Utah State leads the nation in total turnovers and fumble recoveries

New Mexico running back Tyrone Owens (25) tries to avoid being sacked by Utah State nose guard Gasetoto Schuster (56) during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Albuquerque, N.M., Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)

LOGAN, Utah – Through the first 10 weeks of the college football season, Utah State’s defense has forced 24 turnovers (14 fumbles, 10 interceptions), which ranks tied for first in the nation with both Florida Atlantic and Wyoming.

The Aggies also rank first in the nation with their 14 fumble recoveries, and third in the Mountain West and 29th in the nation with their 10 interceptions on the season.

Conversely, Utah State forced just 10 turnovers the entire 2016 campaign.

With its 24 forced turnovers this season, Utah State has now forced 134 turnovers in its last 72 games, including at least one turnover in 55 of its last 72 games. The Aggies have also recorded 63 interceptions in their last 59 games, including at least one pick in 31 of their last 59 games and multiple interceptions in 19 of their last 59 games. Overall, USU has forced three or more turnovers in 16 of its last 47 games.

Individually, sophomore PK Dominik Eberle leads the nation in field goal percentage (.938) as he has made 15-of-16 field goals this season. The native of Nuremburg, Germany, also ranks second in the Mountain West and 24th in the nation in field goals made (1.50 pg), and is fifth in the MW and 48th in the nation in scoring (8.0 ppg).

Utah State is averaging 29.9 points per game to rank fifth in the Mountain West and 54th in the nation. The Aggies also rank fifth in the league and 68th in the nation in completion percentage (.587), sixth in the MW and 67th nationally in passing offense (223.6 ypg), eighth in the MW and 81st in the nation in rushing offense (149.3 ypg), ninth in the MW in passing efficiency (119.3), 10th in the conference and 90th in the nation in sacks allowed (2.40 pg), and 10th in the conference and 93rd in the nation in total offense (372.9 ypg). USU also ranks second in the MW and 22nd nationally in red zone offense (90.3), as it has scored 28 times on 31 trips with 16 touchdowns and 12 field goals.

Defensively, the Aggies are allowing 200.2 passing yards per game to rank fifth in the Mountain West and 38th in the nation. USU also ranks sixth in the conference and 71st in the nation in passing efficiency defense (130.2), seventh in the MW and 79th nationally in sacks (1.80 pg), seventh in the MW and 79th in the nation in total defense (406.2 ypg), seventh in the conference and 80th in the nation in scoring defense (28.6 ppg), and eighth in the MW in rushing defense (206.0 ypg).

Utah State’s defense has scored five touchdowns this year to rank tied for first in the nation, along with Texas. Senior CB Jalen Davis has scored three of those touchdowns as he had a 30- and a 50-yard interception return against BYU, and a 25-yard interception return against Idaho State. Freshman LB Maika Magalei returned a fumble 38 yards for a score against San José State and redshirt freshman LB David Woodward returned a fumble 70 yards for a touchdown at New Mexico. Overall, USU has scored 16 defensive touchdowns in its last 56 games.

On special teams, Utah State ranks first in the nation with its four blocked punts this year, as the Aggies have blocked punts against Idaho State, Wake Forest, San José State and Colorado State, returning the one against CSU for a touchdown. USU’s four blocked kicks on the season rank third in the nation behind Texas A&M (5) and Hawai’i (5). The school record for blocks is six set in 2012 (3 FGs, 2 punts, 1 PAT).

Overall, USU has blocked 14 kicks under head coach Matt Wells. The Aggies also rank second in the Mountain West and fourth in the nation in kickoff return defense (15.4 ypr), first in the MW and 15th in the nation in punt returns (12.8 ypr), fifth in the MW and 68th in the nation in kickoff returns (20.9 ypr), and sixth in the MW and 73rd in the nation in net punting (37.6 ypp).

Davis ranks second in the nation with his five interceptions, while his 13 passes defended (8 pass breakups, 5 interceptions) ranks second in the Mountain West and 27th in the nation (1.3 pg). Davis also ranks first nationally with his three defensive touchdowns.

Junior LB Louy Compton and junior QB DJ Nelson both rank first nationally with their two blocked kicks, while Nelson also ranks tied for second in the Mountain West and tied for eighth in the nation with his one punt return for a touchdown.

Redshirt freshman WR Jordan Nathan ranks second in the MW and 19th in the nation in punt returns (11.9 ypr), while freshman WR Savon Scarver ranks fifth in the MW and 51st in the nation in kickoff returns (22.2 ypr).

Junior LB Suli Tamaivena ranks seventh in the MW and 32nd in the nation in tackles (9.2 pg), and tied for 10th in the MW with his two fumble recoveries.

Senior QB Kent Myers ranks third in the MW and 36th in the nation in completion percentage (.632), sixth in the MW and 77th in the nation in completions (13.6 pg), ninth in the MW and 87th in the nation in passing efficiency (121.2), ninth in the MW and 97th in the nation in passing yards (136.0 ypg), and ninth in the MW and 98th in the nation in total offense (165.0 ypg).

Senior BS Dallin Leavitt ranks tied for fourth in the MW and tied for 32nd in the nation with his three interceptions (0.3 pg), and tied for 31st in the MW in tackles (6.0 pg).

Senior RB LaJuan Hunt ranks tied for fourth in the conference and tied for 43rd in the nation with his eight rushing touchdowns (0.8 pg), junior WR Ron’quavion Tarver ranks eighth in the MW and 93rd in the nation with his four receiving touchdowns (0.4 pg), and redshirt sophomore TE Dax Raymond ranks ninth in the MW in receptions (3.7 pg).

Redshirt freshman QB Jordan Love ranks ninth in the MW in completion percentage (.531), and 10th in the MW in both passing (109.2 ypg) and passing efficiency (114.5).

Junior BS Gaje Ferguson ranks 17th in the MW in tackles (7.2 pg) and junior LB Chase Christiansen ranks tied for 37th in the conference in tackles (5.6 pg).

And finally, junior P Aaron Dalton ranks fourth in the MW and 55th in the nation in punting (42.1 ypp).

Utah State will have its lone bye of the season this weekend before welcoming Hawai’i to the friendly confines of Maverik Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 18. The Senior Day game will kick off at 1 p.m.

For 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 or on Facebook at Utah State University Athletics.

-USU-

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