It has been a season of injuries for Utah State, but somehow they keep the ship moving with only one loss in conference play. Even with USU down to their 4th string quarterback in freshman Kent Myers, coach Matt Wells has all the confidence in their team to keep winning, and with good reason. Including Hawaii, four of the Aggies' next five opponents have records below .500, which means that things should technically be smooth sailing. But with how the season has gone, it has been anything but smooth. Here are three keys for Utah State to keep the streak going.
Three reasons why Utah State will win
1. Myers Mania - After injuries to Chuckie Keeton, Darell Garretson and Craig Harrison, the team will now have true freshman Kent Myers at the helm going forward. For what little time he was in the game against UNLV, he looked very impressive. He has the ability to run the ball, but not so much like Chuckie can. He also has the ability to extend plays and get the ball downfield to his receivers. It is no wonder why the coaching staff is high on Myers.
He might have been just a two-star recruit coming out of high school, but his stats say otherwise: during his senior year of high school at Sachse High in Rowlett, Texas, Myers threw for 3,522 yards and 42 touchdowns with only five interceptions. He also added 559 yards of rushing and 10 touchdowns to his resume. That year, he led his team to the state 5A District 11 championship game and won while being named MVP.
It will be important that Myers can get going early against Hawaii. The Warriors do have a decent defense, being ranked sixth overall in the conference. But if Hawaii has any chance, they will have to get to Myers early. If Myers can get his passing game going and run the ball effectively, it will be another long day for the Warrior defense.
2. Running into a brick wall - The biggest part of the Aggie defense being successful thus far is their run defense. They rank 7th in the country, averaging 88.9 rushing yards per game on defense. The core of that run defense is B.J. Larsen and brothers Zach Vigil and Nick Vigil. It was not that long ago that Zach recorded 22 tackles in the game against Air Force, with eight of those going for a loss.
Hawaii will have to catch some breaks in order to effectively run their offense. If the running game can't get going, then the offense may suffer a lot of three and outs on Saturday.
3. Sacks and Turnovers - The Aggies defense has been hot all year and not just in the run game. It is no secret that Defensive Coordinator Todd Orlando loves to dial up pressure during games. This season, the Aggies are ranked third in the country in sacks with 31, tied for fifth in the country in interceptions with 13, and tied for 13th in fumbles recovered with eight. Expect this kind of effort to continue down the stretch. If this effort continues during this game, the Aggies may win by more than the 3-point favorites they are.