LOGAN, Utah – Prior to beginning fall camp on Thursday, Aug. 2, Utah State football players and coaches met with the media as the Aggies held their annual media day Wednesday.
Sixth-year head coach Matt Wells welcomes back 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).
Highlighting Utah State’s returners in 2018 are four players who earned various all-Mountain West honors a season ago as junior PK Dominik Eberle earned third-team All-America honors from Phil Steele’s Magazine and honorable mention All-America honors from SB Nation, along with being a first-team all-MW selection and a finalist for the Lou Groza Award, while senior OT Roman Andrus, senior OC Quin Ficklin and junior TE Dax Raymond all garnered honorable mention all-MW honors.
Utah State returns six other starters on offense in senior OG Rob Castaneda, senior OT Sean Taylor, senior WR Ron’quavion Tarver, junior OG Moroni Iniguez, sophomore QB Jordan Love and sophomore WR Jordan Nathan, and nine starters on defense in senior DE Adewale Adeoye, senior LB Chase Christiansen, senior S Gaje Ferguson, senior LB Suli Tamaivena, junior DE Devon Anderson, junior CB Cameron Haney, junior LB Justus Te’i, junior NG Christopher Unga and sophomore CB Ja’Marcus Ingram, to go along with one other specialist returning in senior P Aaron Dalton.
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 at www.UtahStateAggies.com.
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