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The Good, the Bad, the Ugly: Arizona Bowl Edition

Utah State clashed with New Mexico in a battle of the Aggies.

NCAA Football: Arizona Bowl-New Mexico State vs Utah State Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the eighth edition of “The Good, the Bad, the Ugly.” During the offseason I will be featuring some of the most important games of 2017 Mountain West season. This week we will be featuring the Arizona Bowl.

The Good:

Jordan Love

Love played a solid game. He was accurate for the most part, but failed to connect on many big plays and struggled to help the Aggies get into the end zone. Love finished the game completing 25 of 44 passes for 254 yards. The one glaring stat is that Love had zero touchdowns. The Aggies struggled to capitalize on their ability to move the ball.

Savon Scarver

Scarver had the highlight of the game for Utah State with this 96 yard kickoff return for a touchdown that gave the Aggies an early 7-3 lead.

Jason Huntley

Utah State’s lead was short lived as Huntley answered Scarver’s kickoff return with a 100 yard return for a touchdown, giving New Mexico State a 10-7 lead.

LaJuan Hunt

Hunt finished the game with 20 carries for 133 yards and a touchdown. Hunt showed great playmaking ability including a 58 yard run. It almost felt like Utah State should have done more to utilize Hunt in this game.

Larry Rose III

Rose III was really the only bright spot for New Mexico State on offense. He had 16 carries for 132 yards and 6 receptions for 48 yards. He showed dynamic playmaking ability on the game winning touchdown in overtime.

The Bad

Tyler Rogers

Somehow New Mexico State was able to win this game despite poor play from Rogers. Rogers completed only 29 of his 54 passing attempts for 191 yards. That amounts to 3.5 yards per attempt, most days you lose with those types of numbers. Rogers also threw two interceptions, but Utah State failed to capitalize.

Special Teams Play

This could go either way, but both teams struggled with kickoff coverage and it proved costly for both teams. Also, Dominik Eberle missed four of his six field goal attempts for Utah State, including a crucial miss in overtime. Overcoming, four missed field goals is a lot to ask.

The Ugly

Ball Security

Both teams combined for five turnovers, like many games during bowl season this was messy. Both teams failed to capitalize on the others mistakes, but it made for an exciting finish. New Mexico State turned the ball over three times, including two interceptions from Rogers and a lost fumble by Larry Rose III. Utah State lost two fumbles, one by Jacoby Wildman and the other by quarterback Jordan Love.

If you look at the stats, there is no way New Mexico State should have won this game. They lost the turnover battle and were out gained by almost 80 yards. Utah State could not capitalize on over 400 yards of total offense, as they could manage only one touchdown on offense. This was one of those games where stats were misleading, there was over 800 yards of offense, yet the two teams only managed two offensive touchdowns in regulation. This game goes to show the importance of ball security, executing in the red zone, and making field goals.

Stay tuned, next week I will be breaking down the Potato Bowl.