LAS VEGAS, Nev. — Utah State football has been picked fourth in the Mountain Division of the 2018 Mountain West preseason polls, it was announced Tuesday at the league’s annual Media Summit held at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
Defending Mountain West champion Boise State was picked to win the Mountain Division title as the Broncos garnered all 22 first-place votes and earned a total of 132 points. The Broncos went 7-1 in league play last season and defeated Fresno State, 17-14, in the Mountain West Championship game. Wyoming received 95 points for second place in the Mountain Division poll, followed by Colorado State (82), Utah State (78), Air Force (52) and New Mexico (23).
Fresno State was picked to finish atop the West Division with 16 first-place votes and 126 points. San Diego State claimed the other six first-place votes and 116 points to place second behind the Bulldogs in the West Division poll, followed by UNLV (78), Nevada (72), Hawai’i (45) and San José State (25).
This marks the sixth season of divisional play for the Mountain West, which moved to the two, six-team divisional format in 2013 following the additions of San José State and Utah State. The Mountain Division is comprised of Air Force, Boise State, Colorado State, New Mexico, Utah State and Wyoming, while Fresno State, Hawai’i, Nevada, San Diego State, San José State and UNLV make up the West Division. The two divisional winners will meet in the MW Championship Game on Dec. 1 at the home stadium of the divisional champion with the best conference record.
Utah State returns 18 starters (O-9, D-9) and 48 letterwinners (O-19, D-27, S-2) from last year’s team that tied for fourth place in the Mountain Division of the Mountain West with a 4-4 record and finished the season at 6-7 after playing in the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl. Those 18 returning starters are the third-most in the nation behind only Florida (19) and Michigan State (19).
Utah State’s offense finished the 2017 season averaging 30.2 points per game to rank fifth in the Mountain West and 51st in the nation. USU also ranked sixth in the MW and 56th in the nation in rushing offense (171.4 ypg), sixth in the MW and 69th nationally in passing offense (226.0 ypg), seventh in the MW and 70th in the nation in completion percentage (.584), eighth in the conference and 68th in the nation in total offense (397.4 ypg), and ninth in the conference and 72nd in the nation in sacks allowed (2.15 pg).
During the 2017 season, Utah State’s offense set single-season school records by scoring 50-plus points in three games and producing 500-plus yards of total offense in four games. USU also rushed for 2,228 yards during the season, marking the ninth-straight season it has accomplished that feat.
Defensively, Utah State allowed 182.5 passing yards per game in 2017 to rank fourth in the Mountain West and 19th in the nation. USU also ranked second in the conference and 24th in the nation in passing efficiency defense (116.6), fifth in the MW and 67th in the nation in scoring defense (26.9 ppg), and seventh in the MW and 73rd in the nation in total defense (398.8 ypg).
Utah State’s defense also forced 29 turnovers (16 fumbles, 13 interceptions) in 2017, which ranked second in the Mountain West and tied for sixth in the nation. USU also ranked tied for second in the nation with its 16 fumble recoveries, and was fourth in the Mountain West and 45th in the nation with its 13 interceptions on the season. In 2016, USU forced just 10 turnovers the entire season.
Utah State will open the 2018 season on Friday, Aug. 31, at Michigan State and begins its home season the following weekend against New Mexico State on Saturday, Sept. 8. Mountain West play begins for USU two weekends later as it hosts Air Force on Saturday, Sept. 22.
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 atwww.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.
2018 Mountain West Football Predicted Order of Finish
Rank Team (First-Place Votes) Points
- Boise State (22) 132
- Wyoming 95
- Colorado State 82
- UTAH STATE 78
- Air Force 52
- New Mexico 23
Rank Team (First-Place Votes) Points
- Fresno State (16) 126
- San Diego State (6) 116
- UNLV 78
- Nevada 72
- Hawai’i 45
- San José State 25