ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Kaelin Clay returned a punt 66 yards for a touchdown and Andy Phillips hit four field goals to help the University of Utah football team beat Michigan 26-10 on Saturday at Michigan Stadium.
The game was tied twice, the last instance coming at 10 all, before the Utes closed the game with 16 unanswered points. Utah (3-0, 0-0 Pac-12) handed Michigan its first non-conference home loss since 2008.
Utah held a 4-1 edge in turnovers against Michigan and the Utes did not allow the Wolverine offense into the red zone the entire game.
Clay returned a punt 66 yards for a touchdown at the start of the second quarter to become the first Utah player since Shaky Smithson in 2010 to return two punt returns for a touchdown in a season. Clay had a game-high 129 all-purpose yards (83 punt return, 33 kickoff return and 13 receiving yards).
Phillips set a career-high with four made field goals (from 35, 38, 48 and 50 yards) on five attempts (miss from 41 after the weather delay). Phillips’ four makes is tied with nine others for the second-most in school history and he is now 12-of-15 over his career on attempts from 40+ yards. The last time a kicker made four field goals in a game was Coleman Petersen against Pittsburgh in 2011. Phillips also booted five touchbacks on kickoff duties.
Travis Wilson completed 14 of 20 passes for 172 yards and one touchdown without an interception. He also carried the ball eight times for a net of 25 yards. Wilson left the game with an injury early in the second quarter after three Ute drives, but returned to start the second half. Wilson had 30 thrown 30 career touchdown passes, which is tied for eighth in school history.
Kendal Thompson came on in relief of Wilson during the second quarter, completing four of seven passes for 33 yards and an interception.
Bubba Poole had three receptions for a team-high 75 yards, including a 67-yard effort. He also rushed for a team-high 40 yards to push his all-purpose yardage total to 115. Devontae Booker had 34 rushing yards to go with nine receiving yards.
Dres Anderson made an impact with a 28-yard touchdown catch, his third of the season, that moved him into a seventh-place tie in school history with 16 touchdown receptions (Paris Warren, 16 from 2003-04). He caught six passes for a total of 57 yards and remains fifth in school history with 1,974 career receiving yards. He needs 26 more to become the fifth Ute in school history with at least 2,000 career receiving yards.
The Utah defense came up with four takeaways (three interceptions and a fumble recovery) to go with eight more sacks and eight tackles for loss. The Utes had 10 pass breakups, the most in a game since recording nine breakups against BYU in 2011. The last time Utah had 10 in a game was against New Mexico in 2007.
Linebacker Gionni Paul had a game-high 14 tackles, an interception and recovered a fumble in his Ute debut.
Jared Norris and Nate Orchard had a pair of sacks apiece. Norris finished second on the squad with nine tackles, including five tackles and a sack in the first quarter alone. Orchard totaled seven tackles and was also credited with a pass breakup.
The Ute defensive backfield enjoyed a productive afternoon as Brian Blechen grabbed his ninth career interception as well as a three pass breakups to go with four tackles. Tevin Carter had 1.5 tackles for loss, an interception and a pass breakup to go with four tackles. Eric Rowe tied Blechen for game-high honors with three pass breakups
Tom Hackett downed two punts inside the 15-yard line, including a punt at the 3-yard line in the fourth quarter. He has 14 career punts inside the five-yard line, including four this season.
During the opening drive, back-to-back pass breakups by Rowe helped the Utes hold the Wolverines to a field goal in their opening drive that gave Michigan an early 3-0 lead, but the Utes countered with 10 unanswered points.
A big hit by Blechen helped Utah put a halt to Michigan’s second drive with the Utes starting their third offensive possession. On the Utes’ next possession, Poole was sprung by a nice block out in the left flat by tackle Jeremiah Poutasi on a 67-yard screen pass from Wilson. Wilson then connected with Tim Patrick for Utah’s second first down of the drive, set up a 35-yard field goal by Phillips, his second field goal of the season.
Clay returned Michigan’s first punt of the game 66 yards for his second punt return touchdown and third return of the season.
