Jordan Love and the Utah State offense took an eraser to the school record book Saturday afternoon.
The 14th-ranked Aggies racked up an all-time school record 804 yards of total offense on their way to a 62-24 annihilation of San Jose State. Utah State reached their season-long goal of going undefeated in conference play during the regular season with the win, which marked the sixth time in program history that an Aggie football team has won nine games in the season. The victory came on Senior Day as 23 different Aggies were honored before kickoff.
“I’m just happy that we were able to send our seniors out the right way and to win,” USU head coach Matt Wells said. “To go 6-0 at Maverik (Stadium) was a goal of ours at the beginning of the year. It was something that we talked about and it was important to us to protect our home field.”
In addition to the total yardage mark Utah State also eclipsed the program record on touchdowns scored in a season, which previously sat at 60. Aggie quarterback Jordan Love tied the school record for touchdown passes in a game with five. It was the second time in three weeks that Love has thrown for five touchdowns, with the last occasion coming at home against New Mexico three weeks prior.
“I’m always amazed by this offense,” Love said. “It’s a fun thing to be a part of. To be able to do stuff like that every week, it’s really just fun.”
Saturday afternoon’s game didn’t go according to script, at least for the first 16 minutes or so. The Aggies were marred by a few miscues as fumbles and penalties allowed San Jose State to hang around. It was all knotted up at 10-10 with 13:53 left in the first half when Utah State took over.
The Aggies reeled off 28 unanswered points to close the first half. Love threw the first of his touchdown passes to Gerold Bright, who scored from 24 yards out. Over the course of the next 10 minutes, the Aggies did nothing but force three-and-outs on defense and score touchdowns on offense. Love and Bright each ran one in, and Darwin Thompson scored on a seven yard pass from Love to put the Aggies up 38-10 just before the half.
Love was dialed-in, as he has been all year. The sophomore quarterback went 32 of 42 for 497 yards before being pulled midway through the first quarter. Love’s incredible season rolled right along Saturday afternoon. On the year, the Aggie signal caller has amassed 2,676 yards and 24 touchdowns with only four interceptions.
“Jordan Love would be breaking a ton of records if I’d let him play longer in the second half of these games,” Wells quipped. “I mean, that’s the reality, right? The guy just threw for 500 yards and he played two-and-a-half quarters tonight. Now he’s up to almost 12 quarters of not playing football this season. That’s three games.”
Thompson was a beast as well. He racked up 255 yards of total offense, including 140 yards on 15 carries for a touchdown. The lightning-fast tailback had the most exciting play of the game, when he turned an apparent loss on a screen pass into an 88-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter. The junior college transfer used his first-class speed to score his 16th touchdown of the 2018-19 season.
“(Thompson) can break a lot of tackles,” Love said of his running back. “He can run good, he can catch it. Like I said, it’s just having a bunch of weapons back there. Anybody can do it too, Gerold Bright can be back there. It’s a testament to our offensive line, too.”
The Aggie defense was its usual self. Utah State forced three turnovers. Tipa Galeai and Deante Fortenberry each picked off a pass and Baron Gajkowski forced a fumble that Logan Lee recovered. San Jose State could get nothing going against the Aggies; they finished the game 2 of 14 on third down conversions and only picked up 56 yards on the ground. Aggie linebacker David Woodward recorded a team-high seven tackles including three tackles-for-loss.
“Overall, I thought we played a solid game,” USU defensive back Jontrell Rocquemore said. “We got our goal of three takeaways and got after their quarterback.”
San Jose State was led by Josh Love, who went 18 of 36 for 210 yards before leaving with an injury in the third quarter. The Spartans racked up 400 yards of total offense, with most of those coming as the final outcome was already secured.
As one of Utah State’s seniors and team captains, Rocquemore spoke of the emotion that he felt as he took the field for his last regular season game in Logan.
“It was emotional, walking out,” Rocquemore said. “I’ve been here since 2014 and seen the senior classes come and go, and it’s like ‘Oh, yeah, I’ve still got time’ but now it’s like ‘This is my moment, this is the last time I go out and do this one more time at the Mav.’”