Short-Handed Aggies Stopped By Boise State, 34-23, Saturday
USU Sports Information
LOGAN, Utah – Playing without four of its original offensive starters, Utah State was stopped by Boise State, 34-23, Saturday night in front of a sold-out crowd at Merlin Olsen Field at Romney Stadium.
Utah State suffered its second-straight loss in falling to 2-3 overall and 2-1 in Mountain West action. The loss snapped the Aggies’ school-record 13-game overall conference win streak dating back to 2011, as well as their five-game home conference game win streak. BSU improved to 3-3 overall and also 2-1 in MW play.
The Aggies accumulated 348 yards of total offense, getting 221 through the air in the combined efforts of junior quarterback Craig Harrison and freshman quarterback Darrell Garretson, who were filling in for junior quarterback Chuckie Keeton, who is out for the season with a knee injury. Harrison was 7-of-17 for 105 yards in the first start of his Aggie career, while Garretson was 9-of-14 for 116 yards with one touchdown, a 4-yard strike to senior wide receiver Travis Van Leeuwen in the final seconds of the game.
Senior wide receiver Travis Reynolds had a career-high 142 yards on five catches, while sophomore wide receiver Bruce Natson had four catches for 19 yards. Van Leeuwen finished with three receptions for 25 yards with one score.
Utah State totaled 127 rushing yards, led by senior running back Robert Marshall with a career-high 19 carries for a career-best 69 yards, while senior running back Joey DeMartino rushed 11 times for 37 yards with one touchdown, a 1-yard scamper in the second quarter.
Senior linebacker Jake Doughty posted a career-high 19 tackles, while junior linebacker Zach Vigil posted 12 stops and junior safety Brian Suite added 11 tackles. It was Doughty’s second-straight game with double-digit tackles, fifth of the season and ninth of his career. Vigil logged his fifth double-figure tackle outing this season, including fourth straight, and ninth of his career.
The Aggie defense also snared two interceptions off Boise State quarterback Joe Southwick, the first time in his career with multiple interceptions. Senior cornerback Nevin Lawson snared both, returning one 65-yards for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter.
Lawson, who also had a career-best five passes defended and tied his career-high with nine tackles, now has five career interceptions, including three this season.
Boise State amassed 447 yards of total offense, as Southwick was 30-of-44 passing for 335 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Jay Ajayi rushed for 109 yards on 22 carries and one touchdown, as the Aggies had 112 rushing yards on the night. Shane Williams-Rhoades had 13 catches for 150 yards with one touchdown.
Corey Bell and Ben Weaver paced the Broncos’ defense with 12 tackles each.
Boise State opened the scoring with a 2-yard Ajayi touchdown run at the 7:13 mark of the first quarter, and Dan Goodale tacked on the extra point, as well as adding a 35-yard field goal with 4:18 on the first frame clock.
The Aggies got on the board when DeMartino darted in from a yard out through a huge hole created by the offensive line, and junior placekicker Nick Diaz split the uprights with 13:43 left in the second quarter to pull USU within, 10-7.
The Broncos scored the next 14 points on a 7-yard Southwick scamper at 9:03 in the second stanza, then Southwick hit Aaron Burks for a 24-yard scoring pass for a 24-7 lead with 3:04 to go in the half.
A 33-yard Diaz field goal with 57 seconds left in the second quarter pulled USU within, 24-10. Boise State tried to run out the clock by taking a knee, but the Aggies had timeouts left and used them after second and third downs, forcing the Broncos to punt. Freshman cornerback Devin Centers burst through and blocked the punt, setting the Aggies up at the BSU 12. After two incomplete passes to the end zone, USU went for a field goal with three seconds left in the half, but Diaz’s 29-yard attempt was blocked by BSU’s Charles Leno as time expired to leave the score 24-10 at intermission.
The Broncos tacked on 10 points in the third quarter on a 2-yard touchdown pass from Southwick to Williams-Rhodes with 9:33 on the clock and Goodale split the uprights from 39-yards out with 2:29 left in the quarter for a 34-10 lead.
Utah State scored just 48 seconds into the fourth quarter on a 65-yard interception return by Lawson, and the Aggies went for the two-point conversion but didn’t make it. USU added a 4-yard pass from Garretson to Van Leeuwen with 20 seconds left, capping a 14-play, 91-yard drive, eating up 5:26, for the longest-yardage drive of the season, while the second-longest drive for both plays and time.
With its two-game homestand complete, Utah State hits the road, heading to Albuquerque, N.M., to take on New Mexico (2-4, 0-2 MW) on Saturday, Oct. 19 at 7 p.m. (MT). The battle between the Aggies and Lobos will be televised regionally by ROOT Sports.
After a bye week, USU returns home to host Hawai’i on Saturday, Nov. 2 in a 2 p.m. kickoff at Merlin Olsen Field at Romney Stadium.