th-youngest head coach at the FBS level at 40 years of age (8-10-73). Wells is also just the second USU 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 was a three-year letterwinner at quarterback/safety for USU from 1994-96.
WELLS IS ONE OF 12 HEAD COACH AT THE FBS LEVEL WHO PLAYED AT SAME SCHOOL
First-year Utah State head coach Matt Wells is one of just 12 coaches at the FBS level who played college football at the same school he is currently the head coach at joining Troy Calhoun (Air Force), Ruffin McNeill (East Carolina) Paul Haynes (Kent State), Don Treadwell (Miami, Ohio), Pat Fitzgerald (Northwestern), Mike Gundy (Oklahoma State), David Shaw (Stanford), Kliff Kingsbury (Texas Tech), Bill Blankenship (Tulsa), Sean Kugler (UTEP) and Frank Beamer (Virginia Tech).
A LOOK AT UTAH STATE
Utah State is 8-5 on the season and won the Mountain Division of Mountain West with a 7-1 record. USU lost its last game at No. 24 Fresno State, 24-17, in the inaugural Mountain West Championship game. Offensively, USU is led by senior running back Joey DeMartino who has carried the ball 198 times for 1,078 yards (82.9 ypg/5.4 ypc) with 12 touchdowns, while senior wide receiver Travis Van Leeuwen has 50 catches for 638 yards (49.1 ypg/12.8 ypc) with three touchdowns and freshman quarterback Darell Garretson is 109-of-180 passing for 1,325 yards (189.3 ypg) with nine touchdowns and five interceptions. Defensively, senior linebacker Jake Doughty leads the team with 140 tackles (39-solo, 101-assist) including 10.5 for loss, while junior linebacker Zach Vigil has 115 tackles (42-solo, 73-assist) with 12.5 for loss, and senior safety Maurice Alexander has 80 tackles (40-solo, 40-assist) with 9.0 for loss. As a team, Utah State is averaging 32.6 points and 420.9 yards of total offense per game (242.1-passing, 178.8-rushing) and allowing 17.3 points and 332.1 yards of total offense per game (224.8-passing, 107.3-rushing). All-time, Utah State has a 514-513-31 (.501) record in 116 seasons.
UTAH STATE HAD FIVE-GAME WINNING STREAK SNAPPED AT FRESNO STATE
Utah State had its season-high five-game winning streak snapped with its 24-17 loss at No. 24 Fresno State in the inaugural Mountain West Championship game. USU, who had also won 11 straight road games against league opponents, had a season-low 51 rushing yards against the Bulldogs.
UTAH STATE'S DEFENSE HAS PLAYED VERY WELL DURING ITS LAST THREE GAMES
Utah State's defense has played very well during its last three games in its 13-0 home win against Colorado State, its 35-7 home win against Wyoming, and its 24-17 loss at No. 24 Fresno State. During its last three games, USU is holding its opponents to just 10.3 points and just 278.3 yards of total offense (237.7-passing, 40.7-rushing), while allowing its opponents to convert just 32.7 percent of its third downs (16-49). CSU entered its game against USU averaging 36.5 points and 471.1 yards of total offense, including 214.8 yards on the ground, but was held to just 185 yards, including just 38 on the ground and zero points. Wyoming entered its game against USU averaging 33.5 points and 498.5 yards of total offense, including 205.2 rushing yards, but was held to 190 total yards, including just 28 on the ground and to just seven points. And Fresno State entered its game against USU averaging 47.3 points and 580.6 yards of total offense, including 170.4 rushing yards, but was held to 460 total yards, including just 56 on the ground and to just 24 points, which is half of its average.
UTAH STATE'S DEFENSE HAS TRAVELED WELL IN 2013
Utah State's defense has played very well away from home in 2013 as it is allowing just 19.6 points and 371.6 yards of total offense (243.7-passing, 127.9-rushing) in seven road games. USU has also limited its opponents to convert just 33.9 percent of its third downs (37-109) in seven road games, while allowing just 12 touchdowns on 28 red zone trips (.429).
UTAH STATE CONTINUES TO STOP THE RUN
Utah State continues to do a great job stopping the run this season as Boise State's Jay Ajayi (22-109) and UNLV's Tim Cornett (29-115) are the only running backs to rush for 100 yards against the Aggies, while USU has allowed just eight rushing touchdowns in 13 games this year. Furthermore, USU has only allowed six rushes of 20 or more yards on the season as BYU had three, UNLV two and New Mexico one, with its longest rush allowed being 44 yards against BYU. Also, USU's longest rushing touchdown allowed this year was from seven yards against Boise State.
UTAH STATE'S DEFENSE NOT ALLOWING POINTS FOLLOWING TURNOVERS
Utah State's defense has done an unbelievable job of not allowing points following turnovers this season as it has held its opponents to just 13 points following 14 USU turnovers. UNLV is the only team to score a touchdown on Utah State's defense this season following a turnover, while Air Force and Boise State each converted a field goal. Conversely, USU's offense has scored 59 points on 24 possessions following turnovers this year.
UTAH STATE BOWL HISTORY
Following its 41-15 win against Toledo in the 2012 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, Utah State now has a 2-6 bowl record all-time as it lost to San Jose 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; and lost to Ohio, 24-23, in the 2011 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, along with its win in 2012 against Toledo.
DID YOU KNOW?
Utah State is bowl eligible for the third-straight year and has assured itself of back-to-back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 1978-80. USU has never gone to three-straight bowl games and has played in back-to-back bowl games just three times in school history (1946-47, 1960-61, 2011-13).
UTAH STATE'S RECORD WHEN IT HAS A PLAYER RUSH FOR 100 YARDS
Utah State has had six 100-yard rushers this season and a 100-yard rusher 36 times in the last five years, a span of 63 games. Prior to its current run, USU produced a 100-yard rusher just 23 times in its previous eight seasons. Overall, USU has won 14 straight games when it has had a 100-yard rusher with its last loss coming against Ohio in the 2011 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. Furthermore, Utah State is 8-1 this year when it rushes at least 40 times in a game and 0-4 when it has less than 40 rushing attempts in a game.
UTAH STATE ONLY TEAM IN THE NATION WITH INTERCEPTIONS BY ITS FOUR STARTING LINEBACKERS
Utah State has gotten interceptions from each of its four starting linebackers this year and is the only team in the nation to accomplish this feat. Senior linebacker Jake Doughty intercepted a pass against Wyoming, junior linebacker Zach Vigil and redshirt freshman linebacker Nick Vigil each intercepted a pass against Colorado State, and sophomore linebacker Kyler Fackrell intercepted a pass against Hawai'i. The only other teams who come close to this feat is Iowa and Oklahoma State, who each start three linebackers who all have interceptions this season.
UTAH STATE'S DEFENSE HAS SCORED THREE TOUCHDOWNS IN 2013
Utah State's defense has scored three touchdowns thus far in 2013 as senior cornerback Nevin Lawon returned an interception 65 yards for a score against Boise State (10/12), sophomore linebacker Kyler Fackrell returned an interception 99 yards for a touchdown against Hawai'i (11), and senior linebacker Jake Doughty returned a fumble 86 yards for a score at Fresno State (12/7). Overall, USU's three defensive touchdowns in 2013 are its most since 2006 when it scored three defensive touchdowns on a 46-yard fumble return by defensive end Darby Golden, a 65-yard fumble return by linebacker Devon Hall and a 45-yard interception return by safety Antonio Taylor.
UTAH STATE HAS INTERCEPTED 16 PASSES IN ITS LAST NINE GAMES
After not intercepting a pass in each of its first four games of the season, Utah State has intercepted 16 passes in its last nine games, which are its most since intercepting 19 passes in 1994. Against Fresno State, junior safety Brian Suite had two interceptions. Against Wyoming, senior linebacker Jake Doughty intercepted a pass. Against Colorado State, junior linebacker Zach Vigil and redshirt freshman linebacker Nick Vigil each intercepted a pass. At UNLV, senior cornerback Nevin Lawson intercepted a pass. Against Hawai'i, junior safety Frankie Sutera and sophomore linebacker Kyler Fackrell each intercepted a pass, along with Suite. Against Boise State, Lawson intercepted two passes, while Suite had one interception. Against BYU, senior cornerback Quinton Byrd intercepted a pass. And at San José State, senior safety Maurice Alexander, junior cornerback Jeremy Morris and Lawson each intercepted a pass.
UTAH STATE DURING ITS LAST 32 GAMES
Utah State has gone 24-8 during its last 32 games and those 24 wins during that time ranks tied for the third-most among any team in the Rocky Mountains or on the West Coast. Oregon has the most wins in the last 32 games among western teams with 27, followed by Stanford (26), Utah State (24), Boise State (24), Fresno State (22), BYU (21), USC (20), San Diego State (20), San José State (20), UCLA (19), Arizona State (19), Arizona (18), Oregon State (17), Washington (17) and Utah (15).
UTAH STATE CONTINUES TO OUT-SCORE OPPONENTS IN THE FIRST HALF
Utah State has a 236-128 scoring advantage in the first 30 minutes of play this year. Last season, USU had a 254-60 scoring advantage in the first half.
