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Aggie Analysis: Can’t Exorcise the Demons

The Aggies come close, but can’t seal the deal

NCAA Football: Utah State at Wake Forest Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Utah State’s loss to the Wake Forest Demon Deacons on Friday is a tough pill to swallow, but it will only help the Aggies improve.

Jordan Love made some really nice passes and showed off his accuracy, yet he also made some mistakes that cost the Aggies big. The defense made some big plays but also allowed big plays right back.

There were plenty of highs and lows, why don’t we take a closer look:

OFFENSE:

- Jordan Love threw spot on passes throughout the night. His accuracy is astounding – but inconsistent. For every beautiful touch pass Love put up, he seemed to take a step back with a bad interception. He threw three INTs on the day, the first (in the Wake endzone in the 1st with the game tied at 7) and third (on the final drive of the game) being crucial to the outcome of the game. Love makes one less mistake and the Aggies quite possibly would have won this one. However, to Love’s credit, he showed good reason for NFL scouts to really like him. It helped that the offensive line looked really great for how much turnover they were dealing with, allowing only one sack.

- Jaylen Warren has made a strong case for RB1. He rushed 19 times for 141 yards, including a 4-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. He showed explosiveness, hitting some big runs and making defenders miss. It’s no guarantee he took over the starting spot, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him as RB1 for the upcoming game against Stony Brook. This isn’t to say Gerold Bright looked bad whatsoever, it seems like the Aggie offense just started to rely more and more on Warren as the game went on. Bright had a more diverse night, running nine times for 37 yards and punching in the first USU touchdown of the year early in the 1st while also catching four passes for 30 yards. Who gets that starting spot at runningback for the home opener will certainly be a hot topic in the coming days.

DEFENSE:

- We all knew David Woodward was good, he got even better on Friday night. He was all over the place, recording a career-high in tackles with 24 tackles.

- It’s unfair to blame Jordan Love for the loss, he made mistakes but gave the Aggies opportunities to win as well. We also have to look at the problems in the secondary. They made a few plays, but it was mostly getting bent then broken. The Deacons took advantage of mismatches, both in height and speed, to get past the Aggie defensive backs. Zone coverage calls led to receivers being open close to the line of scrimmage all night. Wake QB Jamie Newman took advantage of that, consistently hitting receivers on curl or comeback routes for steady gains.

Shaq Bond deserves some credit here. He came back from a leg injury suffered late last season and looked good at Safety. Early in the game David Woodward had a strip-sack and touchdown return called back by a penalty, but Bond took it upon himself to rectify the issue by dominating the next three plays (making a big tackle, deflecting a pass, then hurrying the QB and forcing an incompletion) to force Wake to punt.

SPECIAL TEAMS:

- Aaron Dalton looked good punting the ball in his return to the field after missing all of 2018. Eberle wasn’t called upon to attempt any field goals, but was perfect on all five extra points.

OVERALL:

- No matter what way you look at it, this loss is a tough one to come to terms with. There were plenty of opportunities for the Aggies to win, but mistakes in the passing game and secondary left Utah State just short. Give credit where credit is due, however, to some players and units who came to play: Jaylen Warren, the offensive line, David Woodward, Jacoby Wildman, Shaq Bond.

- This is still a good team, despite all the changes over the offseason. In the upcoming days, some decisions and some adjustments will have to be made, mainly when it comes to the starting runningback and the secondary.

- Up next is the Aggies’ home opener against Stony Brook. They were a solid FCS team last year, but this is the type of game the Aggies will need to get into a winning rhythm. They’ll need that rhythm and they’ll need it all year, because the schedule does not let up.

What are your thoughts o the game? Let us know in the comments below!

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