Three Keys As Utah State Football Aims For Third Straight Win
Oct 22, 2022, 4:52 PM | Updated: Nov 7, 2022, 2:27 pm
LOGAN, Utah – Quarterback questions remain as Utah State looks for their third straight win, facing former Aggie Andrew Peasley and the Wyoming Cowboys.
USU (3-4, 2-1) travels to Laramie, WY where they will take on the Cowboys (4-3, 2-1) on Saturday, October 22. Kickoff for this game is scheduled for 7:45 p.m. (MST).
Battle for the Rifle | at Wyoming
⌚️ Saturday | 7:45 PM MT
— USU Football (@USUFootball) October 17, 2022
Coming off of a bye week, the Cowboys won their last game, a 27-14 road win at New Mexico.
With Peasley leading the Cowboy offense and question marks about who will take snaps for the Aggies, what will it take for Utah State to win their third straight game in Mountain West conference play? Here are three keys to look for USU hopes to escape Laramie with a victory.
Execute The Offense
Utah State lost Cooper Legas (concussion) and Levi Williams (ankle) to injuries last week against Colorado State. Down to their fourth QB of the season, redshirt-freshman Bishop Davenport led USU to a second-half, come-from-behind win over the Rams.
As game time approaches, head coach Blake Anderson has not announced who will be starting at quarterback in Laramie.
Whether that be gamesmanship to keep the Cowboys guessing or a true uncertainty as to the availability of Legas and Williams, the goal for the starting quarterback should be simple.
Finish handoffs. go through progressions and hit the open receiver; and when available, move the chains with your legs.
Though Legas and Williams each have more time in Anderson’s system, Davenport has been with the Aggies since early summer. With a week of practice reps under Davenport’s belt, a luxury Utah State didn’t have in last week’s win, he should be able to handle running a larger portion of the offense.
If Davenport starts, expect a slimmed down playbook from offensive coordinator Anthony Tucker. But the heart of what Utah State does well, run the ball, shouldn’t be impacted by the turmoil at quarterback.
Lean On Rushing Attack
How can a coaching staff help a young, inexperienced starting quarterback in a difficult environment on the road? Hand the ball to your running backs early and often.
As a team, USU is piling up 173.5 yards per game on the ground and their 1,215 rushing yards are good for second in the Mountain West and top-20 nationally. Utah State’s 294 rushing attempts are the second most in the conference, behind only a passing challenged Air Force team.
The Cowboys rush defense has been stout, allowing a fifth in conference 147 yards per game on the ground.
ℝ𝕦𝕟 𝕀𝕥 🆙💨 pic.twitter.com/DgUzNTtg91
— USU Football (@USUFootball) October 20, 2022
Graduate-senior running back Calvin Tyler Jr. has been on a tear in recent weeks. In his second season with the Aggies, Tyler Jr. has four 100+ yard rushing games, including topping the century mark in his past three games. Tyler Jr. is the first Aggie back since Kerwynn Williams to top 100 yards in three straight games. Despite his success piling up the yardage, Tyler Jr. has found the end zone once this season.
Behind Tyler Jr. is freshman Robert Briggs. In his college debut, Briggs carried 10 times for 85 yards and a touchdown. After earning Mountain West Freshman of the Week honors in that win over UConn, Briggs has only reached double-digit carries twice since then.
If Williams or Davenport end up getting the start for Utah State, expect both Aggie backs to see a lot of action.
Utah State’s defense has been plagued by missed tackles at each level this season. For an undermanned Aggie team that also could be without Byron Vaughns, who also left the Colorado State game with a head injury, standing up the ball carrier and swarming to the ball will be paramount.
— USU Football (@USUFootball) October 19, 2022
A pair of Aggies find themselves in the top-20 nationally for most tackles. Junior linebacker MJ Tafisi is averaging more than nine tackles per game and is 12th in the nation with 66 stops. Senior linebacker AJ Vongphachanh’s 61 stops is third in the Mountain West and 20th nationally.
This dynamic pair of linebackers will need help stopping a Wyoming offense that is averaging a fifth in the Mountain West, 23 points per game.
Game Eight Captains
As customary, Utah State has named five captains for today’s game. Junior defensive end Patrick Joyner Jr.; graduate-junior defensive end Daniel Grzesiak; sophomore long-snapper Jacob Garcia; graduate-senior offensive lineman Jacob South and graduate-senior offensive lineman Wade Meacham.
𝐆𝐚𝐦𝐞 𝟖 𝐂𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐚𝐢𝐧𝐬 🏈
— USU Football (@USUFootball) October 22, 2022
Watch & Listen
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). Fans can watch the game on Fox Sports Networks.
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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