Utah State’s Matt Wells named Mountain West coach of the year; school record-tying 18 Aggies make all-conference team

Utah State head coach Matt Wells argues a call with the officiating crew during the first half of an NCAA football game against Colorado State, Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018, in Fort Collins, Colo. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

The Utah State Aggies had history-making season, finishing 10-2 and falling just short of the Mountain West Conference championship game.

The league noticed.

USU’s Matt Wells was named the Mountain West Coach of the Year, while 18 Aggies earned various all-conference accolades as the league office announced its postseason football honors on Wednesday. In all, USU had eight offensive players, eight defensive players and two specialists recognized.

Utah State’s 18 all-conference honors were the most in the Mountain West, while Fresno State was second with 14. Boise State was third with 11 players recognized, followed by San Diego State (10), Nevada (9), Hawai’i (7), San Jose State (7), Wyoming (6), New Mexico (5), UNLV (4), Air Force (3) and Colorado State (3).

Overall, Utah State’s 18 total honorees are tied with the 1997 Big West Conference championship team for the most in school history.

Utah State players to earn first-team all-Mountain West honors included senior offensive center Quin Ficklin and sophomore return specialist Savon Scarver.

Senior offensive lineman Roman Andrus, redshirt junior linebacker Tipa Galeai, sophomore quarterback Jordan Love, senior safety Jontrell Rocquemore, junior running back Darwin Thompson and sophomore linebacker David Woodward were all named to the second team.

Aggies who earned honorable mention all-league honors included senior defensive end Adewale Adeoye, senior offensive lineman Rob Castaneda, junior placekicker Dominik Eberle, senior safety Gaje Ferguson, redshirt junior defensive end Fua Leilua, junior tight end Dax Raymond, senior wide receiver Ron’quavion Tarver, senior offensive lineman Sean Taylor, junior nose guard Christopher Unga and junior cornerback DJ Williams.

Boise State quarterback Brett Rypien was named the Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year, while Fresno State linebacker Jeff Allison was named the Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year. Wyoming’s Cooper Rothe was named the Mountain West Special Teams Player of the Year and Nevada’s Toa Taua earned Mountain West Freshman of the Year honors.

Wells, who was also named the Mountain West Coach of the Year in 2013, is the first coach in school history to earn multiple coach of the year honors. Overall, he is one of just five coaches in school history to be so honored as Bruce Snyder (1978), Chuck Shelton (1991) and John L. Smith (1997) were all recognized by the Big West Conference, while Gary Andersen earned Western Athletic Conference Coach of the Year accolades in 2012.

Wells is also just the fifth coach in conference history to be named the Mountain West Coach of the Year multiple times, joining Colorado State’s Sonny Lubick (1999, 2000), New Mexico and San Diego State’s Rocky Long (2002, 2012, 2015), Utah’s Urban Meyer (2003, 2004) and TCU’s Gary Patterson (2005, 2009).

Aggies who earned all-conference honors for the second time this season included Andrus, Eberle, Ficklin and Raymond, as Eberle earned first-team all-Mountain West honors in 2017, while Andrus, Ficklin and Raymond were all named to the league’s honorable mention team a year ago.