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Aggie Analysis: The Mountain Comes Crumbling Down

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With the Mountain Division on the line, the offense stays cold and the defense has no answer for Boise

NCAA Football: Utah State at Boise State Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

Utah State walked into the Blue Turf on Saturday night hoping to come away with a victory and, in doing so, clinching both the Mountain Division and home field in the Mountain West Championship Game against Fresno State.

When Utah State walked off the Blue Turf, they were left looking for answers as to where that high octane offense they had utilized all season long was. The Aggies lost the game 33-24, and will now have to wait until December 2nd to find out their bowl fate.

THE RUNDOWN:

OFFENSE:

- QB Jordan Love put up a good stat line: 29/47, 363 Yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT. One number stands out here: 47 pass attempts. In most cases, that’s a sign that the team couldn’t get anything going on the ground. When that happens, teams tend to become one-dimensional.When the Aggies need to rely on just one side of the ball, their performance usually stalls. With almost no ground game to account for, Love was forced to make more plays than usual with his arm and it simply wasn’t enough.

- Shout out to the Aggies offensive line, who only allowed one sack on Jordan Love in the game and only eight sacks total in the entire regular season. Their sturdiness was the key to the insane numbers the Aggies put up throughout the year. Senior C Quin Ficklin has been the leader on this team, and his efforts cannot go unnoticed (and I can bet they haven’t with NFL scouts.)

- The run game disappeared, both because of Boise’s incredible D-Line play, and Utah State’s inability to get into open field. Darwin Thompson led the pack with 11 rushes for just 61 yards. The next leading rusher was Gerold Bright with EIGHT yards. With no run game to rely on, Love had to make moves in the air and, while that’s a good option, it isn’t perfect. Especially when the defense can’t make many stops.

- WR Aaren Vaughns had a decent night, breaking the 100-yard mark but he never found the endzone. Bright, Ron’Quavion Tarver, and Jalen Greene all found themselves in for six. Overall, it wasn’t an awful effort by the receivers but there was a lot left to be desired. TE Dax Raymond wasn’t much of a factor, he lost a fumble, and without his productivity the passing game suffered.

DEFENSE:

- The run defense had no answer for Boise RB Alex Mattison, who ran for 200 yards and three TDs. He torched the Aggies all night. The defense did accumulate three sacks, so it wasn’t totally bad.

- The pass defense was equally as torched by BSU QB Brett Rypien. Rypien completed 23 of 32 passes for 310 yards and one touchdown. The secondary allowed big plays all night long. That includes passing plays of 51, 44, 31, and 30 yards. Big plays build up big momentum, and that’s what Boise’s offense seemed to have all night long.

- It has to be pointed out that Boise also stayed mistake-free in the game. Usually Utah State’s key to victory defensively is to take the ball away, especially after last week’s pick-sixes. In this contest, no interceptions were thrown and no fumbles were recovered. Without those takeaways, the defense just kept getting torched.

SPECIAL TEAMS:

- USU K Dominik Eberle was 1 for 2 on field goals in the game, missing from 50 and making from 45.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

- This edition of Aggie Analysis was pretty doom and gloom. However, there are positives from this game. Love looked good on his passes, he still put up great numbers and he looks comfortable in the pocket. The offensive line, albeit anchored by a few Seniors who wont be back next year, has been the unsung hero of the season. It’s no secret that Boise State have been and continue to be an elite program with a ton of talent year in and year out. The Aggies lost, but their hearts were there, as they have been all season long. Looking back, a 10-2 record is a hell of a lot better than just about everyone, myself included, predicted. This is the best year of Utah State football since the Chuckie Keeton days. And remember, Jordan Love is only a sophomore.

NEXT MAN UP:

- The Aggies await their bowl matchup, which will be announced on December 2nd. We’ll all be hoping for a high-level opponent in a prestigious bowl, but the Mountain West bowl tie-ins are currently ... not really that great. Only time will tell. For now, enjoy this incredible season the Aggies have had!

WHAT WERE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE GAME? LET US KNOW IN THE COMMENTS!

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