Touchdowns for everyone – Utah State wins behind rupture of offense

Utah State University Football defeats Tennessee Tech University 73-12 on Sept. 13, 2018 at Maverik Stadium in Logan, Utah. (Megan Nielsen)

A short week didn’t slow Utah State down at all, as Jordan Love and the Aggies rolled to a 73-12 win over Tennessee Tech Thursday evening. After opening the game with a fumble and briefly trailing 3-0, Utah State (2-1) reeled off touchdowns on seven of its next eight possessions and never looked back.

Utah State University Football defeats Tennessee Tech University 73-12 on Sept. 13, 2018 at Maverik Stadium in Logan, Utah. (Megan Nielsen)

Love was dialed-in, and the Aggies were balanced on offense on their way to amassing a whopping 621 total yards. Eleven different USU ball carriers combined for a total of 329 rushing yards. Everybody shared in the wealth, too – 9 of Utah State’s 10 total touchdowns came from different players.

Love completed 21 of 26 passes for 236 yards and two touchdowns in the first half, one to Aaren Vaughans and one to Savon Scarver. He also scored on the ground from two-yards out. With a 45-6 lead at halftime, Love, and most of the rest of USU’s starters, spent the second half on the sideline.

Whether it was passing or running, we were executing our plays,” Love said. “We were moving the ball on every play, and we had a good tempo to the offense. It was a really good day.”

In his limited playing time, Love looked sharp, with a nice mix of quick short completions and well-thrown deeper balls. Just three games into his first full season at the helm of the Aggie offense, the sophomore quarterback has shown a lot of confidence.

“He’s got a ton of confidence and he’s got weapons around him,” USU head coach Matt Wells said of Love. “As a quarterback, when you look around and you’re like ‘I’ve got some legit wideouts, two really good tight ends, the running backs are playing well and a senior-dominated offensive line in front of me’ I think that gives him confidence. The success that he’s had, he’s earned that. He’s a confident kid.”

Utah State University Football defeats Tennessee Tech University 73-12 on Sept. 13, 2018 at Maverik Stadium in Logan, Utah. (Megan Nielsen)

As expected, the Aggies dominated in all three facets of the game against their Football Championship Subdivision opponents.

The boys in blue returned a kick for a touchdown for the second consecutive game. This time, it was Jordan Nathan. The sophomore receiver ran a punt 59 yards back just before halftime. He received a key block from teammate Chase Nelson, and made a sharp cut to break away and make it 45-6.

Utah State racked up a total of 12 tackles-for-loss, and held the Golden Eagles (0-3) to only 75 passing yards. Fua Leilua had a monster game. The junior defensive lineman led the way with 3.5 TFL, and 10 different Aggies made stops behind the line of scrimmage. Seven different Aggies had at least four tackles.

“We came swinging, which is always what we want to do as a defense,” Leilua said. “We just wanted to impose our will on them all game long, and I feel like we did that.”

It wasn’t 100 percent smooth-sailing for Utah State in the first half; the Aggie offense took a few drives to get going. On their first play from scrimmage, Dax Raymond lost a fumble after turning up field following a short reception. Tennessee Tech pounced on it, and turned it into three points. The Golden Eagles led 3-0 following a 54-yard field goal by Nick Madonia. The Aggies’ next drive stalled, and Dominik Eberle tied it up with a field goal of his own.

It was all Aggies from then on out.

Utah State University Football defeats Tennessee Tech University 73-12 on Sept. 13, 2018 at Maverik Stadium in Logan, Utah. (Megan Nielsen)

The 73 points were the most points that Tennessee Tech has allowed in school history. It was the sixth time that USU has put 70 or more points on the board in school history.

Darwin Thompson showed his big-play ability yet again. For the second game in a row, Thompson scored on a 60-plus yard run. This time, it was from 65-yards out to give USU a 17-3 lead late in the first quarter. Thompson finished with 109 yards on the ground.

Utah State’s depth in the backfield was apparent – six Aggies had rushing touchdowns. Gerold Bright ran for 56 yards and a score, and Justen Hervey had 52 yards and a touchdown as well. Morian Walker Jr. also found the end zone twice late in the game.

“I do think we have a lot of depth,” Wells said. “That’s really been evidenced the last two weeks with the amount of guys that we’ve had out. … We’ve had a lot of guys step up. I’m proud of the way our guys have rallied around each other. We’ve got some guys that are going to come back in the next week or so, that will become available to us. I’m excited to get those guys back, but we’ve built a lot of depth up.”

Henry Colombi directed the offense well in the second half. The backup quarterback was a perfect 9-of-9 for 55 yards, and he picked up 22 yards with his feet.

After having a short week of preparation, the Aggies will now have a few extra days to prepare for their Mountain West Conference opener. Utah State will host Air Force (1-1) on Sep. 22nd at 8:15 PM in a nationally-televised game on ESPN2.

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