I actually really liked doing the breakdown of all three phases from last week, so I’m making it the permanent format for recaps from here on out.
- QB Jordan Love was outstanding. He had a career high 356 passing yards going 26-38 for two touchdowns and no picks. The offensive line played great, giving up only one sack and no QB hurries. Keeping Love upright was key to his successful night.
- The two-headed monster of RBs Gerold Bright and Darwin Thompson are as reliable a runningbacks tandem as you’ll find in the country. Both backs ran for two scores, with Bright running for 101 yards, the longest being a 70 yard scamper to put the Aggies up for good late in the fourth quarter, and Thompson totaled 34 yards.
- The receiving core was great as well, which correlates with Jordan Love’s big night. WR Ron’quavion Tarver led the way with nine catches for 128 yards, highlighted by a beautiful over the shoulder catch near the goal line. TE Dax Raymond had a good night, hauling in four catches for 68 yards, highlighted by a 30 yard grab and go touchdown. It’s hard to stop Raymond once he’s got the ball in open space. Aaren Vaughns also had a touchdown on a beautiful 43 yard connection from Jordan Love.
- Against the pass the Aggies were solid, but had a few leaks. This is against a team who barely throws, of course. Air Force threw 21 passes total, adding up to 148 passing yards. They didn’t allow any touchdowns, but they didn’t pick the ball off. That’s forgivable against a run heavy service academy though.
- The emphasis on defense was on stopping the ground game, as Air Force is great at running the rock. Overall, the effort wasn’t top notch from USU. The Falcons rushed for 323 yards and three touchdowns, with seven different players rushing for double-digit yardage. Again, this is all a bit forgivable seeing as how running is 95% of AFA’s plays.
- Dominik Eberle attempter a grand total of zero field goals on Saturday night, but technically he WAS 100%.
- WR Savon Scarver had the ball ripped away from him and ran back for a touchdown in a very critical point in the game. Air Force had just gotten a TD and 2-point conversion to make it a ten point game, when on the ensuing kickoff Scarver gave it up. Credit the Falcons, because they straight up just took the ball out of Scarver’s hands.
- It was a solid, fun opening win for the Aggies in conference play. The offense is legitimate. Jordan Love looked poised and the RB group is efficient and hard to handle for defenses. The big names of the receiving group, Ron’quavion Tarver and Dax Raymond, came up big and showed why they are the big names. The defense needs some work, while they did continue to take the ball away (recording a fumble recovery), they have to work on their late game strategy. Utah State ALMOST blew a 21 point lead. They were fortunate the offense was explosive. Still, the defense is good and will continue to be so going into a big Friday night matchup.
NEXT MAN UP:
- Utah State has a short week as they prepare for a huge trip to BYU, who is now ranked in the AP Top 25. The Cougars showed they can take on the best, defeating Wisconsin IN Madison just last week. The Aggies will have their work cut out for them, but with the offense they’ve shown through four games, they can keep up with anyone.
Follow Alex Eiden (UnderDogsAlways) on Twitter @alexyatta_ and follow the MountainWestConnection @MWCConnection