Utah State doesn’t look past Tennessee Tech, pounds Golden Eagles 73-12

Utah State running back Darwin Thompson (5) carries the ball for a 65-yard touchdown as Tennessee Tech defensive back A.J. Flemister (11) defends during an NCAA college football game, Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018, in Logan, Utah. (Eli Lucero/Herald Journal via AP)

Logan • Utah State head coach Matt Wells said all of the right things during the week.

He lauded Tennessee Tech for its young talent. He implored his team to not overlook a Golden Eagles team that won just a single game a season ago. He presented Thursday night’s matchup as a difficult challenge, especially with a short turnaround of just five days.

But, let’s be realistic. Tennessee Tech was never going to have a shot to walk into Maverik Stadium and beat USU. The only questions would be how much the Aggies would focus, how many snaps their first team would play in the second half, and just how wild the final score would look.

In that sense, a 73-12 win over the hopelessly overmatched Golden Eagles had to have pleased Wells. Utah State didn’t play the role of bored favorite. Instead, the Aggies attacked Tennessee Tech with the same ferocity of their Michigan State matchup two weeks ago and the New Mexico State matchup of last week.

And because of that preparation, Utah State created an easy night for itself.

“Coach stressed that no matter who we are playing, we have to prepare the same way,” Aggies quarterback Jordan Love said. “We have to respect our opponent and we have to be ready and we have to perform. We came out and started the game hot, and that’s why we were able to play a good game.”

This wasn’t as easy as it sounded, Wells said in the moments following. His previous few teams weren’t consistent in the way they practiced during the week. It’s why the last few teams weren’t as good as Wells feel they should’ve been.

“We haven’t done a good job of that in the past few years,” Wells said.


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But this week of practice for the Aggies was a breath of fresh air. The Utah State players were attentive and focused. And it translated to Thursday night’s dominance.

USU played clean football. The Aggies eclipsed the 70-point mark for just the sixth time in school history. They amassed 621 yards of total offense. They took a 45-6 lead into halftime, and much of their first team took the second half off, while their second- and third-teamers were able to secure valuable experience.

“We’re trying to be consistent,” Wells said. “It doesn’t matter if we are playing a Big Ten team, or New Mexico State, or an FCS team, or Air Force. We want to play the same way every time.”

Love, who has had an excellent start to the season, completed 21 of his 26 passes for 236 yards and two touchdowns. He didn’t turn the ball over, and he was in command of Utah State’s offense from the outset.

Darwin Thompson rushed for 109 yards and a touchdown. Jordan Nathan returned a punt for a touchdown and Gerold Bright ran for a touchdown. In all, nine different Utah State players reached the end zone.

“It was really important for us to play well tonight and create some momentum heading into the Mountain West Conference,” Love said. “We really wanted to build confidence, so it was good to come out and play the way we did.”