Cooper Legas Has Career Day, Utah State Survives Against Hawai’i

Nov 12, 2022, 9:12 PM | Updated: Nov 13, 2022, 12:35 am
PROVO, UT- SEPTEMBER 29: Cooper Legas #5 of the Utah State Aggies throws a pass under pressure from Lorenzo Fauatea #55 and Tyler Batty #92 of the Brigham Young Cougars during the first half of their game September 29, 2022 at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo, Utah.

LOGAN, Utah –Β Utah State is looking to maintain the momentum gained after a wind & rain marred 27-10 home win against New Mexico last weekend.

For their next test, USU made the long flight across the Pacific Ocean to Honolulu, Hawai’i to face the struggling Rainbow Warriors.

With a win, an Aggie team that has battled injury all season long would move within a single victory of their second-straight bowl birth.

Utah State AggiesΒ (4-5, 3-2) vs. Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors (2-8, 1-4)

Where: Clarence T.C. Ching Athletics Complex in Honolulu, Hawaii

When: Saturday, November 12 at 9 p.m. (MDT)

TV/Stream:Β Spectrum Sports

Radio:Β KSL Sports Zone (1280 AM)

First Quarter

Utah State won the coin toss and elected to defer with Elliot Nimrod kicking off to Hawai’i to begin the game.

Hawai’i picks up a pair of early first downs, including a long 31-yard pass across the middle from Braayden Shager to Zion Bowers.

Two plays later, USU benefited from an offensive pass-interference call that nullified a Hawai’i toouchdown. The Rainbow Warriors went on to punt three plays later.

Cooper Legas and the Utah State Aggies wasted no time getting on the scoreboard when the junior QB hit Josh Sterzer for a 68-yard touchdown.

The Aggie defense forced Hawai’i into their second punt of the quarter, forcing the first three-and-out of the game.

Utah State had a 15-yard pitch and catch from Legas to Terrell Vaughn get called back due to pass interference on Justin McGriff. But on the next play, Legas hit Calvin Tyler Jr. across the middle to pick up the first down.

Later in the drive, USU benefitted from a pass interference call when Hugh Nelson prevented Brian Cobbs from making a play on a pass from Legas.

Penalties continued to be the theme of the drive when freshman offensive lienman Weylin Lapuaho nullified a four-yard gain with a personal foul.

The Aggies would go on to punt after a delay of game penalty.

Dedrick Parson couldn’t handle Stephen Kotsanlee’s 36-yard punt, muffing it with Jamie Nance pouncing on the ball for the Aggies and the first turnover of the game.

Three plays later, Connor Coles gave Utah State a 10-0 advantage when he split the uprights from 21-yards out.

The Rainbow Warriors avoided their second turnover of the quarter when Shager alertly picked up an errant snap that hit him in the knee.

After USU called a timeout with Hawai’i facing 4th-and-1, the Rainbow Warriors took advantage. Nasjzae Bryant-Lelei broke off a 43-yard rush on the final play of the quarter.

Second Quarter

A roughing the passer penalty on Byron Vaughns gave Hawai’i a first and goal. On the next play, Hawai’i gave the Aggies back five yards on a false start.

The penalty did’t hurt though as Shager hit Jonah Panoke for an 11-yard score on the next play.

The Aggies dinked and dunked, gaining seven, four, two and three yards on consecutive plays before Hawai’i called their first timeout.

Out of the timeout, USU Legas hit Justin McGriff for six yards and a first down that moved the Aggies into Hawai’i territory.

Two plays later, Legas helped extend the Utah State first half lead when he lofted beautiful 16-yard pass that found a diving Broc Lane for the touchdown.

The catch was Lane’s longest of the season and first touchdown. He came in with just three catches for 14 yards.

Hawai’i next drive stalled at the Aggie 32-yard line. Matthew Shipley salvaged the drive with a 49-yard field goal to cut the USU lead to 17-10

USU began their next when Legas was sacked for a loss of five yards. The Aggies would end up going three-and-out on the drive.

With the Rainbow Warrior offense on the verge of gaining momentum, redshirt-freshman Aggie safety Ike Larsen picked up Shager.