UTAH STATE AT THE HALF
Utah State has led at the half in 22 of its last 28 games dating back to 2011 and is 19-3 in those contests when leading at the half, including a 7-1 record this year. USU has also led or been tied at the end of the first quarter in 19 of its last 28 games and is 17-2 in those contest, but 1-5 during its last 28 games when trailing at the end of the first period and at the end of the first half.
UTAH STATE HAS HELD 23 OF LAST 29 OPPONENTS WITHOUT A FIRST QUARTER TOUCHDOWN
Utah State has not allowed a first quarter touchdown in 23 of its last 29 games dating back to the 2011 season as USU was the only Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) team in the nation not to allow a first quarter touchdown during the 2012 season. This year, USU has held seven opponents (Weber State, San José State, New Mexico, Hawai'i, Colorado State, Wyoming, Fresno State) without a first quarter touchdown. Furthermore, USU has held six opponents this year (Weber State, San José State, New Mexico, Hawai'i, Colorado State, Wyoming) and 16 of its last 26 opponents without a first half touchdown, while six of those 26 opponents have been held scoreless in the first-half.
UTAH STATE SENIOR CLASS IS WINNINGEST GROUP IN SCHOOL HISTORY
Utah State's senior class has 30 wins over the last four years (2010-13) to rank first all-time in school history. The previous school record was 26 wins set in 1962 and 2012.
DID YOU KNOW?
Utah State sophomore wide receiver Bruce Natson has scored two receiving touchdowns, three rushing touchdowns and two punt return touchdowns this season and is the only player at the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) level to accomplish this feat.
DOUGHTY NAMED NATIONAL LINEBACKER AND DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Senior linebacker Jake Doughty was named the National Defensive Player of the Week and the National Linebacker of the Week by College Football Performance Awards (CFPA) following his performance against 24th-ranked Fresno State in the inaugural Mountain West Football Championship Game. Doughty recorded a game-high 10 tackles, including 0.5 for loss, against the Bulldogs and recovered his first fumble of the season and second of his career late in the first half and returned it 86 yards for USU's first score of the game.
B.J. Larsen NAMED HONORABLE MENTION NATIONAL DEFENSIVE END OF THE WEEK
Junior defensive end B.J. Larsen earned honorable mention honors from College Football Performance Awards for National Defensive End of the Week following his performance against 24th-ranked Fresno State in the inaugural Mountain West Football Championship Game as he had a career-high 2.0 tackles for loss and 1.0 sack as part of his five total tackles. Overall, Larsen now has 3.5 sacks this year and 7.5 sacks in his career.
SUITE NAMED HONORABLE MENTION NATIONAL DEFENSIVE BACK OF THE WEEK
Junior safety Brian Suite earned honorable mention honors from College Football Performance Awards for National Defensive Back of the Week following his performance against 24th-ranked Fresno State in the inaugural Mountain West Football Championship Game as he had nine tackles and a career-high two interceptions, as Fresno State's Derek Carr entered the game with just five interceptions on the season. Overall, Suite now has four interceptions this year and five in his career.
BENTRUDE PUNTING EXTREMELY WELL DURING HIS LAST THREE GAMES
Junior punter Jaron Bentrude has punted extremely well during his last three games as he has punted 21 times for an average of 39.8 yards with 14 of his punts downed inside the 20 and four of his punts downed inside the 10. Against Colorado State, he had a career-high eight punts downed inside the 20, with three of them downed inside the 10. Those eight punts downed inside the 20 resulted in CSU having an average starting field position of its own 16 during the game, while USU's average starting field position was its own 49. Overall, Bentrude punted nine times in the game for an average of 37.9 yards with a long of 53 yards. Against Wyoming, Bentrude punted six times for an average of 43.3 yards with a long of 50 yards and had five of his punts downed inside the 20, including one inside the five. And against Fresno State, he punted six times for an average of 39.0 yards with a long of 50 and one punt downed inside the 20. On the season, Bentrude now has 29 punts downed inside the 20, which ranks 11th in the nation, and 12 punts downed inside the 10, which ranks 16th in the nation, to go along with five punts of 50-plus yards.
DEMARTINO HAS RUSHED FOR 100 YARDS FOUR TIMES IN HIS LAST SIX GAMES
Senior running back Joey DeMartino has recorded four 100-yard rushing games in his last six outings. In his last game at Fresno State, he rushed for 54 yards on 18 carries. Against Wyoming, he ran for 112 yards on 20 carries with one touchdown. Against Colorado State, he had a career-high 35 carries for 127 yards with one touchdown. At UNLV, DeMartino rushed for 75 yards on 19 carries and scored one touchdown. Against Hawai'i, he carried the ball 20 times for 104 yards and scored one touchdown. At New Mexico, DeMartino rushed for a career-high 144 yards on just 12 carries and tied his career-high with three rushing touchdowns (32, 38, 8). DeMartino also caught a career-high three passes for a career-best 41 yards against the Lobos, including a career-long 21-yard reception for his first career receiving touchdown. DeMartino was also the first Aggie to score four touchdowns in a game (vs. UNM) since Robert Turbin did so against Colorado State in 2011. Overall, DeMartino has 12 rushing touchdowns this year and 13 in his career, to go along with six 100-yard rushing games. In his last six games, DeMartino is averaging 102.7 yards rushing with seven touchdowns as he has carried the ball 124 times for 616 yards (5.0 ypc).
DOUGHTY RECORDS 13TH CAREER DOUBLE-DIGIT TACKLE OUTING IN FRESNO STATE GAME
Senior linebacker Jake Doughty had 10 tackles, including 0.5 for loss, in his last outing against Fresno State, giving him nine double-digit tackle games this year and 13 in his career, including each of his last four games which is the longest streak by an Aggie since Bobby Wagner had five-straight double-digit tackle games in 2011. Doughty also recovered his first fumble of the season and second of his career against the Bulldogs and returned it 86 yards for his first career touchdown. Overall, that 86-yard fumble return is the longest in the Mountain West since 2010 and the first fumble return for a touchdown by an Aggie since Ben Calderwood recovered a fumble in the end zone against Idaho in 2008.
BUTLER HAS CAREER GAME AGAINST FRESNO STATE
Junior wide receiver Ronald Butler had his best game as an Aggie in the inaugural Mountain West Football Championship at Fresno State as he tied his career-high with five receptions for a career-best 145 yards, including a career-long reception of 48 yards. Overall, it was Butler's first career 100-yard receiving game.
NOTABLES FROM THE FRESNO STATE GAME
Freshman quarterback Darell Garretson lost his first career game and is now 5-1 as a starting quarterback... Sophomore wide receiver Bruce Natson had a career-long reception of 38 yards and scored his third rushing touchdown of the season... Senior wide receiver Travis Van Leeuwen tied his career-high with six receptions... Senior nose guard AJ Pataiali'i recorded his first sack of the season and second of his career... Sophomore linebacker Kyler Fackrell recorded his fifth sack this year and now has 8.0 in his career... Senior cornerback Nevin Lawson forced his first career fumble... Senior safety Maurice Alexander recovered his first career fumble.
WELLS NAMED MOUNTAIN WEST COACH OF THE YEAR
First-year head coach Matt Wells was named the Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year as he led Utah State to an 8-5 record and a Mountain Division Championship with a 7-1 league record, despite losing five offensive starters to season-ending injuries including junior quarterback and Heisman Trophy candidate Chuckie Keeton. Overall, Wells becomes just the fifth coach in school history and second in as many years to earn conference coach of the year honors as Gary Andersen earned Western Athletic Conference Coach of the Year accolades in 2012. Other Aggie coaches to earn coach of the year honors include Bruce Snyder (1978), Chuck Shelton (1991) and John L. Smith (1997), as all three were recognized by the Big West Conference. Wells is also just the fourth individual to earn Mountain West Coach of the Year honors in his first season joining BYU's Gary Crowton (2001), Utah's Urban Meyer (2003) and Air Force's Troy Calhoun (2007).
LARSEN NAMED SECOND-TEAM ALL-AMERICAN BY USA TODAY SPORTS
Senior center Tyler Larsen was named a second-team All-American by USA Today Sports as he was one of just 10 offensive linemen at the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) level to earn All-America honors from USA Today Sports. Larsen becomes just the 12th Utah State football player in school history to be named a first or second-team All-American, and just the third offensive lineman to be recognized this highly joining Dave Manning and Jim Hough who were both named second-team All-Americans by the Associated Press in 1973 and 1977, respectively. On the season, Larsen graded out above 86 percent in every game and above 90 percent six times, while recording 49 knockdowns.
LARSEN NAMED ONE OF SIX FINALISTS FOR RIMINGTON TROPHY
Senior center Tyler Larsen was of one six finalists for the 2013 Rimington Trophy, which is presented annually to the most outstanding center in college football. Joining Larsen as finalists for the Rimington Trophy were Reese Dismukes (Auburn), Hroniss Grasu (Oregon), Gabe Ikard (Oklahoma), Bryan Stork (Florida State) and Travis Swanson (Arkansas).
