Style Points Not Necessary As Utah State Beats New Mexico

Nov 5, 2022, 4:52 PM | Updated: 5:02 pm
Utah State safety Hunter Reynolds celebrates after an interception against Weber State at Maverik Stadium on Saturday, September 10.

LOGAN, Utah – Wind did as much to slow down the offenses as either defense did in Utah State’s rain soaked 27-10 win over New Mexico.

Wind gusts and occasional rain wreaked havoc against both offenses and special teams units as neither team could generate any consistent offense.

Legas struggled passing with the challenging weather as he finished just 13-for-27 for 149 yards and a touchdown. The overall numbers aren’t great, but finishing without a single turnover was huge for the Utah State offense.

Calvin Tyler Jr. carried 10 times for 25 yards in the first half but did not play in the second half. Robert Briggs carried the second half load, finishing with 87 yards on 19 carries.

Terrell Vaughn continued to show improvement as he caught five balls for 83 yards and a TD. Brian Cobbs reeled in four passes for 31 yards while NyNy Davis had two catches.

Defensively, the Aggies defense held quarterback Justin Holaday to 7-for-18 passing for 42 yards. Nate Jones and Holaday combined for 232 yards on the ground. USU finished with three sacks and two pass breakups.

First Quarter

The Lobos took the opening kickoff but punted after a quick three-and-out. Utah State took over at the Lobo 43-yard line.

In his return after missing the loss to Wyoming, Cooper Legas took the second offensive snap from scrimmage and lofted a beautiful ball over the top of the Lobo secondary, finding Terrell Vaughn for a 38-yard score.

The Aggie defense held New Mexico without a passing completion on their first three drives. The Lobos gained 14 yards on the ground and did not manage a first down in the early portion of the period.

On USU’s third possession, the Aggies pieced together a long, 14-play drive that ended when Connor Coles pushed a 41-yard field goal attempt wide right.

The missed field goal appeared to galvanize New Mexico’s offense. They drove 55 yards before settling for a Luke Drzewiecki, 31-yard field goal.

Second Quarter

After USU punted to open the quarter, New Mexico put together their best drive of the half.

Without attempting a single pass on the drive, the Lobos marched 74 yards for a touchdown. Nate Jones capped the drive with a 24-yard trot to give New Mexico a 10-7 lead.

On Utah State’s following drive, a New Mexico personal foul extended the drive when Legas was hit late. Later in the drive, a fake punt allowed Stephen Kotsanlee to rush for 10 yards. It was USU’s first fourth-down conversion of the game. The drive would stall six plays later. Kotsanlee pinned New Mexico inside their own five-yard line with a great punt.

New Mexico missed a 51-yard field goal attempt to end the half.

Third Quarter

Utah State took the second-half kickoff with freshman running back Robert Briggs joining Legas in the backfield. The change in personnel didn’t change anything for a USU offense that had been stuck in the mud all afternoon. But a late-hit penalty on third down gave the Aggies new life.

Legas and the Aggies took advantage of the penalty.

USU drove 88 yards in 17 plays, finishing the drive with a Connor Coles touchdown. After off-setting unsportsmanlike penalties against both teams, Utah State lined up for a would be, game-tying field goal. Instead, Coles took the snap and went up the middle for the first touchdown of his career.

Later in the quarter, following a New Mexico muffed punt, Coles added a field goal to give Utah State a touchdown advantage, 17-10 with 4:22 left in the period.

The Aggies took their seven point lead into the fourth quarter.

Fourth Quarter

Driving into the wind, Utah State finally found some rhythm.

Terrell Vaughn caught a pair of passed, including a 28-yard strike across the middle. Briggs, in relief of Calvin Tyler Jr., carried the ball six times and Legas added 12 yards on the ground. It was enough to get into field goal range as Coles extended the Aggie lead to 20-10 when he nailed a 21-yard field goal.

As important as the points, the drive allowed USU to run 4:48 off the clock.

With the rain and win picking up steam,  Hunter Reynolds put the win on ice when he recovered a Justin Holaday fumble, returning it for an Aggie touchdown with three minutes remaining. AJ Vongphachanh was credited with the forced fumble. The TD gave the Aggies a 27-10 lead.

Utah State would hold on, winning 27-10.

Up Next

Utah State (4-5, 3-2) makes the long flight across the Pacific Ocean to Manoa, Hawaii where they will tangle with the Hawaii Rainbow Wahini (1-3, 2-7) on Saturday, November 12. Kickoff for this game is scheduled for 9 p.m. (MDT)

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.

Coverage of Utah State University Athletics from KSL Sports can be found here. 

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