Grzesiak, Davenport Special For Aggies In Injury Riddled Win Over Rams

Oct 15, 2022, 8:39 PM | Updated: 9:30 pm
Utah State defensive end Patrick Joyner lines up against UNLV at Maverik Stadium on Saturday, September 24.

LOGAN, Utah – Utah State overcomes a pair of quarterback injuries as the defense came through in the second half of a 17-13 win over Colorado State.

A crowd of more than 35,000 fans, the fourth largest in Canvas Stadium history, saw both offenses struggle to maintain momentum with each team down to their third-string quarterback.

Walk-on redshirt-freshman Giles Pooler became the third Ram quarterback in as many weeks. The Aggies saw starter Cooper Legas and backup Levi Williams both go down to injury in the first half, clearing the way for freshman Bishop Davenport to make his USU debut.

With both quarterbacks being extremely inexperienced, this turned into a defensive battle.

Daniel Grzesiak came up huge for a USU defense that had struggled to pressure the quarterback all season long. Grzesiak finished with five tackles, three sacks, a pass break-up and a forced fumble. Grzesiak hadn’t tallied a sack since early September against Alabama.

Head coach Blake Anderson mentioned Grzesiak might have had a little extra incentive tonight.

“I think this one was circled. That’s a staff that he played for at Nevada. I think he wanted to make sure and impress upon those guys that he could do his job and do it well. He did it when we needed it most.”

The Aggie defense forced five second half punts before senior safety Gurvan Hall Jr. ended the last CSU drive with an interception, capping an ugly Aggie win. Utah State finished with a season-high six pass break ups.

Junior linebacker MJ Tafisi (12 tackles) and senior linebacker AJ Vongphachanh (10 tackles) each finished with double-figure stops to lead the defense.

Davenport was 3-of-9 through the air for 12 yards. The true freshman quarterback finished with 29 yards on 11 carries in his first appearance.

Anderson spoke of Davenports lack of practice reps leading up to tonight.

“To go out and to be able to do what he did says a lot about just his poise, and what really he’s capable of moving forward.”

Calvin Tyler Jr. ran for 129 yards, his third straight 100-yard performance. He is the first Aggie to rush for 100 yards in three-straight games since Kerwynn Williams in 2012.

First Quarter

The Aggies came out fast, using tempo to throw the Rams defense off. USU gained 41 yards on their first five plays from scrimmage, seemingly putting CSU on their heels.

After a 19-yard gain by Calvin Tyler Jr., the Ram pass rush got to Legas, forcing an interception to end the Aggie drive.

Following the turnover, Utah State’s defense stepped up, limiting CSU to a field goal after beginning the drive at the Aggie 29 yard line.

USU continued playing at a torrid pace offensively on the following drive.

The Aggies ran 11 plays in just over four minutes of game time before the drive stalled. Connor Coles pulled the 45-yard field goal attempt right, resulting in his first missed kick of the year.

Colorado State picked up one first down before punting on their next possession.

After starting their next drive with a false start, the Aggie offense benefitted from a roughing the passer penalty that got USU out of the shadow of the own goal posts.

From there, Utah State needed eight plays before striking pay dirt. Legas completed three passes on the drive, capping it with a 32-yard bomb that hit Justin McGriff in stride, giving USU a 7-3 lead.

Second Quarter

Unable to maintain the momentum, Utah State’s defense allowed the Rams to march 68 yards for a touchdown. Avery Morrow scored from 26 yards out, giving CSU a 10-7 advantage.

Redshirt-sophomore quarterback Levi Williams took over for the Aggies on the following drive as it was reported that Legas had suffered a head injury on the previous possession.

On Williams third drive, he came up limping following a hard tackle on a scramble. After getting his right ankle re-taped, Williams returned but was obviously favoring the leg.

Utah State’s defense came up big, forcing a missed field goal from Michael Boyle after the Aggies punt was blocked on the previous possession. The missed field goal was the third of the first half as Coles had already missed a pair for the Aggies.

Bishop Davenport, Utah State’s third quarterback of the night, took one snap to end the half with the Aggies still trailing 10-7.

Third Quarter

After USU forced a three and out on the Rams first possession of the second half, Bishop Davenport remained in the game at quarterback for Utah State.

The moment didn’t look too big for the young signal-caller as Davenport completed the first two passes of his Aggie career. McGriff and Terrell Vaughn caught balls, moving USU within range of a Coles 48-yard field goal to tie the game at 10.

After yet another defensive stop, it was the Davenport and Tyler Jr. show that led the Aggies 59 yards for a touchdown. The freshman quarterback showed his athleticism, capping the touchdown drive with a four yard scramble for his first career touchdown.

A Robert Briggs fumble gave the Rams life as CSU recovered, taking over inside the red zone.

Utah State’s defense limited CSU to three first downs and just 53 total yards in the third quarter as they began to take over.

“We hit the quarterback a lot tonight,” Anderson said in praise of his defensive unit.

Fourth Quarter

USU’s defense against stepped up, forcing a 35-yard field goal as they maintained their 17-13 lead.

Gurvan Hall Jr. put the exclamation point on the Aggie win when he intercepted an overthrown pass from Giles Pooler.

Following the lone CSU turnover, Utah State was able to run out the more than five minutes remaining in the game to give the Aggies their second consecutive win.

Up Next

Utah State (3-4, 2-1) head east to Laramie, Wyoming where they will face the Wyoming Cowboys (4-3, 2-1) on Saturday, October 22. Kickoff for this game is scheduled for 7:45 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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