Offensive Trio Providing Stability For Bowl-Bound Utah State

Nov 22, 2022, 4:59 PM | Updated: 5:10 pm
Cooper Legas #5 of the Utah State Aggies congratulates teammate Brian Cobbs #8 after he caught a touchdown pass against the Air Force Falcons during the first half of their game October 8, 2022 Maverik Stadium in Logan, Utah. (Photo by Chris Gardner/ Getty Images)
(Photo by Chris Gardner/ Getty Images)

LOGAN, Utah – Could an Aggie offense plagued by injuries be finding their stride as they get set to face the Boise State Broncos on Friday, November 25?

After scoring nearly 33 points per game in 2021, head coach Blake Anderson and the Utah State Aggies had reason to believe that success could carry over into 2022.

With 3,600 yard passer Logan Bonner returning for his seventh season under Anderson and nearly 900 yard rusher Calvin Tyler Jr. coming back for his second season in Logan, those critical positions were locked down. Sprinkle in a wide receiver or two to restock that position, the out look was bright

Injuries and inconsistency have prevented that dream from becoming a reality.

Cooper Legas, who had taken over for Bonner when he suffered a torn ACL in the LA Bowl win against Oregon State, began the season backing up Bonner once again. It wasn’t until the graduate senior quarterback went down with a broken foot on the final drive against UNLV that Legas would get his chance.

Further injury at the quarterback position prevented the USU offense from gelling. The Aggies were forced to cycle through Levi Williams and true freshman Bishop Davenport before Legas was able to take the reigns for good against New Mexico.

Quarterback Woes Limit Offense

While Anderson and offensive coordinator Anthony Tucker tried to stabilize the quarterback position through Bonner’s early season struggles, then an injury, skill position players had a hard time finding their own role.

Tyler Jr. began the year with a 33 carry, 161-yard day, looking like the bell-cow back he is capable of being. After touching the ball 35 times against the UConn Huskies, Tyler Jr. managed just 30 carries and one reception in the next two games combined.

“He’s taken a very mature approach to our process. What what we need from him. What we expect from him. It was a struggle early but he responded in such a huge way,” Anderson said of running back Calvin Tyler Jr.

Wide receiver Brian Cobbs, a graduate senior transfer from the University of Maryland, had eight catches for 108 yards in the season opener, but his production has been up and down since then.

A 10-catch game at BYU & 136 yards and eight grabs against Air Force are contrasted by two catch games against Alabama and Weber State, and a three catch performance at Colorado State.

“Obviously off to a rough start. I’ve been on a lot of teams and I know a lot of teams that definitely would have folded,” Cobbs said of USU’s start to the season. “So for us to kind of show that resilience and really get this thing turned around for Aggie nation, that’s huge for us.”

Quarterback Health Equals Win Streak

Since Legas returned from the concussion he suffered against Colorado State, the Aggies offense has started to find their way.

Legas wasn’t great in his return against New Mexico, throwing for only 149 yards while completing less than 50 percent of his passes. A driving rain storm and gusting wind can account from that. His numbers have only gone up from there.

Back-to-back career days, 238 yards and three touchdowns through the air at Hawaii before 244 yards in a bowl-eligibility clinching win against San Jose State have Legas playing the best football of his young career.

Wide receivers Justin McGriff and Terrell Vaughn have benefited from having Legas taking snaps, but Cobbs has found another gear.

Cobbs has 19 receptions and 228 receiving yards in the past three games. His 10 catches against San Jose State tied a career-high, set earlier this year against BYU. His 122 yards are the second most of his career, just 14 yards shy of the 136 yards he had against Air Force (also started by Legas).

“I think we just played with a lot of patience throughout the game and then down the stretch, when we needed it most, we were able to kind of hit them and gash them deeper,” Cobbs said after the bowl-clinching victory.

Perhaps nobody has benefited more from consistency at the quarterback position that Calvin Tyler Jr.

To be fair, Tyler Jr.’s resurgence began in Legas’ first start, way back in late September against BYU.

Five 100-yard rushing games in his past seven,  he finished with 83 yards in the loss at Wyoming and managed 23 yards in the aforementioned rain storm against New Mexico.

After running for 113 yards and catching three passes for 50 yards against Hawaii, while scoring a touchdown rushing and receiving, Tyler Jr. saved his best performance for Senior Day.

He accounted for a career-high three rushing TD’s, including the game winner late in the fourth quarter as Utah State upset San Jose State.

“No pressure. Same thing like last year at Washington State. It’s no pressure,” Tyler Jr. said of the game winning drive.

“We’ve been in these moments and we practice these moments. All we have to do is go out and execute and play football like we know how. That’s what we did. No pressure but we pushed the urgency. It felt great doing that. The coaches never give up on us. This team will never give up on each other. We’re going to keep working and get better.”

Up Next

Utah State (6-5, 5-2) make the trip north to Boise, Idaho where they will face the Mountain West leading Boise State Broncos (8-3, 7-0) on Friday, November 25. Kickoff for this game is scheduled for 10 a.m. (MDT) and can be seen on CBS.

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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