Utah State Running Backs Have Big Day In Season Opener

Aug 28, 2022, 2:57 PM | Updated: Aug 30, 2022, 3:48 pm

LOGAN, UT – The Aggies had a hard time finding running lanes early on Saturday, but a determined rush attack rack ended up with 261 yards rushing.

Utah State came back from a 14-0 deficit to knock off the UConn Huskies in the season opener for both teams at Maverik Stadium in Logan, UT on Saturday, August 27.

Falling behind by two scores is never a positive, but at least for the Aggies, it happened early enough that they were not forced to abandon their running game in favor of a passing attack to finish the comeback.

Graduate senior Calvin Tyler Jr. ran hard early but didn’t seem to find many holes in the first half.

“It was the first game and we knew what they were going to come with it,” Tyler Jr. said postgame. “We knew we were going to get rolling soon. Just had to be patient and trust in coach and the play calling. We had a good game but it could have been better.”

Get rolling they did.

Freshman running back Robert Briggs gave USU their first big rush of the afternoon, a 23-yard second quarter gallop into the end zone that erased a 14-0 UConn lead, tying the game up at 14.

Thanks to a beefed up offensive line and holding a lead, the Aggies were able to pound away at the Huskies front in the second half.

“They played lights out,” Tyler Jr. said of the Aggies offensive line. “I knew we were gonna have a good day when guys stay with it. I’m just so proud of the whole line.”

Tyler Jr. finished with more carries (33) than quarterback Logan Bonner had passing attempts (29). His career-high 161 yards rushing marked the fifth time he has eclipsed the 100 yard mark as an Aggie.

It was also the most rushing attempts and yards for an Aggie back since Gerold Bright rushed 36 times for 179 yards against Colorado State in 2019.

The workload did surprise Tyler Jr. as he looked at the box score. “I didn’t know I had 30 carries until after the game. It felt good, but I was a little winded coming into the fourth quarter. I’m ready to get back to practice and get back in shape.”

A freshman, Briggs finished with 10 carries for 85 yards, including that 23-yard scoring scamper.

Utah State has now won 39 of its last 48 games when it has a 100-yard rusher and 45 of its last 51 games when rushing at least 40 times in a game.

Up Next

The Aggies turn their attention to perennial powerhouse Alabama. Utah State travels to Tuscaloosa, Alabama where they will face the preseason No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide in their season opener.

Every Utah State football game can be heard on the KSL Sports Zone with Scott Garrard and former Aggie quarterback Kevin White on the call.

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Utah State Running Backs Have Big Day In Season Opener