LAWSON NAMED THIRD-TEAM ALL-AMERICAN BY COLLEGE SPORTS MADNESS
Senior cornerback Nevin Lawson was named a third-team All-American by College Sports Madness. Overall, Lawson ranks third in the Mountain West and 19th in the nation in passes defended (1.31 pg), and tied for seventh in the MW and tied for 70th in the nation in interceptions (0.31 pg). On the season, Lawson ranks sixth on the team in tackles (53) and leads the team with four interceptions and 13 pass breakups, to go along with 5.0 tackles for loss and one forced fumble, and was named the Mountain West's Defensive Player of the Week twice during the season.
FACKRELL NAMED SOPHOMORE ALL-AMERICAN BY COLLEGE FOOTBALL NEWS
Sophomore linebacker Kyler Fackrell was named a sophomore honorable mention All-American by College Football News. On the season, Fackrell ranks first on the team with 5.0 sacks, tied for first with two forced fumbles and second with his 12.0 tackles for loss, while ranking fourth on the team with his 78 tackles. He has also recorded three quarterback hurries, recovered one fumble, intercepted one pass and registered one pass breakup this year, not to mention two double-digit tackle outings, and was named the Mountain West's Defensive Player of the Week once during the season.
UTAH STATE HAS 14 PLAYERS NAMED TO VARIOUS ALL-MOUNTAIN WEST TEAMS
Utah State had 14 players earn various all-Mountain West Conference accolades in 2013 as four offensive players, eight defensive players and two specialists were recognized to rank as the second-most in the league behind Fresno State's 15 honorees. Overall, Utah State's 14 total honorees rank fifth all-time in school history behind the 18 all-Big West Conference picks in 1997, the 17 all-Western Athletic Conference picks in 2012, the 16 all-Big West selections in 1996, and the 15 all-Pacific Coast Athletic Association picks in 1978. USU players to earn first-team all-Mountain West honors include linebacker Jake Doughty, offensive center Tyler Larsen and cornerback Nevin Lawson, while linebacker Kyler Fackrell, defensive tackle B.J. Larsen, nose guard AJ Pataiali'i and linebacker Zach Vigil were all named to the second-team. Aggies who earned honorable mention all-league honors include safety Maurice Alexander, running back Joey DeMartino, placekicker Nick Diaz, offensive lineman Jamie Markosian, punt returner Bruce Natson, offensive lineman Eric Schultz and safety Brian Suite.
LARSEN EARNS THIRD-STRAIGHT FIRST-TEAM ALL-CONFERENCE HONOR
Senior center Tyler Larsen is just the ninth Aggie in school history to be a three-time first-team all-conference selection joining Kent Ryan (1934-35-36), Murray Maughan (1938-39-40), Ralph Maughan (1942, 46-47), Guy McClure (1979-80-81), Dave Kuresa (1982-83-84), Brent Passey (1998-99-2000), Emmett White (1999-2000-01) and Bobby Wagner (2009-10-11).
DOUGHTY NAMED FIRST-TEAM ALL-CONFERENCE FOR SECOND CONSECUTIVE SEASON
Senior linebacker Jake Doughty has earned first-team all-conference honors in each of the last two seasons, and is the 34th player in school history to be a two-time first-team all-league selection. Other Aggies who earned all-conference honors for the second time include sophomore linebacker Kyler Fackrell, senior cornerback Nevin Lawson, senior offensive guard Jamie Markosian, senior offensive tackle Eric Schultz and junior linebacker Zach Vigil, as Fackrell and Schultz earned first-team all-WAC honors in 2012, while Lawson, Markosian and Vigil were all named to the WAC's second-team a year ago.
UTAH STATE WEEKLY PLAYER HONORS
Sept. 7 (W, 52-20 at Air Force)
Chuckie Keeton - College Football Performance Awards Honorable Mention National Quarterback of the Week; Davey O'Brien Quarterback Award Honorable Mention Honors; one of eight Manning Award Stars of the Week, Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award National Player of the Week.
Zach Vigil - College Sports Madness Mountain West Defensive Player of the Week.
Sept. 14 (W, 70-6 vs. Weber State)
Joey DeMartino - College Football Performance Awards Honorable Mention National Running Back of the Week.
Chuckie Keeton - College Football Performance Awards Honorable Mention National Quarterback of the Week.
D.J. Tialavea - College Football Performance Awards Honorable Mention National Tight End of the Week.
Sept. 21 (L, 14-17 at USC)
Kyler Fackrell - College Football Performance Awards Honorable Mention National Linebacker of the Week.
Sept. 27 (W, 40-12 at San José State)
Nick Diaz - College Football Performance Awards National Specialist of the Week; one of three Lou Groza Award Stars of the Week.
Kyler Fackrell - College Sports Madness Mountain West Defensive Player of the Week.
Oct. 4 (L, 31-14 vs. BYU)
Keegan Andersen - College Football Performance Awards Honorable Mention National Tight End of the Week.
Oct. 12 (L, 34-23 vs. Boise State)
Nevin Lawson - Mountain West Defensive Player of the Week; College Football Performance Awards Honorable Mention Defensive Back of the Week.
Oct. 19 (W, 45-10 at New Mexico)
Bruce Natson - Mountain West Special Teams Player of the Week; College Football Performance Awards Punt Returner of the Week.
Joey DeMartino - College Football Performance Awards Honorable Mention National Running Back of the Week.
Nov. 2 (W, 47-10 vs. Hawai'i)
Kyler Fackrell - Mountain West Defensive Player of the Week; College Sports Madness Mountain West Defensive Player of the Week; College Football Performance Awards National Linebacker of the Week.
Nick Diaz - College Football Performance Awards Honorable Mention National Placekicker of the Week.
Jake Thompson - College Football Performance Awards Honorable Mention National Specialist of the Week.
Nov. 9 (W, 28-24 at UNLV)
Nevin Lawson - Mountain West Defensive Player of the Week.
Jake Doughty - College Sports Madness Mountain West Defensive Player of the Week; College Football Performance Awards Honorable Mention National Linebacker of the Week.
Nov. 23 (W, 13-0 vs. Colorado State)
Jaron Bentrude - College Football Performance Awards Honorable Mention National Punter of the Week.
Jake Doughty - College Sports Madness Mountain West Defensive Player of the Week.
Nov. 30 (W, 35-7 vs. Wyoming)
Nick Vigil - Mountain West Defensive Player of the Week; College Sports Madness Mountain West Defensive Player of the Week; College Football Performance Awards Honorable Mention National Linebacker of the Week.
Bruce Natson - College Football Performance Awards Punt Returner of the Week.
Jaron Bentrude - College Football Performance Awards Honorable Mention National Punter of the Week.
Dec. 7 (L, 17-24 at #24 Fresno State)
Jake Doughty - College Football Performance Awards National Linebacker of the Week & National Defensive Player of the Week.
B.J. Larsen - College Football Performance Awards Honorable Mention National Defensive Lineman of the Week.
Brian Suite - College Football Performance Awards Honorable Mention National Defensive Back of the Week.
DEMARTINO TIED FOR 18TH ALL-TIME IN SCHOOL HISTORY IN RUSHING YARDS
Senior running back Joey DeMartino became the 26th player in school history to rush for 1,000 career yards against Colorado State (11/23) and now ranks tied for 18th all-time at Utah State with 1,235 rushing yards on 227 carries (5.4 ypc) along with Archie Gibson (1972-73). DeMartino is now just 17 rushing yards shy of tying Demetrius Brown (1986-89) for 17th-place with 1,252 career rushing yards, and 78 yards shy of tying Michael Smith (2009-11) for 16th-place with 1,313 career rushing yards. The school record for career rushing yards is 3,933 set by Abu Wilson (1992-96).
DEMARTINO TIED FOR EIGHTH ALL-TIME IN SCHOOL HISTORY IN RUSHING AVERAGE
Senior running back Joey DeMartino has a career rushing average of 5.4 yards per carry (1,235 yards on 227 attempts) to rank tied for eighth all-time in school history along with Emmett White (1998-2001). The school record for career rushing average is 7.1 yards per carry set by Michael Smith (2009-11).
REYNOLDS RANKS 25TH ALL-TIME IN SCHOOL HISTORY IN RECEIVING YARDS
Senior wide receiver Travis Reynolds has 1,176 career receiving yards on 88 career receptions (13.4 ypc) to rank 25th all-time in school history. Overall, Reynolds is one of just 31 players in school history to record 1,000 career receiving yards. The school record for career receiving yards is 2,943 set by Kendal Smith (1985-88).
VAN LEEUWEN RANKS 27TH ALL-TIME IN SCHOOL HISTORY IN RECEIVING YARDS
Senior wide receiver Travis Van Leeuwen became the 31st player in school history to record 1,000 career receiving yards against UNLV (11/9), and he now has 93 receptions for 1,166 career receiving yards (12.5 ypr) to rank 27th all-time in school history. Van Leeuwen is now six yards shy of tying Fred Fernandes (1979-83) for 26th-place with 1,172 career receiving yards, 10 yards shy of tying teammate Travis Reynolds (2010-13) for 25th-place with 1,176 career receiving yards, and 15 yards shy of tying Mike Lee (1992-93) for 24th-place with 1,181 career receiving yards. The school record for career receiving yards is 2,943 set by Kendal Smith (1985-88).