Blechen came up with an interception after a pass deflected off the hands of Michigan’s Devin Bunchess. Unfortunately, Wolverine defensive tackle Willie Henry intercepted a screen pass by Thompson and returned it for a 7-yard score to tie the game at 10-10.
On the ensuing drive, Utah picked up three passing first downs and Thompson ran for one that led to Phillips’ second field goal of the game, a 38-yarder from the left hash to give the Utes a 13-10 advantage heading into halftime.
With Wilson back under center to start the second half, Poole took the ball three straight times in the opening drive. Booker first broke a 24-yard run then caught a 9-yard pass from Wilson along the right sideline before rushing for another first down. Wilson then found Anderson on a crossing route for a 28-yard touchdown, his third touchdown catch on the year, to cap a five-play, 67-yard drive that lasted 1:27 to open the half.
Orchard registered a sack on first down and Filipo Mokofisi turned in a tackle for loss that stalled Michigan’s first drive of the second half. The Wolverine’s next drive went 45 yards in 11 plays and lasted 5:35, but the Ute defense came up with a 4th-down stop to take over on downs at their own 38-yard line. On the following drive, Wilson found Patrick on a crossing route for a 22-yard reception to convert a 3rd and 5. Wilson also completed a five-yard pass to Anderson that pushed the Utah offense to Michigan’s 31-yard line heading into the quarter break that put Phillips in a position to nail a 48-yard field goal from the right hash to give the Utes a 23-10 advantage, his third of the contest.
Paul dropped into coverage in the middle of the field and came up with Utah’s second interception of the game. On the next drive, Wilson scrambled for a first down and then ran for 14 more yards to align Phillips for a 50-yard try that pushed Utah’s lead to 26-10.
Carter then played `center field’ to pick off an errant toss by Michigan quarterback Shane Morris and returned it 59 yards down to the Michigan 17 yard line before a penalty pushed the Utes back to the 32.
A weather delay with 7:51 remaining in the fourth quarter lasted two hours and 24 minutes (6:25 p.m. ET to 8:49 p.m. ET) and the Utes came out and picked up eight yards on their first drive out of the break before Phillips missed a 41-yarder.
The Ute defense continued to keep pressure on the Wolverines as Orchard recorded his first sack of the contest on first down of the Wolverines’ next drive. Michigan was able to convert a pair of 3rd-and-long situations to keep its drive going, but Utah was able to stop the drive when Hunter Dimick forced a fumble that was recovered by Paul.
The Utes host Washington State next Saturday in their Pac-12 Conference opener. Kickoff from Rice-Eccles Stadium is set for 6 p.m. MT on the Pac-12 Networks.
Big game of the season to this point in the biggest venue in all of College Football for the Utes on Saturday as they play the Michigan Wolverines. This will be Utah’s 3rd trip to Ann Arbor and the “Big House”. In 2002 it was a 10-7 loss to Michigan and in 2008 it was a 25-23 win over the Big Blue.
Their last match up against Michigan came during the turbulent Rich Rod Era and the loss to Utah in the 2008 opener was the beginning of the end of Rodriguez at Michigan. Saturday Utah will see another Michigan Head Coach in some trouble. Brady Hoke is in year number four at Michigan and Big Blue Nation is restless, because they’ve seen Hoke go from 11 wins in year 1 to 8 wins in year 2 to 7 wins in year 3. Then 2 weeks ago in South Bend, Michigan was shut out 31-0. It was the first time in that long and storied rivalry that the Wolverines had been shut out.
The Wolverines enter Saturday with some injury questions to key starters, including their most dangerous offensive weapon and Biletnikoff Award nominee Devin Funchess, who missed last Saturday’s game and remains questionable with a leg injury.
Utah comes to Big 10 country in good shape coming off their bye week. Both Junior Salt and Kaelin Clay are expected to play on Saturday and Utah fans will get their first look at Miami transfer LB Gionni Paul, who will start at Middle Linebacker against Michigan.
