UTAH STATE AGGIES

Attrition Catches Up To Utah State In Loss To Memphis Tigers

Dec 27, 2022, 12:54 PM | Updated: 4:57 pm
utah-state-quarterback-cooper-legas...
LOGAN, UT- OCTOBER 8: Cooper Legas #5 of the Utah State Aggies is sacked by Trey Taylor #7 and Bo Richter #8 of the Air Force Falcons during the first half of their game October 8, 2022 Maverik Stadium in Logan, Utah.

LOGAN, Utah – It appeared injury woes finally caught up with Utah State as they struggled to find any offensive momentum in a 38-10 loss to Memphis.

Utah State (6-7, 5-3) faced the Memphis Tigers (7-6, 3-5) in the SERVPRO First Responders Bowl on Tuesday, December 27.

RELATED: Battle Tested Memphis Brings Talented Defense Into Bowl Matchup With Utah State

Bishop Davenport led Utah State with 100 yards passing on 7-of-9 and a touchdown in relief of injured Cooper Legas. Legas completed 7-of-12 passes for 34 yards before leaving in the third quarter. Calvin Tyler Jr. led USU with 79 rushing yards on 16 carries. Brian Cobbs caught six passes for 79 yards and a score.

Seth Henigan went 20-of29 passing for 284 yards and three touchdowns for Memphis. Jevyon Ducker led the Tigers with 83 yards on the ground and two scores. Eddie Lewis finished with five catches for 83 yards and two touchdowns.

RELATED: ‘All Hands On Deck’ As Utah State Prepares For First Responders Bowl

First Quarter

After giving a long 33-yard completion early, the Aggie defense stepped up. USU defensive end Daniel Grzesiak came up with the games first sack, forcing a huge third down loss for Memphis.

Utah State took over their first possession of the day after the ensuing Memphis punt.

USU’s defensive front got home again on first down with Poukesi Vakuata picking up his first sack of the season. The Tigers wold go three and out on the drive.

Gabriel Rogers got loose for his second big play of the day, taking a backwards pass 18 yards for the Tigers second first down of the game.

A 28-yard pitch and catch took Memphis into the red zone and put the Aggie defense on their heels. A short pass completion on third down would give Memphis first and goal to goal late in the first quarter.

Two plays later, Michael Anyanwu overcame a broken hand to break up a third down pass in the back of the end zone and force a Memphis field goal attempt. Chris Howard would nail the 26-yard field goal for the first points of the game with 1:05 left in the opening quarter.

Second Quarter

USU was able to mount a drive into Memphis’ side of the field to begin the second quarter. A 10-yard Calvin Tyler Jr. rush was followed by an 11-yarder run from Legas.

After consecutive sacks, the Aggies were forced to bring Connor Coles on for a 53-yard field goal attempt.

RELATED: Connor Coles Nails Career-Long Field Goal In First Responder Bowl

Memphis responded, gaining nearly thirty yards in three plays before a holding penalty slowed the drive down. On third-and-nine, the Tigers found a hole in the Aggie defense as Roc Taylor broke free for a 22-yard gain and a first down.

Two plays later, Seth Henigan found Eddie Lewis on a 15-yard crossing pattern for the games first touchdown with 7:24 left in the half.

Utah State started to dip into their backfield depth on the next drive as Jordan Wilmore had a pair of carries. The Aggies picked up one first down on the drive before turned the ball over on downs after coming up short near midfield on 4th-&-one.

Memphis took advantage of the short field, needing only five plays before Lewis scored his second touchdown on a 22-yard catch.

The Tigers took a 17-3 lead with 2:56 left in the half.

USU would lose six yards on their next drive, punting after a three & out. The Aggie offensive line has allowed three sacks in the first half.

Memphis continued moving the ball with ease as 10 straight Seth Henigan completions allowed the Tigers to set up a first & goal from the Aggie one-yard line with less than a minute remaining in the half.

After getting stuffed for a two yard loss on first down, Henigan’ s completion streak came to an end when John Hassell dropped a wide open pass in the end zone. On the next play, Henigan hit Caden Prieskorn for the Tigers third first half touchdown.

