THE SCOTSMAN

Utah State Aggies: Top 10 Moments Of The Decade

Dec 26, 2019, 11:26 AM | Updated: Jun 8, 2020, 12:18 pm

Photos: Getty Images...

Photos: Getty Images

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – A new decade is just around the corner, but with the turn of the decade, it’s fun to look back at the moments that made us proud.

The Utah State Aggies have plenty to be proud of from the last decade.

From magical basketball runs to star football players, here is a look back at the best moments for Utah State Athletics from the last decade.

10 – Brady Jardine dunks over Saint Mary’s

Arguably the greatest dunk in Utah State basketball history. It might be the first play most Aggie fans think of when the team is brought up.

On February 19, 2011, Brady Jardine put the exclamation point on a 10-point second-half rally that gave the Aggies a win over the then 23 ranked Gaels and gave Saint Mary’s their first home loss of the season.

I’m sure Mitchell Young still hears, “JARDINE,” in his sleep.

9 – Utah State records a school-record 12 sacks

That 2012 defense might have been the best to ever take the field for Utah State. Their game at San Jose State on October 13, 2012, was a microcosm of that unit.

A program-record 12 sacks; Kyler Fackrell, Nevin Lawson, Jordan Nielsen, and Connor Williams each had 2 and 4 more players added to the total.

8 – Utah State wins their first bowl game since 1993

In 2011 the Aggies became bowl eligible for the first time 1997, however, they lost to Ohio in the Famous Idaho Potato bowl.

In 2012, they went back to the Potato Bowl and ran all over Toledo for their first win since beating Ball State in the 1993 Las Vegas Bowl.

Kerwynn Williams was the game MVP running for a career-high 235 yards and 3 touchdowns, with all 3 touchdowns coming in the 4th quarter.

It also gave the Aggies win number 11 for the season, making them the most successful team in program history. A mark that would be matched by the 2018 team.

7 – 2010 win over BYU in Logan

It had been 17 years since Utah State had a win over their in-state rival, 10-straight wins for the cougars in the series, but on October 1, 2010, the Aggies got their first of what would be 4 wins over BYU in the decade.

You might call it the first “statement” win for Gary Andersen, who had taken over the program the year previous.

6 – 2011 win over Nevada to become bowl eligible

I mentioned earlier the Aggies went to their first bowl game in 14 years in 2011, in order to do that, the team had to win four of their last five games.

On November 26, 2011, Utah State beat Nevada 21-17 in Logan to get their sixth win of the season.

Future all-pro linebacker, Bobby Wagner, recovered a fumble with Nevada driving into Aggie territory late in the game and the offense ran out the clock from there. The win also snapped a seven-game home losing streak to Nevada.

5 – 2012 overtime win over Utah

This decade snapped a number of streaks for Utah State, including a 12-game skid to Utah. 1997 was the last time the Aggies bested the Utes. It took overtime and holding off a Utah rally to get the 27-20 win.

The Utes tied the game with 3:14 left when Jon Hays found Kenneth Scott for a 24-yard touchdown. The Aggies got the ball first and capitalized with a Kerwynn Williams touchdown. The Utes answered with a Jake Murphy touchdown catch but it was called back because of offensive pass interference and then on fourth down, Will Davis broke up a pass to give Utah State the victory.

This is important because it was one of only two wins the Aggies had over P5 teams in the decade; the other being Wake Forest in 2014.

4 – 2014 win over BYU in Provo

Two BYU games on the list? I had to.

In 2010 they snapped one streak against the Cougars, in 2014 they snapped another. BYU had won 17 straight games vs Utah State in Provo, the last Aggie win coming in 1978. BYU was undefeated coming into this game and ranked no. 18 in the country.

Nick Vigil had arguably the best effort ever by an Aggie player leading the team in rushing, 57 yards and 1 touchdown, and tackles with 9.

Darrell Garretson threw for 321 yards and 3 touchdowns, and Hunter Sharp caught 5 balls for 173 yards and a score.

3 – 2018 Football Season

It’s hard to pick a single moment from this team or even a single game. They tied a program record with 11 wins, 2012 being the last team to reach that mark. So why do I have them higher than 2012? Because they broke almost every statistical record the program had, 34 to be exact.

Seventy-nine total touchdowns, eight wins by 20-plus points, 6,466 yards of total offense, 804 yards of offense in a single game (San Jose State), 29 scoring drives that were under a minute, and a record 32 touchdown passes by Jordan Love to just name a few.

It wasn’t just the offense, the defense set records for touchdowns (6) and interception yards (475).

The 2018 team was a juggernaut and capped off their season with a 52-13 win over North Texas in the New Mexico Bowl. I doubt we ever see a team in Logan as dominate as they were.

2 – 2018-19 Basketball Season

From being picked ninth in the Mountain West preseason poll to earning an eight-seed in the NCAA tournament, the 2018-19 basketball season was the most fun five months an Aggie fan could ask for. The program had just parted ways with head coach Tim Duryea and Craig Smith was a relative unknown to most Aggie fans, coming to the school from South Dakota.

Koby McEwen left the program for Marquette and the team hadn’t made the NCAA tournament in 8 years.

There were no expectations to start the season.

It didn’t take long for Smith to put his stamp on the program. The Aggies went 10-3 in non-conference play, won 14 of 15 after a 1-3 conference start, won in Wyoming for the first time in 57 years, beat San Diego State for the first time since joining the Mountain West, and knocked off the defending champions, Nevada when they were ranked number 12 in the country.

Neemias Queta won freshman of the year and defensive player of the year. Sam Merrill won the Mountain West player of the year and Smith was the coach of the year.

The team went on to win the conference tournament and earn an 8-seed in the NCAA tournament, the highest in school history.

1 – Joining the Mountain West Conference

“Moses had to wander in the desert for 40 years, I’m not sure why we had to do it for 50.”

Those were the words of then school president, Stan Albrecht, in May of 2012 after Utah State accepted an invitation to the Mountain West Conference.

Utah State spent nearly two decades in independence before joining what is now the Big West conference in 1988. After the conference dropped football, the program spent two years in independence while the other sports remained in the Big West. Football then joined the Sun Belt but after two years there, the entire school moved to the WAC.

After Utah and BYU left the MWC in 2010, and with Boise State and San Diego State threatening to leave for the Big East, the conference added Fresno State, Nevada, and Utah State.

Nothing has had more of an impact on Utah State athletics in the past decade than joining the Mountain West conference. It has increased exposure and revenue for every program at the University and has taken recruiting to a new level in every program.

Are you an Aggie Athletics fanatic? Join Matt Glade on The Scotsman podcast for the most comprehensive coverage of Utah State Athletics. Find it wherever you find podcasts or on the KSL Sports app.

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Utah State Aggies: Top 10 Moments Of The Decade