Utah State’s Defense Lifts Aggies To Sixth Straight Win

Oct 20, 2018, 11:01 PM | Updated: Oct 23, 2018, 11:54 am

LARAMIE, Wyo. – The Utah State Aggies relied on their defense and special teams to beat Wyoming, 24-16 on the road.

Despite allowing the Cowboys to rack up 331 yards of total offense, the Aggies were able to hold them to just one touchdown and forced a turnover that set up the offense to score a touchdown.

Utah State head coach Matt Wells was impressed with the mindset of the defense.

Our offense has played lights out for most of the year,” Wells said. “But to see the defenses’ swagger on the sideline, they gave me confidence when they took the field,” he added.

Offense Struggled In The First Half

It looked as though the Aggies were going to run away in the first quarter when they scored 30 seconds into the game with a 56-yard touchdown on the ground from running back Darwin Thompson.

Aggies quarterback Jordan Love struggled to find a rhythm, completing 12-of-28 passes for 53 yards and one interception.

The Aggies entered the game against Wyoming ranked 23rd in the country in total yards per game with 479 and No. 2 in the nation in points per game with 51.7.

Both teams exchanged field goals to finish out the first half with Utah State on top, 10-3. The Aggies racked up just 142 yards in the opening half of play including 49 yards through the air.

Defense And Special Teams Made Big Second Half Plays

The start of the second half, the defense intercepted Wyoming’s first play of the third quarter from quarterback Tyler Vander Waal as safety Jontrell Rocquemore returned the ball all the way to the Wyoming 3 yard line. One play later, Thompson found the end zone for his second touchdown of the day.

Wyoming scored their second field goal with 4:25 remaining in the third quarter. On the ensuing kickoff, USU wide receiver Savon Scarver took the ball 99 yards for a touchdown, giving the Aggies a commanding 24-6 lead.

Wyoming went on the score 10 more points and trailed by eight points. Utah State’s defense came up big again on the Cowboy’s final drive, forcing them to turn the ball over on downs with 2:02 left in the game.

Offense Faced Adversity

When the final whistle blew and the Aggies pulled off the win, it wasn’t a typical day for the offense. They finished with 194 yards of total offense, including just 53 passing yards.

Darwin Thompson talked about what Wyoming did on defense that caused them problems.

“They did a lot of different things that we haven’t seen this season, they had a lot of movement up front,” Thompson said. “Their plan was to stop the run and play man coverage on the back end.”

Coach Wells was extremely pleased with the play of his defense.

I think we are pretty strong minded,” he said. “Tremendous performance from our defense.”

Mountain West Is Utah State’s To Lose

With the win, the Aggies have won six straight games and stand at 6-1 overall and 3-0 in Conference play. They hold the top position in the Mountain Division, with Boise State on their heels with a 3-1 record.

Matt Wells knows what his team needs to do to get a Conference Championship.

“Your defense has to play championship level defense and we are in a hunt.”

The sixth win of the season made Utah State bowl eligible for the seventh time in the last eight seasons and the 6-1 record marks Utah State’s best start to the season since 1974.

Utah State will return to Maverik Stadium on October 27th when they host New Mexico at 2 p.m.

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