Utah State revived its season with big win at Fresno State

Utah State's Dominik Eberle watches his game-winning field goal against Fresno State during an NCAA college football game in Fresno, Calif., Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Gary Kazanjian)

The Utah State Aggies finally broke out of their slump with a dramatic win over Fresno State over the weekend. Despite losing three of its previous four games behind middling offensive efforts, Utah State finally found its mojo on that side of the field.

“Our focus the whole last week, was really just to score,” sophomore offensive lineman Alfred Edwards said Monday. “That was what we were missing. We were moving the ball really well, getting into the red zone, and then we just couldn’t finish drives. That’s what we did this game. We really focused on it in practice, and it showed.”

The Aggies netted more first downs, more passing yards and more yards of total offense than Fresno State. Junior quarterback Jordan Love had his best outing in some time, going 30 of 39 with two touchdowns passes.

Other parts of the offensive continued to produce as has been the case for most of the season. Senior running back Gerold Bright led with 81 rushing yards, while senior wideout Siaosi Mariner picked up 103 receiving yards.

Aggies coach Gary Andersen was complimentary of this team’s overall offensive effort both after Saturday’s game and on the first day back at practice this week.

“It was great to see the offense as a whole be able to do what they were able to, to keep us in the football game and give us a chance,” Andersen said.

The coach was especially proud of Love, who he said didn’t let his well-documented struggles get to him.

“It was great to see Jordan have that success,” Andersen said. “For all he’s been through this year and the battles that he’s been through, he’s never once batted an eye. It would be easy for him to go to the woe-is-me card and look at himself and look at the guys around him. There’s not even a sniff of that.”

Offense wasn’t the only thing the Aggies found against Fresno State. USU’s defense forced two three-and-outs in the fourth quarter, allowing the Aggies to convert two field goals and win the game. Senior place kicker Dominik Eberle’s field go on the final play of the game clinched it.

“Our defense showed its true colors, and we can play as a unit,” senior defensive end Jacoby Wildman said. “We can make those plays when we need to moving forward. It was a positive way to end the game, and looking forward, it was a great defensive building moment together.”

The win against Fresno State put the Aggies just one win away from bowl eligibility. There are only three games left in their regular season, all of which are against Mountain West Conference opponents.

Despite already losing four games this season after dropping only two in the entirety of 2018, Utah State is still in position to win a division title, and could still win the entire conference.

“As bad as it got, our goals are still out in front of us,” Wildman said. “As bad as it looked at times, we’ve won the games that we need to and put ourselves in position to have everything that we want. We’ve just got to keep pushing through.”