by Max Jeppesen
For the first time since the 1978 season, Utah State is 3-0 to start the season. The 49-45 victory was another incredible comeback for the Aggies. Utah State has come back from a 10-point or more deficit in three consecutive games. Against the Air Force Academy, they were trailing by double-digits on four separate occasions.
Coming into this game, the Air Force Academy only allowed 17 points in their two games this season. Utah State hadn’t let anyone score more than 24 points in a game. However, this game didn’t go according to script as it was an offensive shootout.
The Falcons had a clear game plan: run the ball. The Air Force Academy ran for 435 yards and five touchdowns. Utah State had no answer. The Aggies allowed 617 yards of total offense. On third downs, the Falcons were confident they could convert each opportunity and did so eight times. Air Force played a great game. They. could easily challenge for the top spot in the Mountain Division if they continue this level of play.
While the Falcons ran the ball, the Aggies were throwing lights out. Logan Bonner was the starting quarterback for most of the game, throwing for 253 yards with two touchdowns. However, following an interception in the third quarter and some hits that seemed to rattle him up, Andrew Peasley was allowed to run the field. He quickly dropping three touchdowns and threw for 195 yards.
Comeback Kids Strike Again
The Aggies needed some magic late in the fourth quarter. On a second down with 3:54 left in the game, Calvin Tyler Jr. ran for 61 yards into the endzone. That gave the Aggies the lead for good. Tyler Jr. had a night of his own. He had 19 carries for 132 yards and two touchdowns. The Aggies started slowly but quickly made the adjustments necessary once again on the road.
The Falcons still had one last chance. Quarterback Haaziq Daniels was running a play-action. He decided to keep it and ran for 13 yards but ran into Justin Rice. With 13 tackles an interception already up to this point, Rice forced a fumble and the Aggies recovered. Rice is an early frontrunner for the Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year. He is everywhere for the Aggies, especially when they need a crucial stop.
All around, it was a brilliant performance for the Aggies. Some credit should be given to the wide receivers. The quarterbacks get a lot of the praise for a good reason, but the Air Force secondary looked clueless for a large part of the game. It was due in part to great routes from receivers like Deven Thompkins, Brandon Bowling, and Justin McGriff.
The Aggies have plenty to be proud of. They gained 628 yards in total offense, and they now have outscored opponents 51-10 in the fourth quarter this season. They’ve proven that they can win in many ways. It doesn’t matter who is under center at quarterback. Both Peasley and Bonner can throw. The Aggies can also step up defensively when needed and run the ball well.
This Week in Logan
The next matchup Boise State. Do not be fooled with their 1-2 record. They are still an incredible team. They’ve played great non-conference teams across the nation where they’ve lost by small margins. Come and support the Aggies at the Maverick Stadium bright and early on Saturday at 10 a.m MST as they look to remain undefeated. The game will be broadcast on CBS. This will be the first time ever that the Aggies have hosted a home football game on the main CBS mothership channel.
Featured image courtesy Jerilee Bennett, The Associated Press