Utah State wins eight football games for first time in 38 years
Logan • Gary Andersen was 10 years old in 1974, almost in middle school, a few years away from shaving and a long way from his future tenure at Utah State.
On Saturday afternoon at Romney Stadium, Andersen and his Aggies took Cache Valley back to the old days.
A 38-7 win over Texas State was expected, if not ho-hum in the way USU dominated. But it was exciting because the Aggies won their eighth game for the first time in 38 years. Utah State is 8-2 and 3-0 in the Western Athletic Conference. The Aggies are two missed kicks away from being unbeaten to this point and possibly ranked.
In other words, Utah State seems far away from its run as a college football punchline.
"Bottom line, this is another tremendous victory for the program," Andersen said. "It's another positive step in the right direction. We had a lot of close games last year that were pretty frustrating, so this is definitely very refreshing."
Last week, the Aggies turned their matchup with Texas-San Antonio into a rout by halftime.
On Saturday, Andersen's team did the same thing, establishing superiority early. By intermission, Utah State led 35-0. By the fourth quarter, the starters were out and the second team was receiving extensive snaps.
This season is a far cry from 2011, where seemingly every game turned into a grinder. This year, the Aggies have blown out all three conference opponents, with the closest game coming against San Jose State on the road.
"We played very well on both sides of the ball," running back Kerwynn Williams said. "Our defense once again went out and played hard through the entire game and showed why they are so highly ranked. I felt that we played consistent on offense through the first three quarters. But we need to step it up a little bit in the fourth."
Williams ran 19 times for 120 yards, eclipsing the 1,000-yard mark for the season. He and sophomore quarterback Chuckie Keeton once again carried the load. Keeton went 20 of 27, throwing four first-half touchdowns and two interceptions. He also ran for another and accounted for 316 yards through the air.
The receiving corps had a good day as well. Matt Austin caught four passes for 124 yards and a touchdown. Kellen Bartlett and Travis Reynolds caught touchdown passes and Cam Webb made another four catches for 56 yards.
Offensively, the Aggies did whatever they wanted in the first half. They scored their five touchdowns in six possessions, expertly mixing in the pass with the run.
The defense may have come through with a shutout, but Keeton's first interception set the Bobcats up on USU's 15-yard line, and Texas State was able to score from there.
"I thought we came out and had a good game plan," Andersen said. "I thought we did a nice job of executing our scheme. I thought we were efficient, and I thought we took advantage of our opportunities and that's a credit to the kids and to the offensive coaching staff."
R Utah State improves to 8-2 and 3-0 in the WAC.
• USU scores 35 straight points in the first half.
• Chuckie Keeton throws for 316 yards and four TDs.
Utah State 38, Texas State 7
Texas State 0 0 7 0 7
Utah State 14 21 3 0 38
USU • Reynolds 4 pass from Keeton (Diaz kick), 12:46.
USU • Bartlett 2 pass from Keeton (Diaz kick), 3:53.
USU • Keeton 3 run (Diaz kick), 11:09.
USU • Natson 23 pass from Keeton (Diaz kick), 6:52.
USU • Austin 4 pass from Keeton (Diaz kick), :46.
TxSt • Curry 3 run (W.Johnson kick), 10:44.
USU • FG Diaz 48, 6:04.
Attendance • 17,222.
First downs 9 24
Rushes-yards 31-82 47-268
Passing 76 325
Comp-Att-Int 10-23-1 21-28-2
Return Yards 30 10
Punts-Avg. 9-40.1 1-57.0
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 1-1
Penalties-yards 7-66 2-20
Time of Possession 26:30 33:30
Rushing • Texas St., Curry 9-46, Franks 9-25, Rutherford 11-10, Arndt 1-1, Farris 1-0. Utah St., K.Williams 19-120, Keeton 10-48, Lee 7-39, Hill 3-26, Glover-Wright 5-22, Natson 1-7, Harrison 2-6.
Passing • Texas St., Rutherford 8-15-1-71, Arndt 2-8-0-5. Utah St., Keeton 20-27-2-316, Glover-Wright 1-1-0-9.
Receiving • Texas St., Ijah 5-42, B.Smith 2-18, Erickson 2-16, Gaines 1-0. Utah St., Austin 4-124, Webb 4-56, Bartlett 3-11, Jacobs 2-70, Natson 2-30, Reynolds 2-11, K.Williams 2-6, Gunderson 1-9, Tialavea 1-8.