The Utah State football coaches didn’t waver when a fumble happened for running back LaJuan Hunt right at the wrong time early this season.
No matter how upset they might have been with the turnover, head coach Matt Wells on down refused to blame the Aggies’ senior for a late miscue in a home loss to Wyoming.
Another thing: They all felt Hunt would bounce back.
Those familiar with LaJuan Hunt know that this player possesses resiliency in abundance.
“Not one time have we sat here for four years and talked about LaJuan Hunt coughing the ball up,” said Wells only a couple days after that miscue. “He doesn’t do it. He hasn’t done it. It’s killing him. I feel bad for him. He’ll move on and we’ll move on.”
And Hunt and the Aggies have moved on.
Hawaii at Utah State
When • Saturday, 1 p.m.
Live stream • Spectrum Sports
In Utah State’s last game before its bye week, Hunt ran for 117 yards and a pair of touchdowns in a 24-10 victory at New Mexico on Nov. 4.
It was only the third time in his career in Logan that Hunt eclipsed the century mark. That was on 14 carries, and the total could have been more.“If he makes a guy miss in the backed-up portion of that one drive, when the ball was on (Utah State’s) 2-yard line, he probably would have been over 200 yards,” Wells said. “So, it was another good game from LaJuan. That’s two out of the last three weeks being over 100. I thought he played really well.”
It hasn’t been a consistent upward progression for the Fort Lauderdale, Fla., native at Utah State, however.
Hunt began his career with 111 attempts and 540 yards as a freshman in 2014. The next year, he had his number of starts go up — four to seven — but his yardage (338 for the year) go down.
Last year was the nadir for Hunt, who carried the ball 42 times for 140 yards.
“I wasn’t hurt. I just didn’t play that much,” Hunt said. “I always trusted my ability of what I could bring to the table. Offseason for me was just to get back to where I was before.”
Determination in practice led to results for Hunt, who moved back to the top of the running back depth chart just before his senior season was to begin.
In game one, fellow back Tonny Lindsey saw his season end to injury, and more of the responsibility to carry the load fell back on Hunt.
“He’s a bull when he’s running, that’s just kind of his style,” said USU offensive coordinator David Yost. “He kind of sets the tone for our offense, and that’s not easy to do for a running back.”
Hunt’s free time is often spent with teammates playing video games, but he also has a feel for the kitchen.
“I like to cook. Anything, whether it’s a four-course meal or just making some cookies,” said Hunt, who lists baked chicken as one of his favorites.
Maybe it’s just coincidental but talking about the current season for the Aggies is filled with descriptions of someone with a culinary bent.
“It feels good just to get that bad 3-and-9 taste out of our mouths,” Hunt said. “We’re in the hunt for a bowl game right now. We just have a different edge, our team is just hungry.”