Weather conditions for Saturday are expected to be 74 degrees and a 60% percent chance for rain at kickoff. So with that said here are my 3 Keys for tomorrow’s big match up…
1. Stop the RUN!–It sounds simple but against this particular Michigan team it’s the truth. The Wolverines are 3rd in the Big 10 and 29th in the NCAA after 3 games at 242 yards/game. Lead back Derek Green has 332 yards and 2 100 yard rushing efforts in their first 3 games. While QB Devin Gardner ranks #1 in Passing Efficiency at Michigan, he’s wildly erratic through 3 games, with 3 interceptions and 1 fumble. Plus Michigan may be missing it’s #1 receiving target, Devin Funchess. Stop the run and take your chances with the Wolverines passing game.
2. A Need for Speed-The last few years Utah hasn’t found itself at an advantage when it came to team speed. After 4 years of recruiting Pac 12 caliber talent, that advantage is beginning to turn. Saturday against Michigan Utah should have a big advantage in edge speed, especially in Wide Receiver vs. Secondary match ups. Dave Christensen and his ability to exploit Anderson, Scott, Clay and Tonga against a beat up Michigan Secondary could be the big difference in this game.
3. Special Teams-Yet another area where Utah could have a decided advantage in Saturday’s match up. I don’t think many, if any, teams in College Football have a better punter/kicker combination that Kyle Whittingham does. Hackett and Phillips are game changers, plus the addition of a healthy Kaelin Clay makes the kick and return game major threats. Michigan is average at best in their kicking game. Matt Wile the place kicker is just 3-6 on the season on field goals, while punter Will Hagerup averages 43 yards per punt. The one bright spot in the Michigan special teams is return man Dennis Norfleet, who ranks 2nd in Big Blue history in kick returns. Utah’s ability to control field position with special teams should be a major advantage Saturday.
My Prediction: Utah 31 Michigan 21
Ute Game Day on ESPN 700 starts at 9am Saturday with Sean O’Connell and John Pease. Join Me, Frank Dolce and Bo Nagahi from the Big House at 11:30 on ESPN 700. Go Utes!
BYU defeats Houston 33-25 in its 2014 home opener at LaVell Edwards Stadium. The Cougars improve to 3-0 on the season and 541-393-26 all time. The Cougars are 2-0 all-time against Houston 1-0 and at home. BYU is 3-0 for the third time in the past 20 years.
In the Bronco Mendenhall era, BYU is 11-0 on Thursday or Friday night home games.
BYU led 23-15 after two quarters of play. When leading at halftime, the Cougars are 3-0 this season and 69-8 under head coach Bronco Mendenhall. When leading after three quarters, BYU is 72-4 in the Mendenhall era.
The first points of the game came from a safety scored by the defense. The last time BYU recorded a safety was in a 37-10 victory over Middle Tennessee in 2013. The Cougars have won nine straight games when they are the first team to score. In the Mendenhall era, BYU is 64-8 in those games.
Tonight marks the first time this season BYU has had a 100-yard rusher and the first time it has had two 100-yard rushers. Quarterback Taysom Hill rushed for 160 yards and running back Jamaal Williams rushed for 139 yards.
BYU lost the turnover battle but won the game, 33-25. In 2013, the Cougars went 2-0 when its opponent had more turnovers.
Eleven different receivers caught a pass for BYU, the most since 2012, when 11 receivers caught passes against Weber State.
BYU’s last scoring drive in the third quarter was the longest drive of the season at 6:15.
For the third straight week, the Cougars held an opponent to under 100 yards rushing. BYU allowed just 10 rushing yards, the least amount allowed by BYU since Washington State rushed for -5 yards in the 2012 season opener.
Official attendance for the game was 57,630.
Junior quarterback Taysom Hill eclipsed the 4,000 passing yard mark (4,052) with his 200-yard performance. He also passed the 2,000 rushing yard mark (2,036) with his 160 rushing yards on the night. He is one of 14 FBS quarterbacks to reach that mark in their junior season, including Colin Kaepernick, Johnny Manziel, Tim Tebow and Robert Griffin III.
Hill recorded two games last season with 200+ passing yards and 100+ rushing yards (Houston, Washington). It is his eighth career game with 100+ rushing yards.
He passed Riley Nelson (4,032) for No. 16 on BYU’s all-time quarterback passing yard list as well as Brian McKenzie (1,954) on the all-time rushing yards list.
