Three Keys As Utah State Hopes To Continue Momentum Against Colorado State

Oct 15, 2022, 3:28 PM
PROVO, UT- SEPTEMBER 29: Cooper Legas #5 of the Utah State Aggies throws a pass with protection from Jacob South #78, Falepule Alo #69, Chandler Dolphin #74 and Hale Motu'apuaka #8 during the second half of their game against the Brigham Young Cougars September 29, 2022 at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo, Utah.

LOGAN, Utah – The Aggies look to continue their upward trend as they aim for the first road win of the season against struggling Colorado State.

The Rams (1-4, 1-0) host Utah State (2-4, 1-1) in a Mountain West football matchup set to kickoff at 5 p.m. (MST)

Coming off of their best team performance of the season, Utah State can continue to climb the conference standings against a Colorado State teams that has endured their own ups and downs this year.

For USU, a second straight win revolves around controlling the trenches on both sides of the ball.

Stop The Rush, Take Away The Pass

The Rams have a Mountain West worst 361 rushing yards this season. They have yet to score a touchdown on the ground. San Jose State has rushed for 215 more yards that the Rams have been able to muster this year.

While the Aggie rush defense hasn’t been stellar this season, they have shown progress in recent weeks.

Air Force came into Logan averaging nearly 370 rushing yards per game but the Aggies controlled the run game, allowing 264 rush yards.

Statistically, the Aggie defense is third worst in the Mountain West and should welcome the challenge of a team like Colorado State that struggle mightily to move the chains on the ground.

By stopping the run at the point of attack and forcing the Rams to pass, it allows an Aggie secondary to work. Led by Hunter Reynolds & Ajani Carter, USU’s defense has already racked up seven interceptions.

An improved rush defense should translate into turnover opportunities for the Aggies.

Keep Legas Clean In The Pocket

Cooper Legas has been sacked three times since taking over at quarterback for Logan Bonner just two games ago.

In spite of the low sack numbers, Legas was consistently under immediate pressure against Air Force. The athletic junior QB used his legs to avoid would be tacklers, extending plays or breaking contain to run for a few yards himself, but that won’t be sustainable over the longterm.

For an Aggie offensive line that includes two graduate seniors in left tackle Alfred Edwards and center Chandler Dolphin; along with a pair of seniors in left guard Wade Meacham and right tackle Jacob South, allowing pressure like they did against Air Force is unacceptable.

If the offensive line can consistently provide protection for Legas, wide receivers Brian Cobbs, Justin McGriff and Terrell Vaughn should have time to find open space in the Rams secondary.

Pressure The Quarterback

Utah State’s defensive front has not been able to consistently pressure the quarterback this season.

With seven sacks, the Aggies have the third fewest sacks in the Mountain West, ahead of only Hawaii and Air Force.

While USU has struggled to collapse the pocket, Colorado State has allowed a league worst 26 sacks through five games. That’s an average of more than five sacks allowed per game.

Up Next

Utah State (2-4, 1-1) is in Fort Collins, Colorado to face the Colorado State Rams (1-4, 1-0). The Rams are coming off of their first win of the season, a 17-14 conference win over Nevada. Kickoff for this game is scheduled for 5 p.m. (MST).

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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