Utah State Defense Shines In Victory Over Colorado State

Oct 17, 2022, 1:37 PM | Updated: 1:40 pm
LOGAN, UT- OCTOBER 8: Defensive Coordinator Ephraim Banda carries Ajani Carter #12 of the Utah State Aggies after he intercepted a pass in the endzone by the Air Force Falcons during the second half of their game October 8, 2022 Maverik Stadium in Logan, Utah.

LOGAN, Utah – Down to their fourth-string quarterback in a tightly contested road battle, the Utah State defense came through in a big way on Saturday night.

The Aggies won their second straight Mountain West game, knocking off the Colorado State Rams 17-13.

“You cannot say enough about how our defense played,” USU head coach Blake Anderson said postgame. “Everybody stepped up and did what they needed to do to stay in the race. We had enough adversity for that to have been very easy to lose.”

Beginning three different possessions inside their own 30-yard line, Utah State’s defense found a way to limit the CSU offense to just six points, the difference in the game according to Anderson.

“To have three possessions inside the scoring area, down in field goal range and to only give up six points? Honestly, that’s the game right there. Our defenses ability to create and make them kick field goals, and get one of them to end up in a zero point drive, that’s the game. They played lights out when we had to have them.”

A number of different players stepped up for the Aggies in a must-win environment.

Playing against the same coaching staff he had played under at Nevada, junior defensive end Daniel Grzesiak led the Aggie pass rush.

With five tackles, three sacks, a pass break-up and a forced fumble, Grzesiak oozed confidence postgame.

“We are all pretty confident. I feel like that’s the only way to play the game. If you don’t believe in yourself, then who will believe you?”

Linebackers MJ Tafisi (12 tackles) and AJ Vongphachanh (9 tackles) led USU in stops. The pair also combined for two tackles behind the line of scrimmage.

In the secondary, Ike Larsen made his first start at safety, finishing with three tackles. Gurvan Hall Jr. put the exclamation point on the victory with his first interception of the year and second of his career.

“They was doing their thing today,” Grzesiak said of the Aggie secondary. “I feel like I had a five second pass rush. I love it.”

The win didn’t satisfy an Aggie defense that has improved by leaps and bounds this season. Grzesiak knows they’ll have to continue the upward trend.

“We’re getting better. You look at weeks one, two, three and four, this is a completely different team.  But hey, we gotta get back to work and prove it all again next week.”

Up Next

Utah State (3-4, 2-1) head east to Laramie, Wyoming where they will face former Aggie Andrew Peasley and 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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