After a penalty, the interception gave Utah State great field position as they began the drive at the Hawai’i 27.

The Aggies ended the drive in disappointing fashion when Coles’ 39-yard field goal attempt was blocked by John Tuitupou.

After forcing Hawaii’s fourth punt of the half, Legas continued his torrid start to the game.

Tyler Jr. began the drive by putting the defense on their heels when he picked up 26 yards on two quick carries.

Two plays later on fourth-and-2, Legas took the shotgun snap and found an uncovered Tyler Jr. down the right sideline for USU’s third touchdown through the air.

The 35-yard touchdown gave the Aggies a 24-10 lead.

Third Quarter

After deferring to open the game, Utah State began the second half with the ball. Legas and company would go three-and-out, resulting in the punt of the day.

Hawai’i built possibly their most impressive drive of the game, 61 yards in just over four minutes before Bryant-Lelei scored his second touchdown from four yards out. The drive was aided by a Poukesi Vakauta face mask penalty that gave the Rainbow Warriors a first down.

Utah State led 24-17 after the touchdown.

Calvin Tyler Jr. answered the Rainbow Warriors touchdown with his second score of the night, a four-yard power rush that gave USU a 31-17 lead.

Tyler Jr. capped the Aggies most-sustained drive of the night, a 13-play march that the graduate-senior running backed punctuated with a touchdown. He has 19 rushing attempts for 103-yards. He has also added three catches for 50 yards and a touchdown.

Cooper Legas has added 27 yards on the ground to go along with his career-high 238 yards and three touchdowns through the air.

The Aggie rushing attack accounted for 50 of the 75 yards on the drive.

Hunter Reynolds gave the Aggies their third turnover when he picked off a pass, giving USU the ball at the Hawai’i 40-yard line.

Coles added his second field goal, this time from 42 yards away.

Fourth Quarter

Hawai’i wouldn’t go away despite the big deficit.

Once again, an Aggie penalty gave away free yards and an important first down. On second-&-eight, Hale Motu’apuaka was flagged for a rough the passer penalty, nullifying an incomplete pass.

Eight plays later the Rainbow Warriors found the end zone when Shager hit Caleb Phillips for a 31-yard touchdown.

Legas was sacked on third down, the third time he has been sacked today, ending the Aggies next drive.

The Rainbow Warriors were done in by penalties of their own on the next drive. A false start and a holding penalty that eliminated a huge 24-yard pitch and catch forced Hawai’i into a fourth-and-18 play.

Aggie defensive back Andre Grayson came up big on the play, forcing the incompletion and giving USU possession back.

A Utah State three-and-out kept Hawai’i within striking distance. Kotsanlee’s punt gave them the ball back with 5:28 on the clock.

Ike Larsen then sealed the Aggie win when he picked off his second pass of the night, returning it 36-yards for a touchdown.

Hawai’i added a controversial touchdown, cutting Utah State’s lead to 41-31. Tylan Hines seemingly rushed for a 69-yard score but appeared to drop the football before crossing the goal-line. Officials reviewed the play but kept the original call on the field, giving Hawai’i one last chance.

Utah State recovered the ensuing onside kick, but went three-and-out on offense for the third straight drive.

Trailing by 10 with 3:05 left, Hawai’i took over.

On first down, Laarsen streaked into the backfield, sacking Schager for an 11-yard loss. On third-and-21, Schager somehow found Jalen Walthall for a 20 yard gain. Hawai’i would pick up a first down with a five yard rush on fourth down.

Three first downs later and the Rainbow Warriors would kick a 19-yard field goal with 18 seconds remaining. The field goal made it a one score game with USU clinging to a 41-34 lead.

Utah State was able to recover the onside kick, sealing the win.

Up Next

Utah State (5-5, 4-2) return home where they will host the San Jose State Spartans (6-3, 4-2) at Maverik Stadium. Kickoff for this game is scheduled for 7:45 p.m. (MDT).

Every Utah State football game can be heard on theΒ KSL Sports ZoneΒ 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.Β 

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