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Utah State football: Blustery conditions influence game

Published November 23, 2013 10:54 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Logan • To call the conditions "windy" on Saturday would be a disservice.

Conditions were devious at Romney Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Just before the coin flip, Matt Wells told Jamie Markosian to defer and ask to kick off from the north. In the few yards it took for the captains to walk to midfield, the wind had started blowing the other way.

The sidelines went into a flurry as wild as the drafts on the field.

"All the coaches are flipping out into the head sets," Wells said later, able to laugh about the initial panic. "'We're gonna kick into the wind!'"

Luckily for Utah State, Markosian managed to make the right call — Wells called it an "audible." But the gusts hardly let up from the kickoff on.

It affected the game in frustrating ways for both teams, Wells said, and that much was evident on the field. Colorado State quarterback Garrett Grayson and Aggie quarterback Darell Garretson combined to complete 42 percent of their passes.

It wasn't as much defensive backs as it was passes sailing long, falling short or getting swept away by a cross breeze. Against the worst-ranked passing defense in the conference, Utah State managed only 43 yards through the air.

Running the ball was the only way to get it done, and the Aggies were the only team that could do it.

"We knew this would be a grinder game the whole two weeks we've had off," running back Joey DeMartino said. "We knew they were going to show up and the battle would be between the two front sevens."

The wind didn't just bite Colorado State's offense. In the second half, after the Rams' most productive drive of the day, Jarred Roberts' 24-yard field goal swung to the left, clanging off the upright.

Utah State's special teams fared much better, as Nick Diaz went 2-for-3 on field goals, and punter Jaron Bentrude had eight punts inside the Rams' 20.

"You know, it was windy on both accounts, and they handled it better," Colorado State coach Jim McElwain said.

kgoon@sltrib.com