Hill scored one rushing touchdown to bring his season total to six, the most by any FBS player to date. It is his fifth consecutive game with at least one rushing touchdown.
Senior wide receiver Jordan Leslie increased his streak to 31 consecutive games with at least one reception. He finished with a team-high six catches for 79 yards, including a long of 35.
Head coach Bronco Mendenhall
Overall thoughts on game: “I’m glad that we continued to battle, continued to fight. We had some offensivemomentum in the first half, and we moved it when we needed to. Overall, it was a hard fought win. There’s plenty to work on, but a lot of things that I was pleased with.”
Discussing the run game: “Today, that’s what it took to win. I would love to be able to distribute the ball through the air a bit more like we did in the first half – more like what we did against Texas. We became a little bit heavy that way, but the game kind of dictated that as well. One thing that was positive was that they had 66 plays when the ball was on theground, they didn’t get it as much and the clock kept running. They’re a dangerous team and so that was part of what we were trying to do.”
On last year’s game: “The game a year ago was much like this. It looked like we were going to pull awayand then there was an interception for a touchdown and a kickoff return for a touchdown. I’m not saying that it was a self-fulfilling prophecy but those guys are hard to shake. They just find a way to keep plowing back, to their credit.”
On Houston coming back: “I think us jumping out to the lead and then some of the early lack of success they had with the safety lent itself to why they started scoring when they needed points.”
On penalties: “We’re playing really hard. We’re playing really physical. We’re winning; we’re making plays. A coach always thinks you can improve. I’m just going to enjoy thewin. Once I see the film – I think they were mostly aggression penalties. We had one with a defensive player after a third down stop that hurt us, so at some point we’ve got to get those raked in at a higher level.”
Defensive back Robertson Daniel
“I feel like we played really well. We started slacking off throughout the game. We just have to keep our physicality and keep going at them. They made adjustments, and we adjusted late so they kept getting those dump offs, but other than that I feel like we did well.”
“When they pass the ball 1,000 times they’re going to complete some, but I felt we did pretty well. They were a good test for us because they have good receivers.”
“I think we made a good statement, but it wasn’t our best game. We didn’t play up to our potential at all.”
Running back Jamaal Williams
“We started out great. We just came off the gas a little bit. We weren’t used to getting up so quickly in the first half. Defense always holds up, but the offense just can’t take the foot of the gas.”
“We just made too many mistakes. We gave them plays to help them come back. If we play to our potential and play our game and score, we’ll be fine.”
“It was pretty easy following behind them, the holes were opening up. We were pounding the ball in and getting first downs.”
PROVO, Utah – In its 2014 home debut, No. 25 BYU football welcomes Houston to LaVell Edwards Stadium Thursday at 7 p.m. MDT.
Fans can tune in for live coverage on the Cougar IMG Sports Network with Greg Wrubell, which can be found on Sirius XM 143, 1160 AM, 102.7 FM and BYUcougars.com. IMG’s radio coverage will begin at 6 p.m. MDT.
BYUtv will provide pregame and postgame coverage, with Countdown to Kickoff starting at 6 p.m. MDT. Postgame coverage runs for half an hour after the game.
Houston (1-1) at No. 25 BYU (2-0)
Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014 at 7:01 p.m. MDT
LaVell Edwards Stadium
BYU vs. AAC: The Cougars are a combined 17-2 against American Athletic Conference opponents. BYU defeated AAC opponent UConn in the 2014 season opener, taking down the Huskies 35-10 on the road.
Run, Taysom, run: Junior quarterback Taysom Hill led BYU to a 41-7 victory against Texas with three rushing touchdowns in the third quarter. Hill leaped over a Longhorn DB on his way to a 30-yard touchdown run, his first of the game, launching a 28-0 scoring streak in the third quarter. Hill was named FBS Independent Offensive Player of the Week for the second week in a row.
Making history: Hill is one of eight players in the NCAA history to ever throw for 400 yards and run for 100 yards in the same game which was against Houston in 2013. He finished with 417 passing yards (4 TDs) and 128 rushing yards.
