Fort Collins, Colo • Utah State wasn’t capable of this last year. Or in any other year of head coach Gary Andersen’s tenure, for that matter.
Saturday night’s 31-19 win over Colorado State at Hughes Stadium provided the Aggies with a huge bounce-back win, a week after giving one away on the road to Wisconsin. USU spoke all week of this being a dangerous game, since the Aggies have been prone to letdowns in past seasons.
And they didn’t want to be the same old Aggies.
“This team is made up of a lot of younger players,” Andersen said. “I’ve been to Colorado State a lot, and I haven’t won half my games. So you never know how a young team is going to react.”
Andersen knows now. His team scored 17 first-half points and was never truly threatened. His team dominated defensively, and broke out on offense after two tough games. His team played with the swagger of a favorite, and even sounded angry in postgame interviews for letting up and surrendering a couple of late touchdowns.
It was Kerwynn Williams who stole the spotlight. The senior, just now receiving the bulk of the carries, rushed for 205 yards and two touchdowns on 21 attempts. All three statistics represent career highs. Any time Colorado State got remotely close, Williams would come up with a big run. In the first season after Robert Turbin, Saturday was the first time USU didn’t miss him.
“My offensive line played so well tonight, it kind of made it easy for me,” Williams said. “I had big holes to run through all night. When we block like that, it’s kind of tough for us to be beaten. We played well in the first half, and then we kind of let up. We have to clean some of that stuff up. We have to play games out to the end.”
Utah State starts the season 3-1 for their best start since 1978, when the Aggies won five straight. USU has outscored opponents 51-0 this season in the first quarter, and has won eight of its last 10 regular-season games. Saturday marked the first nonconference road win for the Aggies since 2004.
The first half was nothing short of a beating. Colorado State crossed midfield exactly once in the first two quarters, and was held to 18 total yards in the initial 12 minutes.
Meanwhile, Chuckie Keeton threw a touchdown pass and completed 18 of 23 throws in the first half. Matt Austin had his best game of the season with six catches and 75 yards to go along with a touchdown.
Most importantly, the Aggies played like they knew they were the better team. Last season, USU lost to this same team at Romney Stadium, a defeat that spearheaded a 2-5 start. Now, the Aggies travel back to Logan for a winnable game against UNLV next week. A 4-1 start seems possible.
“It’s always hard to get a win on the road,” Williams said. “Especially in a place like this. We haven’t played well here in the past. So this is definitely a big win, a big win for the team.”
R Utah State scores the first 17 points of the game.
• Kerwynn Williams runs for a career-high 205 yards.
• The Aggies bounce back from last week’s loss to Wisconsin.