Boise, Idaho • The Utah State Aggies pride themselves on their passing.
After all, they averaged just over 282 passing yards heading into Saturday’s Mountain West Mountain Division championship game against the Boise State Broncos at Albertsons Stadium. Sophomore quarterback Jordan Love has a lot to do with that.
But make no mistake: The Aggies have been much more than a throwing team this season. They averaged 216.5 rushing yards per game and tallied 34 touchdowns off run plays through its first 11 games, 10 of which were victories.
On Saturday, however, Utah State’s run game fell flat in the 33-24 loss to the Broncos. The Aggies mustered only 62 rushing yards.
“We’ve got to make plays,” USU junior running back Gerold Bright said. “We have to make plays. There’s no excuse. … We all have to our job.”
Junior running back Darwin Thompson, who had 890 rushing yards on 121 attempts before Saturday, had 11 attempts for just 61 yards, averaging 5.5 per carry. He normally averages 7.8.
Bright had an even quieter night. He finished with only 8 yards on five carries. He entered the game with 777 rushing yards on 120 carries.
Credit the Boise State defense. The Aggies played from behind for much of the game, all but forcing them to go for big pass plays on almost every possession.
“The [Broncos] defense, they play with a chip on their shoulder,” Bright said. “They was ‘crunk,’ so to say, the whole game. We just got to learn how to just fight that. We got to play with a chip on our shoulders.
For the season, the Broncos allowed opponents 128.9 rushing yards per game. That number got better after Saturday.