Third Quarter

Cooper Legas came out of the halftime locker room looking to move the chains with his legs. A first down run from Legas gave USU some momentum but it would be short-lived.

On 3rd-&-five, Legas tried to hit Brian Cobbs in double coverage. After a review, Tiger defenive back Sylvonta Oliver came down with the games first turnover. It was Legas’ tenth interception of the season.

On third down with Memphis near midfield, Grzesiak stepped up again. This time he batted down a would be first down pass to force a punt and keep USU in the game.

Penalties bit Utah State on their next drive. A first down false start led to 1st-&-15. After Tyler Jr. got a few yards back with a rush, a hold set USU back again, setting up third down and long.

On third down, Legas was able to avoid the Tiger pass rush, weaving through traffic on his way to a 13-yard first down run.

On the next play, Legas was sacked by James Stewart and came up injured.

True freshman QB Bishop Davenport entered in relief of Legas who was helped off of the field due to an apparent leg injury.

RELATED: Cooper Legas Leaves Game With Apparent Leg Injury

Memphis nearly came up empty on their next drive after two deep balls fell incomplete but a defensive pass interference call gave the Tigers a fresh set of downs.

Following the pass interference, Hale Motu’apuaka sacked Henigan for a nine yard loss. The Tigers were whistled for a false start on the next play, setting up a 3rd-&-27 play.

On the snap, Patrick Joyner Jr. broke protection and forced a fumble while bringing Henigan down. Byron Vaughns recovered the fumble for the first Aggie turnover of the afternoon.

USU went three & out, punting after losing four yards.

Fourth Quarter

Memphis crossed into USU territory on their drive but couldn’t get within scoring range as the Aggie defense held strong. The Tigers would pin Utah State inside their own 10-yard line with a great punt.

An eight yard Tyler Jr. gallop made him the 11th player in school history to run for 2,000 yards in a career.

RELATED: Calvin Tyler Jr. Reaches 2,000 Rushing Yards In Aggie Career

Davenport drove his team out of the shadow of their own goalposts, finding redshirt-freshman Otto Tia for a nine yard catch.

After a Memphis pass interference, Davenport found Terrell Vaughn, via a tipped pass that probably should have been intercepted. Vaughn was able to gain 14 yards and pick up a first down on the play.

With momentum on their side, Davenport found Brian Cobbs on a crossing route for a 44-yard touchdown. The extra point made it 24-10 Memphis with 11:04 left. It was Davenport’s first passing touchdown of the season and the fifth touchdown through the air for Cobbs.

RELATED: Brian Cobbs Scores First Touchdown Of The Day For Utah State

Following the kickoff, Utah State’s defense looked gassed after spending more than 33 minutes of game time on the field. Memphis was able to gain positive yardage on seven straight run plays before Jevyon Ducker powered into the end zone from two yards out.

The touchdown gave Memphis a 31-10 lead with 7:22 left.

Following the Tiger touchdown, USU drove 33 yards before Sylvonta Oliver picked off his second pass of the game with 5:10 left.

Five plays later, Ducker burst for a 48-yard, game-clinching touchdown to give Memphis a 38-10 lead.

Levi Williams came in for Davenport on the final Aggie drive but the result didn’t change.

Williams’ second pass ended in the Tigers’ third INT of the afternoon. Joel Williams picked off the pass.

Memphis would kneel on the ball to run the clock out for a 38-10 victory.

Utah State Aggies 2023 Football Schedule

The Aggies non-conference slate includes at Iowa (9/2), where USU will open the 2023 campaign. That game is followed by home games against Idaho State (9/9) and JMU (9/23), and play at UConn (9/30).

RELATED: Utah State Football Completes 2023 Schedule

In Mountain West play, USU will host Boise State, Colorado State, Fresno State and Nevada. They will have road games at Air Force, New Mexico, San Diego State and San José State.

RELATED: Utah State Football In Heyday Of Unflattering Bowl History

For Aggie football ticket information, fans can contact the USU Athletics Ticket Office over the phone by calling 1-888-USTATE-1 or 435-797-0305 during regular hours of operation. Tickets can also be purchased online at www.UtahStateAggies.com.

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

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Attrition Catches Up To Utah State In Loss To Memphis Tigers