DOUGHTY RANKS 16TH ALL-TIME IN SCHOOL HISTORY IN TACKLES
Senior linebacker Jake Doughty has recorded 297 tackles (99-solo, 198-assist) during his career to rank 16th all-time in school history. Doughty is now eight tackles shy of tying Robert Watts (2001-04) for 15th-place all-time at USU with 305 tackles, and 14 tackles shy of tying James Jenkins (1983-85) for 14th-place with 311 tackles. The school record for tackles is 446 set by Bobby Wagner (2008-11) and Del Lyles (1988-91).
NATSON RANKS SECOND ALL-TIME IN SCHOOL HISTORY IN PUNT RETURN AVERAGE
Sophomore wide receiver Bruce Natson has returned 31 punts for 351 yards this season, and that average of 11.3 yards per return ranks second all-time in school history. The school record for career punt return average is 14.1 yards per return set by Kevin Robinson (2004-07).
FACKRELL TIED FOR NINTH ALL-TIME IN CAREER INTERCEPTION RETURN YARDS
Sophomore linebacker Kyler Fackrell has intercepted four passes in his Utah State career for 125 yards, which ranks tied for ninth all-time in school history along with Rob Fuhriman (1972-74). Fackrell is also the only linebacker among USU's top 10 career leaders in this category. The school record for career interception return yards is 373 set by Henry King (1965-66).
DIAZ RANKS THIRD ALL-TIME IN SCHOOL HISTORY IN FIELD GOAL PERCENTAGE
Junior placekicker Nick Diaz is 25-of-34 (.735) on field goals during his Utah State career and that percentage ranks third all-time in school history behind Russ Moody (1988-89) who was 22-of-26 (.846) on field goal attempts and behind Doug Beach (1990-92) who was 22-of-29 (.759) on field goal attempts.
DIAZ RANKS EIGHTH ALL-TIME IN SCHOOL HISTORY IN FIELD GOALS MADE
Junior placekicker Nick Diaz is 25-of-34 (.735) in field goals during his Utah State career and those 25 career field goals made rank eighth all-time in school history. Diaz is now one made field goal shy of tying Al Knapp (1973-74) for seventh all-time with 26 made field goals. The school record for made field goals in a career is 59 set by Brad Bohn (1997-2000). Diaz also ranks tied for eighth all-time in school history with 34 field goal attempts along with Michael Doyle (1970-72). The school record for field goal attempts is 89 set by Bohn (1997-2000).
DIAZ RANKS THIRD ALL-TIME IN SCHOOL HISTORY IN PAT PERCENTAGE
Junior placekicker Nick Diaz is 90-of-91 on extra points during his Aggie career and his career PAT percentage of 98.9 percent ranks third all-time in school history, while his 90 extra points made rank tied for second all-time with Steve Steinke (1977-80) and his 91 extra point attempts rank third all-time in school history. Senior placekicker Josh Thompson is 70-of-72 on career extra points and that career percentage of .972 ranks fifth all-time at USU, while his 70 extra points made ranks sixth and his 72 extra point attempts ranks seventh. The school record for extra points made is 107 set by Brad Bohn (1997-2000), and Bohn also holds the school record for extra point attempts with 119. Willie Beecher (1981-84) and Russ Moody (1988-89) both hold the school record for career PAT percentage at 1.000 percent.
DEMARTINO BECOMES 17TH PLAYER IN SCHOOL HISTORY TO RUSH FOR 1,000 YARDS IN A SEASON
Senior running back Joey DeMartino is just the 17th player in school history to rush for 1,000 yards in a single-season and has rushed for 1,078 yards on 198 attempts (5.4 ypc) thus far in 2013 to rank 15th all-time at USU for a single-season. Overall, Utah State has had a 1,000 yard rusher in each of the last three seasons as Kerwynn Williams rushed for 1,512 yards in 2012 and Robert Turbin rushed for 1,517 yards in 2011, while Turbin also rushed for 1,296 yards in 2009 giving USU a 1,000-yard rusher in four of the last five years. All-time, USU has only had back-to-back-to-back 1,000 yard rushers three times in school history from 1973-75, from 1999-2001, and during its last three years. In 1973, Archie Gibson rushed for 1,150 yards, while Louie Giammona had 1,534 rushing yards in 1974 and 1,454 rushing yards in 1975. In 1999, Demario Brown rushed for a single-season school record 1,534 yards, while Emmett White rushed for 1,322 yards in 2000 and 1,361 yards in 2001.
DEMARTINO ONE RUSHING TOUCHDOWN SHY OF ENTERING SINGLE SEASON TOP 10
Senior running back Joey DeMartino has scored 12 rushing touchdowns on the season and is just one rushing touchdown shy of tying Robert Turbin (2009), Emmet White (2000, 2001) and Tom Larscheid (1960) for ninth-place all-time at USU with 13 rushing touchdowns in a single season. The school record for single-season rushing touchdowns is 19 set by Turbin in 2011.
DEMARTINO RANKS 12TH ALL-TIME IN YARDS PER CARRY FOR A SINGLE SEASON
Senior running back Joey DeMartino has carried the ball 198 times for 1,078 yards thus far in 2013 for an average of 5.4 yards per attempt, which ranks 12th all-time in school history for a single season. The school record for rushing yards per attempt for a single season is 8.4 set by Tom Larscheid in 1960.
DOUGHTY RECORDS 100-PLUS TACKLES IN BACK-TO-BACK SEASONS
Senior linebacker Jake Doughty has recorded 140 tackles (39-solo, 101-assist) thus far in 2013 marking the 59th time in school history that a player has recorded 100 or more tackles in a single-season.Doughty concluded the 2012 season with 109 tackles and is one of just 15 players in school history to record multiple season with at least 100 tackles. Aggies with three seasons of 100-plus tackles include Bobby Wagner (2008-11), Jesse Busta (1999-2002), Brent Passey (1997-2000) and Del Lyles (1988-91), while Aggies with two seasons of 100-plus tackles includes Zach Vigil (2011-pres.), Jake Hutton (2005-08), Blake Eagal (1997-2000), Tony D'Amato (1997-98), Johndale Carty (1995-98), David Gill (1993-96), Jermaine Younger (1990-93), Al Smith (1984-86), James Jenkins (1983-85), Chuck Detwiler (1966-68) and Doughty.
DOUGHTY RANKS TIED FOR SEVENTH IN SINGLE-SEASON TACKLES AT UTAH STATE
Senior linebacker Jake Doughty has recorded 140 tackles (39-solo, 101-assist) thus far in 2013 to rank tied for seventh all-time at Utah State for a single-season along with Alfred Bettman (1975). Doughty is now just two tackles shy of tying Brent Passey (1999) for sixth-place on the USU single-season tackles list with 142, seven tackles shy of tying Bobby Wagner (2011) for fifth-place on the USU single-season tackles list with 147, and 10 tackles shy of tying David Gill (1996) for fourth-place on the USU single-season tackles list with 150. The single-season school record for tackles is 170 set by Tony D'Amato in 1998. Overall, Doughty has nine double-digit tackle games this year and 13 in his career,
VIGIL RECORDS 100-PLUS TACKLES IN BACK-TO-BACK SEASONS
Junior linebacker Zach Vigil has recorded 115 tackles (42-solo, 73-assist) thus far in 2013 marking the 60th time in school history that a player has recorded 100 or more tackles in a single-season.Vigil concluded the 2012 season with 105 tackles and is one of just 15 players in school history to record 100 or more tackles multiple times during a career. Overall, Vigil has six double-digit tackle outings this year and 11 in his career.
DIAZ RANKS SECOND IN SCHOOL HISTORY IN SINGLE-SEASON PAT'S MADE AND ATTEMPTED
Junior placekicker Nick Diaz is currently 50-of-51 on extra points this season to rank second all-time in school history in both categories for a single season. Current senior placekicker Josh Thompson holds the single-season school records for extra points made (57) and attempted (58) set during the 2011 season. Diaz's extra point percentage of .980 this year is currently ninth all-time in school history for a single-season.
DIAZ RANKS TIED FOR SEVENTH IN SCHOOL HISTORY IN SINGLE-SEASON FIELD GOALS MADE
Junior placekicker Nick Diaz is 15-of-21 (.714) on field goals thus far in 2013 and those 15 made field goals are tied with Micah Knorr (1994) for seventh all-time at USU for a single season. Diaz is also tied with Knorr (1994) and Peter Caldwell (2007) for seventh all-time with 21 attempts in a single-season.
FACKRELL RANKS 10TH ALL-TIME IN SINGLE SEASON INTERCEPTION RETURN YARDS
Sophomore linebacker Kyler Fackrell currently ranks 10th all-time at Utah State in interception return yards for a single-season following his 99-yard interception return for a touchdown against Hawai'i (11/2). The single-season school record for interception return yards is 193 set by Henry King in 1965.
