Utah State wallops Stony Brook 62-7 in home opener

Utah State quarterback Henry Colombi (3) carries the ball as Stony Brook linebacker Elijah Duff (47) defends during an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019, in Logan, Utah. (Eli Lucero/The Herald Journal via AP)

Logan • In 34 seconds at the beginning of the third quarter, junior running back Jaylen Warren’s two plays served as a microcosm of the entire Utah State Aggies offense.

The opening play of the drive saw Warren catch a 25-yard pass from junior quarterback Jordan Love. On the next play, he rushed 54 yards for his second touchdown of the game.

“He’s a dynamic playmaker,” Aggies coach Gary Andersen said. “He was a dynamic playmaker last week and he was the same thing today.”

That statement could also be attributed to Utah State, which was dominant in every facet on that side of the field in its 62-7 dismantling of Stony Brook on Saturday at Maverik Stadium in USU’s home opener. USU converted 71% of its third downs, went 4 of 5 in the red zone, and out-gained Stony Brook 717 yards to 263. The number of yards was the second-most in school history.

USU also featured 14 different receivers and seven different rushers. Six different players reached the end zone for the Aggies, who played three different quarterbacks in the game.

Junior QB Jordan Love was 25 of 34 and threw for 294 yards and a touchdown on a night that felt quiet for him. Love left the game midway through the third quarter with the game well in hand.

Warren collected 132 total yards and two touchdowns, with 105 rushing yards and 27 receiving yards. He was one of only two players not explicitly labeled “wide receiver” who tallied at least 25 receiving yards.

“Our ability to get our backs out of the backfield to catch the ball I think is another great thing that allows ourselves to be just a little bit more versatile on offense,” Andersen said.

Warren’s first touchdown came in the second quarter. After Love’s 28-yard pass to Caleb Repp on third down, Warren ran for 28 yards into the end zone.

The USU defense was no slouch either. After setting the tone by forcing five consecutive three-and-outs by Stony Brook, the Aggies didn’t allow a touchdown until midway through the third quarter. The Seawolves had to punt 11 times in the game, and quarterback Jack Cassidy threw an interception.

Junior linebacker David Woodward said USU talked at halftime about shutting out the Seawolves. Woodward admitted that seeing them score left him a little disappointed.

“I think we’ll learn from those mistakes on that drive, and I think it’ll be good for us,” Woodward said.

One of the most impactful areas on defense was the way USU stifled Stony Brook on third downs. The Seawolves converted just five of their 17 attempts in those situations.

“You have to earn your way to third down, and on third down, it’s the only down,” Andersen said. “You have to get off the field if you’re going to be a good defense. We kind of flipped the chart on that today from a week ago.”

The Aggies may have let some plays slip away in their season-opening loss to Wake Forest, but left no doubt just seven days later. They led 34-0 at halftime and recorded a school-record 35 first downs.

Sophomore wide receiver Deven Thompkins said the team’s offense felt different than it did against the Demon Deacons.

“I think we felt a lot more electrifying tonight,” Thompkins said. “We had a bad taste in our mouth from the last game. We left three touchdowns that could have won us the game. … Today we really wanted to send a message to everybody in the conference that we’re here to play and we’re ready for anybody.”

Andersen said his offensive players kept the Seawolves off guard throughout the game.

“We’d love to be a balanced football team and we were pretty balanced today,” Andersen said. “It was good to see.”

USU improved to 1-1 on the season and handed the Seawolves their first loss.