10 seasons: Bronco Mendenhall began his 10th season as head coach of the Cougars with the season opener at UConn. Mendenhall has an 84-34 record entering his 10th year. BYU ranks 12th in total wins during his tenure.
Beating the best: Since 2003, BYU has 16 wins against Power 5 schools, which ranks second among non-Power 5 schools behind fellow independent Navy.
Messing with Texas: BYU handed Texas its worst home loss since 1997, when UCLA beat the Longhorns 66-3.
Another suspension for a NFL player. This time the player is suspended indefinitely. Here is why:
LOGAN, Utah –
Utah State football scored 27-straight points spanning the second and third quarter to pull away from a 6-6 tie and open up a 33-6 lead en route to a 40-20 win against Idaho State Saturday night at Merlin Olsen Field at Romney Stadium.
Utah State leveled their season record at 1-1 on the young season, while Idaho State fell to 0-2, with both losses to Utah teams after a 56-14 loss at Utah last week. USU improves to 15-2 all-time against ISU, winning the last four meetings, as well as moving to 12-1 in games at Logan.
Utah State finished with 427 yards of total offense with 311 rushing and 116 passing, posting season-highs for total offense and rushing. Idaho State ended the night with 408 yards of total offense, with 307 through the air and 101 rushing.
Senior quarterback Chuckie Keeton threw for 116 yards on 13-of-30 passing, while rushing for a team-high 74 yards on eight carries with a 10-yard scoring scamper. Junior running back Rashad Hall rushed for a career-best 69 yards on 11 carries with a 5-yard touchdown run that was USU’s first touchdown of the night and started the Aggies’ 27-straight scoring spurt. Senior running back Joe Hill also ran for 69 yards on 15 carries with a 1-yard score to open USU’s third-quarter scoring. Sophomore running back Kennedy Williams also got in on the career-high rushing outing with 43 yards on two carries, boosted by a career-long 34 rush.
Sophomore wide receiver JoJo Natson led Utah State’s receiving corps with 59 yards on six catches, adding a 29-yard rush that would have been a touchdown but was called back due to a penalty. Natson did find the end zone on a 52-yard punt return, darting around ISU defenders then through a huge hole created by a convoy of blockers to payturf.
The Aggie defense was led by sophomore safety Devin Centers and junior linebacker LT Filiaga with 10 tackles apiece, with Centers posting one sack, while Filiaga was in on half of a tackle for loss. Freshman cornerback Jalen Davis snared two interceptions, including returning one 44 yards for a touchdown. Senior safety Brian Suite also added an interception, as the Aggie defense snared three interceptions off ISU quarterback Justin Arias as well as sacking him once.
Arias ended 23-of-47 passing for 307 yards with two touchdowns. KW Williams snared four catches for 109 yards with one score, while Broc Malcom added one touchdown catch as part of his three receptions for 59 yards. Madison Mangum had a team-high six catches for 82 yards. Xavier Finney finished with 88 yards on the ground with 23 carries.
Mario Jenkins led the Bengal defense with 16 tackles, while Tyler Kuder adding 11 and Cody Sorensen notched 10 stops. Jenkins had the lone interception for ISU.
Utah State took the opening kickoff and marched down the field to the ISU 37 before the drive thwarted and the Aggies attempted a field goal. Sophomore Jake Thompson came on to attempt a 54-yard field goal, but it was partially blocked by ISU’s Hayden Stout and didn’t reach the uprights.
Davis ended the Bengals’ ensuing possession with his first interception, setting up the Aggies at the ISU 22. USU couldn’t move the chains and settled for a 31-yard field goal by senior placekicker Nick Diaz for a 3-0 lead at the 10:13 mark of the first quarter.
Diaz later drilled a 24-yarder with 1:16 to go in the first frame for a 6-0 Aggie advantage, which was the score at the end of the quarter.
Idaho State opened the second quarter with a 21-yard field goal from Zak Johnson at the 13:39 mark, and later evened the score at 6-all with another Johnson upright split, this time from 49-yards out with 9:59 to go in the half.