DID YOU KNOW?
Freshman quarterback Darell Garretson is 109-of-180 passing this season for a completion percentage of 60.6 percent, which ranks fifth all-time at Utah State for a single-season trailing only Chuckie Keeton who completed 69.4 percent of his passes this season to rank first all-time, Keeton who completed 67.6 percent of his passes in 2012, Leon Jackson III who completed 65.4 percent of his passes in 2007, and Keeton who completed 60.9 percent of his passes in 2011.
UTAH STATE RANKS 44TH IN THE NATION IN SCORING OFFENSE
Utah State is averaging 32.6 points per game to rank fifth in the Mountain West and 44th in the nation. USU also ranks seventh in the MW and 43rd in the nation in passing efficiency (138.1), eighth in the MW and 43rd in the nation in completion percentage (.619), eighth in the MW and 55th in the nation in rushing offense (178.8 ypg), 10th in the MW and 53rd in the nation in passing offense (242.1 ypg), 10th in the MW and 60th in the nation in total offense (420.9 ypg) and 11th in the MW and 89th in the nation in sacks allowed (2.4 pg).
UTAH STATE RANKS SEVENTH IN THE NATION IN SCORING DEFENSE
Utah State's defense is allowing just 17.3 points per game to rank first in the Mountain West and seventh in the nation. USU also ranks first in the MW and 10th in the nation in rushing defense (107.3 ypg), first in the MW and 12th in the nation in total defense (332.1 ypg), first in the MW and 19th in the nation in passing efficiency defense (113.2), second in the MW and tied for 35th in the nation in sacks (2.5 pg) and second in the MW and 57th in the nation in passing defense (224.8 ypg).
UTAH STATE RANKS TIED FOR 17TH IN THE NATION IN TURNOVER MARGIN
Utah State currently ranks first in the Mountain West and tied for 17th in the nation with a turnover margin of plus 0.85 as it has 28 takeaways and 17 turnovers on the season, as those 17 turnovers rank 32nd nationally.
UTAH STATE RANKS THIRD IN THE NATION IN PUNT RETURN DEFENSE
Utah State ranks first in the Mountain West and third in the nation in punt return defense as it is allowing 1.30 yards per punt return. USU also ranks first in the MW and fifth in the nation in kickoff return defense as it is allowing 16.80 yards per kick return, fifth in the MW and 36th in the nation in net punting (37.9 ypk), fifth in the MW and 38th in the nation in punt returns (10.3 ypr) and fifth in the MW and 39th in the nation in kickoff returns (22.8 ypr). USU has also blocked two punts this year to rank fifth nationally.
UTAH STATE RANKS SIXTH IN THE NATION IN RED ZONE DEFENSE, INCLUDING SECOND IN TDS ALLOWED
Utah State has allowed 29-of-41 (.707) scoring opportunities in the red zone this year to rank first in the Mountain West and sixth nationally. Overall, USU has allowed only 17 touchdowns on 41 trips into the red zone (.415), which ranks second in the nation, while its opponents have converted 12-of-13 field goals, while forcing five turnovers and taking the ball over on downs five times and having the half end once.
UTAH STATE'S DEFENSE RANKS NINTH IN THE NATION IN THIRD DOWN CONVERSIONS
Utah State's defense is limiting its opponents to just 68 first downs on 213 third-down attempts (.319) to rank first in the Mountain West and ninth in the nation. In 2012, USU held its opponents to just 32.9 percent conversions (73-of-222) on third downs.
UTAH STATE RANKS EIGHTH IN THE NATION IN FORCING THREE-AND-OUTS
Utah State ranks eighth in the nation in forcing three-and-outs on the year as it has forced 72 three-and-outs on 162 drives, which averages out to 44.4 percent of the time and 5.54 per game.
UTAH STATE RANKS 28TH IN THE NATION IN THIRD DOWN EFFICIENCY
Utah State has converted 98-of-215 third downs (.456) to rank second in the Mountain West and 28th in the nation. In 2012, USU converted 45.3 percent of its third downs (82-of-181).
UTAH STATE RANKS 42ND IN THE NATION IN RED ZONE OFFENSE
Utah State is 49-for-57 (.860) on red zone opportunities to rank fifth in the Mountain West and 42nd nationally. Overall, USU has scored 38 touchdowns and converted 11-of-15 field goals in the red zone, while turning it over on downs three times and having the half end once.
UTAH STATE RANKS EIGHTH IN THE NATION IN TACKLES FOR LOSS
Utah State ranks third in the Mountain West and eighth in the nation with an average of 7.8 tackles for loss per game.
UTAH STATE PLAYERS IN THE MOUNTAIN WEST AND NATIONAL RANKINGS
Senior cornerback Nevin Lawson ranks third in the Mountain West and 18th in the nation in passes defended (1.31 pg), and tied for seventh in the MW and tied for 70th in the nation in interceptions (0.31 pg). Senior linebacker Jake Doughty ranks third in the MW and ninth in the nation in tackles (10.8 pg). Junior linebacker Zach Vigil ranks seventh in the MW and 46th in the nation in tackles (8.8 pg), and 10th in the MW in tackles for loss (0.96 pg). Sophomore linebacker Kyler Fackrell ranks 33rd in the MW in tackles (6.0 pg). Senior running back Joey DeMartino ranks fourth in the MW and 28th in the nation with 12 rushing touchdowns, and seventh in the MW and 52nd in the nation in rushing (82.8 ypg). Senior safety Maurice Alexander ranks 31st in the MW in tackles (6.2 pg). Junior safety Brian Suite ranks tied for seventh in the MW and tied for 70th in the nation in interceptions (0.31 pg). Sophomore wide receiver Bruce Natson ranks first in the MW and second in the nation with two punt returns for touchdowns, and fourth in the MW and 22nd in the nation in punt returns (11.3 ypr). Senior cornerback Tay Glover-Wright ranks fifth in the MW and 49th in the nation in kickoff returns (23.0 ypr). Junior placekicker Nick Diaz ranks second in the MW in extra point percentage (98.0), fifth in the MW and 51st in the nation in field goals (1.15 pg), seventh in the MW and 73rd in the nation in field goal percentage (.714) and 10th in the MW and 71st in the nation in scoring (7.3 ppg). And junior punter Jaron Bentrude ranks ninth in the MW and 84th in the nation in punting (39.5 yak).
KEETON RANKS FIRST ALL-TIME AT UTAH STATE IN COMPLETION PERCENTAGE
Junior quarterback Chuckie Keeton is 517-of-777 passing during his Utah State career with a completion percentage of 66.5 percent, which ranks first all-time in school history. Keith Myers (1976-77) ranks second all-time at 60.7 percent.
KEETON RANKS SECOND ALL-TIME AT UTAH STATE IN TOUCHDOWN PASSES
Junior quarterback Chuckie Keeton ranks second all-time in school history with 56 touchdown passes and is just four touchdown passes shy of tying the school record of 60 touchdown passes set by Jose Fuentes (1999-2002).
KEETON RANKS THIRD ALL-TIME AT UTAH STATE IN TOTAL OFFENSE
Junior quarterback Chuckie Keeton has 7,114 yards of total offense (5,961-passing, 1,153-rushing) in his career to rank third all-time in school history. The school record for total offense is 8,791 yards by Jose Fuentes (1999-2002) and Keeton is now 982 yards of total offense shy of tying Diondre Borel (2007-10) for second-place with 8,096 yards of total offense.
KEETON RANKS TIED FOR SECOND ALL-TIME AT UTAH STATE IN COMPLETIONS
Junior quarterback Chuckie Keeton ranks tied for second all-time at Utah State with 517 career completions along with Diondre Borel (2007-10). The school record is 704 completions set by Jose Fuentes (1999-2002).
KEETON RANKS SIXTH ALL-TIME IN SCHOOL HISTORY IN PASSING YARDS
Junior quarterback Chuckie Keeton has thrown for 5,961 yards to rank sixth all-time in school history and is now 112 yards shy of tying Eric Hipple (1976-79) for fifth-place with 6,073 passing yards, 144 yards shy of tying Brent Snyder (1987-88) for fourth-place with 6,105 passing yards, and 265 yards shy of tying Tony Adams (1970-72) for third-place with 6,226 passing yards. The school record for passing yards is 9,168 set by Jose Fuentes (1999-2002).
KEETON RANKS SEVENTH ALL-TIME IN SCHOOL HISTORY IN PASSING ATTEMPTS
Junior quarterback Chuckie Keeton has attempted 777 passes during his career to rank seventh all-time in school history and is now 52 pass attempts shy of tying Anthony Calvillo (1992-93) for sixth-place with 829 career pass attempts. The school record for pass attempts is 1,270 set by Jose Fuentes (1999-2002).
