Faison Carries Utah State To Meaningful Win Over Nevada

Nov 11, 2023, 4:36 PM | Updated: Nov 13, 2023, 3:26 pm

LOGAN, Utah – Rahsul Faison topped the century mark for the first time at Utah State, leading the Aggies to a 41-24 win over visiting Nevada. The victory moved USU within one win of bowl eligibility for the third straight season.

Utah State (5-5, 3-3) hosted the Nevada Wolf Pack (2-8, 2-4) at Maverik Stadium on Saturday, November 11.

RELATED: Utah State Increases Lead With Second-Half Rushing TD

Senior quarterback Cooper Legas made his first start since October 13 and fought through two turnovers to throw for 182 yards and three scores while completing 55 percent of his passes.

Micah Davis led the Aggies with 87 yards and a touchdown while both he and Terrell Vaughn caught six passes in the win. Junior running back Rahsul Faison led all runners with 181 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries.

RELATED: Terrell Vaughn Scores Insurance Touchdown For Utah State

Senior linebacker MJ Tafisi Jr. finished with a team-high 12 tackles. Four different Aggies finished with a sack.

First Quarter

USU opened the game with Cooper Legas in shotgun, making his first start in a month. A much-maligned Aggie offensive line pushed the Wolf Pack around on the opening drive. Legas and sophomore running back Robert Briggs advance inside the ten-yard line before Broc Lane caught a four-yard touchdown pass on fourth down.

RELATED: Cooper Legas, Broc Lane Help Utah State To Fast State Against Nevada

After trading punts, Sean Dollars found a gap and burst through it, gaining 22 yards for the Wolf Pack on their largest gain to that point. Nevada used a 19-yard gain on third down to advance into Aggie territory for the first time later in the drive. On the next play, graduate senior Michael Anyanwu was flagged for pass interference, putting Nevada on the verge of the red zone.

On first down from the 21, Wolf Pack QB AJ Bianco fooled USU’s defense before finding a wide-open Cameron Zeidler for a game-tying touchdown.

Utah State gained just 17 more yards in the period after its 75-yard TD drive to open the game. USU outgained Nevada 92 yards to 90 yards. The Wolf Pack averaged 5.1 yards per attempt on nine rushes.

Second Quarter

Nevada saw a personal foul penalty negate a 39-yard pass on their first drive of the quarter. The Wolf Pack ended the drive with a punt.

Junior running back Rahsul Faison combined with Legas to lead USU into the red zone on their next drive. The Aggies eventually settled for a 21-yard FG from Elliott Nimrod, taking a 10-7 lead.

Nevada drove into Aggie territory on its next drive but pressure from MJ Tafisi Jr. forced a bad pass that sophomore defensive tackle Seni Tuiaki picked off and returned 63 yards for a big man touchdown.

RELATED: Sophomore Defensive Tackle Makes House Call For Utah State

After Nevada went three-and-out on its next drive, a Cooper Legas tipped pass ended up in the hands of Bishop Turner for the Aggies’ first turnover. Nevada turned the INT into a 38-yard field goal, making it 17-10 USU with 2:16 left in the half.

RELATED: Micah Davis Breaks Free For Long Utah State Touchdown

Legas didn’t need long to respond, hitting junior wideout Micah Davis down the seam for a 47-yard touchdown. It was Davis’ sixth TD of the year.

USU held a 14-point lead at the half.

Third Quarter

After forcing a Nevada punt to open the half, Rahsul Faison got the Aggie offense rolling following off-setting penalties. The junior transfer followed his blockers for a big 46-yard gain that put USU inside the Wolf Pack’s 30-yard line. Nimrod would finish the drive with a FG from 37 yards out to give Utah State a 27-10 lead.

After an Aggie punt, Bianco fumbled the snap and it was recovered by Anyanwu for USU. Penalties forced USU to punt the football back to Nevada with 4:03 left in the third quarter.

Nevada gave the football back after going three-and-out.

Faison once again kick-started the USU drive, lumbering 43 yards up the middle before being dragged down at the 14-yard line. Faison topped 100 yards rushing with the long gain. Four plays later, Faison scored his fourth TD of the year, giving Utah State a 34-10 second-half advantage.

Utah State gained 147 yards in the period while limiting the Wolf Pack to just 27 yards of offense. 130 yards of the Aggies third-quarter offense was generated by the rushing attack.

Fourth Quarter

Alternating punts allowed Nevada to flip field position as they took possession with a little more than 12 minutes remaining.

Near midfield, Bianco launched a deep ball down the USU sideline that was corralled by Dalevon Campbell for a 39-yard reception. An Aggie personal foul on the next play gave Nevada first-and-goal from the eight-yard line. Linebacker Anthony Switzer’s first sack of the afternoon would end up forcing a turnover on downs.

The second interception of the day from Legas ended the ensuing Aggie drive.

Nevada capitalized on the turnover, driving 37 yards for a Sean Dollars touchdown. After adding a two-point conversion, the Wolf Pack trailed 34-18 with 7:21 remaining.

After Davis recovered the onside kick, Legas only needed six plays to find Terrell Vaughn for a 25-yard touchdown.

Nevada answered with a seven-play, 65-yard scoring drive to make it 41-24 USU.

Utah State would run out the clock for a 41-24 win.

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Utah State will host the Boise State Broncos (4-5, 3-2) at Maverik Stadium on Saturday, November 18. Kickoff is scheduled for 5 p.m. (MT). The Aggies will be looking to end a seven-game losing streak against the Broncos. USU is 5-22 all-time against BSU.

Find USU football on KSL Sports Zone with the voices of Scott Garrard and former Aggie quarterback Kevin White (1988-89).

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

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Faison Carries Utah State To Meaningful Win Over Nevada