LOGAN – Utah State pulled off a 28-21 victory in freezing temperatures in a home game against the University of New Mexico Saturday afternoon. The Aggies were able to stop the conference’s top rushing attack enough to win the game.
“Unbelievable win for this team and this program,” USU head coach Matt Wells said. “I think it continues to cement who we are as a program, who we want to be.”
The win put the Aggies at 8-3 for the season and kept them in the hunt for a conference championship, even though they will still need Colorado State to lose another game to have a shot.
“Maybe we got a chance to slide into the championship game. Maybe we don’t,” Wells said. “But we’ve got to continue to take care of our business.”
LaJuan Hunt got the Aggie offense started midway through the first quarter with a career-long 47-yard run. Three plays later he scored the first rushing touchdown of his career with a one-yard run into the end zone.
The New Mexico defense would make a big play of their own the next time the Aggies took the field. Kent Myers’ pass was intercepted by SaQwan Edwards and returned by to the Aggie 33 yard line. Six plays and just over two minutes later, the Lobos evened up the score on a David Anaya rushing touchdown.
Both offenses stayed hot and traded touchdowns on their next possessions, and both came on long runs. The Aggies’ came when Devonte Robinson ran 59 yards for the score. New Mexico evened it up at 14 when Romell Jordan scored on a 72-yard run, the longest rushing touchdown the Aggies have given up since 2007.
The game remained locked at 14 through most of the second quarter. The Aggies retook the lead with 1:59 left in the half when Myers connected with tight end Wyatt Houston on a 10-yard touchdown pass that capped off a nine play, 79-yard drive that gave the Aggies a one touchdown lead going into halftime.
JoJo Natson scored the Aggies’ final points on a run from 48 yards out and increased the lead to 14 with 7:25 left in the third.
“JoJo is a phenomenal runner,” Myers said. “He comes in the backfield and he does what he has to do.”
New Mexico fought back but came up short in the end. They scored once in the fourth quarter on a 59-yard touchdown pass on a drive that started on their own one yard line, but that was all they would get. The Aggie defense had two big fourth down stops in the last quarter that killed what could have been scoring drives.
“Those came in huge, huge times in the game where, had they converted, it could have got interesting down there at the end,” Wells said.
Myers finished the game 13-21 passing for 150 yards with a touchdown and an interception. The Aggies ran for 272 yards and had four different players with more than 50 net rushing yards.
Wells said the game ball went to the offensive line. He said they were able to put the game away by allowing the run to be established late in the game.
“Congrats to the O-line,” Myers said. “They did a heck of a job blocking. Holes were wide open. I heard that I attempted more runs this game and that was because holes were wide open. I knew I could get it.”
The Aggies have a quick turnaround and will play San Jose State on Friday at 7:30 p.m. in Logan. It will be the last home game of the season unless they get the chance to host the conference championship game.