KEETON RANKS 21ST ALL-TIME IN SCHOOL HISTORY IN RUSHING
Junior quarterback Chuckie Keeton has rushed for 1,153 yards (252 carries, 4.6 ypc) during his Aggie career to rank 21st all-time in school history. Keeton is now 40 yards shy of tying current USU offensive graduate assistant David Fiefia for 20th-place with 1,193 yards rushing. The school record for rushing yards is 3,933 set by Abu Wilson (1992, 1994-96). Overall, Keeton is just the 25th player in school history to rush for 1,000 career yards and just the second quarterback along with Diondre Borel (2007-10) who holds the school record with 1,398 yards by a quarterback.
KEETON'S 18 TOUCHDOWN PASSES RANKS TIED FOR NINTH IN SCHOOL HISTORY FOR A SEASON
Junior quarterback Chuckie Keeton threw 18 touchdown passes in 2013 to rank tied for ninth all-time at USU, while his completion percentage of 69.4 percent ranks first all-time. Keeton set numerous single-season school records in 2012 including touchdown passes (27), passing yards (3,373), total offense (3,992), completion percentage (.676) and completions (275), while ranking seventh in passing attempts (407). The previous school record for touchdown passes was 24 set by Jose Fuentes in 2001. Fuentes also had the previous school record for passing yards of 3,268 set in 2002 and completions of 260 set in 2001. The previous record for total offense was 3,343 yards set by Diondre Borel in 2009, while Leon Jackson III held the previous school record for completion percentage at 65.4 percent set in 2007.
DID YOU KNOW?
Utah State has started three different quarterbacks this year in juniors Chuckie Keeton and Craig Harrison, along with freshman Darell Garreston, which ranks tied for the second-most in the nation along with Hawai'i, Nevada, Temple, Western Kentucky and West Virginia. Air Force leads the nation in most quarterbacks started with four. Of those seven schools who have started at least three quarterbacks this year, Utah State has an 8-5 record, Western Kentucky was 8-4, West Virginia was 4-8, Nevada was 4-8, Air Force was 2-10, Temple was 2-10 and Hawai'i was 1-11.
A LOOK AT NORTHERN ILLINOIS
Northern Illinois is ranked No. 23 in the USA Today Coaches' Poll, No. 24 in the Associated Press poll and No. 23 in the latest BCS Standings as it finished the season 12-1 overall and 8-0 in West Division of the Mid-American Conference before losing to Bowling Green, 47-27, in the MAC Championship game. Offensively, NIU is led by senior quarterback Jordan Lynch who is 233-of-369 passing for 2,676 yards (205.8 ypg) with 23 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Lynch also leads the team in rushing with 1,881 yards on 274 carries (144.7 ypg/6.9 ypc) with 22 touchdowns and junior wide receiver Tommylee Lewis has 80 receptions for 660 yards (60.0 ypg/8.2 ypr) with three touchdowns. Defensively, senior safety Jimmie Ward leads the team with 89 tackles (57-solo, 32-assist), while junior linebacker Jamaal Bass has 81 tackles (46-solo, 35-assist). As a team, Northern Illinois is averaging 41.6 points and 535.5 yards of total offense per game (223.1-passing, 312.5-rushing) and allowing 25.4 points and 423.9 yards of total offense per game (273.8-passing, 150.2-rushing). Overall, NIU returns 16 starters (O-8, D-5, S-3) and 54 lettermen from last year's team that went 12-2 and finished in first-place in the MAC with a 8-0 mark. The Huskies concluded their 2012 season with a 31-10 loss to Florida State in the Discover Orange Bowl. Rod Carey is 12-2 in his first full year as the Huskies head coach.
UTAH STATE AND NORTHERN ILLINOIS SERIES HISTORY
Utah State and Northern Illinois will be meeting for the second time ever at the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl as USU won the first meeting between the two teams, 42-7, in Logan on Oct. 14, 1995.
TOP AGGIE PERFORMERS VERSUS NORTHERN ILLINOIS
Rushing Yards: Abu Wilson (1995), 203
Passing Yards: Patrick Mullins (1995), 173
Receiving Yards: Kevin Alexander (1995), 47
UTAH STATE CONNECTIONS WITH NORTHERN ILLINOIS
Northern Illinois offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Bob Cole was Utah State's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach from 2000-04.
UTAH STATE VERSUS THE STATE OF ILLINOIS
Utah State is 1-1 all-time against teams from the state of Illinois as it is 1-0 against Northern Illinois and 0-1 against Illinois.
UTAH STATE VERSUS THE MID-AMERICAN CONFERENCE
Utah State is 8-2 (.800) all-time against current members of the Mid-American Conference with a 2-0 record against Bowling Green, 1-0 records against Ball State, Northern Illinois, Toledo and Western Michigan, and 1-1 records against Kent State and Ohio. Teams currently in the MAC that USU has not faced include Akron, Buffalo, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Massachusetts and Miami (Ohio).
MOUNTAIN WEST VERSUS THE MID-AMERICAN CONFERENCE IN BOWL GAMES
The Mountain West Conference is 1-3 all-time against teams from the Mid-American Conference in bowl games. In the 2011 Military Bowl, Toledo defeated Air Force, 42-41. In the 2011 New Mexico Bowl, Temple defeated Wyoming, 37-15. In the 2006 Poinsettia Bowl, TCU defeated Northern Illinois, 37-7. And in the 1999 Motor City Bowl, Marshall defeated BYU, 21-3.
Matt Wells VERSUS NORTHERN ILLINOIS
Matt Wells will be facing Northern Illinois for the first time as a head or assistant coach.
Utah State has 59 players in its program from the state of Utah, while Northern Illinois has 49 players on its roster from Illinois.
AGGIES IN DECEMBER
Utah State is 4-14-0 all-time in games played during December and 0-0-0 all-time in known games played on Dec. 26.
NO AND NO
Utah State does not have any players on its roster from the state of Illinois and Northern Illinois does not have any players on its roster from the state of Utah.
FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
Utah State has 12 players in its program from the state of California, which is the second-most on the team behind the 59 players in the program from Utah. Those players from the Golden State currently in USU's program include Ricky Ali'ifua (San Leandro), Andrew Chen (Calabasas), Joey DeMartino (San Diego), Nick Diaz (Redondo Beach), Torrey Green (Riverside), Joe Hill (Fullerton), Mark Hutchinson (Corona), Karris Johnson (San Ramon), Shaan Johnson (Cerritos), Alex Marsaw (Torrance), Paul Piukala (Oakland) and Jake Simonich (Danville).
AGGIES TO PLAY SCHOOL RECORD 14TH GAME AGAINST NORTHERN ILLINOIS
After not playing 13 games in each of its first 113 seasons, Utah State has played 13 games in each of the past three seasons and will be playing its 14th game against Northern Illinois, which is a school record.
UTAH STATE HAS 15 PLAYERS WHO HAVE ALREADY GRADUATED FROM UTAH STATE
Utah State enters the 2013 San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl with 15 players on its roster who have already graduated from USU in safety Maurice Alexander, cornerback Quinton Byrd, running back Joey DeMartino, center Tyler Larsen, cornerback Nevin Lawson, nose guard AJ Pataiali'i, defensive end Paul Piukala, safety Cameron Sanders, wide receiver Travis Reynolds, offensive tackle Eric Schultz, offensive guard Sini Tauauve'a, linebacker Terrell Thompson, placekicker Josh Thompson, tight end D.J. Tialavea, and wide receiver Travis Van Leeuwen.
Utah State had 21 football players earn academic all-WAC honors during the 2012-13 academic year, which ranked first in the WAC. Over the past four years, USU has had 87 players earn academic all-WAC honors and 94 players have graduated from Utah State University.
FORMER WALK-ONS PAYING DIVIDENDS AT UTAH STATE
Utah State has had great success with its walk-on program in recent years, including five players who are now starting in senior linebacker Jake Doughty, senior offensive guard Jamie Markosian, junior linebacker Zach Vigil, junior defensive end B.J. Larsen and junior punter Jaron Bentrude. Other former walk-ons who have earned scholarships include senior safety Clayton Christensen, senior placekicker Josh Thompson, junior safety Frankie Sutera, sophomore defensive end Jordan Nielsen, freshman placekicker Jake Thompson, freshman quarterback Jordan Brown and freshman wide receiver Tyler Weese.
Todd Orlando NOMINATED FOR BROYLES AWARD
Utah State defensive coordinator and safeties coach Todd Orlando was one of 40 coaches nominated for the 2013 Broyles Award. Among the nominees were three other Mountain West assistant coaches in Colorado State offensive coordinator Dave Baldwin, Fresno State offensive coordinator Dave Schramm and San José State offensive coordinator Jimmie Dougherty. The Broyles Award honors the top assistant college football coach in America and was established in 1996 to honor legendary Arkansas Head Coach Frank Broyles. Coach Broyles had a track record of producing some of the most successful assistant coaches in college football history.
UTAH STATE SCORING DRIVES BREAKDOWN FOR 2013
Utah State has had 65 scoring drives on the season and the following is a breakdown of those scoring drives: 10-plus plays (22); five or fewer plays (22); three or fewer plays (7); one play (3); less than two minutes (21); over five minutes (7); 75-plus yards (23).