Hall broke up the field goal party with his 5-yard scoring scamper with 2:33 left in the second quarter and Diaz hit the PAT for a 13-6 USU lead. The score stayed that way for just over a minute, as the Aggie defense limited the Bengals to a three-and-out, then Natson took the ISU punt and returned it 52-yards for his third career punt return for a touchdown. Diaz split the uprights for a 20-6 USU lead that the Aggies took into halftime.
Suite snared his interception on ISU’s opening possession of the second half, giving USU the ball at the Bengal 17. Three plays later Hill darted around the right side and dove into the end zone, putting the Aggies ahead 26-6 as Diaz’ PAT bounced off the upright.
ISU’s ensuing possession lasted all of two plays as Davis snared an Arias pass, and took it 44-yards to the house on the pick-six. Diaz connected on the PAT for a 33-6 Aggie advantage with 12:09 to go on the third-quarter clock.
The Bengals scored their first touchdown of the night on a 42-yard pass play from Arias to Malcom and Johnson’s extra point made it 33-13 at the 6:27 point of the third stanza.
Keeton’s 10-yard scamper capped the Aggies’ scoring for the night and Diaz hit the PAT for their 40th point of the game with 4:03 left.
ISU ended the game’s scoring with a 52-yard scoring pass, catch and run from Arias to Williams with 2:35 left and USU ran out the clock to seal its first victory of the season.
Utah State will remain home next weekend as it hosts its first-ever Atlantic Coast Conference opponent in Wake Forest on Saturday, Sept. 13 at 5 p.m. The game will be televised live on CBS Sports Network (Comcast Ch. 269/753HD, Dish Network Ch. 158, DirecTV Ch. 221).
Utah State football season and single-game tickets are available by contacting the USU Ticket Office at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum during its office hours 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday – Friday or by phone by calling 1-888-USTATE-1 or (435) 797-0305. Season tickets can also be purchased online at www.UtahStateAggies.com, the official website of USU Athletics and clicking on the “Ticket Office” tab.
Fans can also follow the Aggie football program on twitter @USUFootball, on Facebook at Utah State Football or on instagram at @usufootball. Aggie fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program at @USUAthletics, on facebook at Utah State University Athletics or on instagram at @USUAthletics.
“Once it became really clear what Texas’ plan was defensively–which was a very strong plan–and we were able to identify what they were doing, it was apparent that Taysom on a few different types of looks could carry the ball more,” BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall said. “So we targeted him to do that. We already know what kind of capable runner he is. Schematically we made some adjustments to make sure that could happen.”
“It was a great third quarter because of both sides,” Mendenhall said. “Not only did we make a few key corrections offensively, but we created some turnovers that had short fields. So with the combination of playing good defense and taking the ball away, and then the adjustments we made offensively, it really came together nicely.”
SALT LAKE CITY – The University of Utah football team took care of any doubt early by earning a 17-0 lead as well as a 174-4 edge in total offense after the first quarter of a 59-27 win over Fresno State Saturday at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
Utah (2-0, 0-0 Pac-12) compiled 526 yards of total offense on the day and put up back-to-back 50-point games for the first time since 2010, when the Utes put up three straight 50-plus-point games (New Mexico, San Jose State and Iowa State).
The Utah offense scored on its first three drives and held a 174-4 advantage in yardage during the first quarter as the Utes stormed to a 17-0 lead over the Bulldogs. The Utes outgained the Bulldogs in the first half, 320 to 130, and headed into the lockerroom with a 31-7 edge.
Junior quarterback Travis Wilson threw a career-high five touchdowns without an interception and ended up 11-for-20 for 181 yards. This was Utah’s first five-touchdown pass performance since Brian Johnson against San Diego State in 2008. With five touchdowns scored in the game, Wilson tied for third in school history. He also rushed 11 times for 37 net yards.
Junior Kendal Thompson came on with 6:35 remaining in the third quarter and produced his first career rushing and passing touchdowns. During his first drive, he scampered on three runs for 41 yards, including his first career touchdown pass, a 14-yard effort, during his opening drive at quarterback. He then fired a 45-yard touchdown pass for his first career touchdown throw. He finished the game 4-of-7 throwing for 71 yards and one touchdown and rushed nine times for a team-high 71 yards with one score.
