Logan • Well after the game had ended, Jalen Davis still cradled a football in his arms. When his season is over, the Utah State senior cornerback says he’ll find some place to stash the game balls he’s collected.
“A shrine or something,” he said with a chuckle.
Opposing quarterbacks should consider that a warning.
Davis intercepted three passes — returning two of them for touchdowns — as the Utah State defense led the way in a 40-24 rivalry win over BYU on Friday night at Maverik Stadium. The Aggies came away with seven takeaways, the second most in school history behind the eight they had against Boise State in 2015.
“Guys fed off that defense,” Utah State coach Matt Wells said.
Davis, the senior cornerback, feels he has yet to be given the respect he deserves as a player. But on Friday night, he was doling out gratitude.
His big night started with some luck. With Utah State trailing by 14 in the first half, BYU quarterback Beau Hoge fired a pass that hit USU linebacker Chase Christiansen square in the back. The ball bounced right into Davis’ path, and he raced the 30-yards to the end zone.
“Thank you so much,” Davis told Christiansen after.
Later, with the Aggies needing to get the Cougars offense off the field in the fourth quarter, Davis would be thanking BYU backup quarterback Koy Detmer Jr. Davis picked off Detmer’s pass and went 50 yards to the house to seal the win.
“I just happened to be right there,” Davis said. “I just wanted to thank him for that one.”
In between Davis’ interceptions — the ninth, 10th and 11th of his career — the rest of the Aggies defense was busy flying to the ball.
Late in the first half, safety Dallin Leavitt picked off Detmer and returned it 26 yards to the BYU 24. The play set up a 32-yard field goal for the Aggies, giving them a 24-21 lead going into the locker room at halftime. The USU defense also stripped Cougar running back Ula Tolutau twice on the night and forced Austin Kafentzis, BYU’s fourth-string quarterback, into a fumble.
Turnovers were a key talking point for Wells this week. In four of his team’s past five meetings with BYU, the team with the most takeaways walked away with the win.
Now the Aggies hope to build off their momentum.
The Aggies won three games all of last season, their worst campaign under Wells. With Friday’s win, USU has matched that total, improving to 3-2 heading into conference play.
“It will boost our confidence even more,” Davis said. “We’re going to take that into practice and keep working to get to that Mountain West championship.”