San Jose • At last.
Nevin Lawson had been so close the week before, but a turnover had slipped through his hands. He wouldn't be denied on Friday night at San Jose State.
It was a pass to the sideline, one that Lawson was able to cut back on and grab. He rolled up off the turf grinning from ear to ear.
"We're feeling pretty good," he said afterward. "We know all the hard work that went into it in January. Been working on our ball skills, working as a DB group. It just shows hard work pays off."
For a group that had yet to record an interception, the Aggies had surprisingly sticky fingers on Friday night. Like fly paper, defensive backs hands kept holding onto footballs, which helped power the Aggies to a 40-12 win.
Maurice Alexander kicked things off with a pick on a pass intended for Jabari Carr, swooping down on the play from up top where David Fales didn't see him. Lawson also picked off Fales, who some consider a early round NFL Draft talent. Quinton Byrd would've gotten an interception as well if not for a roughing the passer penalty that kept San Jose State's waivering hopes alive in the second quarter.
Jeremy Morris, a junior college transfer who has earned playing time as a reserve, finished off the day with the defense's third interception, long after the contest had been decided. Insurance, one might say.
"I thought our coverage was good all night," Matt Wells said. "We got a good rush, got some things in David's face."
The most ground-shifting turnover of all was caused by the Spartans themselves. A high snap sailed over Fales' head on 3rd and goal at the Aggies' one yard line. Zach Vigil, who had forced two fumbles and recovered another entering the game, outran the panicked San Jose State offense and dove on the ball.
San Jose State, on the cusp of a touchdown on their first drive of the half, lost all momentum. And Utah State ended up driving 75 yards for their own score, effectively slamming the door on the Spartans.
"Without question, that was the turning point," Wells said. "Big momentum changer."
The plus-four margin was the largest of Utah State's season thus far.
Kyle Goonkgoon@sltrib.comTwitter: @kylegoon