Senior wide receiver Dres Anderson came down with a team-high 84 yards on only three receptions, including a 38-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter and a 5-yard scoring catch in the third quarter.
Two Ute running backs rushed for at least 60 yards and combined for 127 rush yards. Junior Devontae Booker went for 67 yards on 10 carries (6.7 per carry) and junior Bubba Poole had 60 yards on 13 attempts.
Junior wide receiver Kenneth Scott had a career-high six catches for 77 yards and two touchdowns in the first half, including a 36-yard score at the end of the first half.
Eleven different Utes combined for 13 TFLs, which is tied for the third-most in a single game in school history and the most since the Colorado State game in 2007. That mark had been achieved four other times in school history.
Defensive tackle Clint Shephard registered a team-high 2.5 tackles for loss, including a sack. During the first series, Shephard had a sack and 1-yard tackle for loss that set up an FSU fourth-down attempt which Utah ultimately stopped.
Sophomore defensive end Hunter Dimick turned in a pair of sacks and a total of six tackles, while sophomore linebacker Pita Taumoepenu had 1.5.
Senior cornerback Eric Rowe had a team-high 11 tackles, his sixth career double-digit-tackle performance, to go along with 0.5 tackles for loss. Senior defensive end Nate Orchard and nickleback Justin Thomas each recorded a pass break up. Orchard also tied for second on the team with six tackles, including 0.5 tackles for loss. Safety Tevin Carter and linebacker Jared Norris each recorded six tackles apiece.
The Utes set the tone early by allowing just four yards with four tackles for loss in first quarter, led by consecutive sacks by Shepard and Dimick.
Rowe had a pass breakup to help Utah stop FSU on its first series before Wilson then found Anderson on a corner route down the left sideline for a 41-yard pickup on Utah’s first play from scrimmage that led to a Phillips’ 47-yard field goal, his first of the season, that capped a five-play, 34-yard, 1:41 scoring drive.
Shepard and Dimick came up with back-to-back stops to stop Fresno State’s second series. The next Utah drive was highlighted by an Anderson 6-yard gain on a reverse and a facemask penalty moved the Utah offense to the 12-yard line before Wilson found Scott for an acrobatic 7-yard touchdown reception that gave the Utes a 10-0 lead after a 9-play, 56-yard, 3:01 drive.
A 17-yard rush by Wilson started Utah’s third drive of the quarter and found Anderson for 38 yards on a go route down the home sideline for his second touchdown pass of the quarter and gave the Utes a 17-0 edge after a four-play, 49 yards and 1:07.
Wilson found Scott on a 9-yard route on third down before FSU stuffed Poole on fourth down to come up with its first defensive stop.
The Bulldogs registered their first three first-downs during their first drive of the second quarter before the Utes came up with a fourth-down stop after an errant Fresno State pitch that saw the Utes recover on their own 27-yard line.
Booker sprang for his first run, a 16-yard effort, before Wilson found Westlee Tonga down the seam for a 24-yard scored to close a six-play, 58-yard 1:47 scoring drive. It was Tonga’s second career touchdown reception.
Fresno State’s first touchdown drive of the contest was spurred by a 40-yard reception by Josh Harper from Brand Connette to bring FSU within 24-7.
Utah responded promptly in the next drive as Booker spun off a would-be tackle for a 19-yard rush in Utah’s ensuing drive that ended with Scott breaking a series of tackles down the left sideline for a 34-yard touchdown reception, which was Wilson’s fourth touchdown pass of the year, in six-play, 80-yard play in 1:50 to push Utah’s advantage back to 24 points, 31-7.
Tom Hackett placed a 65-yard rugby-style punt after Utah’s first series of the second half and had five punts of at least 50 yards or more. He downed punts inside the nine and four-yard lines.
Orchard recovered an errant snap over the head of the Fresno State 1-yard line for Utah’s first takeaway since a Trevor Reilly interception in the fourth quarter at Colorado last season. Orchard has recovered five fumbles in his career, which is the fifth-most in school history.
Utah converted the red zone opportunity into a touchdown three plays later on a 5-yard touchdown reception from Wilson to Anderson.