AGGIE SAFETIES AMONG TOP TACKLERS IN MOUNTAIN WEST AT POSITION
Senior free safety Maurice Alexander is averaging 6.2 tackles per game and junior strong safety Brian Suite is averaging 5.1 tackles per game and the duo ranks first and third, respectively, for tackles among safeties in the Mountain West.
AGGIES IN OVERTIME
With its 48-41 overtime win at No. 19 Louisiana Tech on Nov. 17, 2012, Utah State improved to 6-4 all-time in overtime, including winning each of its last three. All-time, USU is 4-2 in single-overtime games, 2-1 in double-overtime games, and 0-1 in triple overtime games.
BY THE NUMBERS
Utah State is allowing just 107.3 rushing yards per game, which is the fewest allowed by an Aggie defense since 1968.
Utah State has had 60 explosive plays thus far in 2013 with 19 rushes and 41 receptions of at least 20 yards, which averages out to 4.62 explosive plays per game.
FAMOUS UTAH STATE ALUMNI
Merlin Olsen, Football, 1961 Outland Trophy Winner, NFL Hall of Fame. Wayne Estes, Basketball, First player ever to be named AP All-America before the end of the regular season as he was electrocuted and killed less than two hours after scoring a Nelson Fieldhouse record 48 points against Denver on Feb. 8, 1965. Jay Don Blake, Golf, 1980 NCAA Individual Champion, former member of the PGA Tour. Cornell Green, Basketball, Two-time All-American and school's career rebound leader, who went on to an NFL career with the Dallas Cowboys where he was named to the Pro Bowl seven times.
DID YOU KNOW?
Utah State has thrown a total of just eight interceptions thus far in 2013 to rank fourth in the Mountain West and 25th in the nation. Freshman quarterback Darell Garretson has thrown five interceptions in 180 attempts, junior quarterback Chuckie Keeton threw two picks in 196 attempts and junior quarterback Craig Harrison has thrown one pick in 74 attempts.
LAST MEETING VS. NORTHERN ILLINOIS
LOGAN, Utah - Junior running back Abu Wilson rushed for 203 yards with one touchdown on 28 carries and Utah State scored the final 32 points in posting a 42-7 home win against Northern Illinois in Romney Stadium on Oct. 14, 1995.
Redshirt freshman running back Melvin Blue added 76 rushing yards with one touchdown on 15 carries for Utah State, while junior quarterback Patrick Mullins was 13-of-26 passing for 173 yards with one touchdown, while added another score on the ground as he carried the ball three times for 16 yards.
Wilson also had four receptions for 45 yards, while senior wide receiver Kevin Alexander added three receptions for 47 yards.
Utah State finished the game with 468 yards of total offense (295-rushing, 173-passing) as compared to 349 yards of total offense for Northern Illinois (249-rushing, 100-passing) as Charles Taffey rushed for 151 yards on 24 carries and scored the Huskies' lone touchdown on a 2-yard run in the second quarter.
Junior linebacker David Gill led Utah State's defense with 12 tackles, while junior defensive back Mike Hudson and senior linebacker Markell McCain each had 10 tackles. Junior defensive end Danillo Robinson added five tackles and 2.5 sacks as USU recorded 5.0 team sacks in the game.
Junior placekicker Micah Knorr scored the first points of the game on a 35-yard field goal with 1:28 to play in the first quarter to cap a 68-yard, five-play drive. USU added a 1-yard touchdown run by Wilson early in the second quarter to give the home team a 10-0 lead with 13:08 to go in the half before Northern Illinois scored its only points of the game on its ensuing possession on a 2-yard run by Taffey. USU then closed out the first half with a 56-yard field goal from Knorr to give the Aggies a 13-7 lead at intermission.
The second-half was all Utah State as it scored 22 points in the third quarter and seven more in the fourth to post the 35-point win. USU's first touchdown of the third quarter came via a 7-yard pass from Mullins to senior tight end Shawn Griswold, a drive that covered 67 yards in eight plays. Mullins than hit sophomore defensive back London McBride on a pass to convert the two-point play. Junior cornerback Jason Bandy added a 79-yard punt return for a score with 5:47 to play in the third, followed by a 1-yard touchdown run from Mullins to give the home team a 35-7 advantage after three quarters.
The only points scored in the fourth quarter came on a 2-yard touchdown run by Blue to cap an 11-play, 84-yard drive to make the final score 42-7.
Both teams finished the game with 22 first downs. NIU won the possession battle, 31:49 to 28:11, and converted 7-of-18 third downs in the game, while USU was 6-of-13 on third down.
RECAPPING THE FRESNO STATE GAME
FRESNO, Calif. - Utah State forced four turnovers and recovered an on-side kick in an attempt to win the inaugural Mountain West Football Championship game, but fell to 24th-ranked Fresno State, 24-17.
Utah State trailed 24-7 early in the fourth quarter before scoring 10 points in 2:55 to get within one score at 24-17 and was driving inside the Bulldogs' 40-yardline in the final minute before getting intercepted at the FS 17-yard line to end the game.
Utah State had its five-game winning streak snapped with the loss and fell to 2-50 all-time against ranked teams, including a 1-40 road record.
Junior wide receiver Ronald Butler led Utah State as he tied his career-high with five receptions for a career-best 145 yards, while senior wide receiver Travis Van Leeuwen tied his career-high with six receptions for 52 yards and sophomore wide receiver Bruce Natson had four receptions for 50 yards, to go along with two rushes for 11 yards, including a 10-yard touchdown run.
Senior running back Joey DeMartino finished the game with 54 yards on 18 carries, while freshman quarterback Darell Garretson was 12-of-26 passing for 198 yards with one interception and junior quarterback Craig Harrison was 4-of-9 passing for 55 yards and one interception.
Derek Carr led Fresno State as he was 36-of-53 passing for 404 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions, while Isaiah Burse had 17 receptions for 132 yards and one touchdown, and Davante Adams added nine receptions for 168 yards with another score.
Utah State finished the game with 304 yards of total offense as it had 253 yards passing and a season-low 51 yards rushing. Fresno State had 460 yards of total offense with 404 passing and 56 rushing.
Senior linebacker Jake Doughty led Utah State's defense with 10 tackles to go along with 0.5 tackles for loss and recovered his second career fumble that he returned 86 yards for a touchdown. Junior safety Brian Suite added nine tackles and a career-high two interceptions.
Fresno State scored the first 17 points of the game as it converted a 30-yard field goal with 8:36 to play in the first quarter, followed by a pair of touchdown passes from Carr in the second quarter to give the Bulldogs a 17-0 lead with 7:17 to play in the half.
Utah State had two chances to score early in the second quarter, but threw an interception in the end zone and missed a 42-yard field goal.
The Bulldogs appeared ready to add another touchdown right before the half, but fumbled the ball in the red zone and Doughty returned it 86 yards for his first career touchdown with 0:03 to play in the half.
Utah State's defense continued to create turnovers in the third quarter with interceptions by Suite on back-to-back Bulldog possessions, but USU was unable to convert those into any points.
Fresno State scored its only points of the second half late in the third quarter on another Carr touchdown pass to give the home team a 24-7 advantage with 1:33 remaining in the quarter.
Utah State's offense finally got on the board early in the fourth quarter on a 10-yard touchdown run by Natson to cap a 13-play, 78-yard drive. USU senior placekicker Josh Thompson then successfully executed an on-side kick that was recovered by redshirt freshman linebacker Nick Vigil at the Fresno State 45. The Aggies then drove the ball down to the FS 3-yard line before settling for a 20-yard field goal from junior placekicker Nick Diaz.
After that, Utah State's defense forced the Bulldogs to turn the ball over on downs twice in the final 4:00, but was unable to score the tying touchdown.
GARRETSON SETS FRESHMAN SCHOOL RECORD FOR PASSING YARDS AGAINST HAWAI'I
Freshman quarterback Darell Garretson had a career-game against Hawai'i as he set the freshman school record for passing yards with 370 as he was 28-of-41 passing with three touchdowns, all of which are career-highs, to go along with one interception. He also rushed six times for 22 yards against UH. Garretson's 370 passing yards against Hawai'i are also the most by an Aggie quarterback this year and ranks as the 20th-most in a single-game in school history. The previous freshman record for passing yards was held by Brett Stevens who threw for 340 yards against Fresno State in 1985. Overall, Garretson is the first Aggie true freshman to start at quarterback since Chuckie Keeton started his first ever USU game at defending national champion Auburn in 2011. Furthermore, Garretson is the first USU true freshman to win his initial start (at New Mexico on Oct. 19) since Riley Nelson helped USU to a 13-12 win against Fresno State on Oct. 7, 2006.
UTAH STATE HAS BLOCKED EIGHT KICKS IN THE LAST TWO YEARS
Utah State redshirt freshman cornerback Devin Centers has blocked two punts this year in games against BYU and Boise State, giving USU eight blocked kicks during the last two years as the Aggies had two blocked punts, three blocked field goals and one blocked extra point in 2012. Current Aggies who blocked kicks a year ago include junior linebacker Zach Vigil, senior defensive lineman Paul Piukala, sophomore linebacker Kyler Fackrell, senior cornerback Tay Glover-Wright, and sophomore defensive tackle Jordan Nielsen who blocked two kicks.
