Utah State football ranks fourth in the nation in rushing defense

LOGAN, Utah – Following the ninth week of the college football season, Utah State now ranks among the top 40 teams in the nation in 15 different statistical categories, including ranking fourth in the nation in rushing defense.

Defensively, Utah State is allowing just 89.0 rushing yards per game to rank first in the Mountain West and fourth in the nation, trailing Louisville (66.9 ypg), Alabama (78.1 ypg) and Penn State (83.4 ypg). USU also ranks first in the MW and third in the nation in sacks (3.88 pg), trailing only Utah (5.00 pg) and Washington (4.25 pg). Furthermore, USU ranks second in the MW and 31st nationally in passing efficiency defense (113.0), second in the MW and 34th nationally in scoring defense (21.9 ppg), third in the MW and 29th in the nation in total defense (342.9 ypg), and eighth in the MW and 91st nationally in passing defense (253.9 ypg).

Utah State’s defense also ranks first in the Mountain West and tied for fourth nationally with its 22 forced turnovers, trailing Florida International (25), Ole Miss (24) and Houston (23), and tied with Michigan State (22). USU ranks second in the MW and tied for fifth nationally with its 13 interceptions, second in the MW and 11th nationally with its nine fumble recoveries, and tied for first in the MW with Nevada and tied for 10th in the nation in turnover margin (1.12 pg). USU also ranks first in the MW and third in the nation with an average of 9.1 tackles for loss per game, trailing only Clemson (9.8 pg) and Utah (9.4 pg), first in the MW and 10th nationally with its three defensive touchdowns, and fifth in the MW and 20th in the nation with its two blocked kicks this year.

Furthermore, Utah State’s defense ranks seventh in the nation in three-and-outs as it is averaging 6.00 per game after forcing UNLV into 12 three-and-outs in 17 total drives in its last game. USU also ranks second in the Mountain West and 24th in the nation in opponents third down conversations at 33.6 percent (44-131) after limiting UNLV to 3-of-16 on third down conversations last weekend.

Offensively, Utah State ranks sixth in the Mountain West and 85th in the nation in scoring at 26.6 points per game. USU also ranks fifth in the MW and 46th in the nation in completion percentage (.610), fifth in the MW and 59th in the nation in passing efficiency (132.1), fifth in the MW and 63rd in the nation in passing offense (239.6 ypg), sixth in the MW and tied for 55th in the nation in sacks allowed (1.88 pg), ninth in the MW and 84th in the nation in total offense (378.0 ypg), and 10th in the MW and 93rd nationally in rushing offense (138.4 ypg).

On special teams, Utah State ranks second in the Mountain West and 20th nationally in punt return defense (3.71 ypr) and seventh in the MW and 49th in the nation in kickoff return defense (19.90 ypr). USU also ranks seventh in the MW and 69th in the nation in net punting (37.3 ypk), ninth in the MW and 93rd nationally in punt returns (6.1 ypr), and 10th in the MW and tied for 99th in the nation in kickoff returns (19.1 ypr).

Utah State players who rank among the statistical leaders in the Mountain West and in the nation includes sophomore LB Nick Vigil who ranks first in the MW and tied for fourth in the nation in fumbles forced (0.50 pg), tied for first in the MW and tied for 22nd in the nation in tackles for loss (1.38 pg), tied for second in the MW and tied for 38th in the nation in sacks (0.69 pg), and third in the MW and tied for 29th in the nation in tackles (9.5 pg). Senior LB Zach Vigil ranks tied for first in the MW and tied for 22nd in the nation in tackles for loss (1.38 pg), second in the MW and 18th in the nation in tackles (10.5 pg), and tied for eighth in the MW in sacks (0.44 pg). Senior DE B.J. Larsen ranks first in the MW and tied for 25th in the nation in sacks (0.75 pg), and tied for sixth in the MW in tackles for loss (1.12 pg). Junior WR Hunter Sharp ranks second in the MW and 23rd in the nation in receiving yards (89.2 pg), second in the MW and 40th in the nation in receiving touchdowns (5), fifth in the MW and tied for 42nd in the nation in receptions (5.8 pg), and ninth in the MW and 93rd in the nation in all-purpose yards (104.8 pg). Junior WR/PR JoJo Natson ranks tied for first in the MW and tied for sixth in the nation with one punt return for touchdown, seventh in the MW and 45th in the nation in punt returns (9.1 ypr), and tied for ninth in the MW and tied for 72nd nationally in receptions (4.9 pg). Junior LB LT Filiaga ranks tied for fourth in the MW and tied for 13th in the nation in fumbles recovered (0.25 pg), and tied for 27th in the MW in tackles (6.4 pg). Senior SS Frankie Sutera ranks third in the MW and tied for 11th nationally in interceptions (0.50 pg), and tied for 44th in the MW in tackles (5.2 pg). Sophomore FS Devin Centers ranks tied for fourth in the MW and tied for 13th in the nation in fumbles recovered (0.25 pg), and tied for 32nd in the MW in tackles (6.1 pg). Junior NG Travis Seefeldt ranks tied for fourth in the MW and tied for 13th in the nation in fumbles recovered (0.25 pg). Freshman CB Jalen Davis ranks tied for fifth in the MW in passes defended (0.88 pg). Junior LB Torrey Green ranks 10th in the MW in tackles for loss (0.94 pg). Sophomore RB Kennedy Williams ranks sixth in the MW and 80th nationally in kickoff return average (20.9 ypr). Senior P Jaron Bentrude ranks eighth in the MW and 72nd in the nation in punting (40.9 ypk). And senior PK Nick Diaz ranks third in the MW and tied for 29th in the nation in field goal percentage (.818), tied for sixth in the MW and tied for 53rd in the nation in field goals (1.12 pg), and eighth in the MW in scoring among kickers (6.4).

Utah State (5-3, 2-1 MW) continues Mountain West play this weekend at Hawai’i (2-6, 1-2 MW) on Saturday, Nov. 1 at 9 p.m. (MT). The game will be televised throughout the Hawaiian Islands on Oceanic Pay-Per-View and live streaming will be available on the Mountain West Network. Live audio of the game is also available on www.UtahStateAggies.com. USU is 7-6 all-time against the Rainbow Warriors, including a 3-4 record, and has won each of the last two meetings in the series.

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. By purchasing your bowl game tickets through USU you help us meet our bowl game commitment.

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 or on Facebook at Utah State University Athletics.

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