Forty-run rush yards on three Thompson rushes, including a 14-yard effort for the score, was Utah’s second score of the half to conclude a seven-play, 52-yard scoring drive that lasted 1:58.
The Bulldogs’ second scoring drive of the contest was helped by a 53-yard reception that put the offense at the 1-yard line setting up FSU’s second touchdown of the afternoon. The Utes came back with a 45-yard touchdown pass to Andre Lewis, his first career touchdown reception, to put Utah ahead 52-14.
Taumoepenu and Wallace Gonzalez combined for a 5-yard sack, the first career sacks in their respective careers, but on the same drive Fresno State scored on a 42-yard touchdown.
Troy McCormick scored his first career touchdown rush on a 2-yard run and Fresno State scored a touchdown as time expired to set the final margin at 59-27 in favor of the Utes.
After a bye week, the Utes head to Michigan for a Sept. 20 game in Ann Arbor. Kickoff time is still to be determined.
Max Hall was arrested after police were called to the Best Buy on suspicion that the Arizona Cardinal QB had be shoplifting and in possession of cocaine.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Utah State fell behind Tennessee, 14-0, in the first five minutes of the game and never recovered as the Volunteers rolled to a 38-7 win in the first-ever meeting between the two teams here Sunday night at historic Neyland Stadium.
In his first action since a knee injury forced him to miss the final eight games of the 2013 season, senior quarterback Chuckie Keeton completed 18-of-35 passes for 144 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions, while adding 12 yards on the ground on eight carries. Junior wide receiver JoJo Natson was USU’s leading rusher as he had 47 yards on two carries, while added three receptions for 18 yards. Fellow junior wide receiver Brandon Swindall had a team-best five catches for 37 yards.
Utah State’s only points in the game came early in the fourth quarter as Natson rushed for 38 yards and Keeton hit junior wide receiver Hunter Sharp from 37 yards for the score to cap a 2-play, 75-yard drive that took all of 30 seconds.
Sophomore linebacker Nick Vigil recorded a career-high 15 tackles, which included 1.0 sack and 2.0 tackles for loss to lead the Aggie defense. Senior linebacker Zach Vigil added 10 stops for his 12th-career double-digit tackle outing and sophomore center Devin Centers posted a career-best nine tackles.
Utah State’s defense took the field first and forced Tennessee into a three-and-out to start the game, however, USU followed with a three-and-out of its own on its first possession. UT then drove 70-yards in just six plays on its following possession for the first score of the game and then scored two plays later as the Aggies fumbled the ensuing kickoff at its own 12-yard line. Following the turnover, UT’s Justin Worley connected with Brendan Downs for the 12-yard score to make the score 14-0 early on.
Utah State’s defense keep the Aggies in the game throughout the first-half as it held the Volunteers without any points during its next five drives before UT kicked a 36-yard field with 1:00 to play in the half for a 17-0 halftime advantage.
Utah State had its best drive of the game on its first possession of the second-half as it went 34 yards in nine plays, but was unable to get any points as sophomore placekicker Jake Thompson just missed a 48-yard field goal.
Tennessee added another touchdown in the third quarter and then reached pay dirt again on the first play of the fourth quarter to push its lead to 31-0 before Utah State answered with its only touchdown of the game. UT finished the scoring with a final touchdown two series later to make the final score 38-7.
Utah State will return to action next weekend as it hosts Idaho State in its home opener on Saturday, Sept. 6 at 6 p.m. The game will be streamed live on the internet by the Mountain West Network (themw.com).
For Aggie football ticket information, fans can contact the USU Athletics Ticket Office over the phone by calling 1-888-USTATE-1 or 435-797-0305 during regular hours of operation. Fans can also buy their tickets in person at the USU Ticket Office inside the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum or online by clicking on the “Buy Tickets” tab at www.UtahStateAggies.com.
Fans can follow the Aggie football program at twitter.com/USUFootball or on facebook at Utah State Football, as well as on instagram at instagram.com/USUFootball. Aggie fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program at twitter.com/USUAthletics, on facebook at Utah State University Athletics or on instagram at instagram.com/USUAthletics.
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