Second half dominance proves the difference as USU blasts Weber St. 54-17

Utah State used a second half offensive explosion to pull away from the visiting Weber State Wildcats 54-17. The Aggies dominated the game with their running game and run defense, out-pacing Weber on the ground 440-46 and out-scoring them 44-0 from the second quarter on. Robert Turbin led the Aggie ground attack, amassing 180 yards on 18 carries and two touchdowns.”I don’t want to believe it but it feels surreal sometimes,” Turbin said about his first game back in Romney Stadium after missing all of last season from a knee injury. “I look around and see the crowd and it feels amazing. It’s an amazing feeling to be back.”The fans would agree. It’s a great feeling to have Turbin back in an Aggie uni. Turbin ran well in traffic but was able to break out some long runs too, one of them for 34 yards and another went 31 yards into the endzone. While Turbin racked up the most yards, others contributed in a big way too. Utah State overall racked up 635 yards of total offense, sixth most in school history. Michael Smith carried the ball five times, picking up 91 yards and one touchdown. Most of that yardage came on a 60 yard carry into the endzone early in the second quarter to give USU a 10-7 lead. Kerwynn Williams also helped to ignite the team at key moments, particularly late in the second quarter on a punt return. Williams carried the ball four times for 65 yards. In its first series of the fourth quarter USU started on the one yard line after a 71 yard punt by Weber’s Josh Kealamakia. The USU offense was clicking on all cylinders and the drive turned into a moment of “anything you can do I can do better.” Turbin carried the ball for 34 yards, followed by Williams’ rush of 36 yards. Chuckie Keeton, not to be outdone, passed the ball to Chuck Jacobs for a 29 yard touchdown pass. Three plays, 99 yards.The Aggies gave up 60 yards on seven penalties in the first half, however, helping Weber move down the field and put themselves in scoring position, going up by as much as 17-10. USU was flagged for eight penalties overall which upset head coach Gary Andersen.”Penalties are going to happen,” Andersen said. “But we had some ignorant penalties tonight. If we have ignorant penalties on the defensive side of the ball we are not going to be in the champions club.”Turbin was able to score on a 14 yard rushing play giving the Aggies a tie going into the locker room, but a tie wasn’t what many Aggies expected. The mood in USU’s locker room at halftime was described as “very intense” by USU linebacker Maurice Alexander. “We were really frustrated,” Turbin echoed. “We felt we were going to come out stronger than that. But they came out more ready to play than us. Give credit where credit is due. They were able to respond well to our crowd.””The offense finally started executing in the second half and the run game became very violent with some big big plays, as the stats would indicate,” Andersen said. “The defense stepped up and settled down after a lot of dumb penalties.”Keeton had another solid performance, passing for 166 yards and two touchdowns and rushing for 70 yards and scoring another touchdown on the ground. Keeton wasn’t without his mistakes, however. Keeton gave up a sack and fumbled the ball twice.”This was a learning experience for Chuckie,” Andersen said. “As a true freshman we’re going to have some learning curve.”With all the attention going to the impressive running game Saturday night, Andersen wanted to also highlight the team’s defensive effort, too.”That was great to see,” Andersen said about only allowing Weber to rush for 46 yards. “The ability to stop the run in this game was huge. We saw what they did last week and we stopped it.”Andersen specifically pointed to senior linebacker Bobby Wagner.”We are giving him a tremendous opportunity to make plays in space,” he explained, “and he was a tremendous leader out there tonight helping the team when they were down in the first half.”Wagner and Kyle Gallagher led the Aggies with 10 tackles each. USU also had four sacks. Perhaps one of the most impressive sacks came from Jason Fanaika in the second half. Fanaika fought off an offensive lineman (sending him to the ground) and continued to pursue Mike Hoke for the sack. Fanaika joined the team only on Monday after not participating in any fall drills. He had told coaches he was going to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. On Sunday he phoned Andersen to tell him he had changed his mind and wanted to play.The Aggies now have an extra week of practice as they prepare for Colorado State to visit Logan on Saturday, September 24 for Homecoming. Andersen said the team has a lot to work on before their next game.”We have a ton of work,” he said. “What I told the young men is that we will go Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday morning then give them the weekend off.””We’ll work on the basic techniques,” he continued. “We really need to identify ourselves at a 64 travel squad team. We have a lot of work to do as a staff. We haven’t strapped two games together since we’ve been here. It’s our goal to have a two-game winning streak. It’s not happened.”- – -NOTES: Announced attendance was 18,239. Robert Turbin became the eighth Aggie to rush for 2,000 yards. Turbin also moved into a tie for seventh place with Emmett White on the Aggies’ career scoring list.

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