UTAH STATE AGGIES

Larsen Blocks Punt, Smith Returns For USU TD Against San José State

Nov 19, 2022, 9:35 PM
Ike-Larsen-Utah-State-Aggies-Football...
Dedrick Parson #31 of the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors stiff arms Ike Larsen #19 of the Utah State Aggies during the second half of an NCAA football game at the Clarance T.C. Ching Athletic Complex on November 12, 2022 in Honolulu, Hawaii. (Photo by Darryl Oumi/Getty Images)
(Photo by Darryl Oumi/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITYUtah State‘s special teams came up with a big blocked punt and returned the ball for a touchdown during the Aggies’ game against the San José State Spartans.

The Aggies hosted the Spartans at Maverik Stadium on Saturday, November 19.

With 1:25 remaining in the second quarter, a group of Aggies pressured the SJSU punt team before Ike Larsen got his hands on the kick and blocked the punt. Jaden Smith snagged the pigskin out of the air and returned it 56 yards to the end zone for a touchdown.

The special play by USU’s special teams unit gave the Aggies a 21-6 lead.

Earlier in the week, Larsen was honored as the Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Week and Freshman of the Week.

Utah State’s game against San José State is broadcast on KSL Sports Zone (1280 AM) and FS1.

San José State vs. Utah State

The Spartans average 27.1 points per game, fifth in the Mountain West. Utah State is seventh in the league, averaging 22.1 points per contest.

Statistically speaking, defense is the biggest separator for these teams. The Aggies have the second-worst defense in the Mountain West, as they allow 208 rushing yards per game. Fortunately for Utah State defensive coordinator Ephraim Banda and the Aggie defense, SJSU’s rushing attack comes in as the worst in the conference, averaging only 82.4 yards per game.

Utah State has made 11 interceptions this season. Redshirt-freshman safety Ike Larsen leads the way with four picks and a number of other big plays this season. Turnovers have been tough to come by as San Jose State’s four offensive turnovers and five turnovers overall are the second-best in the country. SJSU’s +10 turnover margin is sixth in the nation.

USU’s secondary will have their work cut out for them facing junior quarterback Chevan Cordeiro. Twice named MW Offensive Player of the Week, Cordeiro went 170 pass attempts before a tipped ball resulted in his first interception of the season. Cordeiro will challenge the Aggies through the air (2,420 yards, 14 TD’s) and on the ground (eight touchdowns).

San Jose State comes in with the league’s third-best scoring defense, allowing 19.3 ppg. The Spartans are second in the Mountain West, allowing just 124.4 yards per game.  SJSU’s secondary limits opponents to 204 yards per game.

Senior Day

With this being the final home game of the year, Utah State will be honoring 10 seniors prior to Saturday evening’s kickoff. Quarterback Logan Bonner, wide receivers Brian Cobbs & Justin McGriff, place-kicker Connor Coles, offensive linemen Chandler Dolphin, Jacob South & Alfred Edwards, safety Hunter Reynolds and running back Calvin Tyler Jr.

All-Time Series

The Spartans lead the all-time series by a slim margin at 19-20-1. Utah State is 11-8 against San Jose State in Logan. With 41 games played, the Aggies have played SJSU the fifth-most in school history. Only Utah (112), BYU (91), Colorado State (78), and Wyoming (72) have faced the Aggies more often.

Recent history between these two programs has swung the Aggies’ way with USU winning the last nine games played, including a 48-17 road win last year and a 62-24 home win in 2018, which is the last time the two teams played one another in Logan.

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