AGGIES WHO ARE MARRIED AND HAVE BEEN ON MISSIONS
Utah State has 12 players on its team who are married (Clayton Christensen, Craig Harrison, Tyler Larsen, Logan Malohifo'ou, Jeff Manning, Nate Needham, AJ Pataiali'i, Bridger Peck, Joe Summers, Josh Thompson, Kevin Whimpey, Kyle Whimpey), while 24 Aggies have served a two-year LDS Church Mission (Ricky Ali'ifua, Jarom Baldomero, Eric Bernston, Brock Bird, Jordan Brown, Clayton Christensen, Jefferson Court, Dayton DeLoach, Jarom Ioane, Derek Keller, B.J. Larsen, Logan Malohifo'ou, Jeff Manning, Alex Marsaw, Nate Needham, Travis Parrish, Eric Schultz, Brayden Stembride, Joe Summers, Brandon Taukeiaho, Tyler Weese, Kevin Whimpey, Kyle Whimpey and Daniel Wray).
AGGIES IN THE NFL
Eight former Utah State football players are currently on NFL rosters including Jarrett Bush (Green Bay), Will Davis (Miami), Chuck Jacobs (San Francisco), Curtis Marsh (Philadelphia), Donald Penn (Tampa Bay), Robert Turbin (Seattle), Bobby Wagner (Seattle) and Kerwynn Williams (San Diego).
Senior defensive end Connor Williams (Kanata, Ontario, Canada/Holy Trinity HS) is one of just 32 players from Canada currently playing college football at the FBS level. Overall, USU is one of just 18 FBS teams with a Canadian player on its roster.
RUNNING BACK UNIVERSITY
Utah State is the only school in the nation who has had three running backs selected in the NFL Draft during the last two seasons as Robert Turbin (Seattle, 4/111) and Michael Smith (Tampa Bay, 7/212) were both chosen in 2012, while Kerywnn Williams (Indianapolis, 7/230) was selected in 2013. Linebacker Bobby Wagner (Seattle, 2/47) was also taken in the 2012 NFL Draft and cornerback Will Davis (Miami, 3/93) was selected in 2013 giving Utah State five NFL Draft picks during the past two years.
UTAH STATE SETS SINGLE-SEASON ATTENDANCE RECORD AT ROMNEY STADIUM
Utah State had a school record three sellouts in 2013, marking the first time in the 46-year history of Romney Stadium that it has recorded three-straight sellouts, and concluded the season by setting a single-season school record for attendance with 139,576 fans for an average of 23,263 fans per game. The previous attendance record was set in 1996 when 129,206 fans attended six games at Romney Stadium for an average of 21,534 per game.
UTAH STATE AT ROMNEY STADIUM
With its 35-7 home win against Wyoming, Utah State has now won 12 of its last 14 home games overall and eight of its last nine home games against conference foes. Overall, USU is 124-98 (.559) all-time at Romney Stadium.
UTAH STATE HAS BEEN DOMINANT IN LEAGUE PLAY OVER LAST THREE YEARS
Utah State has won 18 of its last 19 league games dating back to 2011, and won a school record 13 straight conference games before falling to Boise State, 34-23, on Oct. 12, 2013.
UTAH STATE SETS SINGLE-SEASON RECORD WITH SEVEN CONFERENCE WINS
Utah State's seven league wins in 2013 are a school record, bettering the six league wins set in 1936 and 2012.
DID YOU KNOW?
Utah State freshman quarterback Darell Garretson is from the same high school (Chandler (Ariz.) HS) as UCLA sophomore quarterback Brett Hundley. Also, Garretson's grandfather, Darell Garretson, was a referee in the National Basketball Association, while his uncle Rick Garretson is currently a referee in the National Basketball Association.
HEAD COACH Matt Wells
First-year head coach Matt Wells wasted little time putting his stamp on the Aggie football program as he led Utah State to the inaugural Mountain West Championship game after winning the Mountain Division of the conference with a 7-1 record in 2013.
For his efforts, Wells was named the 2013 Mountain West Coach of the Year as he tied the school record for wins by a first-year head coach as the Aggies go into its bowl game with an 8-5 record.
During his first year as Utah State's head coach, Wells mentored 14 Aggies who earned various all-Mountain West honors.
Overall, Wells is the second USU coach in as many years and fifth in school history to garner conference coach of the year honors along with Bruce Snyder (1978), Chuck Shelton (1991), John L. Smith (1997) and Gary Andersen (2012). Wells is also the fourth individual to earn MW Coach of the Year honors in his first season along with BYU's Gary Crowton (2001), Utah's Urban Meyer (2003) and Air Force's Troy Calhoun (2007).
Wells, who is the 11th-youngest head coach at the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) level and one of just 12 coaches to lead his alma mater, is just the second Utah State graduate to be appointed its head football coach joining Chris Pella who graduated from USU in 1965 and coached the Aggies from 1983-85.
Wells had spent the past two seasons as an assistant coach at Utah State, including serving as the team's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach during the 2012 campaign. In 2011, Wells coached USU's quarterbacks and was the team's recruiting coordinator.
During his three years at Utah State, Wells has been part of a Utah State team that went to back-to-back-to-back bowl games for the first time in school history, while posting a 26-13 record. Furthermore, USU's 41-15 win against Toledo in the 2012 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl was the school's second-ever bowl victory.
Utah State concluded its most successful season in school history in 2012 as it went 11-2 and set school records for wins (11) and home wins (6), while being nationally ranked in the Associated Press poll for three-straight weeks for the first time in school history. USU also won its first outright conference championship since 1936 during the 2012 campaign and just its third in school history joining the 1921 and 1936 teams that both won Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference titles. All-time, Utah State has won or shared 11 league championships.
As offensive coordinator in 2012, Wells directed an Aggie offense that set single-season school records for total points (454), total offense (6,108 yards), completions (285) and total yards per game (469.8), while ranking second in points per game (34.9) and total passing yards (3,445).
Nationally, Utah State's 2012 offense ranked second in the Western Athletic Conference and 23rd in the country in total offense (469.8 ypg), second in the WAC and 18th in the nation in passing efficiency (153.21), second in the WAC and 25th in the nation in rushing offense (204.8 ypg), third in the WAC and 31st in the nation in sacks allowed (1.38 pg), third in the WAC and 33rd in the nation in scoring offense (34.9 ppg), and third in the WAC and 39th in the nation in passing offense (265.0 ypg).
Under Wells, Utah State finished the 2012 season scoring 38 or more points in each of its final seven games, bettering the previous school record of 38-plus points in three-straight games accomplished six times and most recently in 2000.
Utah State also finished the 2012 season winning its final seven games, which is tied for the fourth-longest active winning streak in the nation and tied for the third-longest winning streak in school history.
In 2012, Wells coached current Aggie junior quarterback Chuckie Keeton who earned first-team all-WAC honors after setting single-season school records for touchdown passes (27), passing yards (3,373), completion percentage (.676), completions (275) and total offense (3,992 yards). Keeton also earned WAC Offensive Player of the Week honors four times in 2012, which is a single-season school record.
As the quarterbacks coach in 2011, Wells helped Utah State's offense establish then-school records for total offense (5,945 yards), rushing yards (3,675), total points (437) and total touchdowns (60).
Under Wells' tutelage, Keeton has emerged as one of the top quarterbacks in the nation and currently ranks first in school history in career completion percentage (.665), second in career touchdown passes (56), tied for second in career completions (517), third in career total offense (7,114 yards), sixth in career passing yardage (5,961), seventh in career passing attempts (777), and 24th in career rushing yards (1,099).
In 2012, Utah State had four offensive players earn first-team all-conference honors, while two others were named to the league's second-team.
Wells, a former Aggie quarterback and three-year letterwinner from 1994-96, was a member of two conference championship teams as a student-athlete as he was a redshirt freshman in 1993 when Utah State tied for first in the Big West Conference and defeated Ball State, 42-33, in the Las Vegas Bowl for its first-ever bowl win. As a senior in 1996, Wells helped USU to another share of the Big West Conference title.
Wells, who has been a part of six bowl teams and two conference championships during his coaching career, came to Utah State after two coaching stints at New Mexico, serving as the Lobos' wide receivers and kickoff return unit coach in 2010 and its wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator from 2007 to 2008. In 2009, Wells served as the quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator at Louisville.
Prior to his first stint at New Mexico, Wells spent five years (2002-06) as the tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator at Tulsa and five years at the U.S. Naval Academy (1997-2001) as its quarterbacks coach, fullbacks coach and wide receivers coach, while also serving as the junior varsity head coach and offensive coordinator for three years.
Wells, a native of Sallisaw, Okla., received his bachelor's degree in business marketing from Utah State in 1996, graduating cum laude. He and his wife Jen have two daughters, Jadyn (10) and Ella (7), and one son Wyatt (4). His brother, Luke, is Utah State's co-offensive coordinator, tight ends coach, and recruiting coordinator.