by Daniel Olsen
The script looked familiar with an early 14-0 deficit, but the Aggies came storming back to win 31-20 over the UConn Huskies in their matchup Saturday afternoon. Establishing the run game and taking advantage of true freshman quarterback Zion Turner’s lack of experience proved successful for Utah State.
1. Aggies Explode for 24 points in Second Quarter
While the Aggies continued their tradition in the Blake Anderson era with a slow start, they also came right on cue for a comeback in the second quarter. The comeback started an 11-yard pass from Logan Bonner to Kyle Van Leeuwen.
Nine minutes later, backup running back Robert Briggs scored on a 23-yard run to the end zone. Van Leeuwen was responsible for some of the momentum in the nearly three minute drive as he caught a 31-yard pass from Bonner just prior to this score. An unsportsmanlike conduct penalty by the Huskies set the Aggies up for another receiving touchdown less than two minutes later, this time by Justin McGriff.
If that wasn’t enough, the Aggie defense converted some tackles for a loss to set themselves up for one more score before halftime by the field goal unit.
2. Calvin Tyler Show
It was no surprise that the Aggies focused on their preseason goal to establish the run game. However, who could have predicted Tyler would have rushed for over 100 yards and Robert Briggs would have chipped in 85 of his own?
“Briggs is a guy that is patient that can get downhill,” Coach Anderson said. “He’s a guy that’s tough. The first defender doesn’t bring him down very often. He has learned our offense in a short time and does not look like a freshman in any way physically or mentally.”
It was a change of pace to see more rushing attempts by the Aggie backfield than passing attempts by Bonner. This coaching staff believes the running game will open up everything else they want to do.
3. Defense makes adjustments
The defense seemed to be good in spurts, but they would give up big plays early at times as they were adjusting to the game plan. It wasn’t until they started making plays that don’t show up in the box score that they were able to limit the Huskies to just two field goals in the final three quarters.
“The guys in the trenches impacted the game a lot,” USU Cornerback Ajani Carter said. “When they penetrate the backfield and get to the quarterback then that makes it easier for us in the backfield to do our job.”
Utah State will take on the Alabama Crimson Tide on Saturday, September 3, 2022. The game will be broadcast on the SEC Network starting at 5:30 p.m. MT.
Featured image via Cache Valley Daily