Utah State coach Gary Andersen says Aggies ‘pathetic’ in 38-7 loss to San Diego State

San Diego State running back Chance Bell (21) runs downfield as Utah State defensive lineman Hale Motu'apuaka (92) chases after him during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020, in Logan, Utah. (Eli Lucero/The Herald Journal via AP, Pool)

Logan • Utah State football coach Gary Andersen was caustic in his comments about how his team played Saturday against San Diego State.

“It was 100% pathetic and embarrassing for everybody in Aggie nation — all of us involved," Andersen said.

The Aggies lost their second consecutive game when the Aztecs beat them 38-7. Utah State is now 0-2 on the season, while San Diego State is 2-0. The Aggies haven’t started a season 0-2 since 2009.

A last-second play to the end the first half made it look like Utah State had caught fire. But the Aggies fizzled out as quickly as a match in a windstorm.

Aggies junior wide receiver Deven Thompkins caught a spectacular pass from junior quarterback Jason Shelley as the second quarter clock expired to pull USU within 10-7. The drive lasted one minute and one second, which reminded of the Matt Wells-Jordan Love offense of 2018.

The sequence came after USU put together four drives that ended in three punts and an interception. It also followed a solid defensive performance in San Diego State’s previous drive.

But once the third quarter started, the wind in USU’s sails began to die. San Diego State scored on its opening drive of the frame to take a 17-7 lead. The Aggies then gave up a 27-yard rushing touchdown to Chance Bell with 5:33 left in the third.

That quarter made the difference in the game. The Aztecs outgained the Aggies 199-6 in the period, and 176 of that yardage was in the run game.

Senior safety Shaq Bond said USU lost energy in between the second and third quarters.

“We were juiced up that late second,” Bond said. “We were hyped. We had people pushing. We had people confident. And then that third quarter we lost a lot of energy.”

Thompkins said after he caught the touchdown pass to end the first half, the team headed into the locker room “juiced up.”

“I don’t know what happened after that,” he said.

The Aztecs scored two more touchdowns in the fourth quarter for good measure, including a 73-yard run by junior running back Jordan Byrd.

The Aggies lost their opening game of the season 42-13 to the Boise State Broncos last week. They hoped to rectify that poor performance against a much more experienced San Diego State team.

Andersen said that for the second straight game, one of Utah State’s biggest issues was not matching the physicality of its opponent. He said the lack of that was not only the players, but the coaching staff as well.

“We have to figure that out,” Andersen said. “We have to figure it out with the kids on the team. We have to figure it out with the coaches. We have to figure out in recruiting. We have to figure it out in the weight room. We have to figure out how we eat. All the things that come with it.”

Andersen said missing tackles is the manifestation of the lack of physicality.

“We are getting our a-- knocked off the football on both sides of the ball and missing tackles,” Andersen said. “And tackles has a lot to do with strength. It has a lot to do with our ability to be able to get them in the right spot as coaches. And I can go on and on. But that’s the facts.”

The Aggies will travel to Nevada for a game Thursday and won’t get much practice time due to Election Day on Tuesday and a travel day on Wednesday.